The New York Mets will need a new closer in 2019. Is Zach Britton the man for the job?
Britton is with the Yankees now, yes. But he wasn’t born into Pinstripes. He also happens to be a free agent this winter and a guy the Mets should consider targetting.
As you may recall from his days with the Baltimore Orioles, Britton has the potential to become an elite closer. Only two seasons ago, he saved a league-leading 47 games for the O’s with an unfathomable 0.54 ERA.
Injuries limited Britton to 38 games in 2017 and we haven’t seen the same level of dominance since. However, from 2014-2016, nobody was better at preventing runs.
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The roster does need a closer in 2019 regardless of how far they are willing to build up a championship-caliber roster. Internally, Robert Gsellman and Anthony Swarzak look like the most reasonable options. I can’t buy into Swarzak and Gsellman is a better weapon used in a multi-inning role.
This leaves the Mets with two options. They can either make a trade for a closer, which as Hand of the GM, I advise against.
Instead, searching through the free agent candidates is the better way to go. Britton, despite some lackluster results with the Yankees, is one of the better arms out there.
Something else to like about Britton is his left arm. The team limped through 2018 with Jerry Blevins as the primary southpaw in the bullpen. Britton wouldn’t fill the role of a left-handed specialist. He would, however, allow Mickey Callaway a choice in the ninth inning. Perhaps there are days when the Mets could use Britton in the eighth inning instead if they were up against a lineup featuring several lefties.
Earlier this year, I believed Cody Allen was the right man for the Mets closer job in 2019. His poor performance with the Cleveland Indians has me second-guessing this. Now, it’s Britton I want at the back of the bullpen.
Of course, this is only if the asking price is right. He’s no longer a guy to overpay. Britton is a once great pitcher on the decline who can still give someone a nice effort in 2019. Certainly a gamble, he might be the best option out there.
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Who would you like to see close for the 2019 Mets?