Mets right-hander Carlos Torres has cleared outright waivers and elected free agency, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York (via Twitter). He had been designated for assignment over a week ago. Rubin adds that pursuing an opportunity in Asia “is a possibility” for Torres, though he doesn’t specify whether that is in reference to Japan or Korea. Regardless, either could present Torres with more earning potential than a minor league deal with an MLB club.
Torres, 33, has spent the past three seasons with the Mets and been a largely effective reliever, though he did struggle in 2015. After recording a 3.24 ERA with 8.4 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a ground-ball rate of about 45 percent from 2013-14, Torres saw his ERA balloon to 4.68 in 2015. Despite the increase in ERA, Torres’ control remained solid (2.8 BB/9), his velocity actually increased by almost a full mile per hour (from 91.8 in 2014 to 92.5 in 2015) and his ground-ball rate of 48.3 percent was a career-best. FIP, in fact, felt that Torres’ 2015 season was actually superior to his 2014 work, while other metrics like xFIP and SIERA felt there was only a marginal drop-off in his skill set. All told, Torres totaled 57 2/3 innings for the Mets last season — a number that was somewhat limited by a calf strain late in the season.
Torres had agreed to a one-year, $1.05MM salary with the Mets to avoid arbitration. However, because arbitration salaries aren’t fully guaranteed, the team can cut ties with him for $175K. He’ll join a free-agent market that has been largely picked clean but still features some recognizable right-handed names — including Tyler Clippard, Tommy Hunter and Matt Belisle — and be free to sign with any team for any amount.