Mets must leave the Winter Meetings with at least one reliever
By Tim Boyle
The New York Mets haven’t added to their bullpen-in-need yet this winter. At the Winter Meetings, it’s time to find a new arm for the relief corps.
At this year’s Winter Meetings, the New York Mets should have one main goal in mind. They need to leave San Diego with at least one relief pitcher.
It’s the same old story as it was in 2017 and 2018. The Mets were in need of relief help and actually successfully left with a new bullpen arm. Unfortunately, they didn’t have luck with either signing. In 2017, it was Anthony Swarzak. Last year, Jeurys Familia rejoined the team.
The Winter Meetings aren’t what they were at one point. MLB free agency extends further than ever. Last year, plenty of high-profile players didn’t sign until Spring Training workouts began. Others didn’t sign with a team until actual games were played.
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This doesn’t mean the Winter Meetings are a big waste of everyone’s time and an excuse for high-level executives to get away from home for a few days before their in-laws visit for the holidays. Not at all. The Winter Meetings still serve a purpose.
While the free agent market still has a few good relievers left for the Mets to pick from, we cannot rule out a trade to help bolster the bullpen.
Following the deal for Jake Marisnick, I feel we’re going to see this team go into 2020 with Brandon Nimmo as the starting center fielder. Marisnick is a bench piece and this roster is shaping up to have Nimmo on the first lineup card of the season and many thereafter.
If my gut feeling is right, this means the Mets won’t be making a trade for Starling Marte or any other available center fielder. A trade should still happen this winter with a focus on finding relief help via a swap for Dominic Smith.
Smith is the key to the Mets landing a quality reliever they didn’t previously believe was available. There are some matches out there. First basemen are plentiful in the league, but how many are as young, controllable, affordable, and talented as Smith?
Rebuilding the bullpen is a priority for the Mets this winter. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many rumors in regards to this. They did bring Brad Brach back, but he hardly solves the problem.
Milwaukee Brewers closer Josh Hader has been the top rumored target. Other than him, stories of what the Mets plan to do this offseason have been relatively quiet. Brodie Van Wagenen’s best attribute in year one was keeping lips sealed when it came to transactions. Thus far, the same is true in the sequel.
I do believe the Mets have a plan to put a better bullpen on the field in 2020. I may not agree with whatever they hope to accomplish. Worse, they may fail in whatever their mission is.
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The Winter Meetings are the perfect time to make their first relief pitcher splash. With several talented bullpen arms already signed, it’s starting to get into now or never territory. I’ll give them a courtesy week after the Winter Meetings end to land a player.