With the MLB lockout ending, the New York Mets are expected to have a heavy interest in bullpen arms. The Mets bullpen on paper looks rather weak, and the front office recognizes this. With the way Steve Cohen operates, the Mets are going to look at the best options available, as they are already doing. There are multiple options the Mets could pursue via the trade or free agency market.
Bullpen Option #1: Andrew Chafin
The most ideal pickup for the Mets would be left-hander Andrew Chafin. The Mets lack a strong left-hander in their bullpen due to Aaron Loup signing with the Angels. This makes the free agent a perfect fit for the Mets. Chafin is coming off of a career year posting a 1.98 ERA, a 0.932 WHIP, and a 2.98 FIP in 71 games. Since he is a reliever, the Mets could bring him in on a short deal that wouldn’t pay too much. Figure something around Loup’s 2yr/17mil deal he signed with the Angels.
The Mets have already had an interest in Chafin. He seems like a perfect fit, and one the Mets should prioritize. Bringing in Chafin would add the invaluable lefty to a team’s bullpen, and one that is coming off a really strong season.
Bullpen Option #2: Collin McHugh
Collin McHugh, who was a Mets draft pick, is probably the best right-handed arm on the free-agent market. He posted a 1.55 ERA, 0.938 WHIP, and a 2.12 FIP. Although McHugh probably wouldn’t do what he did last year, he would still be a solid piece to add depth to the bullpen. He also threw 64 innings in 37 games for the Rays last year. Being 34, he would likely be on a 1-2 year deal that would pay similar to a Chafin contract.
Since he is a righty, he shouldn’t be the only move the Mets make for the bullpen. A lefty remains very important with or without McHugh. Regardless, he seems like a good and realistic fit. Being a former starter, he would be a perfect spot starter for the Mets, a perfect opener if they ever want to go that route, or a 2 inning guy out of the bullpen.
Bullpen Option #3: Taylor Rogers
Taylor Rogers is another left-handed option the Mets could explore. The Mets would need to trade for him, but there are various deals that the Mets could afford that would work. The Twins aren’t trying to win, so a deal would make sense for both sides. Rogers posted good numbers in his all-star campaign last year. He had a 3.35 ERA, 1.140 WHIP, and a 2.13 FIP. He could be used to close games provided the Mets need him to do so, as he had 30 saves in 2019.
A realistic package would be a roster guy like Dom Smith or J.D. Davis along with a mid-tier prospect, or a higher-end prospect along with a mid-tier one. If the Mets missed out on Chafin, Rogers would be a perfect second left-handed option for the Mets to explore.
Bullpen Option #4: Craig Kimbrel
This is actually more of a possibility than it may seem. Craig Kimbrel was having one of the best seasons ever for a reliever during his time with the Cubs last season. After he got traded across town to the White Sox, he fell off. The White Sox then picked up his option but it was reported they might’ve wanted to do that in order to trade him. In total, Kimbrel has a 2.23 ERA 0.905 WHIP, and a 2.43 FIP. Still very good numbers, but this was due to his 0.49 ERA, 0.709 WHIP, and 1.10 FIP with the Cubs. For reference, his ERA with the White Sox was over 5. So his season numbers don’t tell the full story.
However, if the White Sox wanted to trade him, the Mets would be perfect suitors, and one could expect them to pursue Kimbrel heavily. The downside is considering how much they gave up to get him, the Mets would need to give up a lot in return. Probably a roster guy and a higher-tier prospect at least.
Bullpen Option #5: Josh Hader
The Brewers would have to be clueless to trade Josh Hader, but the Mets have been tied to him for years so it is something you should note. Hader is probably the best reliever in the game. His 1.23 ERA, 0.835 WHIP, and 1.69 FIP last year show this. Not to mention he had 102 strikeouts on 58.2 innings. Obviously, this would help the Mets drastically, and he is also that much-needed lefty. So it would be a fit.
The thing is I don’t even want to imagine the package the Mets would need to send. Probably a plethora of prospects with a few top ones, or a few roster guys with a top prospect. For this reason, I can’t see the Mets pulling the trigger. I also can’t see a world in which the Brewers trade him while being in a position to complete.
What The Mets Should Do
The Mets should probably get at least two bullpen arms. They definitely need a higher-end lefty, so Chafin or Rogers seems like a must. Outside of that, another guy for depth is a good idea. Whether it is someone mentioned or not, the Mets need to walk away with multiple arms. With Cohen’s mindset of spending, the Mets could easily pull it off.