Free agents Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel would help the New York Mets become a better team. However, they would do little to solve the rest of the team’s issues.
Any day now, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel will sign a contract with a Major League Baseball team. Now that there’s no draft compensation associated with bringing them to town, teams will be more willing to sign either free agent pitcher. Despite a below .500 record, each is someone the New York Mets could use.
Unfortunately for the Mets, their pitching problems are far greater than Keuchel or Kimbrel. Assuming neither is ready to pitch in the big leagues for at least another month, there’s no telling how much of a hole the team will be in by the point when they are ready to take the mound.
Even with this in mind, the Mets will need a starting pitcher for next year assuming Jason Vargas and Zack Wheeler walk away in free agency. They could also use Kimbrel as a mainstay in their bullpen beginning as soon as two months ago.
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There are a few challenges in convincing either to sign with the team. They’re not a winning team right now and there’s no obvious role for either to step into. Kimbrel didn’t sit out this long to take a setup role. Edwin Diaz hasn’t been bad enough to remove him from the closer’s spot. Though we have seen the front office admit to some early mistakes (i.e. Keon Broxton’s DFA), it’s a far larger one if they demote Diaz this quickly especially with how bad the trade with the Seattle Mariners is looking thus far.
Let’s say the Mets do add Keuchel. This probably pushes Vargas to the bullpen. The team isn’t all that much better. Maybe they get over .500. Maybe Keuchel helps turn the fortunes around for the struggling starters.
In Kimbrel’s case, the Mets would at least have one more arm they could hopefully rely on. Again, there’s no guarantee. This is an incredibly unique situation for Kimbrel and there’s no telling how productive he will be once he takes the field. In a best case scenario, Mickey Callaway has one more arm he can turn to. I think it yields a similar result with the Mets winning only a few more games than they are currently on pace for.
Add them both and perhaps this team is in better shape. It doesn’t fix the problem. Far too many members of the Mets are underperforming. The offense is terribly inconsistent and the starting pitching has not lived up to those heaven-high expectations we always have for them.
Since each of these first-time, long-time free agents aren’t just available for 2019, it’s worth their consideration. You can’t build a baseball team from year-to-year. You need to look into the future and see what the players you’re bringing in project to be by the end of their contract.
By signing either or both, the Mets get a jumpstart on next year’s free agent class with the potential benefit of turning things around in a major way immediately.
I’ve never believed the Mets were interested in either player and can’t see them calling Willet’s Point home this summer. One starter, one reliever, or both cannot turn this team around. They need the guys we could count on in the past to play the way we know they could.
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It’s not a bad move to sign either or both. It’s not the solution either and this organization is keen on the perceived quick-fix.