New Mets reliever Tyler Clippard calls Nationals 'beatable'

ByAdam Rubin ESPN logo
Tuesday, July 28, 2015

NEW YORK -- Reliever Tyler Clippard spent seven seasons with the Washington Nationals before getting traded to the Oakland Athletics in mid-January.

Now with the rival New York Mets, Clippard is not prepared to anoint the Nats division champs just yet.

"They're beatable," Clippard said on Tuesday, a day after being acquired from Oakland for minor league right-hander Casey Meisner. "There's no perfect team in baseball right now. Everybody can go on skids. Everybody is vulnerable. Obviously, they've battled the injury bug this year. I think they're getting a couple of guys back today [Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman]. But you never know. It's one of those things -- you've got to play the season out and see what happens.

"But everyone was talking before the season that their rotation was one of the best in the game, if not the best. And from what I've seen this year, this rotation here in New York compares -- if it's not better -- than what they've got over there. There's something to be said for that."

Clippard, 30, met with Mets manager Terry Collins before the game and was informed he will primarily serve in an eighth-inning role, with Jeurys Familia remaining the closer. Collins said Bobby Parnellshould also get setup opportunities and Clippard will close when Familia is unavailable. Familia probably will no longer be asked to convert multi-inning saves.

Ex-Mets closerJenrry Mejiawas suspended for 162 games Tuesday after testing positive for Stanozolol and Boldenone, performance-enhancing substances.It's Mejia's second drug-related suspension this season as he already served an 80-game ban, which started April 11.

Entering Tuesday's games, Washington led the NL East by two games over the Mets.

The Mets and Nationals meet this weekend at Citi Field, including on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.

"The Mets, here, are right in the mix," Clippard said. "And it's going to be a lot of fun chasing down my old teammates there in Washington. There's a lot of incentive there for me on a personal level and on a professional level to get the job done here in New York."