Jeurys Familia’s recent injury coupled with an overtaxed bullpen could lead Sandy Alderson and the New York Mets to trade for a closer.
This weekend’s forecast calls for rain for much of the east coast. Not only is it raining near where the New York Mets call home, it’s also raining injuries on the franchise.
And by raining, I mean pouring.
Jeurys Familia has become the latest Met to be added to the injury report, diagnosed with an arterial clot in his shoulder. He’ll visit Dr. Robert Thomspon, the same doctor who performed thoracic outlet syndrome surgery on Matt Harvey last summer. While surgery hasn’t been officially announced, it’s certainly on the table. Should Familia miss an extended period of time, it’s possible that the Mets could be in the market for a new closer.
Addison Reed performed serviceably in Familia’s absence earlier this season and has closing experience from his time in Arizona and Chicago. However, he’s much more suited to be the set up man. If the Mets still believe they’re a team that can make noise in the postseason, they’ll need an upgrade to bolster a bullpen that is already overworked (the Mets possess four relievers in the top ten in appearances in the National League).
There should be several closers on the market as the standings make themselves more clear throughout the summer. The first name to watch is the White Sox’s David Robertson. The Mets were rumored to have pursued Robertson last winter, but a deal never materialized. He’s under contract through 2018 and due $25 million over the life of the deal.
Robertson hasn’t been dominant but he would bring ample closing experience to a team that could be in dire need of such services in the near future. How much salary the Mets would be willing to take on likely would determine Chicago’s asking price. The White Sox are clearly in rebuild mode and surely will look to shop their closer again this summer.
A second name to watch is Oakland’s Sean Doolittle. He’s currently on the 10-day disabled list with multiple upper body issues but has closing experience and is in the third year of a 5 year, $10.5 million pact. His team friendly deal makes him an attractive piece, however, the injuries are a concern.
The Mets have been riddled with injuries for the past several seasons and if Doolittle’s issues prove to be a long term problem, it’s obviously unlikely that the Mets pursue him. Sandy Alderson and Oakland GM Billy Beane have linked up for multiple trades in the past, and that relationship could lead to talks again this summer. As for the 30 year old Doolittle, we’ll be in a wait and see with his injury issues for now.
The third and most intriguing option that the Mets could pursue is Kansas City Royals closer Kelvin Herrera. He’s only 27 and arbitration eligible for another season before hitting unrestricted free agency in 2019. He’s pitched at least 58 innings in five consecutive seasons and held an ERA no higher than 2.75 in four of those five seasons. After saving 12 games last season, he’s been given the full time closer’s role in 2017.
The Royals, just two years removed from a World Series championship, could look to rebuild very soon. Currently in the American League Central’s basement, the Royals have plenty of reason to trade their stars, most of which will be free agents after this season, anyways.
The cost for Herrera will likely be high given his past success and reasonable contract. At least one top prospect would likely be needed to spark interest in a deal. The New York Mets may also find themselves in a bidding war with the rival Nationals, who Fox Sports’s Ken Rosenthal has already reported the Nats’ interest in Herrera.
The bottom line is that if Familia misses significant time, the Mets should see several options on the trading block to fill the void. However, it remains to be seen what prospects Sandy Alderson is willing to move. The more intricate questions is if the Mets can contend with their vast array of injuries.
Should the New York Mets remain in contention through mid-July, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Alderson acquire another big name–he’s done it two years in a row.
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