If the Mets fancy themselves as competitors for the 2018 season, they’re going to need help with their pitching staff. There’s a need for starting pitcher, too, but there’s still plenty of heavy lifting to be done when it comes to the team’s bullpen. With the acquisition of Anthony Swarzak on what looks like a reasonable contract, the Mets have a decent core of a bullpen in place: Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, Swarzak, and Jerry Blevins.
The preferable route at this point would be that the Mets pony up the dollars needed to bring in some of the better free agents out there on the bullpen market—let’s say two of Addison Reed, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland. But given the reality that the team either can’t or won’t do much spending this winter, there’s at least a glimmer of hope that they can build a good bullpen for less money.
And that’s where Seung-Hwan Oh comes in. The 35-year-old completed his second season in Major League Baseball in 2017, and he spent both of those years with the Cardinals. The results in his sophomore campaign weren’t as good as those from his rookie season, but he threw 59.1 innings with a 4.10 ERA, 4.44 FIP, 8.19 K/9, and 2.28 BB/9. Like many pitchers in the big leagues, he had a home run problem, as he gave up 1.52 per nine innings.
Back in 2016, Oh was excellent. He threw 79.2 innings that season with a 1.92 ERA, 2.13 FIP, 11.64 K/9, 2.03 BB/9, and just 0.56 home runs allowed per nine. And despite the drop-off in performance from that first season to his second, Oh didn’t experience a velocity drop between the two seasons.
If the down year in 2017 means that Oh will have to settle for a relatively low salary, he might fit into the Mets’ budget, whatever it may be. The team shouldn’t be restricted to only those types of signings, of course, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see Oh bounce back in 2018 even though he’ll turn 36 in July. And at minimum, he seems like he’d be capable of giving the Mets an upgrade over what they had in the middle or at the bottom of the ‘17 edition of their ‘pen.