Having made a slew of moves already this offseason, the Mets reportedly have interest in left-handed relief pitchers Zack Britton and Andrew Chafin, both of whom are still free agents. One of the Mets’ earlier moves was a trade for left-handed reliever Brooks Raley, but coming off a season in which their bullpen was in sore need of good lefties, it makes sense that the team might want to add another now.
Thanks to the pandemic and injuries, the 35-year-old Britton hasn’t pitched all that much over the past three seasons, all of which he spent with the Yankees. He was very good in the short 2020 season, as he had a 1.89 ERA and 2.61 FIP in 19.0 innings of work, but his ERA ballooned to 5.89 in just 18.1 innings in 2021 before he had Tommy John surgery that September. Last year, he made it back to the mound late in the season but only recorded two outs before going right back on the injured list.
Presumably the additional time between last fall and the upcoming spring will benefit Britton in being fully ready to pitch at the major league level following his surgery. For his career, he has a 2.03 ERA as a reliever. And of course, Britton pitched for Mets manager Buck Showalter back when both were in Baltimore. He was infamously not used by Showalter in the 2016 American League Wild Card game, which the Orioles lost.
Chafin had been a solid reliever for several years with the Diamondbacks, but he broke out with a 1.83 ERA over a total of 68.2 innings with the Cubs and A’s in 2021. He signed a two-year deal with the Tigers ahead of the 2022 season and put up a very good 2.83 ERA in 57.1 innings, but that deal included an opt-out that he exercised following the season. At the age of 32, he’s three years younger than Britton.
Either pitcher would add to a bullpen that currently includes Edwin Díaz, David Roberston, Adam Ottavino, Raley, and Drew Smith with a variety of pitchers having a shot at making the roster in one of the final three spots.