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Closer: Bobby Parnell
Understudy: Jason Isringhausen
Parnell was slated to close for the New York Mets on Sunday and has a good chance of doing so Monday, as well. But despite his Saturday blown-up blown save (no outs recorded, one hit, three walks, four runs) and Sunday non-save stumble, Isringhausen will still receive stopper opps. Even if he'll just be the contingency plan, this reduces Parnell's chances of claiming the role before the season ends.
Manager Terry Collins said Beato isn't in the mix for closing because he thinks the righty is getting tired, but he'd probably be a last resort if Parnell and Izzy can't cut it. Yet another suggestion, though not necessarily an organization-favored direction, proved how low the brass' confidence remains in the bullpen. They approached starter Mike Pelfrey about doing the job next season, and the righty, per a source, said "Absolutely." He's a long-term watch if this idea is explored further in the offseason, but it's a long shot.
For now, Parnell owners might want to keep Isringhausen in tow, as well. The former should get the majority, but if the Mets don't feel he's ready, they might just let Izzy, whose chief value seems to be as a mentor, play out the string and reevaluate their options. It isn't likely, but it isn't out of the question.
Job security score: 1
Health score: 3
Closer: Brian Wilson (DL)
Understudy: Sergio Romo (DL)
When Wilson hit the DL Sunday, Bruce Bochy said he could use any of the lurkers in a matchup situation while they wait for their stopper, with Romo (elbow) also sidelined. His first lean might be toward Affeldt because of the southpaw's ability to retire both righties and lefties consistently.
Ramirez stepped in for the save Sunday, but it came in the 11th inning (against three righty sticks) after Affeldt was asked to pitch the ninth and 10th frames to preserve a tie. It was the former's second save in the past week; in the first one, two Sundays ago, it was a one-out job in which Affeldt walked the only batter he faced, a righty.
This would lead to saying Ramirez was the stopper, because the Giants were on the road, and the visiting team can save their closer for save situation. But reports speculate Affeldt's work came in what is ordinarily Wilson's job in such a circumstance, and this is an inference that Bochy trusts Affeldt the most.
Ramirez has solid closer skills (8.36 K/9), but while he has been used in important frames while Wilson and Romo have been injured, Affeldt has been relied on for crucial innings for a longer period of time. Still, Ramirez could be earning more frequent use in crucial frames with his recent work.
Romo (elbow) might be back as soon as Thursday if his rehab goes well, so he might be the winner here after all in a non-Wilson world. Until then, bet on Affeldt, then Ramirez, but know that their shelf life might not be long and that they'll probably step on each others' toes. Romo has the best long-term value in place of Wilson if he's healthy.
Job security score: 5
Health score: 4
Closer: Jon Rauch (DL)
Understudy: Frank Francisco
Francisco warmed up for the ninth inning Sunday but couldn't go because of right shoulder discomfort, so Janssen pitched a third inning to pick up the Toronto Blue Jays' save. Frank Frank will be evaluated before the Jays' next game on Tuesday.
Rauch (appendectomy) is out for at least another few weeks, so if Francisco has to join him on the sidelines for an extended period, Janssen and Camp would likely be used for closing situations. Janssen should be your target because of his skills (9.22 K/9 with a competent fastball); both can pitch multiple innings, so transitioning one to one-inning duty wouldn't be a big loss.
Keep a casual eye on Carreno, who was called up by Toronto Friday. He'll pitch out of the 'pen for now, but he has been a starter for nearly his entire farm career and could be auditioning for the rotation next season, in some manner. Carreno's heat can melt batters but needs polish; however, he has a powerful slider that could make him closer-worthy, even if merely pressed into some form of duty down the stretch.
Job security score: 1
Health score: 3
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