After ignoring their bullpen for much of the offseason, the New York Mets finally made a move to help solidify the group on Monday by signing veteran Kyle Farnsworth to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Of all the available relievers that the Mets could have signed, Farnsworth may have been the best fit for the team.
Obviously, the Mets would have preferred signing someone like Grant Balfour or Fernando Rodney, especially with some concern over Bobby Parnell’s health. However, since the Mets couldn’t guarantee the closer’s job to either of those pitchers, there was little chance of the Mets signing either one. But getting Farnsworth is the next best thing.
Farnsworth is 37-years-old and coming off a modest season in 2013, putting up a 4.70 ERA in 38.1 innings. If Parnell isn’t healthy at the start of the season it’s unlikely that he’ll be a suitable replacement as the Mets’ closer.
However, if he makes the team, Farnsworth would bring the Mets a veteran presence in their bullpen that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Farnsworth would help young pitchers like Vic Black, Jeurys Familia and Josh Edgin who are expected to play prominent roles in the Mets’ bullpen. Parnell had that earlier in his career from Jason Isringhausen, and it helped him develop into the closer that he is today. The entire bullpen had it last year from veteran LaTroy Hawkins who helped immensely.
Farnsworth may not be the pitcher he once was and he may not fit the mold of a young flame thrower, which is what the Mets are looking for in their bullpen moving forward, but he’d give the Mets an experienced veteran in their bullpen. That’s something they’re going to need in 2014, and in that sense Farnsworth is a perfect fit and a great signing.