The Mets are more likely to put top prospects in the bullpen, like the Cardinals did last season, than end up with a top free-agent reliever, according to a team source (Martino, Jan. 30).
The team has reportedly assured Bobby Parnell that he’ll be their closer in 2014.
So, “Why would Grant Balfour or Fernando Rodney go there if they don’t know they’re going to close?” said one N.L. official (Martino, Jan. 30).
The Rays signed Balfour to a two-year, $12 million deal (Topkin, Jan. 26). The Mariners, Orioles and Mets (Brown, Jan. 28) have recently been linked to Rodney, who is reportedly seeking $10 million a year.
Sandy Alderson said Tuesday that, at this point in the offseason, he’s likely to limit free-agent relievers to minor-league deals and may still add one or two arms to the roster (DiComo, Jan. 29).
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
What’s old is new again, I guess? The Cardinals used top, hard-throwing, starting pitching prospects in their bullpen last year, in an effort to beef up their bullpen and continue to get young pitchers their limited innings. The Dodgers did this with Pedro Martinez way back. It was a common way to integrate all pitchers prior to MLB doubling down on specialization during the last decade. I’m sure you’ll see more teams going back to this, like the Yankees will have to do this year as well, and it reads from Martino like the Mets are no different.
Noah Syndergaard will end up in the rotation. He will NOT be in the bullpen, that is obvious. However, Rafeal Montero, Jacob deGrom and Cory Mazzoni could easily find themselves in relief at Citi Field before September. I’ve talked to people in player development with other teams who believe Montero will eventually be a reliever anyway, mostly because of his pinpoint control and small frame. Also, there are only five spots in the rotation and something has to give, assuming a trade for a bat isn’t going to happen.