Are the Mets crossing all their T’s in their search for relief pitching help?

Brodie Van Wagenen, 2020 Decider (Photo: SNY)

The Mets are on the board in adding to their starting pitching staff. But not much has been done with relievers. Are they covering all bases…

Reportedly, the Mets are one of the teams competing for free-agent Dellin Betances, a relief pitcher with a proven track record when he was with the New York Yankees. That can only be a good thing.

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But just as impressive are the number of free-agent relief pitchers who are still out there. Spotrac is by far the best source to find a complete list of who is available with reference to the 2019 W.A.R. for each, as well as salary history from the top on down.

Betances, not surprisingly, is towards the top of the list and is a position to be paid the big bucks.

But as you drift on down the list, there is a tendency among all of us to focus on names we recognize.

Mets: Could there be a diamond in the rough…

So that when I go through the exercise, I see and pause on names like Daniel Hudson, Tyler Clippard, Will Harris, and Craig Stammen – all with plus WAR’s – and seemingly fit to draw the attention of teams for further examination.

Not even listed is Chance Adams, DFA’d by the Yankees and soon to be a free agent and Matt Harvey, who has every reason to be motivated to rejuvenate his career with a second go-around with the Mets – this time as a reliever.

As you go through the list, names are apt to jump out at you as well, and you may have pause to say, “Mmm, have the Mets looked at this guy?”

Adam Guttridge, the Mets Analytics Guru (Photo: The Athletic)
Adam Guttridge, the Mets Analytics Guru (Photo: The Athletic)

Neither of us, however, have the time or the resources to drill-down on each reliever.

That job belongs to Adam Guttridge, who was hired by Brodie Van Wagenen to be the assistant manager of systematic development, which is a fancy way of saying he’s the analytics guru of the Mets.

In February 2019, the Mets added long-time Baseball Prospectus writer Russell Carleton and NEIFI analyst Andrew Perpetua to their analytics team, and the department has expanded since then.

The workday of Guttridge and his staff are known only to Van Wagenen or his Assistant GM designee. Guttridge may well have assignments drawn up for each in areas other than relief pitchers.

Are the Mets covering all bases

But if indeed, the Mets are looking for inexpensive, yet experienced relief pitchers, it seems logical and necessary they’d be scrutinizing Spotrac’s list – with the singular goal of finding that diamond in the rough.

That is the relief pitcher who has an upside hidden from all but himself. In another context, this could be Gio Urshela, who at this time last year was working diligently to make himself a major league hitter – and Brian Cashman found him.

For that pitcher, though, it could be the guy working in the weeds on a put-away pitch that may or may not ever get the attention of the Mets – or for that matter – any other team.

The Mets, like many teams, go for the jugular and the headlines. They see what the Yankees have done across town trotting out Gerrit Cole as “The Prize” of the 2020 Free Agent Class.

Adam Warren - A Diamond in the rough? (Photo: NY Post)
Adam Warren – A Diamond in the rough? (Photo: NY Post)

But on the same day, the Yankees signed Adam Warren for the umpteenth time to a minor league contract as insurance and possible addition to their bullpen.

What did it hurt the Yankees to make this signing? Nothing.

So too for the Mets if the effort and due diligence are made to locate and bring into the family second and third-tier relievers, some of whom (the more experienced) will need to be provided incentive-filled contracts.

Mets fan can only hope Van Wagenen and his team are covering all the bases to fill the need in the bullpen – and not only focusing on the big name and expensive Hader and Betances types…but the sleepers, who if they don’t find first, some other team will.

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.