What does the Mets’ interest in Grant Balfour say about the team’s bullpen & budget?

The Tampa Bay Rays signed reliever Grant Balfour to a two-year, $12 million contract to be their closer on Thursday.

This is interesting mainly because multiple reports suggested that the New York Mets had also made an effort to sign him to add depth to their bullpen.

This is interesting on a few levels.

First, it seems that the Mets would be able to go over the $90 million payroll threshold, so perhaps they will reallocate that money towards one or more other pitchers to add some bullpen depth. (I’d mention upgrading the infield with Stephen Drew as another alternative, but I don’t think Scott Boras would let him take a contract with a $6 million average annual value.)

Second, the front office clearly has concerns about Bobby Parnell‘s health following surgery to replace a herniated disc in his neck. For what it’s worth, the Mets’ incumbent closer said he’d be ready by Opening Day and he reported to Port St. Lucie last week, almost a month before pitchers and catchers are due in camp.

Third, it really would have been cheaper for the Mets to re-sign LaTroy Hawkins instead of refusing to match the Colorado Rockies’ $2.5 million guaranteed offer.

I would like to see at least one more experienced reliever added to the Mets’ bullpen, but I’m nowhere near as concerned about the relief corps as I am the lineup – particularly the Mets’ infield.

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About Paul

NY Mets enthusiast, toy collector, amateur gardener, Christian. I like to take pictures & write things.

Posted on January 24, 2014, in New York Mets and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Paul,

    That question was already answered when Granderson was signed to $15 million/per and Chris Young got over $7 million.

    If the Mets signed Balfour, was he going to be the closer? Would you pay $12 mil+ for an eighth inning man? If so, what does that say about Parnell? Besides, in order to have use for Balfour, you have to be competitive into the eighth or ninth inning. The Mets haven’t done that often enough over the past few years.


    • I would have preferred to see the Mets re-sign LaTroy Hawkins and focus on the bigger, lineup-related problems.

      At this stage, I thought they were basically out of money. Since the still appear to have some, I’d rather see them spread the risk and invite a couple lower-tier relievers than gamble that Balfour is healthy.


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