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Mets and Yankees under investigation, a new Nimmo suitor and the next bullpen gem?
Both New York teams are reportedly under investigation for collusion on Aaron Judge. Plus, could Stephen Ridings be the next Mets bullpen reclamation project?
What’s Up with the Mets? 🍎
Major League Baseball is investigating whether or not the Mets and Yankees communicated improperly about free agent OF Aaron Judge (Rosenthal)
Comments made by sources in an article from SNY’s Andy Martino implicated that the Mets would not pursue Judge at the friendly request of Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, which would be considered collusion
The Blue Jays are showing interest in Mets free agent CF Brandon Nimmo (Morosi)
Free agent RHP Justin Verlander is looking to receive a contract similar to Max Scherzer’s three-year, $130 million deal from the Mets last offseason, according to Astros owner Jim Crane
RHP Edwin Díaz finished 9th in the NL Cy Young voting, receiving one second-place vote
Could Stephen Ridings be the Mets’ next bullpen reclamation project? 📝
Have the Mets sneakily acquired their next bullpen gem?
While he’s only thrown seven major league innings over the last two years, there is a tantalizing level of potential when it comes to the newly acquired Stephen Ridings.
Claimed off waivers from the Yankees earlier this week, Ridings stands at a whopping 6’8 from the right side. With an average fastball at 97.07 MPH that is capable of reaching 100+ MPH and a pretty good slider, the 27-year-old reliever has the stuff to be a productive two-pitch pitcher out of the bullpen.
Injuries have certainly been a hindrance to Ridings’ career thus far, of course, as the right-hander did miss the entire 2022 season due to a right shoulder impingement. And though his minor league numbers may not jump off the page at first – his 4.19 ERA over five seasons isn’t particularly exciting – there is a little more there than meets the eye.
Over 144 innings pitched in the minor leagues (19 starts, 52 relief appearances), Ridings has 204 batters compared to 68 walks, averaging 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings. In 2021, Ridings pitched to a 1.24 ERA with a 0.690 WHIP, 13 strikeouts per nine and three saves over 22 appearances before getting called up to make his big league debut.
In five major league appearances with the Yankees that season, he pitched to a 1.80 ERA with seven strikeouts and two walks allowed over five innings pitched.
This certainly wouldn’t be the first time since Steve Cohen bought the team that the Mets have identified a diamond in the rough out of the bullpen.
In 2021, Aaron Loup – who had a 3.95 ERA and 109 ERA+ over his prior five seasons – pitched to a 0.95 ERA with an insane 422 ERA+ with the Mets. And this past season, Adam Ottavino – who had a 4.59 ERA and 100 ERA+ over his prior two two seasons – pitched to a 2.06 ERA with a 188 ERA+ and three saves.
Now of course there are differences in these situations, as both Loup and Ottavino were veterans with drastically longer big league track records, but this is a team that has had a lot of recent success when it comes to identifying these types of arms. It certainly doesn’t always work out (see: Joely Rodríguez) but if there is a team that I think is developing a habit of finding reliever reclamation projects, it’s certainly the Mets.
It won’t be easy and he’ll need to stay healthy, but the stuff is there. That’s definitely a lot of potential coming out of a November waiver claim.
Hot Stove 🔥
Astros RHP Justin Verlander won the American League Cy Young Award, while Marlins RHP Sandy Alcantara won the National League Cy Young Award
The Mariners acquired OF Teoscar Hernandez from the Blue Jays in exchange for RHP Erik Swanson and LHP Adam Macko
Phillies OF Bryce Harper will undergo elbow surgery to repair his damaged UCL (Philadelphia Inquirer)
The Angels officially signed LHP Tyler Anderson to a three-year, $39 million contract
The Braves are not likely to pursue a big name shortstop if free agent SS Dansby Swanson signs with another team (Rosenthal)
The Astros are “unlikely” to hire a new general manager before the end of the year (ESPN)
The Rangers are hiring Red Sox bench coach Will Venable to become their associate manager