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:

Locks
Edwin Diaz
Trevor May

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?

18 comments on “Wednesday catch-all thread (12/2/20)

  • footballhead

    Matz will (should) be given a chance in ST to show he can be a starter. I think (hope) that 2020 was an aberration and that at least, he can be a serviceable #4/5 in the rotation.

    Now Familia is the one I don’t want to see wearing a Mets uniform next year.

    Unless the Mets cant swing a deal or signing for another SP, then Lugo should stay in the bullpen. He’s just so much better there then starting.

    All the others? I’ve no clue; hope this front office does. No doubt they’ll lose some of these today; hope the ones they keep are the “right” ones.

  • TexasGusCC

    I would tender everyone and wait until March to see how everyone looks. If Betances is sitting in the high 80’s and can’t generate anything, he goes. If Familia is still walking the ballpark in March, he goes. If Brach is also walking the ballpark in March, he goes. To use the old saying, these things will figure themselves out somehow. Too, I don’t think the seven innings Smith got show anything.

    Think about how much the previous front office paid to get guys that didn’t even have minor league options. Braxton, Castro… Castro would need to be treated like a Rule 5 guy. Keep him on your roster and give him lesser leveraged situation until he can prove that he knows where the ball is going. Matz actually has an option remaining if they want to stash him, but I’d like to see either him or Lugo in the rotation, but not both.

    Then you have Jurado, Tropeano, Kilome, Jacob Barnes, Szapucki… what about those guys? McWilliams is getting a spot for sure.

    Need at least one more front of the rotation starter. The order right now is JdG, Stroman, ________, Lugo/Matz, Peterson.

  • David Groveman

    A lot of this comes down to the Mets rotation and moves still to be made.

    Rotation Locks:
    1. Jacob deGrom
    2. Noah Syndergaard (When Healthy)
    3. Marcus Stroman

    The Mets seem likely to pursue at least one free agent starter and proceed with a competition of David Peterson, Seth Lugo and Steven Matz for the final two (until Syndergaard is ready) spots. That being said, I think the Mets still prefer to have Lugo’s proven bullpen success back there and are rooting for Matz and Peterson.

    My best guess for the start of the season:

    Rotation:
    1. deGrom
    2. Stroman
    3. Free Agent
    4. Matz
    5. Peterson

    Bullpen:
    CL – Diaz
    SU – Lugo
    SU – May
    MR – Castro
    MR – Familia
    MR – Betances/Brach
    MR – Shreeve
    LR – Gsellman

    With the top three of the bullpen looking much stronger it might be enough.

  • TJ

    Given the prices on mid-level pitching, combined with the ability to cut bait and cost of an arb guy at the end of spring training, tendering Matz is essentially a no-brainer. That said, he should be in a clear battle with Peterson and perhaps another vet for that #5 spot. Peterson going to AAA to get some more seasoning likely gives the organization the most depth, but give him a shot to prove he belongs in March, which could force the Matz issue.

    The bigger rotation question is whether they import one or two quality starters, and that to a great extent depends on what they expect from Syndergaard. Depending on him, even as of June, is risky given the nature of TJ, so they need decent arms, but likely not two multi-year deals. Let’s say the go big with Bauer or Odorizzi. That gets Degrom-free agent-Stroman, that leaves Matz-Peterson-Syndergaard-Lugo for two spots. I’d opt for another vet on a one year deal to push Matz, Peterson, and Lugo if he is given a shot at starting in 2021.

  • MattyMets

    May was a nice pickup, but I’m not ready to go to battle with this pen – even if Diaz has really figured it out and they keep Lugo in the pen where he belongs. Unless at least two of Familia, Betances, Brach, Castro, Shreve bounces back, this bullpen will not be deep enough. Hope has never been a winning strategy in Queens, but maybe that will change now. Smith deserves spring training consideration, but, at best, he’s the mop-up guy. Gsellman needs to be cut loose. I’d like to see the Mets BP add Brad Hand or at least bring back Justin Wilson.

  • Brian Joura

    MLBTR has a twitter report from some “national” guy I’ve never heard of who says that Shreve will be non-tendered/

    • Jim OMalley

      Shreve is non-tendered.

    • TJ

      Shreve was a plesant surprise. This strongly suggests that Alderson will import a higher caliber LHP for the pen, which is a good thing.

      • Brian Joura

        I just find it impossible to justify cutting Shreve loose and bringing back Gsellman.

