After inking a one-year, $3 million deal to stay with the Mets in 2017, it seemed as if Fernando Salas would be a stabilizing force in a bullpen that would be missing Jeurys Familia at the start of the season. Salas was outstanding down the stretch for the Mets in 2016, with a 2.08 ERA with 19 strikeouts over 17 and a third innings—one of the better stretches of his career, albeit in a small sample size. Unfortunately, his second stint with the Mets was nowhere near as successful and resulted in him being designated for assignment.
The start of Salas’s 2017 campaign was delayed in part by a visa issue, preventing him from pitching in spring training games with the Mets. He was able to participate for Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, and he returned slotted to be an eighth-inning bridge to Addison Reed, who closed in Familia’s absence.
Once the season started, Salas was used frequently out of the bullpen, making 48 appearances and pitching 45 innings. It became very apparent that this wasn’t the same player the Mets had the season before. He wound up with a 6.00 ERA, but the big issue seemed to be his control, as his walk rate increased. He allowed 20 free passes with a 4.0 BB/9. His WHIP also ballooned to 1.78, the highest single-season total for his career.
As time wore on, Salas saw less and less action, making just 11 appearances after July 1. His tenure as a Met came to a close on August 10, when he was designated for assignment to make room for the promotion of Dominic Smith. Salas elected free agency and was signed by his former team, the Los Angeles Angels.
With the team and bullpen in need somewhat of a revamping for 2018, it should become clear that Salas is no longer a fit for the Mets. At least we’ll always have 2016.