With spring training less than two months away, the Mets are still in need of bullpen help. With Jeurys Familia likely being suspended for at least the first 30 games of the season, the Mets are without a setup man since Addison Reed will be stepping in to the closer’s role for Familia. While Sandy Alderson has expressed a desire to lower the Mets payroll to under $140 million. As it stands now, the Mets payroll stands at just over $150 million.
It’s no secret that the Mets are currently trying to trade Jay Bruce for a good reliever or good prospect. This would potentially allow for the Mets to get their payroll under $140 million while also solving their problem with relief. Unfortunately, Jay Bruce’s value dropped due to the Jason Bay-like performance he had as a member of the Mets when he was acquired at the trade deadline. However, I believe that his value will rise when the free agency outfield market gets thinner this offseason. The Mets need to remind potential trade partners that Bruce hit over 30 homers last season while driving in 99. In addition to this, Bruce will only be 30 years old by early April. He is in the prime of his career.
I feel that the perfect trade partners for the Mets would either be the Orioles or the White Sox. I feel the Mets should offer Bruce and Kevin Plawecki to the Orioles for Brad Brach, whom the Mets have already expressed interest in. I would offer the same two players to the White Sox for David Robertson. The issue for the Mets with Robertson is that he is making a little more than what Bruce is currently making. The Mets would have to keep their payroll between $140 and $160 million. Both the White Sox and Orioles are in need of an outfielder and a long term catcher. In the White Sox’s case, they could flip Bruce at the deadline for high-level prospects assuming he raises his value. I feel that, in the White Sox’s case, they could get a lot more at the trade deadline for Jay Bruce than they would for David Robertson. In the case of Plawecki, while the Mets have just about given up on him, there are still other teams that may believe he can still live up to his potential. This is evident in the fact that his name was brought up during the winter meetings.
Another option the Mets have for their bullpen would be to try to re-sign Jerry Blevins. As it stands now, Blevins is demanding a 3-year deal, which Alderson doesn’t want to commit to with a reliever. If I were Alderson, I would offer Blevins a 2-year deal in the $15-$25 million range. He may be willing to accept this kind of offer since he doesn’t seem to be valued as highly by other teams due to the fact that he is still on the market. Many teams, like the Mets, may be reluctant to give Blevins the third year. I would love for the Mets to be able to hang on to Blevins. He reminds me a little bit of Pedro Feliciano in that he has the ability to get both lefties and righties out.
As it stands now, it is probable that the Mets would have Zack Wheeler and either Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo pitching the 7th and 8th innings. While these options aren’t bad, I feel that getting a more accomplished reliever would be a better option. This would allow for more flexibility for the Mets in the back end of their starting rotation. The 2016 season taught the Mets that they need as many good starting pitchers with them as they can get. Gsellman and Lugo played key roles in getting the Mets to the playoffs in 2016. The Mets may end up asking them to do the same thing again in a different way in 2017 if they can’t fill out the hole in their bullpen from external options.