3 strike-throwing Mets trade targets to replace injured Drew Smith on the roster

The Mets now have an immediate need for a right-handed reliever with Drew Smith gone.
New York Mets v Chicago Cubs
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3) Shawn Armstrong

Shawn Armstrong hasn’t been quite as fantastic at avoiding walks as Estevez or Miller. However, he is a superior strikeout pitcher this season than those two. He has fanned 39 in 36.1 innings of work while walking 14. The lowest paid of these three and conveniently a free agent after this season, he’s a natural fit to get traded by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Armstrong has been around the league for a decade and seems to define the unknown for a relief pitcher. A lifetime 3.97 ERA coincidentally nearly matches the 3.96 it sits at with the Rays this season. His 3.5 walks per 9 might seem high but Smith was at 4.6 per 9. It would, in fact, be a noticeable difference.

The Rays have a habit of trading away players when they can even in years when they’re not necessarily in full seller’s mode. This year, their 41-41 record isn’t good enough in a tougher American League to stay within reasonable reach of the Wild Card race. They have several other relievers worth inquiring about.

The baseball circle of life would be complete, too, if it ends up as a trade deadline deal with the Rays to help replace Smith. He came to the Mets via Tampa Bay back in 2017 when they sent Lucas Duda there. Armstrong, or maybe even one of their non-rentals, should be mentioned in a phone conversation between David Stearns and Erick Neander, their President of Baseball Operations.