With Kyle Farnsworth officially gone from the New York Mets’ bullpen — and rightfully so — the quest for a new closer begins. However, at this point in time the Mets don’t have anyone to be the team’s full-time closer. They’re going to need their two most talented relief pitchers to share those duties, and those two pitchers are Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia.
There’s little doubt that Mejia has the stuff to be a closer, but the Mets need to be careful while he makes the transition from starter to reliever, both physically and mentally. With the arm injuries that Mejia has had in the past, it can be tricky going from pitching every five days to being on call and available just about every day. For the time being the Mets may need to avoid using him on back-to-back days, even if that’s an undesirable quality for a reliever.
However, after being a starter, Mejia does have the ability to pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen, which is not something every reliever can do. Just as he did in his first relief outing of the season, Mejia can enter in the middle of an inning, finish the inning and then come out for the next inning. If the Mets require more than three outs in order to get a save, Mejia should be the guy.
Meanwhile, Familia also has the stuff to be a closer, although he’s more suited to begin an inning and not have to worry about runners already on base, much like closers do when they begin the ninth inning. The Mets have been hesitant — and rightfully so — to put Familia into the closer’s role until he has more big league experience and becomes a more established pitcher.
But in recent outings Familia, has shown flashes of how good he can be and how he can dominate hitters while making it look easy. It’s time to start putting Familia in closing situations to find out if he can handle it, and now is the perfect time to do it with it being wise to refrain from using Mejia on back-to-back days.
Obviously it’s not ideal to have two different relievers sharing the closing duties. But the Mets have two young relievers who are both talented enough to be closers, although neither one is ready to have the job on a full-time basis. For the time being, the Mets need both Mejia and Familia to act as closers whenever called upon in that role, at least until the bullpen becomes more settled.