The Mets made their first significant free agent signing of the Steve Cohen era, getting reliever Trevor May on a two-year deal believed to be for around $15 million total. May has great strikeout rates but his overall performance last year was not all that special. In 2019, when he worked with current Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, May had a 2.94 ERA, nearly a run lower than his ERA in 2020. But May’s FIPs were nearly identical in the two seasons, as he had a 3.73 FIP in 2019 and a 3.62 mark last year. Regardless of which number you want to focus on, he’s likely an improvement over most of the relievers on the team. Mets relievers had a 4.60 ERA last year.
The Mets have a full pen but it’s not necessarily packed with shut down relievers. The signing certainly doesn’t bode well for Robert Gsellman, who seems more likely than ever to be non-tendered later today. Perhaps they’ll keep Gsellman for Triple-A depth but it’s hard to imagine a scenario where he’s on the Opening Day roster. Here’s how the Mets’ pen looks right now, with a couple of locks and a whole bunch of questions:
Seth Lugo – Starter or reliever?
Jeurys Familia – How long will they tolerate him not throwing strikes?
Chasen Shreve – Seems likely to be tendered but you never know
Dellin Betances – Can he recover velocity or is he just your average junkballer at this point of his career?
Miguel Castro – Gave up a lot to get him but stuff outweighs his results
Brad Brach – Guaranteed contract but not enough to guarantee him a roster spot
Drew Smith – It was only 7 IP but a 6.43 ERA is still ugly
Steven Matz – Starter or reliever?
And what about Justin Wilson? His numbers were down from 2019 but he pitched better than those indicate and Sandy Alderson does like his lefty relievers. Will they look to re-sign him?
If the Mets carry an 8-man pen, that means three of the guys listed above won’t be here for Opening Day. Smith will likely be one of those but who are the other two?