It seemed so far fetched 2-3 months ago the Mets would be interested in retaining Tyler Clippard after acquiring him for pitching prospect Casey Meisner last summer.
But indeed, the Mets have expressed interest in bringing Clippard back to fill their need on the right side of the bullpen in 2016.
And Clippard – who enjoyed his time with the Mets after being acquired from the A’s in July – is apparently also interested in a reunion.
But teams are clearly recognizing the importance of having stability behind their closers in the bullpen, and are clearly willing to pay a premium to acquire those services in free agency. as such, Darren O’Day, Tony Sipp, Ryan Madson and other top-tiered free agent relievers have received multi-year contracts this winter.
So unsurprisingly, Clippard is looking for a multi-year deal himself, although unlike the aforementioned relievers, he wants only a two-year contract, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Still, the Mets remain reluctant to offer a reliever – including Clippard – more than a one-year contract, Heyman says.
Unfortunately for the Mets, they might eventually have to relent and change their position in what has become an inflated market for relief pitching if they intend to procure the late-inning solution they seek.
Clippard can go a long way towards neutralizing big left-handed bats, as he proved so well during his brief tenure with the Mets, which could prove to be valuable while they wait for Josh Edgin to come back from Tommy John Surgery, which might not be until May or June. Clippard held left-handed hitters to a .137 average in 2015 and a .174 average with the Mets after being acquired. He has a deadly change-up and an awkward delivery which makes him very deceptive.
He unquestionably struggled in September and became a question mark in the postseason for the Mets in October. But that could be due to a real heavy workload in August, during which he basically pitched every other day on average and made way too many back-to-back appearances during that timeframe.
It’s not an excuse for his uneven performance in September and October, but it cannot be discounted as a reason either.
Despite those struggles, Clippard should be able to net at least a two-year deal in this market. It remains to be seen if the Mets are ultimately willing to go down that road for a reliever, but if they want a lockdown formula for their bullpen, they may have to.
Clippard went 3-0 with a 3.06 ERA in 32 relief appearances for the Mets in 2015. Overall with the A’s and Mets, the 30-year-old reliever went 5-4 with a 2.92 ERA in 69 relief appearances in 2015.