Two Rays Lefties that have my Attention

With the Mets and Rays rumored in talks about pitching, the names are popping up everywhere. While a lot of fans have the hope its Tyler Glasnow, I think the Mets won’t go in that direction. Mainly, because Glasnow would cost. So I took a look at two lefties the Rays are shopping, who definitely fit the Mets needs.

We already covered Yarbrough in our latest article, but he is definitely on my list. The two I go into are Jalen Beeks and Jeffrey Springs. Never heard of them? That happens a lot with the Rays. But like they always seem to do, happened with these two lefties as well: they performed as Tampa Bay Rays.

Let’s start with Jalen Beeks. The 29 year old is coming off a very solid season with the Rays, pitching to a 2.80 ERA in 61 innings. He has two more years of control, so it’s not just a trade for one year. Beeks is a valuable arm to have in your pen, as he is used to pitching more then an inning. In 42 games, he pitched multiple innings in 24 of them. Another pro is his ability to get righties out as he held righties to a .640 OPS. Main reason is his heavy change usage.

Beeks had very strong K numbers in 2022 with a good average exit velo against, showing his main reason for success. Beeks average exit velo (85th percentile), K% (81th percentile) and Whiff rate (85th percentile) are all in the 80th percentile or higher, with his chase rate just under 80 at 72. His walk rate is a little below average, but we see that more often with relievers.

Like I mentioned before, Beeks relies heavily on his change-up. You could call him a fastball-change pitcher as he throws both close to 50% (change 49.25%/Fastball 48.2%). As expected, both pitches are very good but his change is his best with a -8 run value. He gets that with above average horizontal movement, besides his average velo (90.3) just 5mph lower then his FB (95).

Beeks is a very intriguing arm who fits the Mets need with a lefty. He will cost a bit with his MLB Trade Value at 6.7, which would be a package like Eric Orze, Khalil Lee and Junior Santos.

The other arm is Jeffrey Springs, a 30 year old lefty starter, who like Beeks has two years of control left. Springs, as Beeks, is coming off a strong 2022, pitching to a 2.46 ERA over 135.1 innings. Springs has a strikeout rate of 9.6 per nine with a low whip of 1.07. An overall very solid year for Springs. He started the year in the pen, before he found his spot in the rotation. Springs pitched in the Rays way, so his longest outing was 6 innings. Still, the lefty collected 3.6 Wins Above replacement, showing his value.

His percentiles are very solid across the board. His chase rate (95) is one of the best in the league, with above 70th percentiles in avg exit velo (73), expected ERA (75), barrel % (75), K% (71) and Whiff % (76) with a BB% in the 83th percentile. He gets his most success with his change-up, as he had a -12 Run Value on that pitch with a great 38.1 Whiff % on that pitch. It’s his go to pitch to put hitters away.

His most used pitch is his 4 seamer, which isn’t to shabby as well with a -4 run value. He doesn’t throw hard, but provides one of the best horizontal movement on that pitch in the majors. He also mixes in his slider which doesn’t have the Whiff rate, but is still very useful with a -5 run value.

Springs will logically be more expensive in a trade. MLB Trade Values has Springs with a 17.5 value, which is a package Ronny Mauricio and Calvin Ziegler (just an indication). Still Springs would be a great arm to get for the Mets too, to slot into the rotation. It would save the Mets some financial flexibility to add other pieces.

To me both are intriguing arms to add to this depleted pitching staff. With the Rays having a surplus of arms and the Mets a clear need, I am very curious if they find a trade. And I hope for one of these two.

Photo Credit: MLB Trade Rumors on Twitter

Mets have called Rays in search of Pitching

News has broke over the weekend that the Mets, amongst a few other teams, have called the Rays to inquire about pitching. While no names were mentioned, the Rays have more than a handful of players that could be on the move.

Lefty Ryan Yarborough is most likely the one to fit the criteria with his salary reaching $4.2M next season. The Rays could also shop righties Yonny Chirinos and Shawn Armstrong, however both players salaries combine to just $3M and that could help the penny pinching Ray’s go a long way.

