With the off-season under way, the Mets need to see how they can improve their pen. One big issue is, there aren’t many spot left to fill with Brach and Betances picking up their options. So how can the Mets improve their pen without many additions?
Add a dominant closer?
Liam Hendriks is the biggest name out their. The former closer from the Athletics is coming off great seasons on the west side. Over the last 2 seasons, Hendriks has been one of the most dominant relievers. In 2019, Hendriks pitched to a 1.80 ERA, with a WHIP just under 1 and 13.1 strikeouts per nine. He followed it up with an even better (short) season. In 25 innings he pitched to a 1.78 ERA and a 1.14 FIP with a 0.67 WHIP! It’s no secret the Australian native is the hot ticket item in the relievers market. Getting Hendriks would cost but makes a pen with Diaz, Hendricks and probably Lugo a deadly final three. However, I won’t expect the Mets to go that way.
In between adding a lefty and closer?
The rest of the article is about lefties, but there is one name that fits thw lefty need AND is a dominant closer: Indians closer Brad Hand. The Indians didn’t pick up his 1/10m option and no other team surprisingly claimed him off waivers. Hand was terrific in 2020 pitching to a 2.05 ERA in 22 innings. His 0.77 WHIP was his lowest of his career. Another big plus is that Hand has been very consistent since his move to a full time reliever in 2016. Over his career Hand has a 2.96 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP as a reliever. Hand is the guy I want. He has been as solid and dependable as it gets. Plus, him being a lefty is a major need for the Mets.
Adding a lefty?
Non closers, that are lefties is the last option to take a look at IMO. If the Mets go for a middle reliever, take a lefty to get some balance in the pen. Two names come to mind are resigning Justin Wilson or Jose Alvarez. First off Wilson, we all know Wilson and how solid he is. Last season his ERA was slightly higher than we hoped (3.66 ERA in 19.2), but his exit velo against were very strong. His exit velo against was in the 96th best percentile (hard hit% 92 percentile). His expected ERA was in the 75th best percentile, also very strong. It’s expected to see the 2019 Wilson back, who was very good for us.
Also read: Free Agent Target: Alex Colome
Another name is Jose Alvarez, the former Phillies and Angels reliever is coming off a season, were he pitched just 6.1 innings. So let’s forget about that and look at his 2019 stats. In 59 innings he pitched to a 3.36 ERA. However his WHIP was fairly high at 1.42, which you don’t want from your lefty. 2019 was his worst season in a while as he was better as an Angel in 2018 (2.71 ERA/3.08FIP in 63 innings). Overall Alvarez should be fairly cheap option to add our much needed lefty in the pen.
Current Mets pen:
The current Mets bullpen has a lot of arms set for a spot already. Diaz is our closer, Lugo, Familia, Betances, Brach and Castro are close to locks in the pen. The Mets also have Drew Smith, who has been fairly solid and Tropeano or Gsellman as long man options (my guess is Gsellman is gone). Jacob Barnes is another name they claimed, who is out of options. In all likehood they can add one on a mlb deal and add more on milb deals. IMO it should be Brad Hand or Justin Wilson.
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