In The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R Tolkien wrote that “All that is gold does not glitter.”
Certainly, there is a lot of gold to be chased in the MLB these days. The gold that everyone is chasing from the second they begin the season is to raise the gold-plated Commissioner’s Trophy as World Series Champion. Of course, the rings that come with are becoming more over-studded with diamonds now rather than gold, but there is still gold to be found in them. Then there is the gold that is typically found in the offseason, which is the free agent market. The Mets found their gold this offseason by trading for Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano, two absolute studs on the diamond.
For teams this season though, there is a rare opportunity to find gold during the season on the free agent market. This gold comes in the form of Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel. Both of those pitchers are still without a home due to their asking prices not being on par with what teams want, and that they are both over 30. Their age should not deter teams from them, because although they come with their own individual faults, they are both very talented players. So talented in fact, that many Mets fans are clamoring for the services of Keuchel. While Keuchel is certainly very shiny to the eye of a Mets fan desperate for better pitching, he is not the solution that the team needs at the moment.
As for starter’s ERA, the Mets have done about average in terms of what the rest of the MLB has done. Back to back underwhelming starts from Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler certainly contributed to their 16th-best starters ERA of 4.30. The bullpen, as it has been widely discussed, has been a massive weak spot for the team so far this season. The silver lining in that however is that the entire NL East is in the bottom 10 of MLB bullpen ERA.
With that information known, it should be evident that the Mets ought not to focus their energy on acquiring Keuchel at the moment. They most likely sign Kimbrel either, because it is hard to imagine Kimbrel accepting a role other than closer at this stage of his career. That is with good reason, as he has 333 saves to his name so far. The Mets had their opportunity to capitalize on the strong crop of free agent relievers this offseason, and came away with Jeurys Familia. While Familia certainly helps, they could have done better. As a result on swinging and missing on free agents such as Adam Ottavino, the team has a bullpen ERA of 6.25.
Of course, there is still plenty of time for the bullpen to improve this season, and with arms like Seth Lugo, you would expect them to. Signing Keuchel or Kimbrel is not the solution for this team however. Now, more than ever, is the time to avoid signing players simply because you are linked with them in a headline. Instead, they will have to be patient and wait for the trade deadline.