Ever since I can remember, Ray Liotta has wanted to be a gangster. During this same time period which I can remember, I’ve thought Raisel Iglesias was a great fit for the New York Mets. Surely, this Iglesias can be our hero, baby.
It’s exactly the hottest of takes. Iglesias has a lifetime 3.06 ERA and 140 saves. Previously only viewed as a trade candidate, he’s heading to free agency this winter after a successful campaign with the Los Angeles Angels after six with the Cincinnati Reds.
Not long after the days of Aroldis Chapman throwing heat in Cincinnati in the ninth, it became Iglesias’ gig. Twice the league leader in games finished, he’s absolutely someone the Mets need to have on their radar this offseason.
The problem the Mets might incur when trying to sign Raisel Iglesias
We saw it last year. When the Mets had eyes for Brad Hand, they ran into a problem. Hand wanted to close and the Mets didn’t have the spot open for him. Edwin Diaz had won back management for the closer’s role which left Hand open to sign with the Washington Nationals. Oddly enough, he ended up finishing the year with the Mets in a middle relief/setup role.
Iglesias is coming off of a 2.57 ERA season, a career-high and league-best 59 games finished, plus another 34 saves. He struck out batters at a rate of 13.2 per nine. A new high, Iglesias continued to build on his reputation as one of the game’s best yet overlooked closers out there.
The question we have to ask with Iglesias is whether or not he’d be willing to take a setup role with the club. Essentially replacing the role Jeurys Familia was meant to fill from 2019-2021, it will only happen if they pay him like a closer.
The Mets don’t have a ridiculous amount of money invested in their bullpen. This could soon change with Edwin Diaz having a projected $10.4 million salary coming his way. A couple of other relievers are due raises and those dollars can add up very quickly.
A bit of a twist on the situation, what if it’s not even about money with Iglesias? He signed with the Reds out of Cuba and has already earned more than a lot of players do prior to reaching free agency for the first time. Iglesias has only 1.2 innings of postseason experience. This happened in 2020 when the Atlanta Braves shellacked him with a pair of home runs, 4 total runs, and 3 of them earned.
There does come a point in some players’ careers when winning is more important than money or even their role with a club. Unfortunately, Iglesias was actually excellent last year and could easily parlay his success into a new deal as a closer.
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To land him, the Mets may need to drastically overpay or offer him something else no other team can. I’m not sure what that other thing could be.