Jan. 10: SNY’s Andy Martino indicates that the Mets are planning to spend in the vicinity of another $10MM on the 2024 payroll, with the bullpen indeed standing as the top priority. That’d very likely leave room for acquisitions along the lines of Suter, Peralta, Brebbia or other middle-tier relievers in free agency but figures to take the Mets out of the running for Hader and any of the top-tier bats left on the market.
Jan 9: The Mets have signed three relievers to major league contracts this offseason — Jorge Lopez, Michael Tonkin, Austin Adams — but perhaps aren’t yet done adding to the relief corps. Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that while the Mets are highly unlikely to play at the top of the relief market (i.e. Josh Hader), they’re active in the lower tiers, with a preference for a left-handed arm. Brent Suter and Wandy Peralta are among the potential targets, and Sherman suggests that righty John Brebbia could be of interest to the Mets as well.
Suter, 34, has drawn some interest as a starting pitcher this winter but would presumably slot into the bullpen role for the Mets, whose president of baseball operations, David Stearns, knows the lefty quite well from the pair’s days together in Milwaukee (2016-22). Suter spent the 2023 season with the Rockies and showed no ill effects even moving to Coors Field; he logged a 3.38 ERA with an 18.8% strikeout rate, 8.6% walk rate, 46.5% grounder rate and his characteristic brand of weak contact. Suter’s 84 mph average exit velocity, 26.3% hard-hit rate and 3.3% barrel rate all ranked in the 97th percentile or better among MLB pitchers.
While Suter has never been a huge strikeout arm, his nearly-impossible-to-barrel repertoire has long made him a successful big leaguer. He touts a 3.49 ERA since making his MLB debut back in 2016 and, since moving to a relief role back in 2020, has logged a 3.16 earned run average with a 21.4% strikeout rate and 7.6% walk rate. Suter’s age and lack of velocity — he averaged just 88.3 mph on his sinker in 2023 and has never topped an 88.4 mph average — might combine to tamp down his earning power, but he’s a candidate for a multi-year deal and could hold extra appeal to Stearns due to those Brewers ties.
Peralta, meanwhile, is a known commodity to another key Mets figure: incoming manager Carlos Mendoza. The former Yankees bench coach had a first-hand look at Peralta in each of the past three seasons as he became an increasingly important arm for the Yankees. From 2021-23, Peralta logged 153 innings of 2.82 ERA ball with a 21% strikeout rate, 10.2% walk rate and huge 56.5% ground-ball rate. While Peralta isn’t quite at Suter’s level of hard contact suppression, he’s been in the 88th percentile or better in terms of his own average exit velocity in each of the past four seasons.
Brebbia, 33, has spent the past three seasons in San Francisco and fared quite well for the most part. He posted an ugly 5.89 ERA in a tiny sample of 18 innings there back in 2021 — his first season back from Tommy John surgery. Since then, he’s worked to a 3.47 ERA in 106 1/3 frames with the Giants from 2022-23. Brebbia has worked as a setup man but was also a frequent opener for the Giants. He’s fresh off a career-best 29.2% strikeout rate. In six big league seasons between the Cardinals and Giants, he’s logged a 3.42 ERA with better-than-average strikeout and walk rates of 25.5% and 7.2%, respectively.
Any of the three listed possibilities would come to the Mets with more track record than their signings to date. Mets fans might be frustrated at the lack of high-profile targets for the team outside of Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who signed a 12-year contract with the Dodgers, but any of Suter, Peralta or Brebbia would improve the club’s bullpen — likely on relatively short-term deals. That comes with the benefit both of slightly bolstering the roster while also creating the possibility of emerging as a deadline trade candidate in the event that the Mets fall out of the running by July.