With the status of Francisco Rodriguez’s career as a member of the New York Mets still in limbo, the question now becomes who should inherit the closing mantle?
Using a bullpen by committee, Jerry Manuel has been slow to name the heir to the closing spot since K-Rod’s departure from the club. Having that issue coincide with a losing streak has been Manuel time to consider his options for September, but the time to nominate a replacement draws near. While Takahaski has filled in solidly of late, his interim in the 9th inning is tenuous at best.
As the Mets look toward the future (See: Thole, Josh), the only logical choice for New York’s problem is 25-year old flamethrower Bobby Parnell. Dubbed “Bobby 100” for his electric fastball that occasionally touched triple digits, the former Met prospect has lost that label and has been teetering on the brink of anonymity in the Mets’ organization.
Even though Parnell has been talked about for the last few years, he still only turns the ripe age of 26 in September. Combined with a consistent effort since his June call-up, his age and talent leave the organization with very little choice in the matter.
With a month left to go in what has amounted to a wash of a season, the New York Mets can help mount a comeback year in 2011 by giving their younger players more opportunity to grow. Just as they have been grooming young talents such as Ike Davis and Jon Niese along since April, September represents a key time for New York to explore more of their internal options for the future.
Installing Bobby Parnell as the closer for the rest of the season puts the Mets on a road toward building a brighter future for their ballclub.