Tag: bobby parnell

Symptom Treated – But Now What’s the Cure?

Unsurprisingly, Manny Acosta has been designated for assignment, which means he can’t pour gasoline on fires in Flushing for at least a week. There is a possibility, however, that he brings his Fahrenheit 451-style fireman skills to Buffalo. But let’s not think about that for now.

Yes, we’ve been screaming for Acosta’s removal since late April (some wondered how he made it to spring training in the first place), but now that the symptom has been treated, the Mets have to find a cure for the actual sickness.


Three Ways Bobby Parnell Can Improve

A few weeks ago we discussed Bobby Parnell as question #3 in Mets spring training. The question was whether the fireballing righthander would take a step forward as a MLB pitcher — i.e., evolve into a bonafide setup man (or, dare I say, closer?) — or has he reached his ceiling?

I would like to believe there is more effectiveness trapped inside Bobby Parnell‘s right arm, and he need only focus on a few things to raise his game to a new level. In fact, three things:


The Mets: Seven Reasons to Stay Tuned in 2012

Happy New Year everyone! With the holidays now in the rear view mirror and me now settling down into my new job, it’s time to take look ahead to what 2012 might hold in store for the New York Mets.

Like most of us, I have very low expectations for the team this year. Team finances aside, the starting rotation is mediocre at best, there are several defensive liabilities in the projected starting eight, the bench is horrible, there is little speed on the current roster and they play in a tough division. Still, I will watch as many Mets games as I can this year. Now that I have a steady income again, I may even make the pilgrimage from my home in Bethlehem to Citi Field to take in a game or two. I know that there is no postseason in store for the Mets in 2012, but I can think of at least seven reasons to pay attention to the team this year:


Are We Even Worse Off Than We Thought?

Last summer, while Jose Reyes was running away with the NL batting crown, I envisioned a fierce bidding war for his services developing over the winter. The way I figured it, there had to be at least a dozen teams lining up to throw money and years at him. After all, he is the total package, right? He has the speed, the energy, plays a premium position, has some pop in his bat and is on the right side of age 30. What team wouldn’t want him?

Well, we found out: there were 28 teams not interested enough to make contact with his agent and only one that made an offer. Reyes ended up signing with his only suitor, the Miami Marlins. And they got him for a contract that only two years ago would have seemed like a bargain.

There is an old saying about familiarity breeding contempt. After watching Jose’s entire career with the Mets, I was hesitant about seeing him get a long-term deal. Too many injuries! And for a team like the Mets with a long history of regrettable contracts, I felt that a multi-year deal was another ticking time bomb. FWIW, I think the Marlins will regret three, possibly four years of the deal. I favored dealing Reyes last July, but that’s another topic.

So, I watched and waited in hopeful anticipation during last week’s winter meetings. I was cheered by Sandy Alderson’s comments about listening to offers on everyone on the roster. That’s good. After three consecutive sub-.500 seasons, no one should be untouchable. A nice prospect or two, like what they got from the Giants for Carlos Beltran last July would certainly jump start the rebuilding process. What isn’t so good is the types of offers they reportedly received for what should be their prime trading chips, a.k.a the contract-friendly, major league ready starters currently wearing a Met uniform.

For example:

Daniel Murphy: Hit .320 last year and was 5th in the NL when he sustained a season-ending injury. Alderson praised his leadership ability. So here come the LA Dodgers with an offer of Tony Gywnn Jr. Tony Gwynn Jr.? He of the .660 OPS? On his third team in the past three years? Two years older than Murphy and nearly twice as expensive? WTF?

Ike Davis: Accordingly the Pirates, yes the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team that hasn’t won anything in 20 years, came calling, offering AA outfielder Sterling Marte and AAA pitcher Brad Lincoln. The latter is not a prospect: he projects at best as a 4/5 starter. Marte has some appeal, but he is at least two years away. Isn’t Davis supposed to carry a gold glove and have the potential to hit 30 homers?

• Jon Niese: I thought that left handed starting pitchers under team control for the next several years are just about the most prized commodity in baseball. So we hear the Mets are “listening” to offers on Jon. One would expect a long line of suitors. Nope. In fact one of those interested teams was the San Diego Padres. Then they hire Omar Minaya and they suddenly aren’t interested any more. Coincidence? Didn’t Minaya draft this guy? (Rhetorical question).

