On Sunday, the New York Mets surpsingly lost out on Brad Hand to the Washington Nationals on a one-year, $10.5 million deal. Hand joined the Nationals because he will serve as their closer, an opportunity he would not have received with the Mets. With Hand off the board, who is the lefty that will join the bullpen?
Hand should be the closer for Nats, too. Hudson has done a nice job for them in that role and he’s the one who closed out the 2019 World Series. But word is Hudson doesn’t mind setting up. Had Hand gone to Mets, path to close was less clear.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 25, 2021
Hand would have made a tremendous addition in the Mets bullpen but would only set-up Edwin Diaz. If the Mets paid more than $10.5 million, they could have easily signed him. There is no point in offering closer money to use Hand before the ninth while other roster needs to be filled. Fans may complain about missing out, but the Mets did all they could to land him.
Three Good Left Handed Options
1. Justin Wilson
Justin Wilson is seen as plan-B for the Mets bullpen, and they know him very well. Despite little chatter surrounding Wilson, he is a very underrated part of a strong bullpen. Wilson had a 2.97 ERA, with 67 strikeouts over 58.2 innings during his two seasons with the Mets. He was a key part of the bullpen due to his ability to get righties and lefties out and sign for around $4 million-$5 million.
2. Aaron Loup
Aaron Loup made great work of his opportunity with the Tampa Bay Rays during the 2020 season. Loup had a 2.52 ERA in 24 games and had four scoreless appearances against the Houston Astros in the ALCS. He does not possess Wilson’s swing and miss stuff but was great at limiting walks (4 in 25 IP). Loup also produces plenty of ground balls with his heavy sinker. He would bring another great veteran presence to the bullpen.
3. Chasen Shreve
When the Mets non-tendered Chasen Shreve, it came as a huge surprise because of his solid 2020. Shreve emerged as a multiple innings reliever and had the best strikeouts rate of his career. His fastball/split-finger combination propelled him to a 12.2 K/9. Shreve’s 37.8% whiff rate also finished in the top four percent of all pitchers in baseball. He is much bigger of a risk because of his lesser track record, but it is worth considering. If partnered with Wilson again, the Mets could rekindle Shreve’s 2020 success.