Sep 07

Collins waffling on Parnell?

One of the many things about Jerry Manuel that drove me crazy was his inability to make, and stick, with a decision. For the most part Terry Collins has been the opposite, but there are waffling signs with him on Bobby Parnell.

PARNELL: Is Collins waffling on him as closer?

After Parnell’s blown save against the Nationals, Collins said Parnell would stay in the closer role because he wanted to display faith and avoid a kneejerk decision.

Collins wasn’t so supportive after last night, and suggested Parnell might need some non-save opportunities to bolster his confidence.

There’s no question about Parnell’s stuff, but his command is what has gotten him in trouble. Wildness isn’t just walking batters, but falling behind in the count and having to come in with the fastball.

Of course, that’s consistent with every pitcher.

As Parnell needs to develop confidence in his secondary pitches, he also has to get some from his manager. Collins said he’d get a chance to win the closer role, and that means overcoming rough stretches. That’s hard to do when it’s not the ninth inning, because part of becoming a closer is coming to grips with it being the final inning.

This is a prime learning opportunity with games that have meaning, definitely more of a test than during spring training.

No, I can’t say Parnell will ever become a quality major league closer. I can’t say he won’t, either. But, we’ll never know unless Collins sticks with him for the remaining three weeks. Manuel sabotaged Parnell as a starter several years ago. Here’s hoping Collins doesn’t do the same as a closer.

That’s in the best interest of Parnell and the Mets, because if you look at the other options – Manny Acosta, Pedro Beato or Jason Isringhausen – you realize Parnell has the highest ceiling for 2012.

 

Sep 04

The need to ride this out with Parnell

Tbe Mets were hot on this date in 1974 as Ray Sadecki beat the Cubs for their seventh straight victory and tenth in their last 11 games.

Then Bobby Parnell coughed it up the next day in the ninth inning at Washington. Ooops, that was last night.  Another in a long line of excruciating defeats this season. And another kick in the gut after a hot stretch.

With the season lost, we’re just trying to find things to hold onto over the winner and Parnell, as the closer, isn’t providing us with the warm and fuzzies.

Parnell has the best stuff, but stuff is useless if you don’t know how to use it. They are searching for answers younger than Jason Isringhausen, and the Mets are hoping Parnell will win the job.

Let’s face it, there’s really nobody else on the current staff that is inspiring.

Confidence is a fragile thing for a closer, and Parnell’s over the past few years has been like china. Jerry Manuel gave up on Parnell as a starter in a lost September after a handful of starts, but at the time Manuel – and rightfully so – was worried about his job and needed every win he could get. Terry Collins isn’t in the same position, so I’m hoping he’ll ride with Parnell to see how he rebounds.

A pat on the back is essential for his development at this stage.

 

Aug 22

What to do with Pelfrey and Parnell?

It was interesting to hear the Mets are thinking of converting Mike Pelfrey to the closer role. Such a decision touches on two issues, neither of them of an immediate positive nature.

The first, of course, is concerns whether Pelfrey will ever be the dominant starter envisioned of him, and signs of which he flashed last season. The second is their doubts on Bobby Parnell becoming a closer.

PELFREY: Could he be a closer?

Pelfrey has regressed. His command is erratic and he continues to have trouble putting away hitters and closing innings, which is the prime requisite of being a closer, so it  makes me wonder if it will work. Then again, Pelfrey tends to run into trouble the second and third time through the order after hitters have had a chance to look at him. One inning might be the change of scenery he might need. It is definitely worth trying instead of dumping him.

As far as Parnell is concerned, he has trouble in the eighth, so the ninth is alarming.

If the Mets are serious about this, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try the last five weeks of the season. What do they have to lose? After all, does it matter whether they finish in fourth or fifth place in the NL East?

The Mets wanted Parnell to start a couple of years ago, but Jerry Manuel did him a disservice when he yanked him from the rotation when the season was already lost. At the time, Parnell’s problem was commanding his secondary pitches and finding away to work out of jams. He was never going to learn without the opportunity, and when he went back to the bullpen it became easy for him to rely mostly on his fastball.

If there is a possible experiment for Parnell the remainder of the season it could be as a long reliever, where he gets two, maybe three innings.

