The New York Mets enter the 2023 Winter Meetings having made a few key additions. Luis Severino has been added on a one-year "prove it" contract, which is a very low-risk high reward. Joey Wendle is a more experienced version of Luis Guillorme having been an all-star back in 2021. Austin Adams and Kyle Crick are solid pieces to compete for the 7th and 8th slots in the bullpen.
Though the Mets have made these additions, this will not be enough to make them a contender in 2024. Severino was not good last season having finished with a 6.65 ERA in 89.1 innings pitched and is a liability to make even 20 starts, let alone pitch a full season. If all goes according to plan, Wendle should just be a bench piece and give depth to the middle infield. Adams and Crick are also not locked to make the team on opening day given their short track records of success. With that being said, which areas of the team must be addressed before the Mets brass leaves the Winter Meetings, and which one can wait?
1. The Mets need to come away from the Winter Meetings with a better bullpen
Quality relief pitchers have generally signed around the winter meetings the past few seasons. In 2017, relief pitchers signed for a total of 25 years at $187.75 million. The Mets have not shied away from this trend having signed Anthony Swarzak in 2017, Jeurys Familia in 2018, and David Robertson last year during or in the days succeeding the Winter Meetings. Around baseball, the biggest names have signed during this time as well including Bryan Shaw, Drew Pomeranz, and Kenley Jansen.
The Mets currently have two locks for the late innings in the bullpen: Edwin Diaz and Brooks Raley. Drew Smith is best suited as a depth piece until he regains his form from the 2022 season. Phil Bickford, Grant Hartwig, and Sean Reid-Foley are best suited to compete for long-relief roles. This leaves rookie manager Carlos Mendoza with few options to close out a one-run lead in the 8th and 9th innings.
The Mets must leave the Winter Meetings with at least one additional arm added to the bullpen. Relief pitchers are the most-risky investment in baseball considering all the bad contracts handed out the past few offseasons. The more risky proposition, however, is to leave the Winter Meetings empty-handed knowing all of the quality relievers have come off the board. If the trend continues from the past few offseasons, expect the Mets to strike a multi-year contract.