Reese Kaplan -- Looking at 2019 -- RP Options


There's an old axiom that if you throw enough, ahem, mud against the wall, some of it is bound to stick.  Apparently that was the Mets' collective philosophy last year when they dumped all of their expiring contracts and only picked up relief pitchers.  Then then went out and made a splash of sorts in the free agent marketplace by adding one year wunderkind Anthony Swarzak to the mix as well.

Well, the Mets have right now one of the worst bullpens in organized baseball.  Some of it is due to injury (AJ Ramos, Rafael Montero), some due to ineffectiveness (Hansel Robles, Chris Beck, Paul Sewald, the aforementioned Anthony Swarzak, Gerson Bautista, Jacob Rhame, Buddy Baumann, Jerry Blevins and others), and some due to roster mismanagement (Tim Peterson and Drew Smith getting it done but demoted to keep people in Queens who weren't).

There were a few bright spots.  Until recently Robert Gsellman had been Mr. Automatic out there.  Seth Lugo has been fantastic and even with his Armando Benitez-like uncertainty, Jeurys Familia has been more good than bad.  Tim Peterson looks like the real deal and the brief glimpse we got of Drew Smith seems to show he has good stuff as well.

As the July trading deadline approaches it's a fait accompli that Jeurys Familia is going to have a new employer.  His contract is expiring at year's end, he's already earning nearly $8 million.  When you factor in the obligation to Anthony Swarzak for $8.5 million due to his imbalanced contract, you'd have to figure the Mets are going to lean heavily on the kiddie corps to help control costs.

The one wrinkle that caught pretty much everyone by surprise was the announcement that three-time loser Jenrry Mejia was being reinstated with the opportunity to pitch in the majors again in 2019.  Consequently that development, though fraught with risk of recidivism, makes it easier to swallow dealing away Familia.  After all, Familia became the closer by default because Mejia was unavailable.

When the season opens up you would assume that Gsellman, Lugo, Peterson, Smith, Mejia and Swarzak have spots readily available.  AA All-Star David Roseboom is a lefty and although he's not on the 40-man roster, you'd have to think they'd take a long look at him given his 2018 record thus far of a 2.06 ERA, 40 Ks in 35 IP, and a .198 BAA.  Someone has to replace Jerry Blevins if they trade him or let him walk away as a free agent.

What about outside options?

As always, there are closers to be had as well as a myriad of quality setup guys.  Heading the list is Boston's Craig Kimbrel who is likely going to command a 4-5 year deal in the $18 million or more per season range.  He has a 1.81 ERA for his CAREER and a 14.7 strikeouts per 9 IP average.  Moving right along...

Adam Warren of the Yankees is a good bargain bet.  He's delivered well over his career and still earns a modest $3.3 million.  In the past three years his ERA went from 3.26 to 2.35 to 1.93.  That's a trend in the right direction and he'll still only be 31.

The Orioles Brad Bach is having a down year which could depress his price, but he's got a 3.13 ERA for his career and could be a nice setup arm.  He'll probably be getting something in the range of $4 to $4.5 million.

One of the 2015 Mets heroes, Tyler Clippard, is inexplicably on just a $1.5 million contract this year with the Blue Jays.  He's pitching as he always does, with a 3.09 ERA which is right in line with his 3.11 career mark.  He's proven he can pitch in New York with both the Mets and the Yankees.

Seunghwan Oh is chugging along and will be a bit older but he's a 2.89 ERA pitcher for his career and delivering 2.95 this season for Toronto.  He's only earning $2.5 million but his 2019 option at the same salary is likely to be exercised (and will automatically execute when he hits 70 games pitched).  He's at 43 at the halfway mark so he's likely off the table.

Joakim Soria and David Robertson are probably too rich for the Mets' blood, earning closer money despite not being closers for their respective clubs.  Adam Ottavino is likely in that category as well earning $7 million for Colorado in a setup role and delivering a sub 2.00 ERA.

The normally very astute St. Louis Cardinals took a one-year flyer on career 2.89 ERA reliever Greg Holand to the tune of $14 million.  He's giving them a Vargas-like performance with an ERA of 7.89.  Methinks he'll be in the pillow contract situation next year with a huge drop in pay to prove to the world he can still pitch.  Bottom feeders that the Mets are, don't be surprised to see them kick the tires on Holland, particularly with a connection to Dave Eiland from their KC days.

Two time All Star Kelvin Herrera is off to a mediocre NL start with the Nationals but his career numbers are pretty eye popping.  He's earning Familia money but given the down year and the fact he's being used in setup rather than to close, his price could be a bit more modest.

Personally, I think the Mets will likely hand the ball to one of the in-house options as the closer with Lugo perhaps moving to the rotation if they indeed wind up dealing way one of the two aces.  I don't see them spending big for the pen.


Tom Brennan said...

I am looking forward to the return of Jenrr Mejia as closer, I don't know - I love 3 time losers.

Objective view department: Sewald and Peterson both are softer throwers, and for sure, this is the Mets, but career, the two are 2-12, 5.00 in 126 combined innings. That is not the stuff of a wild card team.

Hopeful that this dude we got for Cabrera will be a bullpen ace.

Tom Brennan said...

Having a good AAA season but locked in the Nats' minors is Josh Edgin - 36 innings, 56 K, ERA in low 3's. I could see a 2019 reunion with the Mets there.

Reese Kaplan said...

Like Joe Smith, the Mets seemingly have washed their hands of him despite success elsewhere.

Mack Ade said...

The Mets traded for Bobby Wahl to be the 2019 closer.

So far this season, in the AAA-PCL hitter crazy league, he has a crazy 14.29 K/9 ratio.

Bank on it.

Reese Kaplan said...

So much for the reliever haul of 2017...

Mack's Mets © 2012