We are just four days away from the trade deadline that promises to be full of drama, between front offices and fans looking at updates from Ken Rosenthal and Jeff Passan among others, including fans of the New York Mets. With the team playing so well, the Mets have the mindset to do what it takes to win the World Series this year.
The Mets were dealt a blow to their bullpen yesterday when Drew Smith landed on the injured list with a strained lat muscle. He will be replaced by either Stephen Nogosek or Sam Clay. As well as their bullpen has performed this season, it is the area of concern for the Mets. This underscores a glaring concern facing the Mets going into the trade deadline on Tuesday. What is their bullpen look like? Who can you trust?
The Mets need a heightened sense of urgency to improve their bullpen prior to the August 2 trade deadline.
Right now, the bullpen is currently eight relievers deep, and there are only three of them you can trust right now in high-leverage situations. You’ve got Edwin Diaz (obviously the game’s premiere reliever), Adam Ottavino, and Seth Lugo sharing late inning relief duties.
Behind them are three middle relievers in Tommy Hunter, Joely Rodriguez, and Yoan Lopez. Hunter has been in just one high leverage situation among his eight relief outings, and it was the extra inning loss against Miami, where he allowed the only runs of that game.
Joely Rodriguez has the worst walk rate in the National League this season, issuing walks to 16.3 percent of his batters. In his last performance on Sunday night, he walked the first two batters he faced, and didn’t record an out. Rodriguez’s confidence is clearly shot.
Yoan Lopez has only pitched in five games for the Mets this season, and only one really high leverage situation, and that was when he closed out that doubleheader sweep against the Cubs on the road two weeks ago.
The other two relievers are David Peterson and Trevor Williams, two starting pitchers who neither are the best starting pitchers, nor deserve to get sent down to the minors after their work filling in for injuries. One of them has thrived in relief situations (Williams), the other (Peterson), not so much. Williams has been awesome as a reliever, with a 1.57 ERA in 23.0 relief innings, while Peterson has given up at least a run in each of his two brief relief apperances since being bumped from the rotation after the All-Star break.
Also, the Mets traded a reliable reliever in Colin Holderman to the Pirates in order to get Daniel Vogelbach, thinning the bullpen and making it more urgent for Billy Eppler to make moves.
The Mets know they have viable pitching options for their rotation should any of the five go down to injury. And so far, the Mets have been great at winning games they’re leading, (52-5 when leading after six innings, 52-3 when leading after seven, and 52-0 when leading after eight).
However, Mets, as currently constructed, are not at the point right now where they can make games shorter for other teams, meaning make the opposition hopeless if they are trailing after the sixth inning. The Mets need to either add another setup option to lessen the burden on Ottavino or Lugo, or upgrade from Joely Rodriguez’s 6.5 walks per nine innings within the next four days.
They could use someone like David Robertson, Andrew Chafin, Joe Jimenez, or Brock Burke to fill in needs. There are a lot of viable bullpen options the Mets can pursue. They just need to get one of those in orange and blue before Tuesday.