# 12 relievers the Mets should target ahead of the trade deadline

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.

**11) NY Mets trade target A.J. Puk**

The once-highly-touted starting prospect has found a home in the A’s bullpen.

Puk has been lights out this year. In 23 appearances, he’s pitched 27.1 innings and given up 22 hits, just five earned runs and walks, and he’s struck out 25 batters. His ERA is 1.65, his FIP is 3.03, his WHIP is 0.99, and his ERA+ is 224.

The slinging lefty has reverse splits. He holds right-handed hitters to a gross .207/.246/.293/.539 slash line. He’s still pretty good against lefties, holding them to a .233/.298/.372/.670 slashline.

Puk excels at limiting hard contact. He’s in the 94th percentile in average exit velocity and the 89th percentile in hard hit rate. He’s in the 64th percentile in barrel rate, 63rd in xwOBA, xERA, and xSLG. He’s not really a strikeout pitcher, but he does get a ton of ground balls, with almost half of his outs coming on the ground.

One thing that is interesting about him is that he has two distinctly different release points. One is high and over the top, and the other is a three-quarters angle that’s almost sidearm. I don’t know if he’s doing it intentionally or if he’s even aware of it, but he still manages to command the ball well. He’s in the 84th percentile in walk rate.

Puk comes with four total years of control, one at the MLB minimum and three years of arbitration. He’ll be 27 for the remainder of the season, so his youth and control could make him somewhat costly, but he could also be worth that cost for the next few seasons.

**10) NY Mets trade target Lou Trivino**

Some relievers are on this list because they’re performing well. Others are on this list because they’re not, but they’re metrics lead me to believe that a turnaround is coming. Trivino fits into the latter.

Trivino’s numbers are not pretty. In 23 appearances, he’s pitched just 16.2 innings and allowed 26 hits, 157 earned runs, eight walks, and struck out 26 batters. His ERA is 9.18, but his FIP is only 3.20, so there’s going to be a resurgence at some point.

His Savant metrics look pretty good too. He’s in the 88th percentile in strikeout rate, 77th percentile in xSLG, 71st percentile in xERA and xwoBA, and 66th percentile in whiff rate. He’s still got that strikeout stuff working even in his struggles.

Trivino has alway been a pitcher who walks a lot of guys. He averages 4.2 BB/9 for his career, and he’s at 4.3 this year. The trade off is that he strikes out a ton of guys, with an absurd K/9 of 14 this season. The other trade off is that he doesn’t allow homers, averaging 0.9 HR/9 for his career.

Trivino has two more years of control in 2023 and 2024 before becoming a free agent in 2025. He is 30 years old, and given his struggles in the first third of the season, as well as his tanking team’s utter lack of use for a late-inning reliever, he shouldn’t be too expensive.

## 9) NY Mets trade target Tyler Kinley

Tyler Kinley is a solid, reliable middle-relief arm.

In 25 appearances for the Rockies, Kinley has pitched 24 innings. He’s allowed 21 hits, just two earned runs, six walks, and struck out 27 batters. His ERA is 0.75, his FIP is 1.76, his WHIP is 1.13, and his ERA+ is a stupid 635.

Kinley isn’t as dominant as his ERA and ERA+ would lead one to believe. He strikes out a little more than a batter per inning at 10.1 K/9 and he’s in the 77th percentile in strikeout rate. He doesn’t walk that many batters at 2.3 BB/9 and he’s in the 75th percentile in walk rate. His downside is that he gives up a lot of hits at 7.9 H/9. The good news about that is that much of it is on the ground, with nearly 40% of his batted balls being on the ground.

The righty excels at limiting optimal contact. He is in the 98th percentile in barrel rate, 94th percentile in xwOBA and xERA, 93rd percentile in xSLG, 87th percentile in whiff rate, and 83rd percentile in xBA. He does give up a lot of hard contact, with his only blue dot being his hard hit rate at 28%, but since he gets a lot of ground balls, those hard hits aren’t leading to damage.

