Mets begin “transition” to Bobby Parnell as closer

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Now that Jason Isringhausen has his 300th career save the Mets are ready to give Bobby Parnell a chance as their primary closer.

Anthony DiComo of MLB.com writes that “according to manager Terry Collins the transition to Parnell as closer begins now.”

Parnell has just one career save, but he’s been a good setup man since moving to the bullpen full time in 2009, posting a 3.62 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 132 innings as a reliever.

That includes 49 strikeouts in 40 innings this season, making him one of just six National League relievers to average at least 11 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s also one of just four NL relievers to average at least 97 miles per hour with his fastball, so despite his inexperience in the role Parnell definitely has the stuff and strikeout rate to potentially thrive as a closer.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.