New York Mets Best Relief Pitching Options on the Free Agent Market

New York Yankees, Justin Wilson

The New York Mets may not need extra bullpen help but the more,, the merrier. Like the starting pitching market, there is a clear-cut top guy in Liam Hendriks, but the Mets already have a dominant closer. What are the other strong, late-inning options for the Mets to bring in for the 2021 season?

1. Liam Hendriks 

Liam Hendriks is the best reliever in baseball over the last two seasons. In 99 games since 2019, he has a 1.79 ERA, 39 saves, and an astounding 13.1 K/9. Hendriks only allowed six home runs in that span of games and would undoubtedly make the Mets bullpen the best in baseball. He is well within the Mets budget, but Hendriks may not be as high on their list as George Springer or Trevor Bauer.

Adding Hendriks would create a three-headed monster with Edwin Diaz and Seth Lugo. It allows the Mets to mix and match their bullpen, similarly to the Tampa Bay Rays. Pitchers are creatures of habit, but all three have shown versatility to pitch prior to the ninth inning.

2. Brad Hand

Moving to the bullpen was the greatest thing that ever happened to Brad Hand‘s career. Since 2016, Hand has a 2.70 ERA, 104 saves, and three All-Star appearances. Despite the Cleveland Indians attempt to save money, it was still a surprise for the team to waive him after the season.

The Mets bullpen is desperate for a left-handed reliever after Justin Wilson became a free agent and the Mets non-tendered Chasen Shreve. Hand would create a different breed of a three-headed monster in the bullpen with his ability to neutralize lefties. Left-handers have no success against Hand; they have hit well under .200 since Hand became a reliever. Hand would be the perfect neutralizer for NL East lefties Freddie Freeman, Bryce Harper, and Juan Soto.

3. Alex Colome

Alex Colome is a more likely right-handed option for the Mets. The 32-year old veteran only allowed two earned runs in 22.1 innings pitched. Colome is as close to Mariano Rivera 2.0 as anyone can get. He only features a cutter and 4-seam fastball, ditching everything else.

Versatility is the name of the game for relievers this offseason and Colome fits the mold. He has 138 career saves but is likely an eighth inning reliever with Lugo. The Mets have a lot of hard throwing, swing and miss relievers; Colome is a good change of pace in comparison. He is a master of inducing weak contact due to his tremendous cutter. Hitters had a 3.1% barrel rate in 2020.

4. Justin Wilson

The market is a lot quieter on Justin Wilson than it would have been last offseason. Wilson would agree 2020 was not his finest season but had a 3.66 ERA in 23 games. He fits perfectly into any role the Mets have and even lefty/righty splits in his career. Wilson was a big part of the Mets resurgence in 2019 and is an underrated part of their bullpen.

5. Keone Kela

Keone Kela comes with plenty of injury and personality baggage which is a huge risk in New York. His bad clubhouse reputation is well documented but partnering with the culture with the Mets could benefit him. The lights out stuff is proven with a career 3.27 ERA and 11 K/9 but he ranks low due to injuries and past suspension. Kela is primed for a one year deal with an option for a second due if the risk pays off.

 

New York Yankees: Three free agent relievers to pursue

New York Yankees

With reliever Tommy Kahnle expected to miss all of the 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, the New York Yankees could use another high leverage pitcher. Here are three relievers that the Yankees could pursue this offseason.

Liam Hendricks

Hendricks, 31, has been arguably one of the best relievers in the league over the past few seasons. He pitched to the tune of a 1.80 ERA in 2019 and a 1.78 ERA in 2020. The Australian born right-hander punched-out 37 batters in 25.1 innings in 2020, picking up 14 saves and three wins.

Kirby Yates

Yates thrived for three years in San Diego before missing most of the 2020 season with an injury. He had a 3.72 ERA in 2017, and got his ERA down to a whopping 1.19 in 2019. Yates was an all-star for the first time in 2019 and even finished in the top-10 in CY Young award voting.

If Yates were to come to New York, it wouldn’t be his first time donning the pinstripes. He pitched 41 games for the Yankees in 2016 with a 5.23 ERA to his name.

Alex Colomé

Colomé has been one of the most consistent relievers in the MLB over the span of his career, but 2020 was undoubtedly his best season. He had a 0.81 ERA over 22.1 innings, punching out 16 and winning two games. In his eight year career, Colomé has only had three seasons with an ERA over three, and hasn’t had a season where his ERA climbed over four.

There are a handful of solid relievers that will hit the free-agent market this offseason. The Yankees could use any of these arms to help bolster their already solid bullpen.