Mark Polishuk of MLBTR has pointed out that the Rays were in a similar roster crunch last year with the deadline for the 40-man roster to be set is this upcoming Tuesday. The Rays would end up trading away away four players, all in separate deals. And while none of these trades helped any of the teams put money in the bank, it shows that’s the Rays aren’t scared to pull the trigger.

If it is Yarborough that the Mets are interested in, the lefty has a lifetime 40-31 record with a 4.33 ERA in parts of five seasons for the Rays.

With the Mets rotation potentially looking like it’ll be a completely different rotation next year, there’s no telling where Yarborough fits in just yet.

Mets Make Some Bullpen Moves

The Mets made a couple of bullpen moves yesterday, declining Mychal Givens Mutual option and claiming lefty Tayler Saucedo from the Blue Jays.

The Givens move was a surprise to me as the Mets didn’t pick up a low cost mutual option. With the Mets current bullpen, keeping Givens was a move I would make. Besides his bad first outing, Givens pitched to a 2.70 as a Met AND has been extremely consistent in his full season numbers in recent years. However, the Mets declining his option, means they have a plan. And I can’t wait to see what!

The Mets also made a minor move to add depth as they claimed Tayler Saucedo. A 29 year old lefty that hasn’t found success in his brief time in the Majors, pitching to a 5.40 Career MLB ERA in 28.1 innings.

In AAA however, Saucedo was pretty good. In 2021 he pitched to a 1.96 ERA in 18.1 innings with 12.3 strikeouts per nine. He followed that up with a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings with a 13.5 strikeout per nine rate between AAA and RK this year.

In the majors Saucedo is more of a ground ball machine then a strikeout guy. Over his brief mlb time, he got a very good 58.7 ground ball %. He also held lefties to a .182/.280/.295 slash line.

Saucedo throws mostly sinker/slider but he throws an occasional change, curve and 4 seamer. His Sinker averages at 92.6 with his slider at 83.9.

It’s a depth move with some promise. Saucedo has options so the Mets can put him in AAA and they have control until 2027. If this move works out and the Mets pitching coaches can find a way to make him improve, this could be a very solid addition.

Photo Credit: MLB Trade Rumors

Mets that won’t be back in 2023 (Part 2)

Last week I put together a short list of three players that won’t return to the Mets in 2023, as well as the reason why. Since the Mets have a gigantic boatload of players finishing up their contracts, here’s part two.

  • Tijuan Walker – With Walker having a player option for the 2023 season to go alongside a strong 2022, I expect the big right hander to decline the option and test his value on the market. Last season, Walker threw 157.1 innings while owning a solid 12-5 record and an above average 3.49 ERA. Will he hold up the market with his incredible talents? No, not exactly, but expect him to have a few extra years of security past this upcoming 2023 season.
  • Jacob deGrom – Now listen to all the hearts of Mets fans break simultaneously. It’s no secret that the man, oops, I mean the GOAT was underpaid during his last contract. And while I’m hoping it can all be looked over and resolved by Steve Cohen, and what seems to be his endless finances, I still believe that the combination of bad business and the team’s mixed results on-field will push deGrom into relocation. Especially if there’s any truth to the unconfirmed rumors of deGrom wanting to be closer to his home in Florida.
  • Dom Smith – It just feels like Smith’s time has run it’s course for about eight months now. With the Mets seemingly comfortable with Alonso at first base and the potential platoon of Vogelbach and Alvarez at DH, Smith will almost 100% be on another roster come Spring Training. And even though the Mets are selling low, they should still be able net a decent return.

Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Bring Back the Trumpets

The Mets retained one of their big fish right on the start of free agency, inking Closer Edwin Diaz to a 5 year/102 million dollar contract. The contract will reportedly have an opt out after the 3rd year and a full no trade clause.

The Best Closer in Baseball gets the most money ever by a reliever. Yes, it’s a lot of money but to me the Mets needed to retain him to have their lockdown closer at the end of games.

