Mets place Drew Smith on the injured list with a lat strain
The Mets bullpen - which ranks 9th in MLB in ERA - is now in need of immediate external reinforcements
The Mets received some unsettling news on Thursday when they learned Drew Smith had a strained lat muscle and placed him on the 15-day injured list.
The move is retroactive to July 25. He would be eligible to return August 9, but it is not clear he will be able to do so at that time.
The Mets will make a corresponding roster move on Friday.
After not allowing a run over his first 12 appearances of the season, Smith, 28, has struggled to the tune of a 5.20 ERA over his last 25 appearances with eight home runs allowed over 27.2 IP dating back to May 13.
This news comes at a time when the Mets were already exploring the trade market for late-inning relief help ahead of the August 2 trade deadline. Last week, the Mets traded Colin Holderman for Daniel Vogelbach, creating a void in a bullpen which lacks a swing-and-miss presence behind Edwin Díaz as well as a reliable force against left-handed hitters.
With Smith now an unknown going forward, the Mets bullpen is thin heading into their six-game road trip to Miami and Washington, although they figure to call up reinforcements from Triple-A Syracuse. But the club is now in need of at least one reliever if not more for a bullpen that ranks ninth in the sport with a 3.53 ERA but only possessing two consistently reliable relievers in Díaz and Adam Ottavino.
The Mets have reportedly been exploring a trade with the Cubs to procure David Robertston in a package along with Willson Contreras, but the two sides are in preliminary discussions and remain far apart on the parameters for a deal to be completed.
Robertson could ultimately serve as a solution against left-handed hitters - lefties have produced just a .503 OPS against Robertson this season. Robertson also possesses valuable postseason experience, which would serve as an asset for the Mets should they remain on track and reach the playoffs in 2022.
The Mets could have Trevor May back in the fold in the next week or so. He is on a rehab assignment after spending about three months on the injured list with a stress reaction in his humerus.
But even if they get May back and the Mets acquired Robertson, they will still need at least one additional reinforcement for their bullpen. In addition to Robertson, Andrew Chafin and Michael Fulmer - among others - could be among the available options in a market which should be flush with relievers ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.