A month ago Sandy Alderson declined to say he was “confident” in Frank Francisco again being the Mets’ closer and yesterday the general manager took that one step further by basically saying he’ll have to re-win the job in spring training.
Francisco had a 5.53 ERA before being shut down with an elbow injury that eventually required minor surgery, so Alderson rightly told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York: “Health is an issue. Performance is an issue.”
Francisco is under contract for $6.5 million and the Mets stuck with him as closer through some brutal stretches last year, but now they’re set to add Brandon Lyon to the late-inning bullpen mix along with holdover Bobby Parnell.
Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.
Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.
As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.