The New York Mets have made moves in the offseason, to improve their starting rotation. They should now shift their attention to strengthening their bullpen, which was a struggle for all of 2023.
Even though it was mainly due to the absence of closer Edwin Diaz and that he will be back this season, they still need more.
Adam Ottavino, who saved some games in Diaz’s absence, probably won’t be back after becoming a free agent. The Mets still have lefty Brooks Raley, to fill in as the setup man, but after him, there’s uncertainty for the rest of the bullpen.
Perhaps the Mets could look out West in the Houston Astros organization for one of the two free agent relievers out there in Hector Neris and Ryne Stanek. The Astros just signed Josh Hader to the largest contract for a reliever. So, it will appear likely that neither Neris nor Stanek will be back with the Astros.
Getting either Neris or Stanek, would upgrade the Mets depleted bullpen. Both of them were key pieces in the bullpen for the Astros 2022 World Series Champion roster.
Neris in 10 seasons in the major leagues, has a 3.24 ERA. In 2023, he had a 1.71 ERA which was a career season low for him in that category. Along with his big game experience, he’s also had experience as a closer and pitching in big markets as he has done both times with the Philadelphia Phillies prior to pitching for the Astros.
Stanek in eight seasons in the major leagues, has a 3.45 ERA. His best stretch has come with the Astros in the last three seasons. Stanek’s best season was in 2022 when he had a 1.15 ERA on his way to helping the Astros win the World Series.
Both Neris and Stanek have hard throwing stuff that can give the big strikeouts in any key. Either one can fit in the Mets bullpen, whether it’s in the mid innings or in the 7th or 8th innings. Neris can fill in the ninth inning of a lead when Diaz needs a day off.
The Mets need to add more bullpen pieces. Either Neris or Stanek, are good options that won’t cost too much.