Yes, we do have a closer, but one with more baggage than Kate Winslet’s fiancé when he boarded the Titanic.
Rafael Soriano has great numbers. Almost across the board. Great WHIPs, great K/9 and H/9, and really fine stats any way one looks at them.
KRod has shown repeatedly that he simply is a hothead who cannot be counted on to remain calm and reliable. In addition, who knows if he is even going to be the same pitcher after his self-inflicted injury?
Why not try to sign Soriano, for 2-3 years? He then could be what we hoped Putz would be when we signed him, i.e. a top-of-the-line setup man and backup closer; and to take it even further, closer of the future. Signing him, considering KRod’s injury and behavior, would be the perfect way to kill several birds with one signing: drastically improve the bullpen instantly, make the fan base very happy, and virtually ensure that KRod’s option will not vest.
If Collins decides to use Soriano as a closer once a week, or even twice a week if performance dictates it, there is simply no way that the players union or KRod and his agent could accuse the Mets of foul play in keeping KRod’s games finished down.
The team would clearly be seizing the opportunity to sign a first-rate closer/reliever, who has surprisingly lasted this long on the market and may wind up being less costly in dollars and years than first thought. The team would be doing what it clearly has already done (with Putz when they already had KRod) so this would not at all be viewed as a sinister move designed primarily to kill KRod’s option. The team’s pitching staff is largely a series of question marks; signing Soriano would instantly push Parnell and Carrasco to the 7th inning where they belong, and would also greatly lessen the pressure on our supermodel-thin starting rotation, by hopefully finally having a true 8th inning man along with a closer. Should Parnell/Carrasco/to-be-named lefty pen guy be solid, we would just need 5 or 6 good innings from our starters.
This move might be a longshot, but when really examining it, it would be a great start to rebuilding this team.
Soriano just turned 31 and does not have a ridiculous amount of mileage on his arm. He might very well be eager to come to a place like NY after spending his career in SEA, ATL, and TB.
If he is willing to spend a year as an 8th inning guy/co-closer, with the understanding that great performance makes him the Mets’ closer in 2012–when the team will have seen the end of the contracts of Beltran/Ollie/Slappy/maybe KRod and will have money to spend while at the same time hopefully seeing the continued maturity of Ike/Thole/Mejia/etc.—Soriano might see this as a great career move.
2 years for$17 million? 3/25? Possible? Likely?
Hard to say, but again, the more this writer thinks about this, the better it sounds. How many of the Sheets/Webb types ever rebound? Why even bother with a Young or a Francis? Why spend several of our obviously few available millions of dollars on an injured pitcher when you could possibly corral an arm like Soriano’s?
Sign Soriano and see which starter is still available at a bargain price when spring training is about to start, roll the dice with Gee as 5th man and Misch as the lefty in the pen/6th starter, and make a move which could be a serious concrete step towards being a force to be reckoned with in 2012 and beyond.
Often Met fans bemoan the idea of waiting a year to begin spending for the longer-term future. While Alderson’s plan does seem prudent–especially in wake of the terrible state Omar’s methods left the team in–signing Soriano appears to be about as good a move as this team could make right now with 2011 and beyond in mind. Somewhat costly sure, but not overly expensive, and certainly affordable; while at the same time truly improving the team both instantly and in the future, which most definitely cannot be said for the idea of spending millions on Francis or Young.