Free-agent pitcher Joel Hanrahan worked out for a number of teams Thursday after having Tommy John surgery last May. He is typically a pitcher who can hit high 90s with his fastball, but Hanrahan only hit 93 mph on Thursday. Regardless, with the New York Mets‘ bullpen issues, they need to sign Hanrahan to bolster their relief pitching.
Why? The Mets cannot rely on 36-year-old Jose Valverde and 38-year-old Kyle Farnsworth to be their late-inning guys. Valverde can be effective for a few games here and there, but he is always due for some blowups. Just look at Valverde’s last two appearances with the Mets. He has given up five earned runs including three home runs, which clearly isn’t a recipe for success as a closer.
Farnsworth wasn’t even good enough to make the Mets’ squad out of Spring Training. It wasn’t until the injury to Bobby Parnell when the Mets signed him to a contract. While he has pitched rather well in his eight appearances this year, sitting with a 1.23 ERA, his career suggests that he won’t remain that dominant as a pitcher. He has a career ERA of 4.23, and when a team has Farnsworth and Valverde as their eighth- and ninth-inning guys, opposing teams will never feel like they are out of a game. There is always that chance where Valverde and Farnsworth could blow a large lead for the Mets that could prove crucial at the end of the season. That’s why they need to sign Hanrahan.
When Parnell went down with the elbow injury, the Mets were linked with Hanrahan, and since their bullpen issues haven’t been resolved, they need to pull the trigger and offer a contract to Hanrahan. In his last four full seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Hanrahan finally figured it out. He’s always had a power arm, but his issue was always walks. In 2011 and 2012, he recorded 40 and 36 saves, respectively, and he was one of the more dominant closers in the big leagues.
Hanrahan would be an immediate upgrade to the bullpen, and if the Mets aren’t going to bring up any of their young arms to aid it, then they need to go another route.