If there’s one decision that came back to bite Billy Eppler harder than most it was the choice to roll into the 2022 season with Chasen Shreve and Joely Rodriguez as the lefties out of the New York Mets bullpen. Neither has pitched particularly well.
Rodriguez is now 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA in 22.2 innings of work. Shreve, in 26 innings, is 1-1 with a 6.58 ERA. The sample size is now big enough to draw some conclusions. The Mets needed to add one of the southpaws we all pleaded them to sign this winter.
There’s an obvious candidate out there to replace either of them—most likely Shreve first given the fact that he was just a minor league signing whereas Rodriguez was a trade addition. You got to know his Baseball-Reference page real well in the offseason. It’s Detroit Tigers lefty Andrew Chafin.
The Mets failed to sign Andrew Chafin this offseason and now need to trade for him
So, what has Chafin been up to in Detroit? After pitching to a 1.83 ERA last season with the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics, he has been a little more average in Detroit. This isn’t to take away from the success he has had. Chafin remains a solid late-inning reliever and upgrade for the Mets.
Through 21.1. innings of work, Chafin is 0-1 with a 2.95 ERA. He has struck out 26 batters while allowing only 6 walks. He owns a 1.08 WHIP and a .218 batting average against him. In short: things are going well.
Compared to what the Mets have gotten from their lefties, this would be a huge addition. Chafin’s high strikeout and low walk rate would be greatly welcomed at the back of the Mets bullpen for the remainder of the year. Best of all, he might not be just a rental.
Chafin is signed for $6 million with a player option for next season at $6.5 million. There is a $500K buyout which would only be used if he was an absolute failure in Flushing.
Because the Mets don’t necessarily have a lefty reliever a year away from being a dominant lefty out of their bullpen, it would make sense for him to stick around for another round. Of course, with the contract, he could always choose to leave on his own.
Regardless of what team the Mets play, it’s essential to have a trusted lefty Buck Showalter can turn to. They haven’t had that outside of short stretches which were clearly mirages compared to the trends.
The best news for Eppler was to see the Tigers fall flat on their face. Now, with them looking to just get through the final months of the season, trading Chafin makes sense for both sides. Who would you like, Detroit?