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.

 

Apr 13

Parnell’s job in jeopardy; Bay not ready.

The leash could be getting shorter for struggling reliever Bobby Parnell.

Parnell, who fancies himself as a future closer, might have trouble holding onto to the set-up role if he continues to falter.

“Bobby will either step up and do the job or we’ll find somebody else,’’ said pitching coach Dan Warthen, who has not put a timetable for when Parnell must turn it around.

Parnell’s problem has been command and a drop in velocity, likely attributed to a mechanical problem in his delivery.

Presumably, that somebody will be veteran Jason Isringhausen, who has 293 career saves. The Mets signed Isringhausen to add stability to an inexperienced bullpen, and the eighth inning role would best suit his abilities.

Even if Isringhausen is slotted into the eighth inning role, the Mets still have a problem in their pen with only one lefthander.

GM Sandy Alderson said it would be at least two more weeks on the disabled list for Jason Bay. The Mets had hoped Bay would return last Saturday.

Alderson said these types of injuries are hard to predict, but veteran Mets watchers know with their team it is always longer than expected.

Terry Collins said he likes the energy Daniel Murphy brings to the line-up, but wouldn’t say he is going with a platoon system at second base.

Murphy was penciled in to start last night, but the game was rained out. Tonight’s line-up hasn’t been posted.

 

Mar 17

Parnell working on slider

Though nothing official has been said, Bobby Parnell will be the eighth-inning set-up reliever, even if he’s not convinced himself.

“Nobody has told me what I’ll be doing,’’ said Parnell before leaving for spring training. Even now, after a solid spring and no apparent competition, he’s not convinced.

PARNELL: The future closer.

“I still feel like I’m fighting for it,’’ he told reporters yesterday. “I would say that I have a better shot this year than I did last year. Last year, everything was still up in the air _ I was still fighting for a spot, I didn’t really know what was going on.’’

Two years ago, the Mets gave Parnell a handful of starts, but he fizzled and then manager Jerry Manuel gave up on him. No regrets, said Parnell, who said he the experience was beneficial.

“It was a good thing,’’ Parnell recently told me. “It gave me a chance to work on other pitches. I know you can’t get by one pitch, that being a 98 mph. fastball that sometimes touch triple digits.

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Jan 24

Could be a defining year for Parnell

One of the more interesting Mets this spring will be Bobby Parnell, who hasn’t spoken to Terry Collins about a defined role but said his aspirations of being a starter are gone.

PARNELL: Looking for breakthrough season

“I see myself as a reliever,’’ Parnell said. “I’d like to be later in the game. The seventh, eighth, ninth inning.’’

With his fastball and improving slider, speculation has him moving into the set-up role for Francisco Rodriguez, who has a $17.5 million option for 2012 if he finishes 55 games this season. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine the Mets limiting his appearances to get out from under that contract.

That could happen if Rodriguez doesn’t show up at camp 100 percent.

“That’s where I want to be,’’ Parnell said of his goal of someday assuming a closer role. “If he comes in hurt, I would definitely like to help the team in that role until he gets healthy.’’

Parnell said his handful of starts at the end of the 2009 season – despite his numbers – were beneficial because it gave him experience and enabled him to work on the slider.

Parnell said having a fastball that touches 100 mph. does not guarantee him taking that next step to a higher level. It is trusting that fastball and “attacking the hitters,’’ and working on his command that will improve his game. “It’s being consistent,’’ Parnell said.