JANUARY 30: Loup’s deal, which the Mets have now made official, also includes $250K in potential incentives based on appearances, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). The Mets’ 40-man roster is now full.
JANUARY 28: Loup’s contract would guarantee him around $3MM once finalized, reports SNY’s Andy Martino (Twitter link).
JANUARY 27: The Mets and left-handed reliever Aaron Loup are in agreement on a deal, pending the completion of a physical, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). It’s a one-year deal for Loup, Joel Sherman of the New York Post adds. MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reported earlier this afternoon that the Mets were “zeroing in” on Loup after missing out on Brad Hand, who signed with the division-rival Nationals. Loup is represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council.
Loup, 33, gives the Mets an established left-handed bullpen option that the roster previous lacked. Waiver claim Stephen Tarpley and former 40th-round pick Daniel Zamora were the only two southpaws on the Mets’ 40-man roster prior to their forthcoming agreement with Loup. Veteran southpaw Jerry Blevins will be in Spring Training as a non-roster invitee as well, though he didn’t pitch at all last season.
Outside of a forearm strain that wiped out a good chunk of his 2019 season in San Diego, Loup has been a largely durable and reasonably effective bullpen piece since breaking into the Majors with the Blue Jays back in 2012. He’s had some ups and downs along the way, but the end result is a 3.38 ERA and 3.24 SIERA with career strikeout and walk rates of 21.9 percent and 7.0 percent. Loup has upped his strikeout numbers over the past few years, however, and in 2020 with the Rays delivered one of his best stretches: a 2.52 ERA and 3.62 SIERA with a 22.9 percent punchout rate and a 4.2 percent walk rate that ranked among the game’s lowest. He also tossed 5 1/3 innings in the playoffs, allowing just two runs with seven strikeouts against two walks.
Loup has been better against lefties throughout his big league career but has held his own against righties and was quite good against them in 2020’s shortened slate of games. He’s held opposing lefties to a career .232/.301/.319 batting line while righties have managed a .264/.333/.428 output.
Loup will join right-hander Trevor May as a new member of the Mets’ setup core, effectively replacing fellow free-agent lefty Justin Wilson in the process. The Mets could perhaps still use another lefty, but with a relief corps featuring May, Loup, Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia, Miguel Castro and Brad Brach, they’re certainly not light on talent. Some of those veterans — Betances and Familia in particular — are in search of rebound efforts, but everyone in that veteran group has enjoyed a good bit of big league success.