Bobby Parnell: Like Niese, Bobby is young and under team control for the next several years. Although not a southpaw, he does have that triple-digit speed fastball. He is also available. There aren’t even any good rumors out there about a deal for him.

So adding it all up leads to an unpleasant conclusion: the Mets are what their record says they are, which is a bad team with a roster full of players that most teams don’t have more than a passing interest in. The slow market for Reyes and the lack of interest in players from last year’s roster certainly indicates that. Perhaps the next coming weeks will reveal better news, but given the circumstances right now we are getting a good indication of what the market thinks about current Mets. Between this and the latest revelation on the Wilponzi’s finances, we may be on the precipice of a long dark age.


2011 Analysis: Josh Stinson

Like the last analysis, we have a very small sample size with which to make an evaluation on Josh Stinson. And like Chris Schwinden, Stinson was pitching at the end of a long season — for all we know, his unimpressive performance could have been due to fatigue. But, we’ll give it a go.


2011 Analysis: Bobby Parnell

Remember when Bobby Parnell was a young fireballer who looked like he might be the Mets’ closer of the future? We figured he’d take a career path similar to that of J.J. Putz, Brad Lidge, or Jonathan Broxton: he’d eventually harness that heat, spend a year or two as a lights-out setup man, then step in as a 35-40-save fireman.

Unfortunately, Parnell has yet to evolve into a reliable setup man; in fact, it’s still questionable whether he can be relied upon to protect a close lead as a middle reliever.

Sure, he has that eye-popping 9.7 Ks per nine innings, and he frequently flirts with triple digits on the radar gun. But pitchers who throw 100 MPH shouldn’t be allowing more than a hit per inning, and Parnell’s walk rate nearly doubled from 2010 to 2011 — jumping from 2.1 BB/9 to 4.1. A late-inning reliever expected to protect a slim lead simply cannot allow that many baserunners.

Though Parnell did show flashes of brilliance as a setup man, and he did convert 6 saves in his brief audition as closer, the jury is still out as to whether he can sustain success over a 162-game season. His lapses in command are maddening, and he has yet to develop a reliable secondary pitch. At times, his slider has that vintage Lidge look, but those times are few and far between; usually, Parnell chokes the pitch and buries in the dirt far from the plate — or, he releases it too early, leaving it in the middle of the strike zone while “speeding up” the hitter’s swing.

Maybe I’m evaluating Parnell too harshly, but whit his velocity and ability to get the ball into the strike zone, it is agonizing to see him take a step back at time in his career when he should be taking steps forward.

2012 Projection

Parnell failed his closer audition — and in fact, fell below Manny Acosta on the totem pole by season’s end. If that’s not a wake-up call I’m not sure what is.

Guess what, folks: Bobby Parnell is no longer a young phenom — he turned 27 in September and will be 28 by the end of 2012. Sure, some pitchers are “late bloomers” but generally speaking, if a guy throws 100 MPH and doesn’t figure it out by now, he’s not likely to figure it out. For one, velocity tends to start reducing as a pitcher inches toward and passes age 30 — and once Parnell loses his other-worldly fastball speed he has nothing else to offer. That’s not to say it’s too late for him to “figure it out”, nor that the Mets should give up on him. On the contrary, if Parnell can simply command his slider 7 out of every 10 times (instead of 4 or 5 times) he takes the mound, he’ll immediately become a decent closer for a second-division team (such as the 2012 Mets). Will that happen? Hard to say — it all depends on whether he can find the correct timing of his release, and that’s easier said than done.

2010 Analysis of Bobby Parnell


2011 Analysis: Jason Isringhausen

When Jason Isringhausen walked off of a softball field and into spring training in Port St. Lucie, expectations were low. After all, the 38-year-old hadn’t thrown a big-league pitch in almost two years — and even then, it was only 8 innings before blowing out his elbow and undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery. Izzy himself wasn’t necessarily convinced he could pitch in MLB again — he had resigned himself to playing recreational softball after a brief comeback attempt in AAA during 2010. But nonetheless, he gave it the old college try. And who were the Mets to deny any pitcher entrance to their spring training complex, much less one with Isringhausen’s resume and previous history with the organization?

It was a longshot, and if Izzy could just make it back on a big-league mound it would make for a fabulous feel-good story. As it turned out, Izzy gave the Mets and we fans much more than that.