The Mets’ bullpen is a disaster so looking at Pelfrey is worth a shot. It might provide an indication of what direction to go this winter. With Parnell, there’s not enough time to stretch him out now so if they want to go back to him in the rotation that would be a spring training project.

The Mets don’t figure to spend much this winter again so it doesn’t hurt to look at internal options. There is young talent in the lower minor leagues and Jenrry Mejia is an injury concern, so there’s no immediate help available.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

 

Jul 31

Analyzing where the Mets stand today.

If the Mets were truly in a fire sale mode there was more they could have done prior to the 4:00 p.m., trade deadline. As a competitive team that to many overachieved through July, the Mets had plenty of chips they could have played to bolster their depth.

Chris Capuano and Jason Isringhausen both could help a contender, but are the types of players the Mets would need to plug in next season Capuano has been effective and warrants a chance to pitch for a spot in the rotation next spring.

Like all teams, the Mets need a closer, and unless Bobby Parnell makes progress the remaining two months – and during spring training – who is to say Isringhausen won’t get that chance for one more season? His potential to contribute in that forum likely exceeds whom he might have brought it. Isringhausen becomes even more important to the Mets when one watches Parnell struggle as he did this afternoon in Washington.

The one Met I thought might go was outfielder Scott Hairston, who homered twice this afternoon at Washington. He would have been perfect as a spot starter or pinch hitter, which is why Atlanta made a late run at him. But, with Beltran gone and questions persist surrounding the Mets’ outfield, there’s nothing wrong with having him around another year.

There’s something different about the make-up of this Mets’ team that was missing in previous seasons when the playoffs were not an option with two months remained in the summer. Then, there was nothing to play for. Now, they are playing to build a foundation.

Manager Terry Collins has impressed to his team these Mets are being seriously evaluated for 2012. When he said the Mets are trying to win as many games as possible, while the wild-card remains a long shot creating a winning chemistry is not out of the realm of possibility.

With today’s loss, the Mets are 7.5 games behind Atlanta for the wild-card with three teams they must leapfrog.

The Mets probably had a better chance to make a late wild-card run had they kept Francisco Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran, but with October a distance away, they made the right trade decisions to prepare themselves for the future in that they freed salary and acquired a power arm to develop.

In the interim, this team has played shorthanded, but with a grit and intensity is worth building around. Hopefully, their offensive deficiencies created by losing Beltran could be offset with David Wright’s return from the disabled list. Then again, we’re always waiting for Jason Bay to hit.

So far, Isringhausen and others have offset losing Rodriguez in the bullpen.

When teams talk fire sales usually there are more bodies leaving than just Rodriguez and Beltran.  What remains intact is something for the Mets to build on, as what we have now is not the sign of desperation we envisioned coming out of spring training.

 

Jun 01

Will it ever happen for Bobby Parnell?

The Mets wasted a sparkling performance by R.A. Dickey last night, but with their anemic hitting lately, that’s hardly a surprise.

PARNELL: Will it ever happen?

 

What I took out of last night’s loss was again a spotty, head-scratching performance from Bobby Parnell, who continually proves it isn’t how hard you throw it, but when and where.

Parnell tweaked the radar gun at 100 mph., but was all over place, needing 32 pitches to get out of the inning, but not before giving up a two-run single that effectively put the game out of reach.

Perhaps the circulation issue in his finger is resolved for now, but that doesn’t mean he’s void of questions and concerns.

One scout said it is the same old thing with Parnell.

“He doesn’t have the command or the ability to control a secondary pitch consistently,’’ said one scout, adding when Parnell muscles up with this four-seam fastball the pitch has a tendency to flatten out. It’s harder than his two-seamer, but without the movement required at this level to get hitters out.

I thought the Mets misused Parnell under Jerry Manuel – putting him in the rotation, then yanking him after a few bad starts at the end of a lost season – but now they seem to have slotted him into one role.

However, Parnell hasn’t adopted to that role, leaving the team with several options:

a) Leave him in the current eighth-inning role and allow him to take his lumps at this level.

b) Pitch him earlier in the game that keeps him exposed to major league hitters.

c) Send him to the minor leagues and assign him one role and allow him to perfect that.

Conventional thinking had Parnell taking over the closer role for Francisco Rodriguez after this season, but his inconsistency and ineffectiveness had shoved those plans to a back burner.