It is a matter of time and when it happens the MLB domestic violence suspension of Mets closer Jeurys Familia does become a decision maker for the bullpen. And the Mets need to address the situation before the impending and expected 30-game suspension becomes official.
But, as we all know, this is not an easy task for the Mets hierarchy and replacing a viable stopper in the late innings, also taking into account that Familia is coming off a record breaking season of 51 saves that led the majors. The assumption is Familia reports to spring training and the suspension begins come opening day.
One never knows what the higher ups at MLB headquarters will do as to when and how many games Familia will sit out, Though the prevailing thought is those 30-games and a suspension that begins before the Mets break camp for their opener at Citi Field in nine weeks.
Obvious this is a dilemma for the Mets for sure, though there are options to full this eventual void in their bullpen and it does mean finding the stopper who converted 51 of 56 save opportunities and set a franchise record. It’s a matter of getting through the month of April and beginning of May with a bulk of games among divisional opponents.
So if the Mets can get through those 30 games, they will sit well. And of course it all depends on the health of a starting pitching staff that is returning from one injury or another, and scoring enough runs for the late inning relief.
More so, Yoenis Cespedes and company need to make an early statement and come out hitting, and at the early juncture it is always the pitchers that are supposed to be ahead of the hitters.
So what is GM Sandy Alderson thinking with full knowledge that his closer will not be available? The Mets were quiet during the winter meetings in early December and failed to address their bullpen issue. With spring training two weeks away that may be attributed to their failed attempts in getting something back for Jay Bruce.
We know Bruce will be in right field. The remainder of the lineup and roster is pretty much set, unless Alderson pulls off a major surprise between now and opening day.
But the options without Familia are a major point that will be a center of attention when pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie in two weeks.
And right now, the Mets may not know what direction they are going in to find that alternative. Jerry Blevins is looking at a three -year deal but the 33-year old is more effective getting out left-handed hitters as opposed to those on the other side of the plate.
Perhaps not the closer alternative the Mets need because Blevins is more adapted to working to a limited number of batters out of the pen, though still reliable and prime for a setup role.
Addison Reed, the right-hander does have that closer experience. Those 69 saves with the Chicago White Sox does carry with the resume but he has not been in that role since the 32 save season of 2014 in Arizona, an option, but risky because he is more tune into that setup role that stranded 33 of 21 runners last season.
In the equation are Rafael Montero, Hansel Robles, Gabriel Ynoa, Josh Edgin and Zach Wheeler. Of course, Wheeler has not been an active pitcher in two years with the comeback from Tommy John surgery and there is that opportunity to make a statement during the spring.
So this does come down to a competitive spring training camp for the pitchers. There is that competitive part of spring training that is always good for a team and competition for spots has always been a point for manager Terry Collins.
And with the inability to find that replacement, Alderson is quietly working the phones. Blevins is on the radar and as reported right-handers Joe Smith and Sergio Romo, both available via free agency, have been contacted.
Romo of the two has that ability to close the deal and that reflects from his days in San Francisco, though the last two years were not Romo numbers as he was put into the setup role for manager Bruce Boche.
And once source close to the discussion said, Romo would be willing to take on the opportunity and filling the void. He does have three World Series rings and that resume does speak volumes. Familia returns, Romo goes back to the setup role and the Mets seem fine out of the pen,
But Romo is no guarantee and with the Mets it is always a matter of dollars and cents.
The emphasis will be on this Mets pitching staff and their ability to keep the games close. It’s a matter of health and scoring runs for the backend to take over, manageable with the expected suspension of the Mets closer.
But we all know it is better managed with Jeurys Familia and the Mets realize they need some options.
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