Kinley is essentially a two-pitch pitcher. He throws his slider 52% of the time and his four-seamer 46% of the time. He has a sinker and changeup, but if you combine the usage on both of them, it’s under 2%. His slider has a run value of -4, thanks to opponents hitting .196 and slugging .216 against it. His fastball is also good, with a run value of -2.

He has two years of control remaining before becoming a free agent in 2025. This would be somewhat of a gamble because he doesn’t have a track record of performing like this (career ERA of 4.44), but maybe Hefner can figure out how to keep Kinley on top of his game.

## 8) NY Mets trade target Joe Mantiply

There’s nothing sexy about Joe Mantiply, but the man knows how to pitch.

Manitiply has 27 appearances and pitched 24.1 innings, including two saves. He’s allowed 21 hits, just one earned run and walk, and struck out 22 batters. His ERA is 0.37, his FIP is 1.58, his WHIP is 0.90, and his ERA+ is an outrageous 1129.

What makes Mantiply so effective is that he induces nearly 60% of his contact on the ground. He has the 14th best groundball rate in the majors at 58.8%. __ __

Mantiply throws three pitches, and it won’t surprise you at all that the one he uses the most is his sinker. He throws it 38% of the time and commands it well at the bottom of the zone. He throws his curveball 32% of the time and his changeup 28%.

The lefty is in the 100th percentile in walk rate, 99th percentile in xwOBA, xERA, barrel rate, and chase rate, 98th percentile in xSLG, 89th percentile in average exit velocity, and 81st percentile in xBA. He doesn’t throw hard, but he does get good movement to the point where hitters just can’t square him up.

Mantiply, who the Mets drafted in the 48th round of the 2009 draft out of high school, has four years of control remaining. The first is team control, followed by three years of arbitration. He is 31 years old, but he could still be fairly expensive given the insane start to his season and the years of control remaining.

**7) NY Mets trade target Tanner Scott**

Tanner Scott is a similar pitcher to Lou Trivino. The main difference is, he’s a lefty.

Scott has been decent so far this season. In 28 appearances, he’s pitched 25 innings and earned five saves. He’s allowed 20 hits, 14 earned runs, 13 walks, and struck out 39 batters. His ERA is 5.04, his FIP is 3.38, and his WHIP is 1.32. He’s due for a hot streak, since his FIP is well below his ERA.

Scott is a two-pitch pitcher. He throws his slider about 73% of the time, and he has great command over it, consistently putting it down and to his glove side (away to lefties, back foot to righties). He has a good fastball that sits around 96 miles per hour and is in the 99th percentile in spin rate.

Scott’s strikeout numbers are pretty insane. He is averaging 14 K/9 this year. He’s in the 99th percentile in whiff rate and 97th percentile in strikeout rate. Like Trivino, this comes with the tradeoff of poor walk numbers, with a BB/9 of 4.7 and a walk rate in the 14th percentile, one of his two blue dots on Baseball Savant (the other is barrel rate, 29th percentile). His xSLG is in the 70th percentile, and he gives up very few homers (1.1 HR/9).

If he were to come to the Mets, I think Jeremy Hefner would implore him to throw his fastball more. Yes, his slider is a good pitch, with hitters batting .232 against it. However, his fastball is an elite pitch. Hitters are hitting and slugging just .174 against it. If he can get closer to a 50-50 usage, he will be much more effective.

Scott has two years of control remaining after this year. He could be a great piece to have for the next couple of years.

**6) NY Mets trade target Diego Castillo**

Diego Castillo is another pitcher who has struggled early, but has a big turn around coming.

Castillo has pitched in 25 games for the Mariners, tallying 23 innings pitched and four saves. He’s allowed 21 hits, 13 earned runs, nine walks, and struck out 28 batters. His ERA is 5.09, but his FIP is less than half of that at 2.44.

Castillo is similar to Trivino and Scott in that he strikes out a lot of batters, but he also walks a lot. However, his numbers aren’t as extreme as those guys. He averages 11 K/9 and is in the 82nd percentile in strikeout rate. His BB/9 is 3.5 and he’s in the 36th percentile in walk rate. He’s only allowed one homer this year, good for a HR/9 of 0.4.

