The Mets are going with Jose Valverde as their closer now that Bobby Parnell is headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery, but they are keeping their options open.
Marc Carig of New York Newsday reports that the Mets are expected to attend a showcase for free agent reliever Joel Hanrahan, who is making his way back from Tommy John surgery. He’ll throw for teams in a few weeks and should contribute at some point in the first half if all goes well with his rehab.
Hanrahan has previous experience in the closer role and posted a 2.24 ERA with the Pirates from 2011-2012, so he could be a worthwhile flier for New York. Likewise, it could be an attractive destination for the 32-year-old right-hander, as he could get a chance to save some games before hitting the free agent market again next winter. It’s anybody’s guess how much Valverde has left in the tank and New York’s other internal options have limited major league experience, so it’s a situation to watch.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.