With opening day fast approaching, the New York Mets are cutting down the roster to get down to where it will be when the season begins. After acquiring Chris Bassitt in a trade with the Oakland Athletics, the Mets answered the question of who will fill out the final spot in the starting rotation, but other roster questions still remain.
One of the remaining roster questions is who will fill out the bench for the Mets. However, the biggest question mark left unanswered is who will replace Aaron Loup as the left-hander out of the Mets bullpen. With no left-hander in the starting rotation, this decision is extremely important, as whoever is named the left-handed reliever, will be the only left-handed pitcher on the big-league roster.
Mets have plenty of options with experience
While it is unlikely that the Mets will get the kind of production that they got out of Loup last year from whoever fills the role this year, they can still get some solid production. They didn't sign a pitcher to a major league deal, yet they have a few options who have had success at the major league level in camp, signed to minor league deals.
The first of those options is Chasen Shreve, who is likely the current favorite to win the job. Shreve has a 3.20 career ERA, according to Baseball Reference, and spent the 2020 season with the Mets, which makes him a safe and familiar option. They also signed Mike Montgomery to a minor-league contract, and he remains an option as well. However, his best seasons appear to be behind him, he appears to be a long-shot to win the job.
However, the biggest competition for Shreve is Alex Claudio. Claudio has the highest potential of any of the options, as his best year included 82.2 innings pitched, a 2.50 ERA, 56 strikeouts, and 11 saves, according to Baseball Reference. Although he hasn't been the same pitcher the last few seasons, he is still only 30 years old, and has experience closing out games.
Could the Mets bring in another lefty
While they have several options available on their current roster, the Mets could seek outside help when it comes to the left-hander in their bullpen. According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, the Mets have expressed interest in free agent reliever, Tony Watson.
Watson has a career ERA under 3.00 so if the team signs him he will undoubtedly be the guy. However, the team has shelled out a lot of money this offseason, and until there is a more concrete connection between the two, it should be assumed that the Mets will be sticking with the in-house options.
While Shreve is the current favorite, don't be surprised if Alex Claudio wins the job and is on the Opening Day roster. Who pitches better for the remainder of Spring Training should ultimately decide who wins the job. Either way, the Mets have three left-handed relievers with major league experience, and when injuries arise, having that depth will be key.