With the Mets now contenders for the playoffs, and excitement growing with them being built up around the league, it is now time to take the team seriously. When you take a team seriously, you must look at the flaws in order to be able to defeat it. The starting rotation has been nearly untouchable since the All-Star break, which has helped to fuel the run. The offense has been great as well, with many of the offensive pieces rounding out at the perfect time. Still, the weakness of the team comes at the end of games, the bullpen.
Edwin Diaz, the best closer last season, has faltered in his first season as a Met. Pair that with the struggles of Jeurys Familia and most of the other pieces in the bullpen, and the bullpen by far has been the weakest link this season. Seth Lugo has been the only bright spot there this season, and the only one who has been able to be trusted. Since the only thing that was done at the tradeline was the acquisition of Marcus Stroman, which was fantastic for the rotation, there was still room left for improvements in the bullpen. Enter Brad Brach.
To look at Brach’s numbers this season, it looks like he was already a member of the cast of characters that the Mets have had in their bullpen all season long. In 39.2 innings, Brach has pitched to a 6.13 ERA, so it has been a struggle for him to say the least. For the Mets, it is a move that makes complete sense. They get to bring in a player that has a fantastic track record of being an elite reliever, while not putting too much capital into it. While his time with the Cubs didn’t exactly workout, it is possible that a change of scenery could help Brach.
Brach, while not to the same extent, struggled before relocating to a new team last season. Brach began last season with the Baltimore Orioles and started with a 4.85 ERA before being traded to the Atlanta Braves. Once with the Braves, Brach found the magic that he is used to producing late in games. With the Braves, Brach pitched to a 1.52 ERA in 23.2 innings pitched. This should give the Mets some sort of hope, since some of those innings came against NL East teams down the stretch last season.
A product of Freehold High School and Monmouth University, the Jersey boy gets to join the Mets at a very opportune time. With the Nationals coming to town, and the Mets the hottest team in baseball, Brach has an opportunity to turn a lost season for him into one where he helped one of his home teams to a playoff push. This is what Brodie Van Wagenen is banking on with the signing of Brach. Van Wagenen deserves credit for this move, paired with the trade acquisition of Stroman. With both moves, the G.M told his team that he was confident in them, and to keep fighting. And now, it has them within striking distance of the playoffs.