NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has resisted naming Frank Francisco his team’s closer.
Maybe his manager never got the memo.
“I think a lot will depend on what we see over the course of February and into March,” Alderson recently told ESPN of Francisco’s role. “I think that’s something that will be determined in the course of spring training. Health is an issue. Performance is an issue.”
Don’t tell that to Francisco.
“I am the closer,” he told the New York Post from the team’s training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Manager Terry Collins sided with his right-hander.
“He is the closer,” Collins told the Post.
What about Bobby Parnell?
“He’s the future,” Collins said.
Francisco went 1-3 with 23 saves and a 5.53 ERA in 2012, his first season with New York. He battled elbow issues in September, only appearing in six games. Parnell pitched in 15 games that month to the tune of a 0.60 ERA.
Francisco, who had surgery in December to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow, declared himself “ready to go” for the start of the season.
“I understand we have concerns about his elbow, which is only natural, but he is going to start the season as the closer unless something dictates that he’s not and that something would only be if his elbow is not ready,” Collins said.
Alderson took a look at former San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson this offseason and was reported to have interest in Jose Valverde, former closer for the Detroit Tigers. A possible reunion with Francisco Rodriguez was also reportedly on their radar.
But it seems like it’ll be Francisco’s job to lose. Collins said the 33-year-old “is in the right frame of mind” heading into the final year of his contract.
As for his health, the elbow isn’t the only thing Francisco is feeling good about.
“I was a little heavy last year coming into spring training,” he told the Post. “I’m about 248 now. I feel good.’’
How confident are you in Francisco? Sound off in the comments!