Mets offseason grades for 3 major bullpen additions

David Robertson - World Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Houston Astros - Game One
David Robertson - World Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Houston Astros - Game One / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages
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NY Mets trade for Brooks Raley: Grade A-

Having an established, reliable left-hander reliever is something the Mets lacked all of 2022 and desperately needed to address this offseason. Adding Brooks Raley fills that void in a big way.

Acquired in a December trade with Tampa Bay, Raley had a breakout season at age 34 last year, with a 2.68 ERA across a career-high 53 2/3 innings. Most notably, he held left-handed hitters to a .155 batting average in 71 at-bats, although his numbers against righties (.208 batting average against) indicate he is more than just a lefty specialist.

What made Raley so effective was his ability to induce soft contact – per Baseball Savant, he ranked in the top ten percent of the league in lowest hard-hit rate, highest chase rate, and lowest barrel percentage. The recipe for success was his slider, which he threw 38 percent of the time – on average, it had 18.5 inches of break, 73 percent better than league average.

Raley’s pitching style is a nice complement the high-velocity attack that permeates the rest of the Mets pitching staff. It’s fair to wonder whether he will regress a bit next season, as he didn’t have much success prior to 2022. But the Mets took a chance on a Tampa Bay reliever coming off a career year just two years ago – and if Raley comes anywhere close to what Aaron Loup did for the Mets that year, this move will prove to be a steal.