The 28 year old was absolutely dominant in 2022, pitching to a 1.31 ERA with 118 strikeouts in 62 innings. He even had a 0.90 FIP which shows his season wasn’t a fluke. He didn’t allow a lot of hits, and his walk rate was lower then in his earlier Mets tenure.

Let’s forget about the 2019 year. With the juiced balls, Diaz allowed 15 homers in just 53 innings. That isn’t going to happen again. To me it’s save to say that Diaz will likely be one of the best closer in the game for years to come. And he is a Met!

Let’s enjoy this start of a very exciting offseason for Mets fans!

In other news the Mets have exercised Daniel Vogelbach 1.5m option and Chris Bassitt has Declined his 19m option, becoming a free agent.

Photo Credit: B/R Walk-Off

Four in-house Bullpen Options

Bullpen? That will probably look the most different out of any part of the Mets roster. With an off-season where the Mets have 6 of their main 8 bullpen arms from 2022, becoming free agents, there is a lot of questions about the bullpen. In a recent article I mentioned one arm the Mets should accept a mutual option on, but it’s still a question if Givens will accept. Right now the Mets have two arms who are almost certain of a bullpen spot but I believe two other in-house options also have a fair shot.

Drew Smith

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Drew Smith will make the Mets bullpen when healthy and there is every reason to believe he should. Smith had a solid year, pitching to a 3.33 ERA over 46 innings. In that span, he struck out 53 and walked just 15. Main issue with Smith was the long ball, as he allowed 9 homers over those 46 innings. However, even with the long balls and fairly high hard hit percentage, Smith Expected ERA stood at 3.78. That’s mainly because he kept his opponents expected BA and Expected Weighted OBA down (.221/.303).

It’s also worth mentioning that Smith’s worse month was July (7.56ERA), right before the Mets put him on the injured list with an arm issue. He returned with solid numbers at the end of the year. So yes, Drew Smith is obviously in the pen next year.

Stephen Nogosek

Could the Mets pen next year have two 2017 trade deadline additions in their bullpen for 2023? Yes I believe they should. Stephen Nogosek was tremendous in his time in the majors but also did well in AAA. The 27 year old pitched to a 2.45 ERA in 22 innings for the Mets. But besides his small samplesize success in the majors, he also pitched to a 2.30 ERA in AAA over 43 innings. In the majors he didn’t strike out as much as in AAA but still had a repectable 8.6K/9. However, it’s worth noting that he didn’t have a consistent role in the majors (mostly getting some multi innings stints when the Mets had a big lead/deficit).

Main reason I trust Nogosek is his added velo and success with his 4 seamer. In a small samplesize, Nogosek got a -3 run value with his 4 seam fastball alone. His expected slash line against his 4 seam fastball was .193/.304/.350. He uses his 4 seamer less and learned a cutter. His cutter is still a work in progress, but it did allow more success with his 4 seamer. Let’s hope he can develop his cutter in a better weapon. I see Nogosek more as a middle relief role instead of the back end off the bullpen.

Joey Lucchesi

The somewhat forgotten man in the Mets depth chart is Joey Lucchesi. A starter that will likely find his way into the Mets bullpen in 2023. With Williams being a free agent, the Mets need an arm that can give you innings and be a spot starter. Joey Lucchesi fits that profile.

After TJS Lucchesi had a year with rehab and ended his season with some rehab outings. Lucchesi looked good in his rehab outings, pitching to a 2.13 ERA over 12.2 innings. Before his injury Lucchesi pitched go a 4.46 ERA over 38.1 innings with the Mets in 2021. He did however, had a 3.40FIP and 1.17WHIP, indicating he could be better. And don’t we all love the churve?

John Curtiss

Who? Yes John Curtiss. The Mets signed Curtiss last offseason with a 770.000 dollar deal with a team option for 775.000 dollars. The Mets made this trade to have him in 2023 as he was recovering from TJS as he signed the deal. The Mets were aware that he would miss the entire 2022 season when he signed, which was smart knowing how many free agents the Mets have.

