It seems that nearly every Mets story reported in the first week of the season has been driven by the situation with the bullpen. Add one more to that list. Kristie Ackert reported earlier today that the Mets are planning to attend a showcase to be held in the next two weeks by free agent Joel Hanrahan.
While Jose Valverde is currently holding down the closer spot and Kyle Farnsworth is waiting if Papa Grande falters, the Mets' bullpen has been volatile, and the pair aren't necessarily expected to reverse that trend.
It wasn't that long ago that Hanrahan was shutting the door for the Pirates. He spent 2012 pitching the ninth for the Bucs, notching 36 saves in 59.2 innings with 67 strikeouts, or 10.11 strikeouts per nine innings. There were warning signs of what was to come, however. After seeming to solve the command issues that had plagued him throughout his career by putting up respectable walk rates of 3.36 and 2.10 walks per nine in 2010 and 2011, he walked 5.43 per nine in 2012. And he gave up 1.21 home runs per nine and had a 4.28 xFIP that year.
Pittsburgh traded Hanrahan to the Red Sox in December of 2012 for Mark Melancon, Stolmy Pimentel, Ivan DeJesus, and Jerry Sands. Melancon was lights out for the Pirates, while Hanrahan was on the 60-day disabled list before summer. He then avoided a hearing in his final year of arbitration and signed before spring training for $7.04 million. But he couldn't avoid injury, straining his hamstring in April before finally tearing his ulnar collateral ligament on May 6, 2013. He then underwent Tommy John surgery and also had bone spurs removed from his elbow during the procedure.
Now healed and ready to showcase his arsenal, Hanrahan appears nearly ready to sign. In 2012, he featured a four-seamer that sat at 97 mph and a slider that sat at 87 mph. It's been reported that, post-recovery, he's sitting at 90-92 mph with the four-seamer. Whether he can command those pitches remains to be seen.
The Mets are reportedly interested, but perhaps only mildly so. After the news of Bobby Parnell's impending Tommy John surgery, Sandy Alderson seemed to favor a wait-and-see approach, with an eye toward internal options, including young arms on the farm like Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, and Jacob deGrom. He went so far as to discuss working them out of the pen in preparation for a promotion to the Mets' bullpen.
So while the Mets have to kick the tires on Hanrahan, it doesn't appear that Alderson is overly eager to step outside the organization to give the bullpen a lift. Perhaps Hanrahan's showcase could change his mind.