5 under the radar Mets trade candidates for the bullpen

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The Mets should be interested in this former Nippon-Ham Fighters pitcher

The St. Louis Cardinals have been the most disappointing team this 2023. After winning the National League Central Division in 2022, the team is among the worst records in MLB, which tilts them towards an absolute sale of players.

The Cardinals have many options that will attract the attention of the teams. Among them is a pitcher that is little recognized but has shown better performance this year. Drew VerHagen is in the final year of his contract with the Cardinals and can be an affordable option for teams looking for efficient pitching for their bullpen, like the Mets.

VerHagen is a former pitcher for the Detroit Tigers who, after a couple of underperforming years in MLB, went to Japan to play two years with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. The Cardinals signed him in 2022 after seeing some indicators of better pitching efficiency and, an increase in his strikeout percentage.

While the 2022 season wasn't great for VerHagen in St. Louis, the results look better this year. His ERA doesn't look the best right now, but his xERA and xwOBA are in the top 10% of the league which indicates there is ample room for improvement.

Part of this pitcher's success has been using his sinker less, which was his main pitch in 2022, at which he was hitting almost .400. This season VerHagen has relied more on his fastball and sweeper, the latter being his most effective pitch-inducing an opposition batting average below .150 supported by a Whiff% above 40% which is elite.

The Mets could use a pitcher of this profile in their bullpen this season at a low price. With the Cardinals focused on selling their most important pieces at the highest possible cost, VerHagen should be a target for the Mets to improve in an area with inefficiency in the team.