New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has said that he expects closer Bobby Parnell to be ready for the start of the 2014 season after having surgery Tuesday to repair a herniated disk. For the sake of the Mets, Alderson better be right, because they need Parnell as their closer if they’re going to compete in 2014.
Parnell’s injury was a big blow to a bullpen that was already starting to tire out, and now he will end up missing the final two months of the season as he hasn’t appeared in a game since the end of July.
LaTroy Hawkins has done an admirable job of filling in as the team’s closer, but between Parnell’s absence and a rash of injuries to the starting rotation, the Mets’ pitching staff has been in a state of chaos for the past month and that’s not something they can repeat in 2014.
While the Mets have plenty of options in the bullpen that they could choose to bring back for next season, Parnell is by far the most important. The Mets already have a long list of areas they need to address this offseason and they can’t afford to add a closer to that long list — unless of course they were to trade Parnell to fill some of their other needs.
That option is likely eliminated now that Parnell has been inactive for the final two months of the season, as it has lowered his trade value.
Despite a lot of quality pitching prospects, the Mets don’t have anyone that profiles as a closer right now. Jeurys Familia may be the closest, but he doesn’t have enough major league experience after he missed most of the season with an elbow injury.
Vic Black, who the Mets acquired when they traded away John Buck and Marlon Byrd, is a hard-thrower with late-inning potential, but his command issues make him a poor choice as a potential closer. If they don’t have Parnell as their closer in 2014, the Mets could be in big trouble in their bullpen.
Alderson insists that he’ll be ready for the start of next season, and he better be right about that.