Internal Options to Close If K-Rod is Traded

With the trading deadline less than a month away (July 31), it’s only natural to start speculating who’s on the go. However, it appears as though Francisco Rodriguez‘s name is already swirling in some interesting rumors. It only makes sense for the Mets to trade K-Rod, given his expensive $17.5 million 2012 soon-to-be-guaranteed option, and the need to save the proper funds to re-sign Jose Reyes. Ted Berg proposed a poll on his site about which internal option should close if Rodriguez were traded, but the realistic situation deserves a more in-depth look.

Bobby Parnell: Parnell was seen as a “future closer” after posting a 2.83 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, and 4.13 K/BB in 35 innings last season. His career-best 2.1 BB/9 was particularly impressive. However, 2011 didn’t start nearly as well as many expected. The hard-throwing righty posted a dismal 6.14 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, and 2.20 K/BB (including a 6.13 BB/9) in 7.3 April innings. A finger injury sent the reliever to the disabled list, where he obviously worked on mechanics. Since coming off the DL, Parnell has pitched to the tune of a 1.17 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 4.00 K/BB (2.34 BB/9) in 15.3 innings. His .228/.279/.246 line against during that stint proves his dominance. If K-Rod is a goner, Bobby Parnell is sure to be the favorite to take the closing duties.

Pedro Beato: Nobody expected Beato to make much of an impact when the Mets selected him from the Baltimore Orioles in the Rule 5 Draft. However, fans soon fell in love with the right-handed reliever after he did not surrender an earned-run in his first 18.6 innings. Of course, good things don’t last forever. Beato started to give-up runs, but by the lot. From May 22 to June 8, the Rule 5 pick posted a 14.09 ERA, 2.34 WHIP, and an un-Godly 0.80 K/BB in 7.6 innings. Since his bad stint, Beato has settled down, posting a 2.08 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 2.25 K/BB, and a .140/.208/.302 line against. One has to think that Parnell would have the first taste for saves, but don’t count Beato out.

Jason Isringhausen: In the off-chance Isringhausen isn’t dealt himself, the former closer might be in-line to collect some final month saves in orange and blue. While Izzy might appear old (and chubby), don’t forget he has 293 saves to his name. The veteran righty has posted an impressive 3.25 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 1.62 K/BB in 27.6 innings, mostly as the Mets setup man. His 4.2 BB/9 and 6.8 K/9 numbers are about on-par with his career numbers (3.9 and 7.4 respectively), so even at the tender age of 38, Isringhausen still seems to have his marbles.

Johan Santana: Well, well, well. Bet you didn’t expect to see Johan Santana’s name on this list. That might be because it would probably never happen. Santana is still recovering from shoulder surgery, but management claims he’s making good progress, and could be ready sometime after the All-Star break. Assuming the long-time starting pitcher isn’t ready to handle six or seven inning games, handing him the closer reins might be the perfect situation for him in just 2011. And hey, the guy has a career 3.98 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, and 2.10 K/BB in 169.6 career relief innings!

Taylor Buchholz: As of now, it appears as though Buchholz is not on the trade block, but unlike Rodriguez, Isringhausen, or even Tim Byrdak, Buchholz and his team control status would arguably be the easiest guy to trade. Trade talk aside, Buchholz has been on of the best surprises for the Mets in 2011. Despite pitching just 12 innings in 2009 and 2010 combined, Alderson threw the oft-injured reliever a bone, and the Mets have received a gold mine in return. Before being disabled due to “dead arm,” Buchholz had posted a 3.12 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 3.71 K/BB, and a .234/.286/.415 line against. In comparison to his prospective competitors, the righty truly appears to be more of a setup-type (he only has one career save). Regardless, Buchholz has shown more consistency than Beato and Parnell–especially in the K/BB department–so there’s a good chance Terry Collins might go with the less-of-a-headache option.

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Tags: Ben Berkon Bobby Parnell Closer Francisco Rodriguez Izzy Jason Isringhausen Johan Santana K-Rod K-Rod Trade K-Rod Trade Rumors Mets Mets K-Rod Trade Mets K-Rod Trade Rumors New York New York Mets Pedro Beato Rising Apple Rodriguez Trade Rumors Taylor Buchholz

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