Mets: Five under the radar pitching free agent candidates to consider
By Staff Writer
The New York Mets should look to add these five under the radar free agent candidates to their 2021 roster.
New York Mets owner Steve Cohen didn’t get to amass a net worth of over $14 billion in his lifetime by being “lucky”. Cohen, from the beginning of his investment career on Wall Street, preached a concept known as value investing. Under this philosophy, he and his team would find and purchase all types of assets through research that they deemed to be underappreciated and then flip them for large profits as the rest of the world caught up to the true value of what was in his team’s possession.
There is a good chance that this same tried and true method of investing is how Mr. Cohen will go about building the Mets roster into a title-contending one to some degree next season.
So while it’s still very expected that at least two to three of the big name, high profile pitching candidates in this free agent market class will be targeted by our financial guru of an owner, we should also expect some under the radar type acquisitions that may not exactly be household names, but can still boost the contention value of this organization to be on our roster.
Big name pitching targets such as Blake Treinen, Liam Hendriks and Trevor Bauer will have some competition in the bidding process by other teams that are eager to contend and starving for upgrades in both their starting rotation and their bullpen. But Keone Kela is a guy whom you don’t hear much about but is a very reliable back end of the bullpen guy who can be used as either a designated closer or a reliable set up man.
Kela spent the first three and a half years of his career as a reliever with the Texas Rangers before being traded over to the Pirates in 2018. He features a blazing fastball that he can throw at 96 mph regularly and he mixes that pitch up with a hard biting curveball that he usually throws 84 to 85 mph. During his three minor league seasons prior to his call up with the Rangers in 2015, Kela averaged 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings with 4.5 walks.
In his six-year big league career, Keone has averaged 11.09 strikeouts per nine innings. Between 2015 and 2019, Kela posted a respectable 3.18 career ERA and a 3.28 FIP. HIs 2020 season was cut short after just three games due to a positive covid-19 test and right forearm inflammation that he decided to rest and heal fully instead of come back from later in the season.
But the extra rest should certainly benefit the 6’1″ 220 lb Hawaiian native and any team that decides to sign him to a 2 or 3 year deal going forward.