It’s almost Friday, which means it’s almost time for the Mets to sigh, scrape together their jumbled mess of broken players, and continue contending for the NL East. Something about the impending trade deadline, however, has made the idea of dealing for a reliever or two seem extra-appealing to GM Sandy Alderson and his front office. According to Mike Puma at the New York Post, that reliever could be anyone, as long as they’re not too flashy.
That reliever, according to a club source, doesn’t necessarily have to be a higher-end option in the mold of Tyler Clippard, whom the Mets acquired for the stretch run last year. But names such as San Diego’s Ryan Buchter and Brad Hand could appeal to the Mets, along with Oakland’s John Axford and Atlanta’s Chris Withrow.
If the Mets wanted to make a play on another team’s closer, Milwaukee’s Jeremy Jeffress could be a possibility.
You’ll notice none of these names carry the weight of, say, a Fernando Rodney-type, whose trade from the Padres to the Marlins seemed to occur without the Mets lifting a finger. That could be indicative of New York desiring a simpler, cheaper option than the hottest assets on the market.
So, who are these people - because if the Mets are curious about them, other teams are as well. "Bullpen help" is the most common target this time of year.
- Buchter: 2.61 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 55 SO, 21 BB in 38 IP
- Hand: 3.10 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 60 SO, 24 BB in 49.1 IP
- Axford: 5.09 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 31 SO, 13 BB in 35.1 IP
- Withrow: 3.51 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 20 SO, 12 BB in 25.2 IP
- Jeffress: 1.13 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, 5 SO, 3 BB in 8 IP
Athletics Nation thinks Axford will be gone because a player with his output can be found for much, much cheaper (He’s currently in year one of a two-year, $10 million deal). Hand’s ERA hiccuped to 3.89 over the past month and his walk rate sits at a cumbersome 13.5%. Buchter is hovering at the back of the Padres bullpen, hoping for a shot at the closer’s role despite the occasional meltdown.
So, yeah, these are exactly the guys to which you would turn if on the hunt for low profile relievers. The sole exception is Jeffress, the competition for whom will be intense (the Marlins already considered him prior to getting Rodney) and the price tag on whom will be very high (The Brewers wanted more than the Padres wanted for Rodney).
Mets relievers have a 3.24 ERA, but those hurlers considered acceptable out there at this point include Jeurys Familia, Addison Reed, Jerry Blevins, and Hansel Robles. After that is the void in which some of these potential replacement parts would fit. Perhaps, following trades like the one they made for Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets are downplaying their expectations on the relief market because they don't have prospects they are willing to trade in exchange for someone performing on a level like Rodney's.