What will the New York Mets bullpen look like next season? Hopefully, much better than it has in 2018.
The New York Mets bullpen is a nightmare or a dumpster, and sometimes both depending on the night. So far this season Mets relievers have given up more home runs than any other major league team with 41 long balls served up on silver platters.
The Mets bullpen ranks 5th worst in the league at 4.69, sandwiched between the Miami Marlins (4.94) and the Detroit Tigers (4.47), two teams amidst rebuilds. Quite frankly, it’s an insult to bullpen everywhere to call the Mets relievers “pitchers.”
Sure there have been bright spots this year, but they have been few and far between. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman have been solid coming out of the pen, despite working almost exclusively as starters for the past year. Paul Sewald had a solid April, where opposing hitters batted .191 against the young right-hander.
That’s it. That’s all the credit we should be giving the bullpen at the moment.
The Mets needed to add some solid relief arms in the offseason, and they did as they always do, disappoint. Anthony Swarzak, the team’s biggest pitching get this offseason has barely shown his face in a game. Swarzak pitched 2.1 innings before sitting out two months with a pulled oblique. Not a great way to start his 2-year deal worth $14 million dollars.
AJ Ramos was picked up at the trade deadline last season but didn’t do so well when moved into the setup role. After struggling to find his rhythm in 2018, Ramos is now out for the remainder of the season after surgery to repair his torn labrum.
The Mets made some mistakes in the 2018 offseason that they cannot afford to make again. If they don’t want history to repeat itself, they’ll need to be able to afford some solid gold arms in the bullpen.
Zach Britton is going to be a hot topic of discussion this offseason and the Mets should 100% be a part of those talks. Britton, who is most famously known for being held out of the 2016 AL Wildcard Game by Buck Showalter, is currently a middle relief pitcher for the struggling Baltimore Orioles. Britton was the team’s closer before sitting out the beginning of the season recovering from Achilles surgery.
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The 2016 season was a good year for Britton. In that year, he posted a 0.54 ERA and locked up 43 games for the O’s. You know it’s a good year for a closer when he’s being discussed as a Cy Young contender. Britton was lights out, shut the door, drive home, go to sleep, game over good in 2016, and there’s no reason he can’t duplicate that success again.
Britton would easily fit on the Mets as their closer. If Jeurys Familia were to return, he would move back to his original spot as the 8th inning set up man.
Familia has a problem pitching in pressure situations as noted by his poor performance in the 2015 World Series and the 2016 Wild Card Game. Britton wants the spotlight. Give it to him. Besides, Familia is a free agent after this season anyway, so the closer role could be wide open for the Mets.
The other reliever the Mets should look into is Adam Ottavino, who pitches for the Colorado Rockies. Currently, Ottavino is having an insane year for the Rockies, tossing a 0.83 ERA in 31 appearances. That dominance was on display last week against the Mets. He was the only piece of the Rockies bullpen that seemed to be able to hold things together.
Ottavino is someone they could use in those middle relief spots. Additionally, Ottavino is also able to go longer if needed. This is yet another talent the Mets could use.
Another name to look at as we prep ourselves for an early offseason is the Cleveland Indians reliever, Zach McAllister. While McAllister hasn’t had the best 2018 so far, he has two things that highlight his fit for the Mets: he’s familiar with Mickey Callaway and he has started in the past.
With the Tribe, McAllister’s ERA has fluctuated between 2.61 and 5.70, the latter being his current stat. However, McAllister’s always been a solid arm out of the pen in Cleveland and he’s been tested against AL hitters and saw postseason work in 2016. He could be a bargain contract with a huge upside for the Mets.
This team needs to learn from their 2018 mistakes and get some help for this bullpen. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather bring someone in during the offseason than fly someone in on a red-eye from Las Vegas.
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The team need bullpen help, and there are plenty of options this offseason.