The signing of Bartolo Colon was very likely the last major move that the Mets will make this winter to improve their starting rotation, so Sandy Alderson and company are now working on the bullpen. Former MLB general manager Jim Duquette tweeted on Wednesday night that the Mets were about to meet with the agent for veteran right-handed relievers John Axford and Kevin Gregg.
Axford is the former Brewers closer who saved 46 games in 2011 before a bump in walk rate and a decrease in strand rate caused his ERA to balloon to 4.67 in 2012. It also didn't help that Axford saw a ridiculous 19 percent of fly balls go over the fence that season. The home run problem didn't go away in 2013, but he got his walk rate under control and started to strand runners again. A decent showing with the Brewers earned him a trade to the Cardinals in time for the playoffs.
Gregg has ninth inning experience with several teams, most recently for the Cubs, a team he saved 33 games for last season. Saves don't tell you a whole lot about a pitcher's skill, though, and that's why Gregg is a pitcher that many clubs would like to stay away from. He hasn't posted a WHIP below 1.30 since 2008, and last season he walked 32 batters in 62 innings. By WAR standards, Gregg is more or less a replacement level guy whom the Mets should not invest much in despite he ability to miss a bat or two.
The Mets have a lot of inexperienced arms in their bullpen, and bringing in a veteran or two couldn't hurt. They just have to be sure that the guy they bring in is more of an effective pitcher than a saves accumulator.