Bobby Parnell – Future Mets Closer?

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Monday, May 11th, 2009

The New York Mets have a possible star in their bullpen and its not Francisco Rodriguez. It’s a young one pitch, flame thrower named Bobby Parnell. Parnell has been occupying the seventh inning this season, making sure the game gets to J.J. Putz and K-Rod with the Mets in the lead. He’s been pretty impressive so far, 14 innings pitched, 10 strikeouts and an era of 1.29. Numbers that have had scouts call him the “future closer”.

An unnamed scout told the NY Daily News, “He has not just velocity, but plus late life. When you combine the angle he throws from, the velocity and the late life, you are talking about a guy who can essentially pitch with one pitch.”

My thinking is its about damn time the Mets produced someone who can be helpful in the bullpen. The lack of young competent pitchers has kept the team in the continuous cycle of signing free agents and hope they can produce. It got so bad the Mets had to go out and shell out the big bucks to get a closer.

So with Parnell being dubbed a future closer, what does that mean for K-Rod and Putz?

For K-Rod he’s fine, Parnell is going to be years away from taking his job. K-Rod is still one of the elite closers in baseball and so far a pretty solid signing for the Mets. With a three year deal and a club option for a fourth he’s going no where.

Now Putz on the other hand it’s a different story. Putz is in the final season of his three year contract that he initially signed with the Seattle Mariners. There is a club option for 2010 but at $8.6 million. He’s had a pretty shaky season to date which would make the team debate picking that up. His current line is: a 3.50 era over 18 innings pitched, a 1-2 record and a blown save. More alarming thou is the lack of control, walking eight over that time.

Is Parnell ready for the eighth inning role? Probably not. Could he be by the end of 2009? Definitely.

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The Mets are clearly going to be in the hunt for NL East Champions as they are currently in first place. With every team in that division being solid this year (minus the Washington Nationals) the pressure is going to continue to mount. If Putz and Parnell continue down the paths they’ve started this season one could easily see Parnell bumping Putz from eighth inning duties. If anything he could definitely bump Putz from next years team.

Back to the “future closer” thou. Will it happen? Not any time soon, unless K-Rod suffers a significant injury over the next couple seasons. I do think to become a closer he’ll need to add more to his repertoire then that outstanding fastball, unless he can dominate Mariano Rivera like with it.

Bobby is already 25 years old, by the time Rodriguez’s contract is through he’ll be 28-29 range. If he ever becomes Mets closer it will be at a later age in his career. Which could be a good thing as he’ll have plenty of experience on the big stage in the Big Apple.

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