Two Mets moves Brodie Van Wagenen should make to improve the bullpen
By Nicholas Bradshaw
The New York Mets have yet to fully address their bullpen needs. These two moves could help build up the relief corps into something more formidable.
The New York Mets made a few moves in the first half of December. These include re-signing reliever Brad Brach to a one year, $850,000 contract with a player option for 2021, and signing free-agent starting pitchers Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello to one-year deals.
Starling Marte has been the name most mentioned when talking about players the Mets should acquire this offseason, but the real issue that Brodie Van Wagenen needs to address is the bullpen. In 2019, the Mets bullpen posted a combined 4.95 ERA, good for 25th in the league.
With a better bullpen and a more effective Edwin Diaz, the 86 win team we saw could have easily been a 92+ win team. For BVW, these two moves could help build the bullpen fans have been dying to see.
Mets sign free agent RP Will Harris to a one-year contract
Former Houston Astros relief pitcher and 2016 All-Star Will Harris could be an excellent addition to the Mets bullpen after posting a 4-1 record with a 1.50 ERA in 2019. He logged 60 innings pitched and had four saves, something to consider if Edwin Diaz’s struggles continue into next season.
In 2019, Harris earned $4,250,000, so a contract in that price range could be enough to bring him to New York. With Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz’s struggles last season, the Mets don’t know what they’re going to get out of them.
By adding a late-inning guy in Harris, the back end of games is more secure and Harris could pitch either the 8th or 9th inning.
Mets trade 1B Dominic Smith to the Royals for RP Ian Kennedy
Mets first baseman Dominic Smith has rebuilt his trade value after putting up some good numbers in 2019. Although a foot injury sidelined him for two months, he put up a .282 batting average with 11 home runs and 25 RBI.
Those numbers won’t blow anybody away, but with the emergence of Pete Alonso, Smith was primarily pinch-hitting while also getting some starts in left field. His performance last year suggests that he is ready for a full-time first base job and the Royals have a need for a first baseman.
Reliever Ian Kennedy would fit in nicely with the Mets bullpen. Last season, in 63.1 IP, he posted a 3-2 record with a 3.41 ERA and 30 saves. The Royals have gotten very little production out of the first base position so a player like Dom Smith could be attractive in a deal and make them more willing to deal a guy like Kennedy out of their division and to the National League.
The Mets desperately need a better bullpen if they want to make a run for the World Series with the young talent they currently have.
Trading away prospects for Starling Marte or going through free agency to bring in more position players is not what Van Wagenen needs to do. His signings of Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha are good moves and they will battle during Spring Training for the fifth rotation spot. That would most likely mean that one of them will be moved to the bullpen to join Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman.
If you add guys like Ian Kennedy and Will Harris, the bullpen suddenly becomes much more respectable and Mets starters don’t have to push through 7 innings.
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