Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
The Mets have reportedly not ruled out signing free-agent relief pitcher Jose Valverde.
According to Ken Davidoff, the Mets have not ruled out signing former Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde. While his showmanship at the end of games might rub some people the wrong way, Valverde's been a good, if overrated, pitcher for the past few years.
He got a lot of attention in 2011 for racking up 49 saves without blowing any, but his peripherals — his 11.3 perecent walk rate, specifically — suggested he wasn't quite as good as the saves made him look. He was indeed worse in 2012, but his strikeout rate took a nosedive as he posted a 3.78 ERA and 3.62 FIP for the year. As a pitcher with a high-strikeout, high-walk track record, Valverde can hardly afford to lose his strikeouts. But the strikeout dip would perhaps be more alarming if his average fastball velocity had fallen off a cliff, and it did not.
As for the Mets, Frank Francisco's injury has left the team's ninth-inning duties to Bobby Parnell, who was the team's best relief pitcher last year with a 2.49 ERA and 2.99 FIP. For what it's worth, Parnell hasn't fared as well in save situations as he has in non-save situations. Depending on how heavily the team weights a pitcher's past experience as a closer, Parnell might not be a lock for the job just yet.
Even if Francisco is out for the entire season — not a far-fetched scenario when dealing with a pitcher's throwing elbow — the Mets could probably get by just fine with Parnell and Brandon Lyon, who figures to be next in line for save chances should Parnell falter. But if Valverde is available on a cheap one-year deal, it makes plenty of the sense for the Mets to bring him on board and add him to the bullpen mix.