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A pair of minor league deals and running out of time to find a lefty reliever
The Mets sign Chasen Shreve and Travis Jankowski to minor league contracts. Plus, the club's search for a left-handed reliever is running out of options.
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
The Mets signed LHP Chasen Shreve, previously with the club in 2020, to a minor league contract
New York also signed OF Travis Jankowski to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training
Jeff McNeil is in line to be the club’s regular starting second baseman, per manager Buck Showalter
2B/DH Robinson Canó apologized to teammates on Wednesday following his full-season suspension for PED use in 2021
Max Scherzer allowed two home runs to Dominic Smith over four innings in the club’s sim game on Wednesday at Clover Park.
Oh, to Find a Lefty… 📝
Coming into the offseason, the Mets knew that one of their biggest areas of need was going to be from the left-handed side of their bullpen. Following a season where Aaron Loup was their lone lefty out of the pen, they probably could have used another one to begin with. That need only became further emphasized when the club lost Loup to the Angels on a three-year contract.
With options like Andrew Chafin, Jake Diekman and Brad Hand all off the table and just a few weeks before Opening Day, it does appear that the Mets have come up short in a game of musical chairs here — at least in free agency.
The club did agree to terms with LHP Chasen Shreve on Wednesday, who was with the club briefly in 2020 and held left-handed hitters to a .200/.289/.344/.633 slashline this past season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, while Shreve has been a solid left-handed option out of the pen in recent seasons he only comes in on a minor league contract and probably isn’t an ideal number one option for the Mets in a late-game situation against a big-time left-handed hitter (and there are quite a few of those in the division with Juan Soto, Bryce Harper, Matt Olson and Kyle Schwarber).
The team could also look to transition LHP David Peterson into a reliever role, but he is still a bit of an unproven commodity at the major league level at this point in his career.
So, where does that leave them at this point?
Well, if the Mets are going to address their need for a left-handed reliever before Opening Day, it’s probably going to have to come in a trade. While Brewers closer Josh Hader is of an extremely high quality and one of the most dominant relievers in the game right now, it doesn’t seem like a prudent move for this team to trade high-end prospect assets for a relief pitcher — no matter how good. We’ve already seen how that can go in the case of Edwin Díaz.
The best (and maybe only) impact option left that I see could be Twins reliever Taylor Rogers.
Rogers, 31, has dominated left-handers in his career, holding them to a .200/.260/.280/.540 slashline and a 65 OPS+ across 426 plate appearances.
The Twins are in an interesting place having traded away C Mitch Garver and 3B Josh Donaldson in the last week, but also adding RHP Sonny Gray in that same time, so it’s unclear if they’re buying or selling right now. But if Minnesota is willing to listen on Rogers, could this be the deal where one of Dominic Smith or JD Davis gets moved? Would it have to include more than just Rogers to make it worth that for the Mets?
There’s a lot of questions that remain to be answered there, but at this point time is running low on New York’s search for a left-handed reliever.
Hot Stove 🔥
The Dodgers signed 1B Freddie Freeman to a six-year, $162 million contract (ESPN)
The Rockies signed 3B/OF Kris Bryant to a seven-year, $182 million contract (Passan)
The Royals signed RHP Zack Greinke to a one-year, $13 million contract
The Reds are NOT expected to trade RHPs Luis Castillo or Tyler Mahle (MLB.com)
The Reds signed INF Donovan Solano to a one-year, $4.5 million contract (Heyman)
The Cubs signed LHP Daniel Norris to a major league contract (ESPN)
Chicago also signed RHP David Robertson to a one-year, $3.5 million contract