4. Thomas Szapucki
Thomas Szapucki spent about five minutes in an actual Mets uniform. Drafted by Alderson in 2015, Szapucki was a mid-tier starting pitching prospect and was eventually added to the 40-man roster in 2020. He debuted in 2021 against Atlanta and got absolutely blasted, giving up 6 runs in 3.2 innings. He would only pitch one more game for the Mets in 2022 before being dealt to San Francisco in the memorable Darin Ruf trade in July.
Szapucki would be another left-handed arm who will sign a minor league contract to prove his worth in 2024. Though he did not pitch in 2023 and is rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery, Szapucki did pitch to a 1.98 ERA in 13 innings for the Giants in 2022. He found his role in the bullpen on a good Giants pitching staff prior to his injury, meaning he will be a relief option once he is healthy. His contract could be similar to John Curtiss in 2022; give Szapucki a low-risk contract with the hope he can contribute once healthy.
Building a quality bullpen is becoming more important yet more difficult with each passing season. While starting pitchers and offensive threats earn the most accolades, bullpens can make or break a season. The 2019 Mets missed the playoffs because the bullpen was atrocious. Handing out multi-year contracts to relievers is just as big a risk. Remeber Anthony Swarzak? Familia's second Mets tenure? Trevor May in 2022? Antonio Bastardo? Frank Francisco?! Bottom line- the Mets should sign low-risk relievers for the bullpen and spend their resources on the starting rotation.