Mets have eye on former closer Chris Perez

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Still on the Mets’ wish list this winter is supplementing the bullpen and providing insurance in case closer Bobby Parnell isn’t ready for the 2014 season following neck surgery. The need is more pressing after LaTroy Hawkins agreed to become the Rockies’ closer last month.

One option the Mets are considering is former Indians closer Chris Perez, according to a person with knowledge of the club’s thinking. The person requested anonymity to speak freely on the matter.

Perez is just 28 years old and a two-time All-Star. He is two years removed from compiling a career-high 39 saves. He recorded 36 saves in 2012 and was one of the sport’s premier set-up men in 2011, posting a 1.71 ERA in 63 games.

But 2013 was a disaster. On the field, he had a 4.33 ERA and boycotted the media for nearly two months. Off the field, he and his wife were arrested on drug possession charges on June 4. The Indians released him on Halloween.

The combination makes Perez is a possibility for the Mets, who are working with about $15 million for the remainder of the offseason.

“The bullpen is important,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Sunday. “The bullpen needs to improve. I think most of that improvement is going to come through the development of our young good arms in the system. Would we like to have somebody more established that could pitch with Parnell in the8th and 9th inning? Yup. I think, all things being equal, we’d like that.”

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