While the list of available players at this stage of the season is not nearly as enticing as an incoming free agent list, there is something to be said about players who are on the market who could potentially make a positive impact for a playoff hopeful club. It’s important to note that the expectations of said players are relatively non-existent, hence why they have all been designated for assignment by their respective teams. However it’s possible to catch lightening in a bottle every once in a while with a low risk move. A move of this nature could potentially bolster the back of a bullpen or bench depth. Of course, any addition to the 40 man roster would require a subtraction of equal proportion. It is also more likely than not that the Mets would not sign one of these available players, however it is good to know what options are out there in case of an extenuating circumstance.
Brad Brach (bats: R, throws: R) – A former 2016 All Star with the Baltimore Orioles, Brach was released by the Chicago Cubs after posting a 6.13 ERA across 39.2 innings of his 2019 campaign. While the ERA leaves much to be desired, his FIP is more forgiving at 4.12. Brach has sported a season 10+ K/9 multiple times in his career and just last year was acquired at the trade deadline by the Atlanta Braves to provide bullpen support. Perhaps the Mets can look towards Brach as a veteran with high leverage experience to provide pivotal outs out in the bullpen down the line.
Joe Panik (bats: L, throws: R) – The smooth fielding second baseman was recently released by the San Francisco Giants and is an interesting candidate as an end of the bench filler for the Mets. Panik, a former gold glove winner, owns a solid UZR in 2019 of 2.1 and has been historically above average in this regard. His bat leaves a lot to be desired as he has not had a particularly encouraging wRC+ since 2015 when he sported a 135 mark. This year he has .235/.310/.317 slash line with just a .254 BABIP over 103 games. It’s possible that the .768 OPS of 2017 can come to life with a little change of environment. The Mets can consider Panik as an upgrade over Luis Guillorme if they wanted to take a flyer.
Kyle Barraclaugh (bats: R, throws: R) – Barraclaugh has bounced around the NL East with the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals, who recently designated him for assignment. He was traded to the Nationals in the offseason in an attempt to shore up their bullpen. However after 25.2 lackluster innings of long balls, the reliever is now available as an option to shore up the Mets bullpen. Barraclaugh started his career with 2.44 FIP and 13.3 K/9 over his first three years with the Marlins. There is certainly untapped potential in his arm which, when added to his NL East experience makes an interesting prospective addition.
Nick Vincent (bats: R, throws: R) – The former relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants sports two first names and was considered a potential breakout candidate within the organization before the season started. However a pectoral injury forced Vincent to the 60 day IL where he was recently activated and then designated for assignment. The 33 year old reliever had a very effective 2017 season where he posted a 2.82 FIP over 64.2 innings for the Mariners; he also has a few more successful seasons prior with the Padres. Despite a less than thrilling 2018 season, he still managed to post an above average fWAR of 0.7. Vincent would be a rather desperate move if the bullpen needed assistance.
Of course there are other available options out there, including Jonathan Lucroy, and it’s likely that others will be released in the coming weeks. With the way that players like Luis Guillorme, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Robert Gsellman have performed it is not unreasonable to think that the Mets will bottom feed on low risk options moving forward. It will be interesting to see if one of their role players can return to health in the coming weeks, or if they will be forced to take a shot at a guy like Panik or Bach.