5 recent Mets free agent signings that turned out better than expected

The Mets have better luck with free agents that have no expectations.
Miami Marlins v New York Mets
Miami Marlins v New York Mets / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
5 of 5

5. Justin Wilson

The Mets began their 2018-19 offseason by focusing on the bullpen. Van Wagenen's blueprint was to start at the back end by acquiring Diaz in early December. In making this trade with the Seattle Mariners, the Mets lost Anthony Swarzak from the 2018 season, if nothing else but a bounce-back candidate for the 2019 season. This decision left only Gsellman and Lugo as late-inning options to bridge between the starting pitcher and the closer.

At the Winter Meetings, the Mets identified their primary set-up man in signing Familia to a 3-year contract worth $30 million. Though the Mets now had a few late-inning relievers, they still needed at least one left-handed option to pair with Familia and Lugo. Without many additional resources due to Wilpon's budget constraints, Van Wagenen signed veteran left-hander Justin Wilson to a contract worth 2-years and $10 million.

Wilson came to the Mets with a solid track record of success across seven major league seasons. He had a 3.33 ERA in 370.2 innings pitched, spending time in four different organizations. Wilson also brought closing experience, saving 13 games in 15 attempts for the Detroit Tigers in 2017. Even with these statistics, nobody could have foreseen Wilson becoming an integral piece of the Mets' bullpen. By the second half of the season, Wilson became the primary set-up man to Lugo, having a 2.54 ERA in 39 innings pitched. While most of Van Wagenen's free agent signings turned out to be disastrous contracts, the signing of Wilson ended up saving the Mets' bullpen in the 2019 season.