The righty is basically a sinker slider pitcher, but not in the traditional sense because he has power stuff. He uses his slider 62% of the time and his sinker 32%. He’ll mix in a four-seamer occasionally, but at 5.6%, it’s mostly a show-me pitch. His slider is an elite pitch, with hitters hitting just .155 and slugging .172 against it. They swing and miss at it almost 36% of the time.

His Savant metrics look really good. He’s in the 93rd percentile in xSLG, 82nd percentile in barrel rate, 87th percentile in xERA and xwOBA, 79th percentile in hard hit rate, and 69th percentile in chase rate. He relies on his swing-and-miss stuff, but when he does give up contact, more than a third of it is on the ground.

Castillo has two years of control after this season. Even though it feels like he’s been around forever, he’s still just 28 and in his prime for the remainder of his control.

**5) NY Mets trade target Michael Fulmer**

Hello Michael, our old friend.

Fulmer has been excellent for the Tigers this season. He has made 24 appearances and pitched 24 innings including a save. He’s allowed 12 hits, six earned runs, 11 walks, and struck out 25 batters. His ERA is 2.25, his FIP is 3.10, his WHIP is 0.96, and his ERA+ is 171.

The former starter still throws five pitches, but he loves his slider, throwing it nearly 60% of the time. It is an insanely good pitch, with a run value of -7. Hitters are barely touching it, with a batting average of .083 and slugging percentage of .125 against it. Hitters are swinging and missing at it more than 36.5% of the time.

He is really good at limiting contact. He is in the 98th percentile in xBA, xSLG, xwOBA, and xERA, 97th percentile in barrel rate, and 89th percentile in whiff rate and hard hit rate. He does walk some guys (16th percentile, 4.1 BB/9), but that’s really the only way opposing teams reach base against him. He’s giving up less hard contact than ever before, at just 23.7%.

Fulmer is a free agent this offseason, so he’s a rental. At 29 years old, he’s reaching the end of his prime, but he could still have some good years left. If the Mets wanted to acquire him now and attempt to extend him, that could be doable. The rebuilding Tigers don’t need him, so he should be on the move before too long.

**4) NY Mets trade target Anthony Bass**

Anthony Bass has been one of the more underrated relievers in baseball for a few years now.

In 26 appearances, Bass has pitched 26 innings. He’s allowed 21 hits, six earned runs, six walks, and struck out 24 batters. His ERA is 2.08, his FIP is 2.48, his WHIP is 1.04, and his ERA+ is 201. He’s been excellent for the Marlins.

Like many of the relievers on this list, he is primarily a two-pitch pitcher. He throws his slider 62% of the time and his sinker 23%. He occasionally mixes in a four-seamer (11%) and his splitter is a rarity (less than 4%).

He excels at limiting hard contact. He is in the 97th percentile in hard hit rate and chase rate, 93rd percentile in average exit velocity, 83rd percentile in xwOBA and xERA, 77th percentile in barrel rate, and 75th percentile in xSLG. He doesn’t allow many walks (77th percentile, 2.1 BB/9), and he’s not a huge strikeout guy 57th percentile, 8.3 K/9), but he also doesn't allow many homers (just one, good for an HR.9 of 0.3).

The downside of Bass is that he’s 34. He does come with one year of control in the form of a club option for 2023, which is worth $3 million, a very reasonable cost for his services. If the Mets really wanted to go big, they could try to acquire Bass and the aforementioned Tanner Scott together.

**3) NY Mets trade target Daniel Bard**

It’s time for Daniel Bard to leave Colorado.

The righty has been excellent over 25 appearances and 26.1 innings pitched. He’s allowed just 13 hits, six earned runs, 12 walks, and struck out 34 batters. His ERA is 2.05, his FIP is 3.14, his WHIP is 0.95, and his ERA+ is 232.

