4. Relief pitcher Aaron Loup
Since the MLB implemented the three-batter minimum rule, the use of arms out of the bullpen has changed significantly. It is no longer about having specific guys who can get out a left or right-handed batter It is about each guy being able to complete an inning of work.
For the Mets, they needed to replace their go-to southpaw out of the pen, Justin Wilson, this off-season. The team could have gone out and spent big on his replacement, with relievers like Brad Hand having been available.
Ultimately, the Mets landed on 33-year-old Aaron Loup, who owns a 3.23 career earned run average. Little did they know though he would go onto being their best reliever.
As things stand, Loup owns a career-low 1.45 earned run average over 31 innings of work in 34 games. His 1.66 FIP and 272 ERA+ are the best numbers of his 10-year career, and he does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Since May 22nd, Loup has only given up one run in 19 appearances.
Last season, Loup hinted at this production level as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. In the shortened season, he had a 2.52 earned run average, but nobody could have predicted how efficient he has been this year.
Again, Loup is going to be well into his 30s come 2022 and is certainly going to want a raise from the three million he is currently being paid. Nevertheless, with no other left-handed bullpen relievers as reliable as him on the roster, New York must find a way to bring him back.