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Five right-handed relievers who could fill the Mets need in the bullpen

BaronIn their bullpen, the Mets have Jeurys FamiliaAddison Reed, Erik Goeddel, Hansel Robles, Sean Gilmartin, Jerry Blevins, Jenrry Mejia, Josh Edgin, Carlos Torres, and Logan Verrett under control this winter, with Familia, Torres and Edgin going to arbitration for the first time.

They’ve also signed Buddy Carlyle and Jim Henderson to minor league deals, giving them some extra depth from the right side in 2016.

But one of the Mets goals this winter is to retool their bullpen and create a lockdown formula before getting the ball to Jeurys Familia in the ninth inning.

It stands to reason, as in five games in the World Series, the Mets bullpen gave up 24 earned runs in 51 1/3 innings, allowing 47 hits and 17 walks while blowing all three save opportunities they had, arguably costing them a World Championship in 2015.

Mets blue orange strokeIn the process, the Royals outscored the Mets 15-to-1 in the seventh inning and later in the World Series. The Royals had eight extra-base hits, the Mets had none.

But so far this winter, the Mets have seemed reluctant to buy into the top tiers of the relief market thanks to their unwillingness to sign anyone to a multi-year deal to this point. But given how the market for relievers has evolved and the buyers in the market placing a premium on relievers, the Mets might have to eventually consider a multi-year deal to a reliever if they wish to achieve their goal of creating a dominant bullpen.

The last multi-year contract Sandy Alderson’s front office gave to a reliever was Frank Francisco when they signed him to a two-year, $12 million contract following the 2011 season.

Here is a look at five of the remaining right-handed relievers on the market, and whether or not they might fit the Mets… (more…)

Mets, Tyler Clippard don’t see eye-to-eye in contract length

Tyler Clippard 1 slice


BaronIt 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.

Tyler Clippard-00572Unfortunately 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.

Mets would consider a reunion with Tyler Clippard


BaronThe Mets acquired RHP Tyler Clippard from the A’s ahead of the July 31 non-waiver deadline in exchange for minor league pitching prospect Casey Meisner.

But the Mets acquired Clippard knowing it was very possible he could leave as a free agent after the season, becoming nothing more than a rental in exchange for a quality prospect.

But as the Mets seek to shore up their late inning relief formula in the bullpen, assistant GM John Ricco said on Monday in Nashville the club has considered re-signing Clippard this winter.

Ricco did say Clippard was one of many free agent relievers the Mets are interested in.

“There’s a lengthy group,” Ricco explained. “We are still kind of going through and meeting and trying to gather information on that list of right-handed relievers.”

The Mets must also consider the left-side of their bullpen as well. Ricco said on Sunday there is mutual interest in a reunion with Jerry Blevins as a lefty specialist. They do have Josh Edgin, but he is recovering from Tommy John Surgery and Ricco confirmed he is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day.

2015 Winter MeetingsAs for Clippard, he can go a long way towards neutralizing big left-handed bats, as he proved so well during his brief tenure with the Mets. He 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.

It seemed like a given Clippard would be able to command a multi-year deal in free agency when the off-season began, and now that teams are clearly willing to pay a premium for short relief, Clippard will unquestionably be able to net at least a two-year deal. It remains to be seen if the Mets are willing to go down that road for a reliever, but if they want a lockdown formula for their bullpen, they may have to.

Clippard said he enjoyed his time with the Mets, so conceivably he should be open to a reunion if the Mets show interest.

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.

The Mets have some needs in the bullpen, but will need to be creative to find upgrades

Familia blevins robles reed


Baron

–Originally posted November 9, 2015–

Aside from being tasked with upgrading the team’s speed, defense, and swing-and-miss offense, one of the trouble points for the Mets which ultimately became exposed in the postseason, and specifically in the World Series, is their bullpen.

In five games in the World Series, the Mets bullpen gave up 24 earned runs in 51 1/3 innings, allowing 47 hits and 17 walks while blowing all three save opportunities they had, arguably costing them a World Championship in 2015.

In the process, the Royals outscored the Mets 15-to-1 in the seventh inning and later in the World Series. The Royals had eight extra-base hits, the Mets had none.

One could argue the Mets offense struggled in the World Series, and it unquestionably did. One could also argue the defense left the Mets vulnerable in the late innings, and also led to their demise in the World Series.

But World Series games typically feature low-scoring games, leaving it up to a bullpen to manage one or two-run leads in the final third of a game.

In the end, the Royals did that with their lockdown bullpen, the Mets did not with their porous bullpen. (more…)

Mets may be shifting focus to late inning bullpen help

Tyler Clippard


BaronThe Mets have already been active ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, acquiring Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson from the Braves late Thursday.

But while they’ve reportedly been connected to some big bats who may or may not be available, and Sandy Alderson said the Mets are looking to make, “big moves,” such moves could come in the bullpen, where the Mets are lacking some strategic options in late-inning scenarios.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting the Mets may be shifting their focus away from offense and more towards acquiring a top setup reliever, although Mike Puma of the Post says the Mets feel they can acquire both a reliever and a bat ahead of friday’s deadline.

“The Mets seem more content that their offense will improve over the last two months with the additions of Johnson, Uribe and Conforto, the injury return of Travis d’Arnaud possible this week and growing belief David Wright might be ready for the last month of the season,” Sherman writes.

The Mets are not necessarily interested in acquiring a top closer such as Craig Kimbrel or Aroldis Chapman, Sherman says. Rather, they may be focused on the area of the market inclusive of Joaquin Benoit and Tyler Clippard.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Saturday the Mets had expressed interest in Clippard in a deal which would have included Ben Zobrist from the A’s.

The Mets very much need to consider another guy to shorten these games. For starters, the Mets really lack a left-handed relief specialist in the absence of Jerry Blevins. But they also need to consider an alternative to Jenrry Mejia who is not available for the playoffs thanks to his PED suspension earlier this season.

As for the big bats, Sherman confirms the Mets are interested in Justin Upton, but says the Padres want at least one top prospect inclusive of Amed Rosario and Michael Conforto, who are both off-limits in trade discussions.

In regards to Troy Tulowitzki, Sherman says the Mets aren’t sure if the Rockies will be willing to move their star shortstop ahead of Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline. Rosenthal also reported on Saturday the Mets had inquired about Tulowitzki’s availability this summer.

Original post, 1:31 pm, updated 7:41 pm

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