Mets Monday Morning GM: Where the bullpen arms at?

January has been dry with MLB deals for relief pitchers both in New York and everywhere else.
New York Mets v Atlanta Braves
New York Mets v Atlanta Braves / Alex Slitz/GettyImages

Josh Hader signing with the Houston Astros should push along free agency a little more although maybe not as much as we'd like. After all, he was only a candidate for a small handful of teams. The New York Mets were never one of them.

David Stearns is shopping in a different aisle. While Hader was hidden behind a counter like the Pokemon cards, baby formula, and family planning materials, the Mets are more in the camp of signing players bound to get nothing more than a two-year deal.

Recently rumored to have interest in Robert Stephenson, he ended up with the Los Angeles Angels on a three-year deal for $33 million. A deal far out of reach when put beside who the Mets have signed for their relief corps this offseason, one has to wonder exactly who and for the sake of our patience, when, they will add some bullpen arms.

When are the relief pitchers coming to the Mets?

Much of the Mets offseason has included adding arms who won’t make the Opening Day roster but will have a chance to get summoned mid-year. There’s nothing wrong with this. The frustration comes into play when they rush to sign Jorge Lopez and Michael Tonkin to reasonably cheap deals after already tendering a contract to Phil Bickford. Stearns prepared for a long offseason standoff with bullpen arms. A little over a week left to go in January, there are plenty more to choose from.

Throw a bunch of money and some years at Hector Neris? Ask Matt Moore to continue the twilight of his career as a top left-handed reliever? Invite David Robertson back for one more season for less than he was paid in 2023 and at the risk of getting traded somewhere again? What we want is different from what we’ll get.

As silent as the Mets have been this winter, so has the rest of Major League Baseball. Free agent relievers holding out for a multi-year deal will be sorely disappointed as the well dries up and a one-year contract offer is all they get. 

Because the Mets haven’t actually added anyone all winter who isn’t looking for a bounce back season, it’s understandable why there are doubts they’ll complete their bullpen any differently. Asking prices will fall. Opportunities will dwindle. We just don’t want all of the good ones taken before the Mets get a deal done.

As of January 22, only 6 major league deals have been signed by relief pitchers (including Hader here although it is only technically agreed upon). The only realistic free agent option for the Mets that any of us would’ve wanted that has signed in January is Brent Suter.

The Mets can sell Mark Vientos as the everyday DH but they cannot trick any fan into thinking the bullpen is close to complete. When are those arms going to come? With pitchers and catchers set to report in less than a month, our inner weather forecasters would like to predict a flurry of signings this week with the Mets finally picking up one of those arms. And expect it to be a name the fans aren’t clamoring for either. 

Everyone look away from Ryan Brasier’s numbers with the Los Angeles Dodgers. They’re a temptress.