Mets: If they only add three top relievers this winter, they can compete
By Tim Boyle
The New York Mets need some relief help. If it’s all they add this winter, the team can be competitive in 2019.
Time after time, the New York Mets suffered in 2018 from a shallow, shaky bullpen. Whether it was April or the last week of September, the relief corps never failed to blow a lead.
This offseason, new bullpen pieces are surely on the agenda. With a few other places also needing an upgrade, it’s hard to believe every hole is properly filled with the best available options. There’s only so much money they can spend in free agency and there’s a limit on the number of good relievers they can acquire via trade.
If the Mets could make only three moves this winter, and each included the addition of a top bullpen arm, I think the winter could be considered a successful one and the team can compete.
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Sure, this means settling with Juan Lagares in a center field platoon with Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo. We’d also get Kevin Plawecki and either Travis d’Arnaud or Tomas Nido behind the plate. There wouldn’t be any new bench pieces from outside the organization either. This doesn’t feel like the worst thing as the options available at these spots aren’t as big of a leap forward as they would get from brand new relievers.
Top relievers in free agency included Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton, Cody Allen, Adam Ottavino, and a bunch more. Ideally, the Mets would sign one of the top closers, bring in the best second-tier arm they can get as a setup man, and find a stud lefty. At least one would come via trade so to lock his name onto their radar would become difficult at this time.
This would give the Mets a bullpen with three top relievers plus the weapons known as Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo. The former has struggled late in the season with several poor performances. I have no doubt, if provided some cavalry, he can get back to pitching his best in 2019.
Drew Smith is the only other arm I am excited to see from the 2018 bullpen. He, too, has pitched after stepping in a steaming pile of Kryptonite. Still, he’s one of the few young arms who spent a lengthy time as an effective reliever in 2018.
There’s no one knocking on the big league door prepared for a promotion to save the day. The Mets have internal options everywhere else but the bullpen. While we can wait for prospect Justin Dunn‘s possible midseason call-up to help them, it’s not going to get them through the first few months.
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The Mets need a new bullpen badly. They should be willing to risk quality at other positions in order to promise us a better group of relievers in 2019. Jacob deGrom and everyone else who saw a lead blown will thank them.