There is one big glaring hole staring the New York Mets in the face right now. Who will be their lefty out of the bullpen?
If it’s the one absence they head into the season with, consider them in pretty good shape. The left-handed specialist died with the three-batter minimum rule. Nevertheless, you’re going to need a southpaw to get some big outs in relief.
Throughout the offseason, the Milwaukee Brewers held a key that could help the Mets solve this issue. Also armed with a pair of starting pitcher options, the time now comes to focus solely on the relievers. They happen to have three of them.
Would the Brewers trade a lefty reliever to the Mets at this point?
These two teams always felt like natural trade partners. The Brewers are a playoff team with little offense and a lot of pitching. The Mets have some spare parts on the offensive side of the ball they could move. Why not strike a deal?
Personal relationships could be one obstacle in getting a deal done. The Brewers denied the Mets the ability to talk with David Stearns and Matt Arnold from their front office. It seemed to leave a bit of sourness so perhaps we’re exploring an impossible trade from the start.
Both J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith could conceivably fit on the Brewers. The team didn’t add much this offseason, settling with an aging Andrew McCutchen as their biggest post-lockout splash. It seems they’ll try to run it back with the roster they have and hope Christian Yelich is his old self.
If they felt so included, the Mets are still available to help them out. With three lefties expected to open the season in their bullpen, there are a lot of ways to get a deal done.
The three Brewers lefties the Mets could look at
Josh Hader is the big name and probably not getting dealt at this point as sad as it may be. Milwaukee isn't tanking this season and moving on from their closer right now short of a king's ransom wouldn't be the right thing to do. Luckily, they are one of the rare teams with a couple of lefty relievers to choose from.
Brent Suter is another fantastic option. We only don’t hear about him in the same way as we do Hader because Milwaukee has been unsure of how to use him over the years. He seems to have found his niche working out of the bullpen. He’s also not nearly as good as Hader. However, he may be far more attainable in a trade.
There is one other guy to consider. Aaron Ashby, the son of former major leaguer Andy Ashby, is a 23-year-old still trying to figure out if he’ll pitch in relief or as a starter as a big leaguer. The Brewers used him both ways last year in his rookie campaign. In 31.2 innings of work, he had a 4.55 ERA. As uninspired as it was, he did manage to average 11.1 strikeouts per nine. Could a lesser trade with him work?
Something I’m not so sure too many Mets fans have considered: what if the Mets trade one of the righties they have for a lesser lefty? It’s the only way to make it happen. A guy like Drew Smith, whose expected role with the 2022 team isn’t for the highest leveraged innings, could interest a team out there. The trouble is finding an organization with a lefty to spare. By doing this, you also include hopeful contenders. Unfortunately, even the best of teams only carry two major league lefties at the most. Because the Boston Red Sox now have Jake Diekman, maybe Josh Taylor is expendable.
Time and options are limited for all teams to get their projected rosters prepared. The Brewers look ready to try and win the division with possibly the game’s best bullpen, including a trio of lefties. The Mets will look to do the same through other means.