The New York Mets have made their first significant signing of the offseason with the recent addition of reliever Trevor May.
On the first day of December, the New York Mets have begun their long-awaited offseason shopping and added one of the better bullpen arms available in free agency in reliever Trevor May. According to numerous reports around the league, May has inked a two-year contract worth around $15 million with the Mets which is around the type of contract that he was predicted to receive this offseason by multiple outlets.
The 31-year old reliever has one of the better track records among relievers in baseball as he has posted three straight quality seasons out of the Minnesota Twins bullpen since 2018. Over those previous three seasons since returning from Tommy John surgery, May has posted a combined 3.19 ERA with a superb 1.080 WHIP, while striking out 12 batters per nine innings.
These results don’t come as a surprise considering May’s previous pedigree, as at one point May was ranked as the Philadelphia Phillies’ number one overall prospect back in 2012 before being traded to the Twins along with Vance Worley for outfielder Ben Revere.
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Despite the previous success, May had changed up his arsenal this past season by getting rid of his curveball and increasing the usage of his slider by throwing it around 17% more of the time than he did in 2019.
According to Statcast, the increased usage of his slider paid dividends last season for May as hitters carried a lowly .176 batting average against that pitch.
May’s other weapons include a four-seam fastball with an average velocity around 96 MPH, a changeup, and an occasional sinker. It’s interesting to note that May’s fastball velocity has also steadily climbed every season since entering the league in 2014, despite undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2017.
Current Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner’s familiarity with May could have played a role in the reliever’s addition, as Hefner was the assistant pitching coach for the Twins back in 2019. Hefner also worked as an advanced scout for the organization back in 2017 and 2018.
The Mets could certainly use another dominant late-inning arm as evidence by their 4.60 ERA last season. There are also question marks surrounding Dellin Betances’s velocity, as well as the effectiveness of Miguel Castro in late innings as batters hit .292 off Castro last season in high leverage situations. There has been no confirmation as of yet regarding Seth Lugo’s role next season, and Jeurys Familia has proven to be wildly inconsistent since re-signing back with the organization back in 2019.
May fits in nicely as a quality late-inning arm that is long on results and slides in nicely as a potential 7th inning or high leverage situation option. Last season hitters had a paltry .138 batting average against May in high leverage situations, which certainly goes a long way for a bullpen that blew seven saves in 2020.
This signing goes down as the first major deal under the new Steve Cohen era. It’s also impressive that the Mets were able to get this deal done with no current General Manager in place, as it seems Team President Sandy Alderson is currently juggling multiple positions in the front office. However, the good news is that the current uncertainty in the front office is not going to deter the organization from being aggressive early on in the free-agent market.
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The Mets could use one more left-handed addition to the bullpen this offseason. Whether that move includes a re-signing of Justin Wilson, signing free agent Brad Hand, or exploring other left-handed options remains to be seen. But as of today, Sandy Alderson has improved the ballclub by landing one of the best relief pitchers available on the open market and is already living up to fan’s expectations with the quality signing.