The 29 year old right has control thru the 2025 season and owns a 3.63 career ERA. He did pitch in just 86.2 innings over his career with his most success in 2021. In that year he pitched to a 3.45 ERA over 44.1 innings with the Marlins and Brewers. Worth mentioning that Curtiss pitched to a 2.43 ERA before the trade, but got into just 4 games with the Brewers, were he struggled. That was followed with him being diagnosed with a torn UCL, which could indicate him pitching hirt

Curtiss gets his most success with his 4 seam fastball. In 2021 hitters hit just .155/.216/.238 against his 4 seamer. His slider however, got hit (.330/.388/.568) but his expected slash line against that pitch was way better (.266/.293/.385). So there is reason to expect him to have better results with his slider, with worse results with his 4 seamer.

Like Givens, Curtiss would be a solid arm to have as depth in your bullpen. And with the cost attached so low, you have to give it a try.

So who do you think will make this pen? Let us know in the comments.

Photo Credit: MLB Trade Rumors

Three Relievers the Mets Should Target

The Mets have a plethora of players coming off of the roster in the next set of days. We’re not talking solely about the back-end of the rotation, or a late-inning defensive upgrade that you can plug and play.

One of the positions that need to be addressed with some urgency is the team’s set up man/closer.

Edwin Diaz- Man, did Diaz’ relationship with the Mets start out extremely rocky. Being that he was packaged in a trade that included Robinson Cano for highly touted prospect, center fielder Jarred Kelnic, the beef started before Diaz ever even suited up.

His first year of play in Queens didn’t exactly help any fans forget, as the right-hander ended up sporting a 5.59 ERA, a 2-7 record while the closer only had 26 saves during the 2019 campaign.

However, since then, Diaz has been as about as dominant as any pitcher in the league, including his teammate Jacob deGrom. Diaz has become such a fan favorite in Flushing, that his entrance to his games played have become such an incredible spectacle and it creates an electric energy in that stadium.

Alexis Diaz- Mets owner Steve Cohen has shown that he doesn’t mind spending the coin to put on a damn good show. He did exactly that in 2022 when the team hosted “Old Timers Day“.

Another amazing show would be watching the Mets roll out the Diaz brothers pitch back-to-back innings to close the game out. While the Mets did in fact contact the Cincinnati Reds to check in on acquiring Alexis, a deal never came to fruition.

In 2022, Diaz debuted with the Reds and appeared in 59 games while putting up a dominant 1.84 ERA with a 7-3 record and 10 saves… so don’t expect this to come cheap.

Andrew Chafin- Chafin will likely decline his $6.5M player option with the Detroit Tigers for the 2023 season. So this will be the second straight year, maybe even third, that the Mets will have interest in the lefty hander.

Chafin pitched to a 2.83 ERA in 57.1 innings during the 2022 season, which is actually a little bit of a drop off from his year prior (1.83 ERA).

So while his numbers against left handed batters were not as good as in 2021, he still pitched well enough (.233/.320/.344) for his agents to advise him to opt-out. In fact, it’s probably his numbers against right handed batters (.214/.268/.317), that’ll make him one of the more attractive options for this bullpen.

Also Read: Should Givens Stay?

Photo via SNY

Should Givens Stay?

To answer this question, we have to explain Givens situation first. The Mets and Givens have a mutual option for $3.5M for next season. This means both have to accept the option for him to stay with the Mets. So this is more a question of: Should the Mets accept the mutual option for 1/3.5M?

To me the clear answer is yes! I know the overall Mets numbers aren’t great for Givens as he had a 4.79 ERA in 20.2 innings as a Met. But if you exclude his first outing (5ER in 0.2), Givens would have owned a 2.70 ERA with the Mets. This shows once again that a small samplesize shouldn’t keep him out of a Mets uniform next year.

