"I don’t think Frankie's going to be ready for Opening Day so it'll be [Bobby Parnell] and he can take that job and run with it," Collins said.
Francisco had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow in December. He had been shutdown early in camp after experiencing discomfort in his elbow.
Francisco went 1-3 with a 5.53 ERA in 48 relief appearances in 2012, having allowed 26 earned runs, 47 hits, 21 walks with 47 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings in 2012 – he was shutdown after September 16 after being diagnosed with right elbow soreness.
It's been pretty clear for most of the winter the Mets weren't confident in Francisco's health. Sandy Alderson said repeatedly they were concerned about his elbow, and I think the moves to bring in guys like Brandon Lyon and Latroy Hawkins - relievers with closer experience - is a reflection of that concern.
In regards to Parnell serving as the closer, I understand the concerns about his past history in the role. But the difference between that Parnell and today's Parnell is he's no longer a flamethrower with no grasp on the art of pitching. Now, he understands the need to change speed, work the corners, and pitch to his defense in certain situations. He can now change speeds on his fastball and he's harnessed his knuckle-curve - that is something he simply didn't do before last season. That doesn't necessarily translate to success in a real-time closer role, but his growth as a pitcher should help him in that role going forward.