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.