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Mets Rumors: Is Liam Hendriks or Brad Hand more vital to the bullpen?

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 27: Brad Hand #33 of the Cleveland Indians throws a pitch while completing the save during the ninth inning of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Progressive Field on September 27, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland defeated Pittsburgh 8-6. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 27: Brad Hand #33 of the Cleveland Indians throws a pitch while completing the save during the ninth inning of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Progressive Field on September 27, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland defeated Pittsburgh 8-6. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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With New York Mets rumors circulating around two free agent relievers, the debate has begun on which of the two pitchers the club should add to their 2021 Opening Day bullpen.

The New York Mets rumors surrounding relief pitcher Brad Hand are beginning to make their rounds around the baseball industry again, and we should not be surprised by this latest development as there has already been previous public interest expressed by Team President Sandy Alderson. After a hot start for the front office with the signings of free agent reliever Trevor May and free agent catcher James McCann, all has been quiet on the Mets front recently.

Yet despite the quiet last few weeks, the hot stove seems to be heating back up after the holidays, and the Mets rumors are becoming prevalent again around a number of players. Make no mistake about it that the front office’s top choice is free agent outfielder George Springer but the Mets could use another dominant reliever in their bullpen, especially a left-handed option.

In addition to Brad Hand, there have also been Mets rumors in the past surrounding reliever Liam Hendriks. While both relief pitchers would instantly upgrade the Mets bullpen, at this point in the offseason, I firmly believe that Brad Hand would be the more preferable option to suit the Mets’ current needs.

As previously stated the Mets currently have a huge void in the bullpen when it comes to left-handed pitchers, with only southpaw Daniel Zamora having any previous Major League experience. The front office currently has the opportunity to add one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball to fill that need, and with Hand’s previous experience closing games he could always be an option to fill in on closer duties should Edwin Diaz relapse in 2021.

It’s also important to note that Hand was the victim of 2020 baseball economics and he appears to still have plenty of baseball left in his tank. The three-time All-Star struck out almost 34% of the batters he faced and only walked 4% of the hitters he faced in 2020 which was a career-best for Hand. Hand also was the American League saves leader in 2020, posted a sparkling 2.05 ERA, and dominant 0.773 WHIP this past season for the Cleveland Indians.

Make no mistake about it, I would love to have Liam Hendriks on the Mets Opening Day roster this upcoming season. Hendriks’ numbers in 2020 were ridiculous as the 31-year old reliever produced 14 saves, a 1.78 ERA, and a 0.67 WHIP while whiffing 37 batters in 25.1 innings pitched for the Oakland Athletics.

But with a closer already in place in Edwin Diaz, and also with the potential of having Seth Lugo reinserted into the bullpen, it may be best to allocate the funds to a bigger need which is a left-handed reliever. Hendriks will also command the largest deal on the open market for a relief pitcher this offseason, and I believe with as many needs as the Mets currently have, Hendriks is more of a luxury option at this point.

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General Manager Jared Porter has plenty of options available at his disposal to upgrade the Mets roster this winter, and Brad Hand represents an upgrade that makes the team significantly better in 2021.

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