With baseball’s winter meetings approaching, the Mets still need to bring in some relievers if they intend to contend in 2023. If this is the first time you’re seeing this series, read the first and second parts of it for the full background. Having left off with David Phelps, we resume the series with:
David Robertson: Although he was linked to the Mets in trade rumors ahead of the 2022 deadline, Robertson wound up getting traded from the Cubs to the Phillies this year. In his age-37 season, the right-handed reliever managed to put up a 2.40 ERA with a 3.58 FIP in 63.2 innings over his time with both of those teams. Considering he had pitched a total of just 18.2 innings during the 2019 through 2021 seasons, it was a pretty great comeback year for him. Aside from that stint and some struggles in his rookie season back in 2008, Robertson has been an above-average reliever. The Mets could certainly do worse in free agency this winter.
Brad Boxberger: Believe it or not, it’s been nearly a decade since Boxberger made his major league debut. And while his overall workload at the major league level was light early in his career, he was impressive, racking up a 2.52 ERA over 114.1 innings with the Padres and Rays through his first three major league seasons. He was pretty good in 2015, too, but from the 2016 through 2019 seasons, the right-handed reliever had a 4.44 ERA in 133.2 innings of work. In 2020, however, he managed a 3.00 ERA with the Marlins and has been very good ever since. In total, the 34-year-old has a 3.13 in 146.2 innings over the past three seasons. The Brewers surprisingly declined their $3 million option on Boxberger for the 2023 season, and he seems like a pretty good fit for the Mets.
Michael Fulmer: The last time Fulmer threw a pitch in the Mets organization was on July 28, 2015, as he was traded to the Tigers alongside fellow pitcher Luis Cessa in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes just three days later. And while he hadn’t entered that season as a consensus top-100 prospect in baseball, he did go into the 2016 season as one, with Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, and MLB.com all including him on their lists. Fulmer wound up making his major league debut that year and put up a 3.06 ERA in 26 starts for Detroit, and he remained exclusively a starting pitcher through the 2020 season. Having put up a 4.69 ERA in 2018, he missed the 2019 season entirely because he had Tommy John surgery, and in ten starts in the short 2020 season, Fulmer had an 8.78 ERA. In 2021, the Tigers used him in relief and as a starter early in the season, but his start on May 4 of that year was the last one he made for them, as the team moved him into the bullpen permanently. He finished that year with a 2.97 ERA in total and a 2.53 ERA as a reliever. He followed that up with a 3.39 ERA and a 3.57 FIP in 63.2 innings this year for the Tigers and Twins, the team he landed with at the trade deadline. Like most of the better relievers on this list, he is right-handed, but a reunion with the organization that drafted him could make for a good fit.