The Mets have made several moves to bring in good players so far this offseason, two of whom are badly-needed relief pitchers: Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia. One of the best in the game, Diaz arrived via trade from Seattle alongside Robinson Cano, and Familia’s a familiar arm, having spent the vast majority of his professional career up to this point with the Mets.
Go beyond that duo, though, and the Mets’ bullpen is still a huge question mark on paper. Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo could be good, assuming neither one is thrown into a the rotation given the incredibly thing starting pitching depth at the upper levels of the minors. But after that, the Mets get into a mix of the bullpen arms they acquired by trading players away in the 2017 season, most of whom have struggled in their time in the majors so far.
The Mets have indicated they might be done bringing in significant relievers, which would be a shame, but we’ll continue our series of running down the list of those who are free agents by their 2018 strikeout percentages, as we did in parts one and two.
The 35-year-old lefty is coming off a five-year stint with the Astros, and his 2018 season was the best of those five, as he finished the year with a 1.86 ERA and 2.41 FIP. In 2016 and 2017, however, Sipp was flat out bad, posting a 4.95 ERA and 6.19 FIP in the former and a 5.79 ERA and 5.22 FIP in the latter. Despite being left-handed, he doesn’t have significant splits over the course of his career, and if anything, he’s fared better against right-handed hitters by FIP and just about evenly by wOBA. His strikeout rate was 27.8 percent in 2018, and Anthony DiComo mentioned him as a name the Mets might check in on back when the winter meetings wrapped up.
With a 27.7 percent strikeout rate in 2018, Allen comes next on this rundown—with a K rate that was 0.2 percentage points higher than Jeurys Familia’s. Like Andrew Miller, his former teammate in Cleveland, Allen had a sustained stretch of success as a major league reliever before turning in his worst season out of the bullpen in 2018. He finished the year with a 4.70 ERA and 4.56 FIP, the first time he had a full-season ERA over 2.99 or FIP higher than 3.31. While his strikeout rate was solid, it was a few points below his career rate, and his walk and home run rates went in the wrong direction. Per Brooks Baseball, the 30-year-old’s four-seam fastball averaged 94.2 miles per hour, down a tick from 2017 and part of a longer trend that has seen his velocity gradually decline since 2014. MLB Trade Rumors predicted a two-year, $16 million contract for him, and the crowdsourced projections at FanGraphs wound up at a two-year, $18 million deal.
Thanks to a 27.4 percent strikeout rate in 2018, Norris joins the list here. He threw 57.2 innings for the Cardinals and finished with a 3.59 ERA and 3.99 FIP in what was his first season spent exclusively out of the bullpen. Of course, he also became infamous for being Mike Matheny’s mole/enforcer in the Cardinals’ clubhouse, a situation that seemed to have a significant impact upon Matheny’s firing in the middle of the season.