2014 MLB Free Agent Profile: Eric O'Flaherty

Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in May but was very good before that.

Before Eric O'Flaherty joined the Atlanta Braves, he spent three years with the Seattle Mariners, the team that drafted him back in the 2003 amateur draft. But after cracking the big leagues at the age of 21 in 2006, O'Flaherty's results over his first three seasons were well below average for a relief pitcher. The Mariners put him on waivers after the 2008 season, and the Braves picked him up.

Of course, O'Flaherty's career took off from there. In five seasons with the Braves, the lefty posted a 1.99 ERA—the fifth-best among qualified relief pitchers in baseball over that span—and a 3.16 FIP. Like most left-handed relief pitchers, he has a tendency to walk right-handed hitters, but he hasn't struggled against them overall.

As currently constructed, the Mets will head into 2014 with a bullpen lacking proven major league relief pitchers. Even if Bobby Parnell is on his regular schedule in spring training, Carlos Torres has the second-longest major league tenure among potential Mets bullpen arms. And the team's top two left-handed options, Scott Rice and Josh Edgin, have had mixed results in their relatively brief times in Major League Baseball.

Unfortunately, the Mets and O'Flaherty don't seem to be a perfect fit. First, the Braves seem to think they'll be able to re-sign him, and considering he's been with the team for several years, it's not hard to see him staying put as he attempts to come back next year. Second, the Mets are likely looking for sure things, not rehabbing pitchers, as they begin the season, and in the best case scenario, O'Flaherty will be ready by the beginning of May. If things somehow don't work out between the Brave and O'Flaherty, though, it would be great to see the Mets try to bring him on board on a short-term deal, even if there's a chance he won't pitch in 2014.

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