With the addition of Trevor May, the Mets have a ton of righthanded options to fill out the bullpen. With all those lefties, the Mets have just one LH reliever on their 40 man: Daniel Zamora.
While Zamora has shown flashes in his short stint in the majors, he is more depth rather than a main lefty in the pen. So at least one lefty is needed. In my opinion, one trustful lefty able to see thru the 3 batter limit and to me there are two main options:
Brad Hand: The biggest and best one is Brad Hand. Hand was non tendered by the Indians early in the off-season and no team picked up his $10M option. Hand was terrific in Cleveland over the last three seasons, pitching to a 2.78 ERA over 107 innings. Over his career he has become a trustful arm since his move the pen. As a reliever he had a sub 3 ERA and 11.4K/9. Also Hand has been terrific against lefties holding them to a .187/.258/.294 slash line over his career. A lefty who is dominant against the lefties and solid against the RHders is exactly what the Mets need.
Also read: Mets Trade Target: Sonny Gray
Justin Wilson: Re-signing Justin Wilson is another option for me. Wilson was one of the most trusted arms in the Mets pen and doesn’t allow much hard contact consistently. The solid lefty pitched to a 2.91 ERA in his two year deal with the Mets, making his deal a well worth one. Wilson has actually been better in his career against RHB’s using his terrific cutter most of the time. However, his numbers against lefties are also solid and an opposing hitter could have more troubles against the lefty pitcher. Wilson, like Hand, is still an option with the three batter minimum and we know he did really well in the Orange & Blue.
Both of these guys would take our pen to the next level. Lefties who can get hitters from both sides out, it makes them a clear set up men, instead of just being specialists. Can you imagine a bullpen with Diaz, Lugo, May and Hand/Wilson? That paired with the talent of Betances, Familia, Brach who in this pen don’t have the most important spots? They can try to rebound with some less pressure?
This sounds good to me!
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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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Buster Olney has reported through Twitter that the Mets are indicating to other ball clubs that they want to wait a little longer before they have to approach that decision. Olney is also reporting that this is a common theme within the league right now.
I love my New York Mets but I think there’s a few players we should throw up on the trading block. If Olney is right and the common theme right now is to hold onto players, then the Mets might get a little bit more value for a few players right now, if they are willing to sell that is.
We all know that there are teams looking into Zack Wheeler and understandably so, but the Mets should try to sell Justin Wilson, as well. After all, he’s a lefty out of the bullpen with a great track record.
If torn on trading Wilson Ramos, I mean let’s just say that we do, we’re probably just going to be complaining that we can’t ever find a catcher that can hit the ball. The truth is, Ramos shouldn’t have been catching as much as he is in the first place and a set rotation with a set catcher wouldn’t have been a bad idea from the very beginning of Spring Training. Now, instead, we’re actually entertaining the idea of trading a catcher that’s really good in the batter’s box.
According to Justin Toscano, Mickey Callaway is saying that Justin Wilson will make another rehab start, this time for the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Wilson has appeared in 10 games for the Mets, pitching 9.1 innings with with 9 strikeouts and a 4.82 ERA and 1.39 WHIP.
Updated: May 7th: Wilmer Font will in fact get the nod and start on Wednesday’s game against the Padres… Hey! You wanted someone other than Cory Oswalt, now you have him.
Font does have 105 MiLB starts that date back to 2007.
The Mets and The Tampa Bay Rays have hooked up to complete a transaction on Monday morning. The Mets will trade cash or a player to be named later for Rays reliever Wilmer Font.
Font has pitched 15 innings with a 5.79 ERA, allowing 9 runs but striking out 18 batters.
In order for the Mets to carry him on the roster, they transferred Yoenis Cespedes to the 60-day IL
The Mets are close to having Justin Wilson back in the bullpen, telling reporters he’s “close” to his return.
Justin Wilson is 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA during the 2019 campaign and the team needs him back in his best form as they experience issues out of the bullpen.