The Mets started their offseason by inking one of the very best relievers in baseball to a five-year deal, but they still need to put together a supporting cast to support him heading into the 2023 season. With that, we begin our series of combing through the free agent ranks to see which pitchers could make sense for the team.
We’ve done this series for the past few offseasons, as the bullpen has been a perpetual need for the Mets. While that’s probably the case across baseball, it’s an area that the organization has ignored more often than not over the past decade-plus. With that, we’ll start running down the list of relievers who are free agents by their 2022 fWAR. That metric is driven primarily by FIP and workload, which might not be the most advanced way of finding relievers but works just fine for this purpose.
Chris Martin, RHP: If the Mets would like a parachute for their bullpen, Martin probably wouldn’t leave them feeling all yellow. But if they’re looking to avoid sparks, they could bring in the 36-year-old Martin, who spent his 2022 season with the Cubs and Dodgers. In total, he had a 3.05 ERA and a 2.18 FIP across 56.0 innings this year. Since the beginning of the 2019 season, he has a 3.17 ERA in 173.0 innings of work. The combination of age and track record could make him an appealing option, assuming he doesn’t command a multiyear deal.
Matt Moore, LHP: The 33-year-old Moore made a name for himself as a starting pitcher with the Rays a decade ago, but he put up his best single season in the big leagues in at least five years working strictly as a reliever for the Rangers in 2022. He finished the year with a 1.95 ERA and a 2.98 FIP in 74.0 innings of work, an excellent rebound from the 5.26 ERA that he accumulated from the 2015 through 2021 seasons. Over the latter stretch, he was primarily a starting pitcher but made 39 relief appearances, too. The walk rate was a bit concerning this year, but the Mets do not have a viable lefty reliever in their organization at the moment.
Adam Ottavino, RHP: The Mets had a bunch of their relievers from the 2022 season hit free agency a few days ago, and Ottavino was without question the best of that bunch this year. In 65.2 innings, he had a good strikeout rate, managed to keep his walk rate much lower than he had in most of his past seasons, and finished the year with a 2.06 ERA and a 2.85 FIP. Like Martin, he’s 36 and likely wouldn’t command a long-term deal. But he could be a very good reliever again next year.