MLB players with the availability to opt out will hit the free agent market this offseason. Jacob deGrom’s declaration in the preseason that he would use the opt out in his contract has been a talking point of the New York Mets franchise all year long. Meanwhile, some other MLB players were on the fence about it but we’ll soon see them officially decide.
Mets General Manager Billy Eppler will be able to take advantage of one of those players opting out. An offseason free agent target many of us wanted him to sign and then a trade target at the deadline, veteran lefty reliever Andrew Chafin saw enough after one season with the Detroit Tigers. The southpaw will opt out of his contract and give Eppler a shot to make up for his mistake.
The Mets have another shot at signing Andrew Chafin this offseason
Chafin tossed 57.1 innings for the Tigers last season in a surprisingly strong bullpen in Detroit. The team wasn’t all that good yet relievers like Chafin managed to give the ball club some respectability. His ERA in the 64 games was 2.83. Any other numbers you want to look at is precisely what the Mets should be looking to add.
Chafin has been a steady reliever for several years but more so in the last two. In his last 126 MLB innings, Chafin has a 2.29 ERA. This number actually jumped a full run from 2021 to 2022 but relievers pitching to a 1.83 ERA (as he did in 2021) are rarities. They also don’t do it in back-to-back seasons.
The contract Chafin is opting out of would have paid him $6.5 million in 2023. We can assume he’ll be looking for more in his next deal. Two years would be the minimum with the possibility of a third. Chafin has been solid enough to be worth a two-year contract around $15 million total.
The Mets will be scouring the market for left-handed reliever upgrades. They never did find a good enough answer in 2022.
This offseason, Eppler has a rare chance. Chafin was so obviously someone the Mets needed to sign. They missed. Now back in the free agent pool, don’t get fooled again.