The Mets are entering the offseason following one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history that saw the blue and orange go from World Series contenders to finishing 75-87.
One of the key reasons the Mets’ struggled could be attributed to how poorly their bullpen performed.
The blue and orange had a bullpen with a 4.45 team ERA, the 8th highest in the majors, and have already lost multiple relievers, including set-up man Adam Ottavino, to free agency.
With limited options in their minor league system, David Stearns and company have had to turn to free agency to upgrade their bullpen, and late Thursday night, they acquired a potential setup man.
The Mets signed Jorge López to a one-year $2 million deal.
López’s baseball journey started in 2011 when the Milwaukee Brewers selected him in the second round of the MLB Draft.
The Puerto Rico native spent the next four years working up the Milwaukee system and appeared in the 2014 All-Star Futures Game before being called up in 2015.
López pitched in 13 games across three seasons before getting dealt just before the 2018 trade deadline alongside Brett Phillips to the Kansas City Royals for Mike Moustakas.
The right-hander would pitch in 47 games, 25 of which were starts across three seasons, with the blue-and-white pitching 158.1 innings to a 6.42 ERA while striking out 132.
López’s consistent struggles led to the Royals designating him for assignment on August 7, 2020.
The Orioles would claim López on waivers, and the Puerto Rico native would pitch 38.1 innings across nine appearances, six of which were starts, to a 6.34 ERA while striking out 28.
López spent 2021 primarily as a starter for the Orioles before being demoted to the bullpen in late August. In 33 appearances, 25 of which were starts, López pitched 121.2 innings to a 6.07 ERA and struck out 112.
After an impressive Spring Training, López began 2022 as the Orioles closer and shined. The Puerto Rico native made the 2022 All-Star Game before being dealt to the Minnesota Twins at the trade deadline.
While López struggled once arriving in Minnesota, the right-hander still finished 2022, pitching 71 innings across 67 appearances to a 2.54 ERA while striking out 72.
The Puerto Rico native struggled mightily in 2023 before being dealt to the Miami Marlins, struggling there, being placed on waivers, and being claimed by the Orioles before being designated for assignment on September 30.
Across his three teams, López pitched 59 innings across 49 appearances to a 5.13 ERA while striking out 41.
What does this mean for the Mets?
Signing López is a low-risk, high-reward situation for the blue and orange. The Mets will hope López can revitalize his career in Queens and become a set-up man behind Edwin Díaz.
The one-year contract will also allow the Mets to easily trade him at the deadline if he has a massive first half, which is excellent for an organization that wants to improve its farm system.
While this is another excellent low-risk acquisition for the Mets, the blue and orange need to find higher-quality bullpen pieces with more consistent track records if they hope to improve in 2024 legitimately.