        • TJ

          No doubt Shreve was good last year and Gsellman was flat out bad. But, I think I see what Alderson is doing here. The Mets have very thin upper minors depth, and acquiring decent guys with options as teams tend to hold those players. It appears Gsellman has two options left, so that alone adds value. The pen has no lefties now, so if the plan is to acquire a guy like Wilson or even Hand, clearly better than Shreve, the Gsellman’s value is as a depth starter at AAA. An AAA staff of Peterson-Gsellman-Szapucki-Kilome provides decent depth, allowing Peterson more room for development and perhaps Gsellman a chance to settle and try to regain his prior form before being thrown into a big league game. $1 million and change on a possible 7th starter with options is something a wealthy team can afford.

          • Brian Joura

            Jacob Barnes doesn’t have an option left and they keep him, despite being a RHP with an ERA half of a run worse than Shreve in the majors. Since 2017, Gsellman has a 5.03 ERA in the majors but they keep him over Tropeano, who has a 4.29 ERA in the majors with many more starts on the ledger. If Gsellman’s ability to fill both roles is a plus – what makes him better than Tropeano, who (I think) has an option remaining?

            In a way, it seems like Shreve has the misfortune of being a guy that BVW brought to the team, while Gsellman was an Alderson draft pick. Three of the four guys who were non-tendered were BVW acquisitions.

            Of all of the guys on the roster as of yesterday with the May signing, where would Shreve have ranked? He’s behind Diaz, May and Lugo but anyone else? Who would you rather see come to the mound – Shreve or Familia or Brach? If you can pay Gsellman a 7-figure salary to play in Syracuse, you can cut Brach and pay/play Shreve, instead.

            • TJ

              Brian,
              Certainly all good points, and as you and Name note, Gsellman being an Alderson guy most likely has an impact. I like Shreve and he was a good Met last year. If the LH arm in the pen is Hand/Wilson over Shreve, I think that makes more sense.

              Deciding to pay a “minimal” premium AAA starter depth makes some sense given talent gap in the organization between upper level and lower level starters. I’m not sure how else to do that besides grabbing some AAAA guys more or less. Maybe there is an R A Dickey out there to be had. From the novice perspective, picking Tropeano vs Gsellman is a roll of the dice…Gsellman has certainly disappointed but he does have an extra option and his career FIP is better than Tropeano’s, for what that’s worth.

              • Brian Joura

                I’d like to see that FIP breakdown between starting and relieving.

                More importantly, which would you rather have — Hand/Wilson & Shreve or Brach & Gsellman? This time yesterday, I would have counted Shreve as the team’s 4th-best reliever. You could have made multiple additions to the pen and still have Shreve be one of the guys to make the Opening Day bullpen. There are about a dozen equal or better relief options than Gsellman in the org right now. I can’t fathom how a guy who you hope (and really, hope is all there is) can be a useful depth option as a starter is more valuable than a guy who you just saw obliterate LHB and hold his own against righties.

        • Name

          Let’s not forget Gsellman was an Alderson draftee.

  • Chris F

    Matz is back for $5.2M.

    Woo hoo.

  • Metsense

    The Mets are thin in good starting pitching. This off season they should sign two free agent starting pitchers good enough to fill the third and fourth spots in the rotation. The fifth spot should be a competition in spring between Peterson/Lugo/Matz. If Lugo loses then he is a bullpen piece. If Matz is the loser then he is the long reliever. If Peterson is the loser he would go to Syracuse. Gsellman with two options is earmarked for AAA starting and the shuttled if he performs. When Syndergaard is healthy then he would bump the fifth starter anyway. If Cohen wants a championship then he should fill out the rotation with reliable pitchers and fill out the AAA rotation with depth in case of injury. No team avoids injury to one or two starting pitchers in the course of the season.

  • Mike W

    56 new players are available from being non-tendered. Steve Cohen asked the fans on Twitter “Who was the most interesting player non-tendered and why?”

    I think we really need to open a channel between Steve Cohen and Brian. Brian provides excellent analytical reasons to make moves for the team.

    Sure, there are some interesting names out there, but who is one pitcher and one position player that the Mets should think about signing?

    Ok, here are my non-analytical seat of the pants thoughts.

    Archie Bradley
    Curt Casali (backup)

  • José

    A YouTube channel (Mets Fans Only) has a video titled:

    “New York Mets to sign former Chicago White Sox catcher James McCann?”

    He further posts:

    “According to multiple sources on twitter. The Mets are making a serious push to sign James McCann to a four year deal.

    The Mets are in “active talks” with McCann, tweets Fansided’s Robert Murray, who adds that a four-year deal indeed looks possible. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets that the Mets are making a “serious push” to land the former White Sox backstop.”

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