Another big plus for Givens is his consistency. How often do we see such different results on a yearly bases when it comes to middle relievers. Over his career, he has been extremely consistent (Only his 2019 season has an ERA over 4). Givens is just 32, coming off back to back seasons with a ERA just below 3.40. To me no reason to expect a decline.

Baseball Savant

If you look at Givens’ Baseball Savant page, you still see solid expected numbers, with a solid K rate and elite fastball spin, which is a big part of his success (Run Value -1 on 4 seamer). He did lose a little bit of zip on the 4 seamer but to me no reason for much concern as he never counted on high velo. Also good to see him having three above average pitches in run value (4 seamer, slider, changeup).

Thinking about Givens to me the words come to mind is consistent and durable. Two things I think the Mets need. The Mets also aren’t in position to not retain solid arms for $3.5M as they have a lot of questions going into this offseason. With Drew Smith as the only main man left, the Mets shouldn’t waste the opportunity to retain such a solid arm.

Photo Credit: Geny Mets Report on Twitter

Mets that won’t be back in 2023 (Part 1)

The New York Mets put together an amazing 2022, however, there was much disappointment in the final month of the regular season. While this mini-collapse may not warrant a fire-sale, team owner Steve Cohen will likely shake things up for a second straight year.

  • Mychal Givens – The right handed reliever was a sweet little pick-up as the deadline was winding down. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned for Givens while in Orange & Blue. The 32 year-old veteran sported a 4.79 ERA in 19 appearances, a vast difference from his 2.66 ERA with Cubs. I expect the Mets to utilize the $1.5M buyout in place for 2023 as Givens likely has worn out his short welcome.
  • Tomas Nido – The 28 year-old backstop has spend parts of 7 seasons with the Mets. And while Nido, aka Needz, had a big month of September, he was never slated to be the next Mike Piazza, and a career .323 slugging percentage will have the Mets ready to upgrade. Fans should expect prospect Francisco Alvarez to catch roughly 75%-80% of the games, pushing James McCann out of the starting lineup.
  • Seth Lugo – The Mets reliever made it clear while speaking with the media that Sunday night was a very emotional night for him. After the game, Lugo brought his family on-field as his future with the organization is uncertain.

Of the three players listed, Nido obviously will be remembered as the backstop came up through the Mets system while spending about a decade with the organization.

Seth Lugo will probably receive a bag of mixed results from fans from places like #MetsTwitter as well as in groups on Facebook, however, Lugo was a trooper while in Queens and did whatever was asked from him. Unfortunately, it feels like that curveball of his has one foot out the door and I wouldn’t rely on his fastball as being his out pitch.

Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Mets have a huge hurdle in the Padres series

No one has it easy when it comes to scheduling in the playoffs. Every team there has the makings to whoop ass and that’s what they’re going to try to do. Regardless if it’s the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Cleveland Guardians, that team is trying to send their opponents home packing in search of that illustrious World Series ring.

With all that said, the San Diego Padres have made huge strides in the past few years till as recent as this past August, when they acquired the MVP caliber outfielder Juan Soto. While Soto’s services did not come cheap, it’s all in effort to walk home as champions.

Soto has struggled a bit initially since joining the Padres, as the outfielder possesses a .236/.388/.390/.778 slash line in 52 games. However, he has turned it around in the past two weeks as he’s been hitting .309/.424/.545 in last 55 at-bats.

Another big name that found his way on the Padres is closer Josh Hader. Hader, much like Soto, struggled quite a bit when first joining the friars however has been better as of recently.

The left-hander hasn’t given up a run in his last 6.1 innings pitched. While this isn’t a long stretch, you’re definitely going to want your closer finding rhythm before your playoff run… perfect timing for Hader and the Padres.

This is a star-studded squad. Even with the self-inflicted loss of Fernando Tatis Jr., the Padres are just as dangerous as the Yankees in the late 90’s.

And while Max Scherzer is one of the best pitchers in the league, Friday night’s contest won’t be an easy task for the veteran ace.