Mets cannot ignore their need for a top-level reliever this offseason
By Tim Boyle
The New York Mets have several needs to address this winter. One they cannot ignore is the need for another trusted arm in the bullpen.
Edwin Diaz was superb. Seth Lugo continued to get the job done while in relief. And Jeurys Familia looked a lot better; but could he have looked worse? The 2020 New York Mets got a lot more from their relief pitchers than they did the previous year. Now is not the time to relax and assume things will go so swimmingly in 2021.
The Mets have some major needs to address this winter. The starting rotation needs a nice overhaul. They could also use at least one big bat for the lineup.
Often, one of the least exciting needs for any team to address is that of relief pitching. Major League Baseball’s “failed starters” have become more coveted in recent years, but it’s still not as headline-grabbing as a deal with a star starting pitcher or outfielder.
As it currently stands, the Mets have a bullpen in need of some upgrades. Justin Wilson hits free agency which means they have one obvious spot to fill. They could re-sign him or look elsewhere for a lefty of his abilities.
I was attempting to see how the Mets could become an elite-level team in the fewest moves possible. Focusing on the starting rotation, I realized none of that matters much without more trusted arms in the bullpen.
Finding good relief pitchers is like finding good help anywhere, very difficult. One year a guy looks like he’s bound for Cooperstown or deserves a spot in the rotation. The very next season the team is regretting the three-year extension they signed him to.
Few relievers are consistent from year to year for a long period of time. That’s what makes it so difficult to know which arms are best.
Even more difficult this winter is the fact that we’re coming off of a shortened season. Someone like Dellin Betances, for instance, doesn’t have much to impress teams with. He didn’t pitch well in 2020. He also didn’t have enough time to turn things around.
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We can find ourselves relaxing a little too much and thinking the Mets’ priorities lie elsewhere. Those star free agents and trade candidates are certainly enticing. But as we witnessed many times in the recent past, it doesn’t matter how many home runs your first baseman hits or how few runs your ace allows. If your bullpen isn’t up to par, it means nothing.