The New York Mets added another piece to their bullpen with the addition of lefty Justin Wilson.
After a winter of waiting for the New York Mets to go out and add a lefty reliever to the bullpen, they finally did. On Friday, they agreed to terms with southpaw Justin Wilson. The deal is for a reported two years at $10 million total. The deal includes $500,00 worth of performance bonuses that can be earned for each year as well.
Wilson is a southpaw who can attack both left handed and right handed hitters at the plate. His pitching arsenal contains a decent mid-90’s fastball along with an effective changeup and a slider to boot. He spent his last two years pitching for both the Detroit Tigers in 2017 and the Chicago Cubs in both 2017 and 2018. His ERA over the last two years was a combined 3.43 for both clubs.
He joins an already strong and deep Mets bullpen core that contains the likes of Robert Gsellman, Paul Sewald, Seth Lugo, Jeurys Familia, Edwin Diaz and possibly Luis Avilan. A young stable of rookies like Daniel Zamora, Drew Smith, and Tyler Bashlor also are waiting in the minors to contribute what they can to the Mets relief staff in 2019.
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With all this depth, we may see former starting pitchers like Seth Lugo and Corey Oswalt move into the 6th and 7th backup starter roles instead of pitching out of the pen this season. This would be really positive in that it would bolster the Mets injury prone starting rotation.
I believe this signing will also allow Brodie Van Wagenen some leeway in possibly offering up a few of his young relievers or one of his back end of the rotation starters as trade bait should he decide to trade for a competent every day right or center fielder to complete the offensive transformation he is attempting with the Mets line up.
Last year, Wilson struggled early on with his control with the Cubs – walking 30 batters over his first 27 innings pitched. He improved steadily over his last 46 innings pitched, however, allowing only 22 walks in that period. Overall, Wilson finished 2018 with a 3.41 ERA and averaged 11.4 K per 9 innings pitched.
Left-handers hit only .188 against the southpaw while right-handed hitters haven’t fared much better over his career, hitting only .210 against him in his seven Major League seasons.
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The deal is still pending a physical as of Friday afternoon of January 25. If all goes well as expected, the bullpen just got a little more dangerous.