As big-name free agents continue to inch their way off Major League Baseball’s market, the New York Mets are standing pat as they have reverted back to their cheap ways.
An offseason that started with the acquisitions of Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, along with relievers Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia, indicated that new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen was committed to putting the best product possible on the field with the money allotted to him by the Wilpon family.
Putting some unimpressive trades aside over the weekend, January has been a quiet month for the Mets, who are still in need of upgrades in the outfield and in the bullpen, specifically a left-handed reliever.
It looks like the Mets are finally going to be proactive on one of those fronts as SNY’s Andy Martino reported on Thursday morning that New York is searching for a southpaw reliever. The interest seems preliminary, though, as Martino added that they “haven’t targeted one option over another.”
As it stands, the Mets’ bullpen is in need of some major southpaw influence. While Van Wagenen bolstered things up with the acquisition of the All-Star closer Diaz and former shutdown man Familia. Alongside converted starters Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, there is little question that the Mets are set when it comes to right-handed relievers.
When it comes to left-handers, though, rookie Daniel Zamora is their only option. It would be an egregious mistake to task a rookie with just nine innings of MLB experience with the lefty specialist tag.
The market for left-handed relievers has dried up over recent weeks, most notably with the St. Louis Cardinals signing Andrew Miller just before Christmas. The Mets were absent during the hunt for the All-Star’s services, which plainly translates to the team unwilling to spend the kind of money the Cardinals did, which was $25 million over two years.
Interest in a lefty reliever now will likely lead to a cheap or even minor-league deal for the Mets, though there are some options left, even if they aren’t much to write home about.
Justin Wilson has been inconsistent since bursting on the scene with the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 2.08 ERA in 58 appearances. Over the past five seasons with the Pirates, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago Cubs, the 31-year-old has a 3.66 ERA with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of just 2.53.
Jake Diekman might be an even worse option as he’s coming off a horrendous 2018 season with the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks in which he sported a 4.73 ERA. His time with the Diamondbacks proved to be a nightmare as his ERA swelled to 7.53 in just 24 appearances.
A more intriguing option could be 35-year-old veteran Tony Sipp, who pieced together a career year in 2018 with the Houston Astros. With a 3.83 ERA in his first nine years in the majors, last season saw Sipp go accrue a 1.86 ERA in 54 appearances with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.23, his best mark since 2014.
The safest course of action the Mets could take though is reuniting with Jerry Blevins, who has spent the past four seasons in Queens. The 35-year-old was one of the Mets’ best options out of the pen from 2015-2017 thanks to a 2.72 ERA in 155 games. However, last season saw a major regression as inconsistencies resulted in a 4.85 ERA.