One of the biggest weaknesses for the New York Mets last season was undoubtedly the bullpen, and for that reason it's one of the biggest needs Steve Cohen and company must address once the lockout ends.
After losing Aaron Loup to the Phillies this offseason, the bullpen is even more dire need of an addition, as Loup was the brightest spot in a disappointing bullpen last year, and they need to replace him. Look for the team to scour the trade market for a reliever, with the team having a logjam of bats, with it being likely that one of Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeill or J.D. Davis gets traded. If they do opt to go the trade route, the following players should be viewed as likely targets.
New York Mets Trade Target Number 1: Michael Fulmer
One of the most interesting names that will likely be available for trade for the Mets to look into once the lockout ends, is Michael Fulmer. Fulmer was once a highly touted starting pitching prospect for the Mets, who was subsequently traded for Yoenis Cespedes, only to go on to win the 2016 Rookie of the Year award, and make the All-Star team the following year.
However, a lot has changed since then, as Fulmer has dealt with a slew of injuries, including: Tommy John surgery, a torn meniscus, a strained oblique, and more. In between injuries Fulmer struggled when he did take the mound, and was not the same pitcher he once was.
That changed in 2021 though, as the Tigers moved Fulmer to the bullpen, a role that he flourished in. Whether it was the change of scenery, or the fact that he was now better in short spurts, Fulmer has rebuilt his value. According to Baseball Reference, Fulmer threw 69.2 innings in 2021, registering a 2.97 ERA with 14 saves, 73 strikeouts, and a 1.28 WHIP.
While it is possible that this season was just a fluke, Fulmer will still only be 29 years old this season and has flashed high-end stuff at points throughout his career. Considering Fulmer's in a contract year on a struggling Detroit Tigers team, coupled with the fact that the Mets need bullpen help and he has immense upside, and a trade for Fulmer makes a lot of sense. Since he only has one year left of club control, he shouldn't be too expensive for the Mets, who could give a prospect or two to the Tigers, who can free up some money, and potentially add a piece for their future.