Mets need these three relievers to step up in Seth Lugo’s absence
The big bullpen addition from this offseason was former Twins reliever Trevor May. The Mets signed him to a two-year $15.5 million dollar deal to be a good late-inning arm. With Seth Lugo out, May is the clear eighth-inning guy in my eyes. In his time with the Twins, May was primarily used as a set-up guy for Taylor Rogers. He did very well in that role.
In 2019, May went 5-3 with a 2.94 ERA in 64.1 innings, striking out 11.1 batters per nine innings. In the shortened 2020 campaign, May had a 3.86 ERA in 23.1 innings pitched but struck out a whopping 14.7 batters per nine innings.
This past season, May was primarily used late in close games, and despite the higher ERA, did very well in his role. May was tied for fourth in all of baseball with 10 holds in 11 chances. This means when he came into a game that the Twins were leading in, he held the lead prior to handing the ball off to the next reliever.
I believe the Mets plan was for May to primarily be used in the sixth or seventh inning of a close game. On days that Lugo or Edwin Diaz would be unavailable, he would likely pitch in the eighth inning.
Now with Lugo out, the eighth inning almost certainly belongs to May. It is his responsibility to protect whatever lead the Mets have through seven innings and keep it that way for Edwin Diaz to shut the door. He would be very important with Lugo healthy, but with Lugo out May’s importance is even more prevalent now. He must be a reliable set-up guy for Edwin Diaz for the month of April at least.