With Frank Francisco's health in question, the Mets have installed a familiar backup plan at closer.
Bobby Parnell -- he of the electric stuff and spotty ninth-inning history -- will close for the Mets if Francisco is unable to go by Opening Day. Manager Terry Collins relayed the news to Parnell on Tuesday evening, before talking in person with both Parnell and Francisco the following morning.
"It's as simple as Frankie's coming off surgery, and if he's not ready, then I'm going to be ready," Parnell said. "I'll just prepare myself like it's the ninth and go from there."
Long considered the Mets' closer of the future, Parnell is coming off his best season as a professional, with a 2.49 ERA, 61 strikeouts and 20 walks in 68 2/3 innings. He led all Mets relievers in appearances (74) and holds (18).
But the one blemish on Parnell's campaign came when he took over as closer with Francisco on the disabled list. The right-hander still posted strong ninth-inning numbers from June through August, with a 2.77 ERA in 13 appearances as interim closer. But Parnell blew two of his six save opportunities, prompting the Mets to reinstall Francisco as their ninth-inning man.
When Francisco continued to struggle through health issues and inconsistency late in the season, the Mets turned to Parnell again, this time with better success. The right-hander converted all three of his save opportunities down the stretch, reeling off 11 1/3 scoreless innings to end the year.
Read more: Bobby Parnell will close if Frank Francisco is out for start of season | MLB.com: News