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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