Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pelfrey not completely ruled out for closer

Photo by Michael Baron

Alderson wouldn't completely rule out the possibility of converting a starting pitcher such as Mike Pelfrey into a closer, but said it's not the preferred solution.
source NY Post

I'm glad that Alderson recognizes the closers role as more then a reliever being assigned to the last inning and that the in-house options haven't sparkled in their auditions.  As Bobby Parnell has shown, just because someone is an effective reliever it doesn't mean they are a closer, of course; you can't spend 16M on the position for just three outs.

The best candidate during this brief audition period would be Manny Acosta, his 3.61 ERA and two saves have been solid.  But it's a small sample pool and Acosta had several runs with the Braves where he looked like a potential closer, only to fall apart.  Would I be comfortable handing the closers job over to Acosta, not without a safety net.

While I'd welcome Izzy back at the right price I wouldn't consider him my safety net, he'd be more of my 7th inning guy who could be pressed into the set-up role and occasionally close if someone was ineffective or hurt.  Izzy is too much of an injury risk at his advanced baseball age to be relied upon as the back-up closer. 

There are several players who were potential closers and/or set-up men that will now be free agents at the end of the season, who could back-up Parnell/Acosta. Guys like Juan Cruz, Jeremy Affeldt, Todd Coffey, John Grabow and Danny Baez to name a few. These guys wont cost as much and don't have the ego expectation that might make for bad chemistry. 

I don't think this idea of Mike Pelfrey being converted to a closer would be success at all and I don't think it has anything to do with his 200 innings being more valuable in the rotation. In looking at Pelfrey's splits he doesn't seem like closer material at all and that's without ever considering his hand licking tendencies when the pressures on. 

In his first inning of work his BAA balloons to .302, in games where it's late and close his BAA .407, high leverage situations it's at .306 with RISP they are hitting .297, man on third .318, 1-2nd .343 and  1-3rd .364 all those numbers that a closer would be faced with are drastically higher then his overall BAA of .275. 

Of course the Mets could sign an actual closer, I don't expect a K-Rod type deal but the market is deep and one might come at a reasonable cost...

"You've got to have balance. You've got to have younger players coming on all the time. You've got to have guys going off all the time. Sometimes you get into -- and we all fall into this trap, and I'm not referring to any particular team, all of us -- that we try to keep guys around too long and their contracts grow beyond their everyday value." As for Parnell, he still is young -- even among comparably aged peers. So even if closing is not planned for 2012, it is not forever precluded. At 27 years old, Parnell still is learning to pitch. source ESPN NY