MLB Rumors: 5 Closers the New York Mets Could Go After

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Should the Mets stick with Frank?

Should the Mets stick with Frank?
Anthony Grupusso-US PRESSWIRE

For the first half of the 2012 season, the New York Mets bullpen was top of the list of things that needed to be fixed. Had the bullpen not blown 13 saves by the All-Star break, the Mets would have been in first place with a whopping 8.5 game lead.

A team that surely had to be considered buyers, the Mets just watched the trade deadline come and go, making no attempts to secure a steady and reliable relief pitcher.

And thus begins the silence of the Mets ownership, the turning of the fans, and another second half collapse. So the story goes.

While essentially every part of the bullpen is scary, let’s take a look at the closer position specifically. Are the Mets just cursed when it comes to this position?

John Franco, the franchise’s all-time leader in saves, was great at what he did, but my goodness did he make it interesting at times. Armando Benitez; the 2001 World Series. Enough said. And then there was Francisco Rodriguez, who was a pleasure to see go, taking his goofy delivery and off the field antics with him.

When he was able to pitch around his injuries this season (tendinitis, oblique, and knee), the Mets were using Frank Francisco as their closer. He saved 23 games in 26 attempts, but I wouldn’t exactly call it lights out. With both his close appearances as well as middle relief appearances, Francisco had an era of 5.53, yielding more hits than innings pitched.

Since Francisco is signed through the 2013 season I assume the Mets will look to him to close out games next season. But maybe they should look at some of the closers available to them. I’m sure Frank would be okay with scaring Mets fans in the 8th inning instead of the 9th.

So here are 5 free agents the Mets could go after. Because just once it would be nice to breathe a sigh of relief when your closer comes out.

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Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera
Anthony Grupusso-US PRESSWIRE

Okay, so this one is clearly just a dream. It will be interesting to see what happens when the best closer in the game, Mariano Rivera, comes back after missing almost an entire season due to a torn ligament in his knee.

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Rafael Soriano

Rafael Soriano
Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Well, New York Yankee fans, since you get Mo back next season, can the Mets have Rafael Soriano?

Soriano stepped up in a big way this season, and saved 42 games for the Yankees. Although technically not a free agent, he could opt-out of his current contract, which would pay him $14 million next season. If only the Mets could afford him.

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Jonathan Broxton

Jonathan Broxton
Kelley L. Cox-US PRESSWIRE

When he left the Kansas City Royals for the Cinncinnati Reds, Jonathan Broxton was having a stellar year with 23 saves and a 2.27 ERA. He was then brought in by the Reds to be the set up man for their closer where he still managed 4 saves and had a 2.82 ERA. He made $4 million this year, which is way more of a realistic price tag for the Mets.

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Brandon League

Brandon League
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Despite his rough start to 2012, including a 10.80 ERA in his first seven games, Brandon League ended the season on quite the high note. His second half ERA was 2.88 in 34.1 innings pitched with 6 saves. And here's something I find impressive: He gave up no home runs in the second half, and even when he wasn't doing hot in the first half of the year, he only gave up one.

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Jose Valverde

Jose Valverde
Anthony Grupusso-US PRESSWIRE

So Jose Valverde has had his ups and downs, but I think his numbers are solid enough, for the right price. Granted he his 34, but he has 277 career saves, with 35 of them coming this year, and a career high 49 saves last year. I think he still has it in him, even after have a rough time in the postseason thus far.

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