Mets lose star reliever Aaron Loup, but focus on starting pitching instead

Simeon Woods-Richardson
Mar 23, 2019; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; A view of the Grapefruit League logo on the hat of New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano (24) prior to the game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Loup, who had a historic 2021 season with the New York Mets on a one-year deal, left for the Los Angeles Angels after signing a two-year, $17 million deal with an option for 2024. It’s hefty sum to pay for the 33-year-old, but the Halos are determined to solve their pitching woes and giving Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and company a chance at a deep playoff run.

In fact, Loup is the second high-profile free agent that the Angels steal away from the Mets, after they signed Noah Syndergaard to a one-year, $21 million deal a few days ago.

Loup was brilliant in a Mets uniform this season, with a 0.95 ERA, a 2.45 FIP, and 1.6 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in 56.2 frames. He struck out 26.1% of the hitters he faced and earned a very solid 50.4% groundball rate.

New Mets’ general manager Billy Eppler couldn’t do much to stop Loup from signing with the Angels, because he was, according to SNY, already deep in talks with Los Angeles when the new executive assumed his role in New York.

The Mets want to add starters

Also according to SNY, once the Mets realized what Loup’s market was, they chose to continue to focus on starters. Their rotation depth is extremely thin: at the moment, Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker, David Peterson, Tylor Megill, and Carlos Carrasco are the top starters, and there are injury questions surrounding most of them.

For the Mets, retaining Marcus Stroman and adding to the overall depth is perhaps more important than Loup. There are plenty of options in the reliever free agent market, too, and Loup was bound to regress a little in 2022.

The lack of a new CBA agreement between owners and players will likely result in offseason transactions being frozen from December 1 until both parties can reach a deal, so lots of free agent deals are expected to be completed in November.