Over the last twelve months, the Mets have started to perform a full makeover. Jose Reyes won his batting title and ran to Miami. The Mets stole Zach Wheeler from the Giants in exchange for Carlos Beltran. And K-Rod was dealt to the Brewers to set-up for John Axford. Those subtractions have¬†created three big holes that the Mets will try to fill. While some holes will be larger than others, the backend of the Met bullpen is definitely an important part. After K-Rod left, the Mets relied on a Jason IsringhausenBobby Parnell closer by committee approach. After this duo blew a total of ten saves, Sandy Alderson wasted no time adding three relievers who have had success as closers. Free agents, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez¬†and Frank Francisco will compete with Izzy and Parnell for the closer’s role in Queens. With five potential closers in the fold, which player will claim the all-important ninth inning duties?

Option #1: Jon Rauch (2011: 4.85 ERA, 11 saves, Blue Jays)–Rauch is a big, big man. Coming in at 6’11” and 290 pounds, Rauch is the largest reliever in baseball history. However, Rauch’s size has not translated into high velocity. Rauch’s fastball sits at 90-92 MPHs with a slider sitting at 82 MPH. Rauch averaged 7.2 K/9 last year, which is below average for a reliever.

Rauch does give up his share of HRs (1.9 HRs per nine innings). Mind you, his home field was Toronto’s Rogers Centre, a notorious hitter’s park. Moving to Citi Field should help relax Rauch’s HR/9, but his lack of velocity doesn’t scream closer. Over the last four seasons, Rauch has racked up 50 saves, but has failed to hang onto the job for an entire season.

Given Rauch’s track record, declining velocity, and high HR rate, he is not fit to close games for the Mets. Consider him an eighth inning option.

Option #2: Ramon Ramirez (2011: 2.62 ERA, 4 saves, Giants)–Ramirez has played for five teams in the last five years, but experienced his best season last year by the Bay. When incumbent closer Brian Wilson went down with an injury, Ramirez stepped in and handled Wilson’s duties. Ramirez racked up four saves and only blew one save. Ramirez’s K/9 was higher than Rauch (8.65 K/9), but his lack of experience as a full-time closer will not help him land the job in Queens. Consider Ramirez a late-inning, strikeout option for the Mets, but not their closer for 2012.

Option #3: Frank Francisco (2011: 3.55 ERA, 17 saves, Blue Jays)–Francisco received a two-year, $12 million deal from the Mets and from a financial statepoint he should be the incumbent closers. Money does talk–but so does Francisco’s track record. In 2009, Francisco racked up 25 saves and a 10.03 K/9 for the Texas Rangers. Trips to the disabled list have listed Francisco’s impact and that’s something Met fans must be mindful of. Alike Rauch, Francisco does give up his share of home runs, but the move to Citi should help him. Finally, Francisco posted a K/BB rate of 3:1 last season, which is great.

Expect Francisco to start the year as the Mets’ closer. As long as he stays off the disabled list, he is a lock for 30 saves.