It is widely known by every New York Mets fan that outside of closer Edwin Diaz, the Mets bullpen is currently undergoing a complete reconstruction. While the Mets will be active participants in this winter's arms race for both starting and relief pitching, one interesting option has recently presented itself on the open market.
That shiny new option that recently entered the free agent market is former St. Louis Cardinals closer, Alex Reyes. The 28-year-old right-hander was recently non-tendered a contract by his former club and is now in search of a new home this winter. While Reyes had missed the entire 2022 campaign due to a torn labrum injury, Reyes had logged 29 saves to go along with a 3.24 ERA and 95 strikeouts over 72.1 innings back in 2021.
During his All-Star campaign in 2021, Reyes had a fastball on average close to 97 MPH and a devastating slider that made hitters look silly, as evidenced by him striking out 30% of the hitters he had faced. Those same hitters that were facing Reyes in 2021 were also hitting a lowly .176 batting average against him as well.
The Mets should roll the dice on the talented Alex Reyes as they look to overhaul their entire bullpen in 2023
Health has always been his main concern since making his Major League debut in 2016. In addition to his torn labrum last season his previous injuries include Tommy John surgery, back surgery, as well as lat and finger issues. However, when Reyes is on the mound, there are very few pitchers who intimidate hitters such as him, and his arsenal of pitches is simply electric.
After the Mets have already broken the bank for Edwin Diaz at $102 million as their first line of business this offseason, I can't imagine General Manager Billy Eppler spending an extravagant amount of money on other relievers on the free agent market with the number of holes this team has currently in the starting rotation and starting lineup. It's also fair to note how volatile relievers can be from year to year which is why I could see Eppler casting a wide net in terms of relief help.
While many talent evaluators' eyes will be on Reyes in regards to checking his medicals and also seeing how he has physically recovered from his labrum injury, the Mets should very much be one of those clubs piquing their interest to see what may be left in that right arm. It will also be interesting to see if he should decide to have a showcase for interested clubs at some point this offseason as they could potentially help drive his asking price up, should he look impressive.
Reyes would be the prototypical low-risk high-reward free agent signing, that the Mets have had success with in the past. While Reyes was scheduled to make close to $3 million with the Cardinals prior to being non-tendered, the Mets may be able to sign Reyes at a lower, possibly more incentive-laden deal to compete for a spot in the bullpen this spring.
if healthy Reyes' ceiling would project as a lethal option as a set-up man for Edwin Diaz, and it would also provide him the opportunity to rebuild his stock on a contending club with the ability to cash in on a bigger payday next offseason.