Last night night on SNY’s Mets Hot Stove, Sandy Alderson said he is not comfortable with Frank Francisco being his team’s closer:
“I don’t know if we can have a lot of confidence in where we are. I hope that Frankie is able to step up. We’ve taken a lot of time to look at other possibilities and ways we can shore this up. At this point, we have added some pitching, but more of the front-end of the bullpen as opposed to the back-end. But no, not terribly comfortable, but I hope Frankie, over the next few weeks, does something to dispel that comfort.”
Alderson said he hopes to add one or two more relievers before Spring Training, but isn’t sure if it will be help for the back-end of the bullpen.
“I think we are going to have another guy or two, between now and Spring Training,” Alderson explained. “Now, whether it’s a back-end guy that will really compete with Frankie, or whether Frankie is the guy going in and the competition comes from Bobby Parnell or someone else – who knows, we will just have to see.”
9:28 am: According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the Mets are interested in Jose Valverde, and while they would consider bringing back Francisco Rodriguez, that remains unlikely.
In addition, Rubin says it is no very unlikely the Mets sign Brian Wilson, although they do have a current offer out to a non-closer and expect to hear back from him shortly.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
As I said yesterday afternoon, “The way I understand it, the Mets are eager to find another pitcher with experience and potential to pitch late in games, maybe even taking the closer role from Francisco, who does not have a lock on that job.“ The Mets flirted with the idea of using free-agent RHP Roy Oswalt for that spot, according to people familiar with the situation, and they have acknowledged their interest in Wilson, but he has yet to demonstrate that he is up for the task. In terms of experienced relievers, obviously the team should continue to pursue Wilson, and they may or may not be considering Valverde, K-Rod or Francisco Cordero, all of whom are still available on the open market and could be (gulp) worth taking a chance on.
Michael Baron, Contributor
I like that Sandy is looking to supplement the back-end of the bullpen and find someone who can at least share the closer duties next season, even if it’s in a creative and potentially unconventional way. Francisco was terrible last year, and that along with his recent elbow surgery doesn’t do much to instill confidence he might be much better this year. They’re stuck with him, and so hopefully he can get his elbow healthy and be a stabilizing force next season. However, the Mets certainly need to make other considerations in the event he is unable to do that.
Regarding Valverde, he could be an intriguing alternative to Francisco. After a dominant 2011 season, Valverde struggled in 2012 and ultimately lost his closer job late in the year. He began pitching to a lot more contact. His velocity dipped a little bit which might have contributed to his struggles, but he still throws hard, and has been both a colorful and intimidating closer in his career. I wonder if Valverde might be interested in taking a one-year deal from the Mets to rebuild his value; Valverde could have a pretty good shot at becoming the team’s closer almost immediately, especially if Francisco suffers any setbacks and isn’t ready to start the season.
Statistics and information on Jose Valverde...
Stats: Valverde, 34, went 3-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 71 games, having saved 35 games in 40 opportunities in 2012. He allowed 27 walks with 48 strikeouts in 69 innings last season.
Contract: Valverde earned $9 million in an option which was part of a two-year, $14 million deal he signed before the 2010 season.