The Mets are in agreement with left-handed reliever Justin Wilson on a two-year, $10 million deal, per reports from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Fancred’s Jon Heyman on Friday:
#Mets in agreement with free-agent left-handed reliever Justin Wilson, pending a physical, source tells The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 25, 2019
Wilson gets 10mm for 2 years— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 25, 2019
Wilson, 31, was very arguably the best left-handed reliever remaining on the free-agent market, and he should provide another significant boost to a Mets bullpen that figures to be much-improved this year with the addition of Edwin Diaz, the re-acquisition of Jeurys Familia, and the continued emergence of Seth Lugo. The Mets’ most experienced in-house lefty reliever candidates going into Friday were both non-roster invitees — Luis Avilan and Hector Santiago — with rookie 40-man roster member Daniel Zamora also being intriguing but having just 16 major-league appearances under his belt. Despite his inconsistency at times, Wilson brings a tremendous amount of stability to New York’s bullpen compared to what it had before.
Wilson, who served as the Tigers’ closer before being dealt at the deadline in 2017, spent the last season-plus with the Cubs. Though he’s been prolific in every year since 2014 (at least 65 appearances in each season) and has ended the past two seasons with solid numbers overall, there is a concering trend: Wilson got off to a great start in both 2017 and 2018 before struggling mightily down the stretch. He had a 2.36 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .157/.239/.314 slash line in 36 appearances before the break in ‘17, but then had a 4.94 ERA and a .233/.386/.344 opponent line over 29 games in the second half. In 2018, he had a 2.77 ERA with a .196/.325/.312 opposing slash line over 42 games before the break, then a 5.17 ERA with a .281/.343/.438 opponent line in 29 appearances following the All-Star Game. Manager Mickey Callaway, a former pitcher who served as a pitching coach before ascending to the bench boss role, may be better equipped to properly manage Wilson’s workload than Brad Ausmus and Joe Maddon evidently were.