Remember when the New York Mets considered Bobby Parnell untouchable?
Whether it was during last offseason or this season's trade deadline, the Mets seemingly had a commodity for which other teams would be willing to trade something substantial. Just about any club — contender or otherwise — typically has interest in a closer or top-flight setup reliever.
However, the Mets held onto Parnell going into the 2013 season. That was understandable, since they had no other suitable closer. And perhaps that applied at the trade deadline as well. Yet for a team that wasn't going to contend in the NL East or wild-card races, why not see what a hard-throwing 29-year-old under club control through 2015 might yield in the trade market?
But if Mets general manager Sandy Alderson was considering a change in that stance and wanted to see what interest Parnell might attract this upcoming winter, that will likely no longer be an option. The team announced on Tuesday that Parnell would have surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck.
Parnell has been on the disabled list since July 31 with neck stiffness, but the problem is now obviously far more serious. According to ESPN New York's Adam Rubin, the reliever was hoping rest and an epidural injection would alleviate the issue and help avoid surgery. But that clearly didn't work out.
The Mets reliever joins Matt Harvey, Jenrry Meija, Jeremy Hefner and Johan Santana on the list of pitchers who have suffered season-ending injuries with the team. Parnell ends the season with a 5-5 record and 2.16 ERA, with 22 saves in 26 opportunities. Parnell struck out 44 batters in 50 innings.
Alderson told reporters that Parnell is expected to be ready for the start of spring training. However, the Mets may want to explore some possible alternatives at closer during the offseason as insurance. There should be plenty of low-cost options available in free agency.
Of course, if the Mets had traded Parnell before the July 31 trade deadline, this would no longer be their problem. But why rehash the recent past now?