12 relievers the Mets should target ahead of the trade deadline

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The New York Mets are in need of some bullpen help. After a hot start to the season, Trevor May’s injury and drop offs by Drew Smith and Chasen Shreve have made the bullpen an area of need. Luckily, this is the easiest position to acquire in trades, and the Mets have plenty of options available.

12) NY Mets trade target Tanner Rainey

Tanner Rainey is a decent reliever that could probably benefit from Jeremy Hefner’s tutelage.

We’ve seen the potential before. He averaged 14 K/9 in 2019 and 2020, but that has dropped off to 10.5 K/9 so far this year. On the upside, his BB/9 of 3.7 and his HR/9 of 0.9 have also dropped considerably. 

In 20 appearances, he’s pitched 19.2 innings and converted seven save opportunities. He has allowed 18 hits, seven earned runs, eight walks, and struck out 23 batters. His ERA is 3.20, his FIP is 3.34, his WHIP is 1.32, and his ERA+ is 126.

Rainey is primarily a fastball pitcher, throwing his heater 70% of the time. He is in the 90th percentile in fastball spin rate and 89th percentile in fastball velocity, hovering around 96 miles per hour and producing a run value of -2. His secondary pitch is a slider in the high 80’s.

He’s really good at getting swings and misses, but it comes at the cost of poor control and hard contact. His whiff rate is in the 89th percentile, his strikeout rate is in the 76th percentile, and his chase rate is in the 71st percentile. Unfortunately, his hard hit rate is in the 27th percentile, his walk rate is in the 34th percentile, and his xSLG is in the 37th percentile. 

Rainey has three years of control remaining. He reminds me of Blake Trienen when he first came up: tantalizing stuff, just needs to figure out the best way to use and control it. Acquiring him would be a gamble, but if Hefner can figure him out, it could turn into a steal.