Bard is basically a two-pitch pitcher. He throws his 98 mile per hour sinker 48% of the time and his 88 mile per hour slider another 48%. He’s got a changeup and four-seamer, but he only uses them the remaining 4% of the time. His fastballs are in the 97th percentile in velocity and 95th percentile in spin. His slider is a truly gross pitch, with hitters batting just .080 and slugging .160 against it. It has a run value of -4.

Bard is another guy who excels at limiting optimal contact. He is in the 99th percentile in xwOBA, xERA, xBA, and xSLG, 92nd percentile in strikeout rate, 86th percentile in average exit velocity, 83rd in whiff rate, 82nd percentile in hard hit rate, and 79th percentile in barrel rate. He’s only got two blue dots: his walk rate and his chase rate. When he gives up contact, 54% of it is on the ground.

Bard is a free agent this offseason, so he is a rental. The Rockies don’t need late-inning relievers, so it would behoove them to move Bard for a prospect while they have the chance. The Mets also could attempt to pair Bard and the aforementioned Tyler Kinley together.

**2) NY Mets trade target David Bednar**

David Bednar has figured it out in Pittsburgh.

Bednar has made 25 appearances and pitched 31.2 innings. The Pirates have been using him as a closer, with 20 games finished and 11 saves. He’s allowed just 18 hits, four earned runs, seven walks, and struck out 42 batters. His ERA is 1.14, his FIP is 1.97, his WHIP is 0.79, and his ERA+ is 370.

Bednar is the best reliever on this list so far in terms of keeping runners off base. He’s only allowed 5.1 H/9, he’s only allowed 2 BB/9 with a walk rate in the 76th percentile, yet he’s also a dominant strikeout pitcher 11.9 K/9. He also has an insane K/BB ratio of 6:1.

The righty throws three pitches. He’s throwing his fastball 56% of the time, followed by his curveball 29% of the time, and his changeup the remaining 15%. His fastball sits around 97 miles per hour, which is in the 90th percentile.

Bednar is in the 98th percentile in strikeout rate, 97th percentile in xBA, 95th percentile in xwOBA and xERA, 94th percentile in whiff rate, 79th percentile in xSLG, and 76th percentile in walk rate. He does give up hard contact (16th percentile in average exit velocity and hard hit rate) but he allows so few baserunners that it’s not doing any damage.

He is 27 years old and comes with four years of control. Next year is team control, followed by three years of arbitration. The control, his relative youth compared to most of the relievers available, and his success will lead to a hefty price tag, but he’s worth it.

## 1) NY Mets trade target David Robertson

After a couple of down years in Philly and Tampa, Houdini is back.

In 21 appearances, Robertson has pitched 23.2 innings. He’s allowed just 13 hits, five earned runs, six walks, and struck out 33 batters. His ERA is 1.90, his FIP is 2.84, his WHIP is 1.01, and his ERA+ is 226.

The difference between Robertson this year and the last two years is that no one is hitting his secondary pitches this year. His cutter is still a solid, average pitch with a run value of zero, but his curveball has a -3 run value and his slider is at -2. Hitters are hitting just .069 and slugging .172 off his curveball, and his strikeout rate on that pitch is nearly 60%. He throws his cutter 54% of the time, his curveball 24%, and his slider 22%. The velocity on all three pitches is up slightly this year.

If you want to see a pretty Baseball Savant page, this is one to check out. He’s in the 99th percentile in fastball spin and xBA, 97th percentile in xSLG, 96th percentile in xwOBA, xERA, and strikeout rate, 95th percentile in whiff rate, 94th percentile in hard hit rate, and 89th percentile in average exit velocity and barrel rate. He’s missing barrels at an incredible rate, and even when guys hit it, it’s on the ground 54% of the time.

Robertson is a free agent this offseason, so he’s another rental. I think it would be great to have him as a setup man for Edwin Diaz since he’s a completely different type of pitcher. Giving opponents two different looks in the late innings can be very effective. I also think he can be a great mentor to Drew Smith, who is another cutter/breaking ball reliever.

These are 12 relievers the Mets should target as the trade deadline approaches. Who else should they be looking at?