Closer Bobby Parnell insists he will be ready for Opening Day, which, if it happens, is good news for the New York Mets. Parnell is scheduled to throw one inning in an intrasquad game today, pitching mostly to David Wright and Daniel Murphy.
If Parnell isn’t ready, Vic Black is first in line to be closer. However, after walking the bases loaded Tuesday, his command is an obvious issue.
PARNELL: To throw today. (AP)
Assuming a healthy Parnell, the other givens in the bullpen are Black – in a set-up role – lefty Scott Rice and Carlos Torres. That is four relievers in a projected seven-man bullpen.
Torres appears the most versatile, last year working in long relief, as a spot starter and in various match-up situations.
Early in spring training Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth were presumed to be in, but there’s no guarantee they’ll keep both, and it is difficult to say who has the edge.
For the sake of the argument, let’s say only one will make it between Valverde and Farnsworth. That leaves room for two more arms.
One would think Josh Edgin would be a factor as to give the Mets two left-handers.
That makes one more to come from Jeurys Familia, Farnsworth/Valverde and possibly Jenrry Mejia:
Familia: Has loads of potential and can throw hard. However, he hasn’t overwhelmed so far, but it is very early.
Farnsworth/Valverde: Both have outs in their contracts where they can opt to leave if they were not on the major league roster by June. Both could be worth keeping in the hope of them regaining something, and possibly act as a trade chip in July.
Mejia: The Cardinals have been successful in developing some of their power arms by first using them in the bullpen. However, the Mets have bounced Mejia from pen to starter, and he’s had elbow issues. They should think long and hard before sending him to the bullpen, especially since the numbers suggest he’s better as a starter.
While there has been little positive out of the pen to date, there’s still plenty of time. Soon, there won’t be.