COMMENTARY | The New York Mets bullpen has been a mess this season. Similar to 2012, when Mets' relievers combined for a 4.65 ERA (29th), 4.35 park adjusted xFIP (29th), 0.92 HR/9 (tied-16th), 7.73 K/9 (25th), and 3.98 BB/9 (27th), the Mets' bullpen in 2013 has not improved.
In the off season, general manager Sandy Alderson brought in under the radar veteran relievers like Brandon Lyon, LaTroy Hawkins, and Scott Atchison, as well as reclamation projects like Scott Rice and Greg Burke, but the struggles in 2013 eerily echo last years': 4.31 ERA (27th), 4.05 park adjusted xFIP (24th), 1.01 HR/9 (17th), 6.79 K/9 (30th), and 3.22 BB/9 (18th).
Yet, there has been one bright spot in an otherwise disappointing bullpen: Bobby Parnell. Parnell, 28, has posted a 2.53 ERA (vs. park adjusted 3.05 xFIP), 0.96 WHIP, and 3.63 K/BB. Parnell is also 12-for-15 in save situations, and hasn't let up a home run.
While the right-hander is by far the best reliever on the Mets, his ability to shut the door in the ninth is wasted on the fact that the team doesn't provide him with enough opportunities to actually save games. Considering the team's dire need to address other gaping organizational holes, like major league ready outfielders, the Mets should entertain dangling Bobby Parnell during the trade deadline this summer.
Aside from his dominant statistics, Parnell would also be attractive to other organizations due to his affordable contract situation. The North Carolina native only earns $1.7 million this season, and is under team control for the next two. In fact, Parnell won't be eligible for free agency until 2016.
Even though Alderson indicated in a recent NY Daily News interview that he would not look to specifically trade Parnell, it's likely the comment was simply a ploy to drive up the pitcher's already good value.
If the Mets do decide to entertain offers for Parnell, they shouldn't have issues attracting a variety of suitors.
On the same day, the Boston Red Sox, who lead the Baltimore Orioles by just two games in the American League East, demoted closer Andrew Bailey from the job, and installed a closer-by-committee since Joel Hanrahan, whom the team acquired before the season, is out for the year with a torn ulnar collateral ligament.
Parnell's trade value is undeniably highest as a closer, but there are also contenders who could use him in a setup role. The Cincinnati Reds, despite boasting Aroldis Chapman as their closer, recently lost setup man Jonathan Broxton due to injury, and acquiring a pitcher of Parnell's caliber to set the table would enhance their chances of ousting the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central.
Even the Baltimore Orioles could use Parnell too, as they've witnessed closer Jim Johnson become more human in 2013 (3.82 ERA vs. park adjusted 3.71 xFIP) than he was in 2012 (2.49 ERA vs. park adjusted 3.63 xFIP).
If Sandy Alderson's goal this deadline is to acquire talent that better the organization's future, then at least listening to offers on Bobby Parnell would be a step in the right direction.
Ben Berkon is a freelance sports, humor, and tech writer/blogger from New York City. Berkon's work has been featured on The Huffington Post, The Onion, Bleacher Report, Contently, Medium, and Rising Apple, and he also manages The Beanball and Blah Blah Berkon, his personal stat-heavy baseball and humor blogs, respectively. He's [unfortunately] been a Mets follower his entire life.
Follow him at @BenBerkon.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sandy Alderson
- Bobby Parnell