Bobby Parnell's MCL tear opens door for Jose Valverde, other Mets

      April 1, 2014 @ 09:52:37 PDT

Jose Valverde, RP, New York Mets
Grande leap of faith for Papa?

Well, that's one explanation for his struggles.

The New York Mets revealed Bobby Parnell has a partial tear in the medial collateral ligament of his pitching elbow. The right-hander will be forced to take a "complete rest" for two weeks, per ESPN New York's Adam Rubin. The writer says it'll make for a significant absence. Stash Parnell wherever you can, but it's time to make long-term plans to replace his SVOs.

Jose Valverde -- yup -- is the most logical choice for immediate replacement. Despite his rough recent history, he by far boasts the most experience as a fireman on this staff. His 5.59 ERA last year, for what it's worth, hid some fine numbers (8.84 K/9, 2.79 BB/9) but was justified in the six homers he allowed in 19 1/3 frames.

His presence in a pitcher-friendly National League park eases the fear of putting him in your lineup, though. A one-game sample size doesn't tell the story, and it wasn't a save spot, yet he looked aggressive in fanning three in 1 1/3 frames on Opening Day, a positive during a rough day for this 'pen. Valverde already was expected to give Parnell the occasional breather to ease him back into play, so this strengthens the notion it's his interim job to lose.

It's hard to say he won't teeter, at least. Unfortunately, uncertainty plagues the contingency hierarchy. Former Pittsburgh Pirates closer-in-training Vic Black and post-hype prospect Jeurys Familia hold similar high-K, high-BB profiles that could play well. Black would probably get the first shot because Familia's SP background means he could throw more than one IP if necessary, but New York could side with their homegrown commodity.

Another pair of former SPs, Carlos Torres and Gonzalez Germen, could sneak into the picture. Kyle Farnsworth was doggish this spring but keeps getting chances at a roster spot. Scott Rice could face LHB-heavy slates.

Basically, it's a mess after Valverde, and it's hardly ideal with Valverde. Pick him up with the usual caveats of his past performance with a smidge more optimism than in recent years.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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