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Fantasy baseball: The Mets' closer situation
The Mets' closer role has been a mess since Bobby Parnell went down with a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his elbow on Opening Day after first suffering the blown save.
Since then, veterans Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth have both had a go at the role, but Terry Collins told reporters Tuesday that the ninth-inning man will be "kind of a game by game" situation. Now that the Mets have released Farnsworth, that's one less option.
Farnsworth had picked up three saves in his brief stint as the Mets' closer. He also lost three games and blew one save in that span. He had a 3.18 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 17 innings.
Earlier in the week, Collins named Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jeurys Familia and Valverde as possible options going forward. Before Thursday's game, Collins said former starter Jenrry Mejia would be the closer if there's a save opportunity in the series finale against the Yankees, but he wouldn't name him the closer going forward, Newsday's Marc Carig tweeted.
Between injuries and lack of success with relievers, Mejia was moved to the bullpen earlier this week. In his first and only relief appearance of the year, the hard-throwing righthander gave up two hits and struck out two in 1 1/3 innings in a 9-7 win over the Yankees in the opener of the Subway Series on Monday.
Mejia fits the build of a closer and even mustered up more gas coming out of the pen. He increased his average fastball velocity to 93.2 mph in his relief appearance from his previous high of 92.7 as a starter, according to FanGraphs.
With Mejia getting the nod to close Thursday, it seems like he's the best long-term option and worth stashing in deeper leagues. With his 9.3 K/9 rate, he could be worth holding onto even if he's not getting saves.
Valverde is 2-for-3 in save opportunities on the season but had a terrible run in mid-April where he didn't factor in the decision. In his blown save against the Angels on April 12, Valverde gave up a three-run home run to Raul Ibanez. In his next two appearances, he gave up three home runs before the Mets made Farnsworth their ninth-inning man.
While Valverde has turned things around in May -- he's allowed just one run in six innings while striking out nine -- it doesn't seem likely the Mets will go back to the 36-year-old just yet.
Matsuzaka, who was hit with the blown save on May 5 against the Marlins after allowing three runs on two hits and two walks while not recording an out, is problematic as a closer because he takes too long to warm up.
After a rough start to the year, Familia has started to settle in. The 24-year-old righthander gave up five earned runs in his first six appearances over seven innings while only striking out three batters. Since then he's allowed just two earned runs over his last 11 1/3 inningsl and has 12 strikeouts.
Of the options, Familia and Mejia are the guys worth stashing, but it's a situation fantasy owners should monitor closely.