Jared Hughes didn’t finish strong with the 2020 New York Mets. In doing so, he probably won’t be back for 2021.
Early on in the short 2020 season, Jared Hughes was one of the most trusted relievers Luis Rojas could turn to. The veteran reliever came to the New York Mets shortly before the season resumed and looked like one of those special finds.
As time went on, his success faded. It’s especially hard for a relief pitcher to correct his ERA with so few games/innings available.
Hughes went into September with a 2.70 ERA. Another clean inning on the first of the month and it dropped down to 2.51.
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Unfortunately, three very bad appearances in September cost him. Beatings from the Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, and Atlanta Braves all helped raise his ERA up to the 4.84 he finished the year at.
It’s not horrific but it certainly says something about his future with the Mets. Already 35-years-old, Hughes is in the twilight of his professional baseball career.
Somehow able to pitch to a 2.96 ERA throughout his 10-year career while staying under most people’s radars—myself included—Hughes is no longer a gem the Mets bullpen needs back in 2021.
There were a few of these in 2021. I suspect a shortened season had something to do with it.
The Mets got brilliance from Erasmo Ramirez later in the year. Given a few more months, who knows what could have happened?
Chasen Shreve had a year more similar to Hughes without the ERA above 4.00 at the end of it all. However, he did lose a little magic. His 3.96 ERA doesn’t look nearly as great as it did when it was a run or more lower for a significant portion of the year.
There is a difference between Hughes and these other two. Ramirez and Shreve are a half-decade younger. It makes a little more sense to invite them back and see what they can do in the sequel.
As for Hughes, he was a late addition the club called in. We had our fun. Now it’s time to narrow down the field of relief possibilities and focus on guys that can help the club for a full season.
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Hughes could come back, but he’s far from a “must.” That’s the thing about endings. They leave such a lasting impression on us all. And the way Hughes ended it in New York with his performance, it’s important we don’t romanticize some of those good games along the journey.