The New York Mets signed left-handed reliever Aaron Loup late in the offseason, to a one-year, $3 million pact. Normally these kinds of deals are for veteran relievers that will complete the roster, which is exactly what Loup represented: a weapon that would help the team retire tough lefties without being a liability against righties, but by no means a closer or high-powered bullpen ace.
Fast forward to the end of the regular season, and we can now say that Loup was as effective as most of the league’s best closers, if not more. He finished with a brilliant 0.95 ERA in 56.2 frames, in which he also struck out 26.1 percent of the hitters he faced while walking just 7.3 percent.
According to the New York Daily News, only 13 pitches have thrown at least 50 innings in a season with an ERA lower than 1.00. Zack Britton, Dennis Eckersley, Jonathan Papelbon, Wade Davis, Fernando Rodney, and Blake Treinen are some of the names. The Mets’ Loup is now a member of the list.
Loup’s 2.45 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) was also an excellent figure, and proof that his year was not a fluke.
A premier arm in the Mets’ bullpen
In a Mets’ bullpen with Seth Lugo, Trevor May, Dellin Betances, Robert Gsellman, Miguel Castro, Drew Smith, Jeurys Familia, and others, Loup had the second-highest WAR (Fangraphs’ version) with 1.6. Only Edwin Diaz, the team closer, had more, and Loup’s was the fourth-highest in the club.
After the season he just had, it’s safe to say that the 33-year-old southpaw earned himself quite a payday. Relievers, more than ever, are wanted all around the league, especially those capable of retiring both lefties and righties, striking out people, and putting the ball on the ground (he did it 50.4 percent of the time).
Will the Mets be interested in retaining his services? They should, and depending on the price tag, they will. The pitcher himself is interested in returning.
“I’d love to come back,” Loup stated recently. “I’ve had a blast playing here. I’ve had fun with the guys all year long and I’ve had a great year, so I see no reason not to.”
Will the Mets’ re-sign him for 2022?