It’s no secret that the Mets need to bring in bullpen arms before the 2024 season begins, especially if the team really intends to be competitive. We’ve started our series on the topic a bit earlier than usual this year, with the first and second parts having gone up last week. And the list is sorted simply by 2023 ERA, which is hardly the most definitive metric for finding pitchers who will be good in the future but works just fine for organizing this list. Let’s continue.
Brent Suter: A 34-year-old lefty, Suter spent the 2023 season with the Rockies after having spent the entirety of his major league career before this year with the Brewers. This year, he had a 3.38 ERA and a 3.44 FIP in 69.1 innings with the Rockies, numbers that looked pretty similar to what he’s done over the course of the past few years and his career as a whole. His strikeout rate was low—18.8%, 7.14 K/9—but that’s been the case for him pretty much all along. Left-handed hitters fared far better against him than their right-handed-hitting counterparts this year, but he has virtually no platoon split when you zoom out and look at his entire major league career.
Craig Kimbrel: It’s been twelve years since Kimbrel took home the National League Rookie of the Year award with the Braves, and the 35-year-old was much more dominant in his years in his Atlanta than he has been since he was traded to the Padres at the start of the 2015 season. Aside from an awful couple of years with the Cubs in 2019 and 2020 before rebounding in a big way with them in 2021, though, he’s remained a relatively effective reliever. As you might imagine, strikeouts haven’t really been an issue for Kimbrel, though his rate did dip a bit in his 2022 season with the Dodgers. This year with the Phillies, Kimbrel had a 3.26 ERA and a 3.81 FIP in 69.0 innings of work. And over the past three seasons, he has a cumulative 3.10 ERA and a 3.19 FIP. If he’s hell-bent on continuing to be a closer, the Mets won’t be a fit with Edwin Díaz firmly entrenched in that role as he returns from injury, but there are certainly worse relief pitchers on the market.
Reynaldo López: It’s not often that you see a pretty good player spend time with three teams in the same season, but the Angels’ decision to buy at the deadline only to dump players to other teams for free when they fell out of the race a few weeks later made López one of several players who did the same. In his case, the teams were the White Sox, Angels, and Guardians, and over the course of 66.0 innings, he had a 3.27 ERA and a 3.91 FIP. As recently as the 2021 season, López was primarily a starting pitcher, but the White Sox moved him into the bullpen in 2022, and he has a 3.02 ERA in total over the past two years. The 29-year-old doesn’t strike out all that many hitters, but he did post a career high with a 29.9% K rate this year.