Talkin’ Baseball - Who’s The Closer Past Reed?


Good morning.

This week’s question comes from Christopher Soto

Pretty much every playoff contending team has called in to check on the Mets Selling price for CL Addison Reed. In the event that he IS traded who do you make the closer going forward until Familia returns?

Reese Kaplan says –

That's an easy one to me.  Your closer for the remainder of the year should be the AAA closer from last year -- Paul Sewald.  With a few hiccups here and there, he's been mostly very high quality with a surprising number of strikeouts for a guy who's not really a power arm.  Remember that John Franco made a career out of soft tossing and spotting his pitches.

The Mets, of course, will turn to veteran Jerry Blevins in this role where he is likely miscast.  He's found his great success as a LOOGY and his batting average against while facing right handed hitters is enough to send you to Costco for the giant-sized tub of antacid.  

Tom Brennan says –

            It definitely has to be Paul Sewald. He has tons of minor league closer experience, very successfully I might add, and Paul has actually pitched very well with the Mets except for a few poor games for virtually the entire season. I think he'd give you a reasonable performance as a closer until Familia returns.  And the high strikeout rate he had in the minor leagues he has continued in the majors. My only question with Paul is: what took the Mets so long to bring him up in the first place?

Michael Maar says -

            If Addison Reed is traded I think the guy to look to as closer until Familia returns, and heir apparent for 8th inning work next year is Robert Gsellman.  (Assuming of course that he returns from his latest injury soon.) 

I have to admit that at one point earlier this season I read some chatter about Mets execs thinking he'd make a good reliever due to his temperament/fearlessness, stuff, and ability to throw strikes.  That rang true to me then, and it does now.  It's at least worth a shot to try him in a short relief role for the rest of this season. 

With Reed gone, the Mets would have a significant hole in the 8th inning and would need to find out if they have an in-house answer.  Otherwise they'll have to make 8th inning a priority on their Winter shopping list.  I say give Gsellman a tryout.
(I'd still look into signing Reed back next year as a FA if he doesn't get a closer's contract.  You never have enough good late inning relievers.)

Mack says –

            I’m sure most of the Mack’s Mets writers that participate this week will choose Paul Sewald, but I have a different spin.

            The 2017 season is a wash.

            Also, half of successful pitching is confidence and attitude.
            We have two talented pitchers that have had a miserable season. Rafael Montero is still looking for a role on this team and Hansel Robles is still looking for the side of the barn. Both have all the tools to throw 10-20 pitches in the last inning of a game their team is always winning.

            My first vote would be Robles who I thought would easily stop into this role only Reed left.

            Give him a shot and, if that doesn’t work after two or three outings, hand the ball over to Montero.

            For fun… give it to Cespedes for a couple of games.

            Past that... keep losing. You won't need a closer.

Jack Flynn says –

            There are really no good options here, but Hansel Robles seems like the most logical fit for the closer's role when Reed departs. Robles has shown flashes of brilliance since joining the bullpen in 2015 and was actually having a terrific year until mid-May, when his proverbial doors were blown off three straight times over an eight-day period. All of a sudden, Robles was down in Triple-A and he spent two months in the desert before rejoining the Mets last week.

Robles's stuff is what you would expect from a closer - heavily reliant on a 95 mph fastball with a put-away slider that has led to more than a strikeout per inning so far in his career. Robles is still the youngest reliever in the Mets bullpen right now and is under control for at least three more seasons. (The Vegas exile may have actually bought the Mets another season of team control). The other potential closers are all older than Robles, none of them throw especially hard, and no one has had the type of season that would make them a more worthy candidate to step to the front of the line.

There's no sense in turning the job over to veterans like Jerry Blevins (if he isn't traded as well) or Fernando Salas, since it's not clear if either man will be back with the Mets in 2018 anyway. Josh Edgin and Josh Smoker are as likely to be non-tender candidates as they are fill-in closers. This is also a personal preference, but I am not a fan of left-handed closers unless they approach a Aroldis Chapman- or Andrew Miller-level of dominance. Most teams still carry a platoon player or two on their bench to feast on southpaws, and since the Mets have only one regular left-handed starter, those guys would be waiting for Edgin or Smoker in the ninth inning of a close game. Paul Sewald has garnered some attention, but he's also sporting a 6.75 ERA since June 1.

Robles is hardly the ideal candidate, but he's the best of a bad lot.

Richard Herr says –

            How about this? I think it should be the guy who crashes through TC's office door, grabs him by the collar, and says, "Give me the fucking job!" The question seems to pussyfoot around the issue. We seem more to be saying, "Be vewy, vewy, fwightened," when we talk about the closer's role. That philosophy derives from Sandy Alderson's School for Nice, Young Gentlemen. (I think I've already mentioned that somewhere in this column.) A closer is not a nice, young gentleman. He's an audacious, in-your-face warrior who has shown up on the mound just for the sheer pleasure of slicing and dicing the upcoming batters. We shouldn't go about asking for someone, just anyone, to timidly poke their fingers in the air indicating that they might possibly want the job. We want someone who's going to say, "Why did you ask? Can't you see I'm right here?"

Eddie Corona

            The closer has to have Ice in his veins, a short memory and a mean streak... No one on the current roster seems to come to mind. But someone needs to get the final out. I would put Fernando Salas in the Closer's role and here's why... there is one more trade deadline. The waiver wire deadline. Maybe just maybe he does well enough that someone is desperate enough to parlay a mid level prospect for him. on the other hand If he blows a few games maybe that will help our draft status for next year


Thomas Brennan said...

Mack, I do not like Robles in the closer role due only to his propensity to surrender homers. I agree with Reese, as Sewald is more likely to keep the ball in the park. Ever since hitting high A ball, Robles has been homer prone. Sewald has never been homer prone.

Sewald may let runners on like Franco, but he won't - 1.24 WHIP in the bigs, vs. 1.25 WHIP for Robles - a tie.

I think Sewald as closer would do OK.

I must be nuts - Robles is 16-8 career...yeah but he is just 1 for 8 in saves. He throws harder than Sewald, but Paul strikes out more guys per 9 innings.

Leave Robles where he is, that's my take. Try Paul.

Salas seems unsalable. Because his pitching has been assailable, even if he is always available.

Reese Kaplan said...

Other teams have a "Salascious"look in their eyes when Fernando takes the mound.

Thomas Brennan said...

He's no Fernando Valenzuela, Reese.

Reese Kaplan said...

He's more of a Fernando Venezuela given the crises and instability that follow his appearances.

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