Jason Isringhausen is not supposed to be in discussion to close for the Mets. Jason Isringhausen is not supposed to be in baseball. Yet, Jason Isringhausen is now one of the Mets closers.
He went from a feel good story to the set up man; Jason Isringhausen has been the most surprising Met this season. Right, there’s Dillon Gee, but he’s not 38 years old. Gee didn’t go through what Izzy has. Gee never had 5 major arm surgeries (even though he’s on the cusp of one). The curious season of Jason Isringhausen is a reminder of where Jason should have been his whole career.
A 44th round pick in 1991, he was traded in 1999 to the Oakland Athletics for reliever Billy Taylor, who lasted half a season with the Mets. He then went on to dominate in Oakland, saving 75 games over two and a quarter seasons. He led his team to the playoffs, solidifying Billy Beane’s theory of Moneyball.
He went to St. Louis as a free agent in 2002 and led the league in saves in 2004 with 47. He was second in the league in 2005 with a 2.14 earned run average. Jason Isringhausen was on the team that beat the Mets in Game 7 of the NLCS in 2006.
He was supposed to be closing for the Cardinals that season. He was the closer until a hip injury sidelined him for the post season. And here he is, 11 years after being traded because manager Bobby Valentine didn’t want to use him as a reliever. “You wouldn’t use an Indy car as a taxi in New York City,” said Valentine to the New York Daily News in 1999. Bobby Valentine was wrong.
The Mets announced that Pedro Beato, Bobby Parnell, and Jason Isringhausen will be splitting the duties of closer after trading Francisco Rodriguez. Isringhausen is not supposed to have a 3.14 ERA. He was supposed to be a media stunt. He’s 7 saves from 300 in his career. He is closing in Flushing.
They say “what goes around comes around”, and in the case of Izzy, it’s true — he’s come full circle.
Did you expect Izzy to be this good, back in February when the Mets signed him? Post your thoughts in the comments.