Mets erred by not adding a reliable lefty reliever

By Danny Abriano

With Thursday’s news that Josh Edgin is dealing with a stretched out ligament that may require Tommy John surgery, the Mets’ failure to add a reliable left-handed reliever during the offseason is being reexamined.

While some may be second-guessing the front office, I wrote back in November that with the free agent market for lefty relievers underwhelming, the Mets would’ve been wise to secure another reliable lefty via trade – four months before the issue with Edgin popped up.

Instead, the Mets expressed minimal interest in Joe Thatcher and Craig Breslow, watched them sign elsewhere, and did not add a lefty via trade.

The only left-hander the Mets added during the offseason was Scott Rice, who was brought back on a minor league deal shortly after being cut loose.

Marc Carig of Newsday noted that in a discussion with Sandy Alderson on December 6, the GM said that the Mets lacked experience and proven depth in the lefty relief area.

Kristie Ackert of Newsday cited a Mets source who said the team’s failure to add a legitimate lefty reliever was not due to money issues. Rather, it was because the Mets felt confident in what they had.

If the Mets were truly confident in their internal lefty relief options, that’s alarming – and a sign that Sandy Alderson might be slipping a bit.

With Edgin now hurt and perhaps heading for Tommy John surgery, what the Mets now have is a potential mess.

  • Scott Rice, 33, is coming off surgery, and has had one good season – ever. That was in 2013, and while he was very good against lefties, he walked close to five batters per 9.
  • Sean Gilmartin, 24, is a Rule 5 draftee with plenty of potential. However, Gilmartin has almost no experience in relief and shouldn’t possibly be counted on as the primary lefty.
  • Jack Leathersich, 24, struck out more than 15 per 9 last season at both Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas. The problem? Leathersich has major control issues, having walked 4.11 per 9 last season in Binghamton and an obscene 7.56 per 9 in a small sample in Las Vegas. Simply put, there’s no way Leathersich can be a consideration for a spot in the big league pen at this point – let alone the primary lefty.
  • Dario Alvarez, 26, has thrown just 7 career innings above A-Ball.

With or without Josh Edgin, the Mets were heading into 2015 in a very precarious position when it came to left-handed relief. If Edgin is out for the season, their position becomes even more perilous.

Going into their first expected contending season since 2008, it’s almost unfathomable that the Mets have zero reliable left-handed relievers at this point.

Perhaps Sandy Alderson is on the phone at the moment finding a lefty relief solution. If he isn’t, the Mets might be setting themselves up for a huge problem in-season.

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