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Busch Light loses a Met but gains an Angel, a potential reunion and finding the 'next' Loup
Aaron Loup becomes the latest Mets pitcher to sign with the Los Angeles Angels. Plus, a look at what comes next for New York's bullpen construction.
What’s Up with the Mets? 💭
LHP Aaron Loup officially signed a two-year, $18 million contract with the Angels with a third-year option
The Mets have made a contract offer to LHP Steven Matz, who will likely decide where he is signing by Wednesday (MLB.com)
There is a “good chance” that Matz returns to the Mets (MLB.com)
The Mets are showing interest in trading for Twins LHP Taylor Rogers (NY Post)
New York is looking to acquire two or three starting pitchers this winter (SNY)
The Mets are unlikely to look for catching help this offseason, relying on James McCann bouncing back in 2022 (The Record)
The Rumble Ponies signed a 23-year lease extension, keeping the Double-A affiliate in Binghamton through 2045
After choosing to let him walk, the Mets now must find the ‘next’ Aaron Loup 📝
The loss of Noah Syndergaard to the Angels was a big blow in itself but the Mets latest loss of Aaron Loup to Anaheim is doubly painful. Last offseason, the club’s acquisition of Loup was an under-the-radar move that ended up paying huge dividends. The southpaw had a career year and was arguably the Mets best pitcher. That’s right not just their best reliever — their best pitcher not named Jacob deGrom. Period.
In 2021, Loup posted a 0.95 ERA (a new club record) in 56.2 innings pitched with 57 strikeouts, a 0.935 WHIP and was usually seen casually sipping a Busch Light after the game. His 1.6 fWAR put him behind Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Edwin Díaz as the most valuable pitcher on the roster. You could have even made an argument that he should’ve entered the conversation to be the team’s closer over Díaz.
Loup wasn’t just a LOOGY, either, as right-handers hit .211/.290/.257 against him while lefties hit just .167/.226/.214.
Last season the Mets’ bullpen was both solid and occasionally volatile with Loup being the sole constant. Edwin Díaz, Miguel Castro, Trevor May and Seth Lugo all had spurts where they struggled, but it was Loup that was consistently dependable throughout the year.
During Billy Eppler’s introductory press conference, Steve Cohen said he would be willing to pay for good players but apparently their best reliever’s asking price was reportedly a bridge too far and they would rather focus on starting pitching instead. While they do have several holes they need to fill, the Mets have made it a lot harder on themselves by not trying to keep both the starter and reliever they already had in Syndergaard and Loup.
The loss of Loup leaves a big hole in the bullpen since the Mets are both down a lefty and their most reliable reliever from 2021. Perhaps the Angels overpaid with a two-year deal worth $17 million, especially since relievers are known to be notoriously volatile, but even if he regresses he is still a very good pitcher. You could argue that a well-run organization would be better off finding the “next” Aaron Loup instead, something that the Mets did successfully last offseason when they signed the real Aaron Loup to a one-year deal.
The club will now have to hit free agency and the trade market in their efforts to do just that. Trevor Rosenthal, Daniel Hudson, Archie Bradley, Corey Knebel and Joe Smith are among some of the veteran relievers out there who have had success in recent seasons. In terms of lefties to specifically replace Loup, there are options like Andrew Chafin (1.83 ERA, 1.4 fWAR in 2021), Jake Diekman (3.86 ERA, .390 SLG allowed) and Tony Watson (3.92 ERA, 0.8 fWAR) in free agency or someone like Taylor Rogers (3.35 ERA, 1.6 fWAR, .525 OPS vs LHB) via trade that could all be potential diamonds in the rough.
Whoever the names may be, the Mets now have to prove that they’re the type of organization that can use their scouting and analytics to find these diamonds, as they did with Aaron Loup, on a consistent basis.
Hot Stove 🔥
The Giants re-signed RHP Anthony Desclafani to a three-year, $36 million contract (ESPN)
The Marlins are reportedly close to signing RHP Sandy Alcantara to a five-year, $55 million contract extension (Mish)
LHP Steven Matz has received contract offers from at least eight different clubs (MLB.com)
The Angels officially acquired INF/OF Tyler Wade from the Yankees in exchange for a PTBNL or cash considerations
The Red Sox officially exercised their club option for manager Alex Cora through the 2024 season
The Rangers officially acquired OF Billy McKinney and OF Zach Reks from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations
The Braves officially acquired RHP Jay Jackson from the Giants in exchange for cash considerations
The Cubs officially acquired OF Harold Ramírez from the Guardians in exchange for cash considerations
Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz are both on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time starting in 2022
Winter Ball Watch ⚾
Yesterday’s stats in the Dominican Winter League
Ronny Mauricio (SS, No. 3 prospect): .270/.299/.419/.718, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 1 SB in 21 games
Robinson Canó (DH): .292/.308/.292/.599, 0 HR, 5 RBI in 6 games