The Mets have seen their vaunted young rotation display its mortality this season, particularly with the loss of Matt Harvey, and have also suffered a number of injuries throughout the starting lineup — most notably, David Wright and Lucas Duda. Nevertheless, the team feels that another relief arm is its top need at the moment, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.
New York’s National League entrant isn’t necessarily prioritizing a premium closer or setup man, per the report. Puma lists Ryan Buchter and Brad Hand of the Padres, Chris Withrow of the Braves and John Axford of the Athletics as plausible targets for the Mets. (For what it’s worth, the guess here is that Buchter would require quite a bit more than the other names, given his skyrocketing strikeout rate and lengthy, cheap control.)
The report also names Jeremy Jeffress as a possibility in the event that the Mets wish to pursue another club’s closer, although the asking price on Jeffress is said to be quite high. One name that GM Sandy Alderson and his staff did not pursue, according to Puma, was Fernando Rodney — who recently went from the Padres to the Marlins in an early July swap.
While some fans may prefer to see the Mets pursue some help for their ailing rotation, the club’s current plan is to use Logan Verrett in the rotation until Zack Wheeler is able to return to next month. Should Verrett falter, Puma lists Triple-A righty Gabriel Ynoa as an alternative option. Any further setbacks for Wheeler could also change the calculus.
Having already moved to shore things up in other areas, and having cashed in some notable trade chips during last season’s run, it’s not surprising to see attention move to the pen. The unit rates quite well by most measures, but that’s mostly driven by late-inning righties Jeurys Familia, Addison Reed and Hansel Robles, who are joined by southpaw Jerry Blevins to form a solid core. Beyond that foursome, though, the results have been uneven. Alderson was quite successful in rescuing Reed a summer ago, and may be on the lookout for another chance to harness a talented arm at a reasonable price.