For the last two seasons, the New York Mets had a very solid left-handed reliever in Justin Wilson. While he did have some injury issues, Wilson was extremely reliable when healthy, and was a huge reason the Mets finished 86-76 and nearly made the playoffs in 2019. Wilson and Seth Lugo were practically unhittable down the stretch closing games for this team.
This offseason, Wilson was scheduled to be a free agent. With that in mind, the Mets had a hole in their bullpen. The lefty I originally wanted was Brad Hand. The Mets seemed to be close on a deal with him, but it didn’t end up panning out and he ended up signing with the Nationals.
The next choice on my list was just to bring back Justin Wilson. He ended up signing with the Yankees. Both Hand and Wilson were traded from those teams at the deadline and are having down years.
The guy the Mets ended up signing to fill in the left-handed reliever void was Aaron Loup. I was not very high on Loup because he really only has had one good season in recent memory which was in 2020. He went 3-2 with a 2.52 ERA but even then his FIP was over a run higher at 3.83. He just didn’t seem to be good enough to be the high leverage left-handed arm the Mets needed.
The National League East is stacked with left-handed hitters. The main ones are obviously reigning MVP Freddie Freeman, former MVP Bryce Harper, and likely future MVP Juan Soto. Loup just hadn’t proved in my opinion that he was capable of getting these guys out on a consistent basis.
On opening day, Loup came in relief of Trevor May who also struggled in his first outing as a Met and hit Bryce Harper with a pitch on just his second pitch as a Met. He also allowed the Phillies to come back and win that game. At that point, I was pretty upset that the Mets signed him. But he has rebounded just about as well as I could have asked for after that.
I was dead wrong about what Aaron Loup could do for the Mets
If the Mets did not have Aaron Loup they would be in a very bad spot. Loup has been a lifesaver in the Mets bullpen this season in a multitude of different roles. I expected him to come in with two outs in an inning with a lefty coming up most of the time. He has done that, but he has done a lot more.
Loup has opened two games for this team, has pitched three days in a row, and has even gone multiple innings which is the last thing I expected. He had a three-scoreless inning outing back in June!
Loup has gone 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA this season for the Mets. He has not allowed a single home run all year and has not given up an extra-base hit to a left-handed hitter while holding them to a .169/.215/.169 slash line.
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Loup hasn’t even allowed a run since July 4th. The 33-year-old signed a one-year $3 million dollar deal with the Mets this past offseason in what might be the bargain of the offseason. I went from not wanting Loup at all to wanting him back maybe even on a multi-year deal this offseason. He has been the one consistent middle reliever bridging the game to Edwin Diaz.