Brown: Which Pitchers Should The Mets Target In Free Agency?

Jake Brown
October 31, 2019 - 10:17 am
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The baseball season is over. The Nationals won their first World Series. The Mets are still trying to decide which puppet manager they will hire. 

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It’s now time to begin the offseason and think about the hot stove and how to improve the roster. Brodie Van Wagenen has a lot of decisions to make this winter. He’s got a strong young core in place, but the team needs some key pieces to put the Mets over the top, especially with the World Series champs now in their division. 

Let’s take a look this week at some key free-agent pitchers available that the Mets should go after, but in many cases, probably don’t have a great shot of getting. Keep in mind that the Mets already have around $125 million committed to guys in 2020 and that number will rise after arbitration hearings. In 2021, this all changes, but for now, they aren’t going to have a ton to spend. 

Starting Pitching: 

With the Mets seemingly unlikely to bring Zack Wheeler back, they will need someone to replace him in the starting rotation. 

Gerrit Cole

While the Astros somehow didn’t pitch him in Game 7, Gerrit Cole was an absolute machine in 2019. He has earned a massive deal in free agency and will have plenty of bidders. If the Mets are serious about improving their pitching staff, they would offer Cole a big contract, especially if they decide to explore a Noah Syndergaard trade. If the Mets pulled off a Christmas miracle and signed Cole, it would make trading Syndergaard a whole lot easier to swallow. The issue is Cole probably will get $30 million-plus a year for several years. The Mets dug into their wallets for Jacob deGrom, and that could be it … but you can always hope. 

Madison Bumgarner 

While he may be 30 and coming off a year where he wasn’t great, that could end up working out for the Mets, as Bumgarner might not cost them a fortune. Bumgarner’s stats on the road were not good, which could hurt him in free agency. Citi Field is a pitcher’s park, although not like it used to be, and Bumgarner could have success in Queens. He’s also got the playoff dominance under his belt and would make the Mets rotation insanely good, especially in October. DeGrom, Bumgarner, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz is an incredible rotation. MadBum made $12 million last year, which is pretty much a bargain. If the Mets can get him somewhere around $15 million a year, it’s a no brainer to sign him. 

Madison Bumgarner
USA TODAY Images

Michael Wacha

This is probably the most realistic name of the three because he will cost the least. Michael Wacha had a down year in 2019, which could help the Mets go bargain hunting. He made around $6.3 million, which would make him a cheaper option than bringing Wheeler back with a qualifying offer. Wacha is just as good, if not better than him too. The Mets should aim high and try for Cole or Bumgarner, but Wacha would not be a bad consolation if they choose to put more money into the bullpen. 

Bullpen

Speaking of the bullpen, it was the Mets’ demise in 2019. They desperately need lots of help in the bullpen to join the likes of Seth Lugo and Justin Wilson. They need to build around those two guys because Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia can not be trusted if they do return. 

Will Smith

The Mets have already got Wiggy with it (Ty Wigginton for younger Mets fans who forgot). It might be time for them to get jiggy with it next. Will Smith is coming off a career year, which comes at the perfect time for him entering free agency. Smith was 6-0 with 34 saves and a 2.76 ERA, after putting up a 2.55 ERA in 2018. Smith is a good lefty, which makes him a no-brainer for the Mets to go after. He would be a terrific closer option and second lefty for the Mets to pair with Wilson. Smith will certainly get a big raise from the more than $4 million he made in 2019. 

Steve Cishek

Steve Cishek has flown under the radar as one of the most consistent relievers in the sport. Cishek has a career 2.69 ERA and his delivery always makes him a tough guy for hitters to face out of the bullpen. The Mets should be all over Cishek, who they have seen plenty of times over the years. He’s bounced around the league a bit recently, but the Mets need to offer him a deal. He made $6.5 million last season and the Mets should be able to try and top that to lure him to Queens. 

Cody Allen

Cody Allen is coming off his worst season and was released by the Angels, which means you know the Mets will probably sign him. He’s actually had a really nice career up until the past two years and could be lightning in a bottle. It’s always a crapshoot with relievers, so it’s not crazy to think Allen returns to closer form. He’s not going to cost the Mets much, which is why I put him on this list and expect them to take a long look at making him a middle reliever. 

HONORABLE MENTION: 

Rick Porcello

Jake Odorizzi 

Wade Miley

Greg Holland 

Pedro Strop

Dellin Betances 

These are some guys that won’t break the bank that could help the Mets. Porcello would have to come at far less than the $21 million he was making after having a bad 2019 season. Odorizzi and Miley should be around the $10 million a year range. Holland is coming off a bad year, so he would come at a discount. Strop is coming off his worst year but has a career 3.21 ERA. Betances should not cost much either, considering he was injured for a lot of 2019 and would be coming in with question marks. 

Van Wagenen has to go out and get at least one good starting pitcher. He’s also got to get at least a few arms like the ones above for the bullpen. If not, the Mets aren’t going to become a contender. 

You can follow Jake on Twitter @JakeBrownRadio

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