With New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson keying in on remodeling the bullpen this offseason, Bryan Shaw should be the first place he turns for relief.
If the New York Mets are planning to contend in 2018, the bullpen will need a facelift this offseason. Every Mets fan should remember back to 2015 and 2016 when the Mets were built to win and the bullpen failed the team.
In 2015, it was three blown saves in the World Series, and in 2016, a home run in the ninth inning that ended the Mets’ promising season.
Whether Jeurys Familia can be the closer of this team next year is certainly an open question as the offseason commences this winter, but either way, the team needs to add an arm that can contribute at the back end of the bullpen.
And their search for that late innings arm should start, and end, with Bryan Shaw.
Mets are showing significant interest in Bryan Shaw. They like Joe Smith, too: https://t.co/PfD1piiNzt
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) November 23, 2017
Obviously, Shaw fits an important need for the Mets and their interest is a positive sign, but it seems that his market is heating up, and quickly.
Two teams have made offers to Cleveland Indians free agent reliever Bryan Shaw https://t.co/qUw8HsT44O
— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) November 25, 2017
The Mets are reportedly one of the two teams that have extended an offer to Shaw. The numbers of both offers are unknown at this time, but Shaw is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to get a contract for roughly three years, $21 million.
Shaw would be a bargain at that price and for those years and here’s why.
Shaw has appeared in 70 or more games in the last four seasons while recording 20 or more holds in each of those years. That type of production and consistency make him a managers’ favorite to handle high-pressure situations in the later innings.
And about being a manager’s favorite, Shaw is definitely a favorite of Mickey Callaway, who was his pitching coach in Cleveland during those productive 20-hold seasons.
For his career, Shaw has recorded 129 holds, an average of roughly 18 per season. For reference, Jerry Blevins has produced 83 holds throughout his 11-year career.
And beyond just the hold statistic, Shaw has posted an impressive 3.13 ERA during his seven-year career.
The reason for Shaw’s effectiveness stems from his career marks of 21.5 in strikeout percentage and 50.6 in ground ball percentage. His ability to keep the ball on the ground helps him leave runners on base at a career clip of 74.7 percent.
So where would a top pitcher like Shaw fit in with a Mets bullpen that has Jerry Blevins, AJ Ramos, and Jeurys Familia? Familia will likely slot into the closer’s role, which does not effect Shaw much considering his lack of closer experience.
Where he should pencil in is ahead of Ramos and Blevins in the pecking order. Ramos showed last year that although he had closer experience in Miami, he could not be counted on in the late innings.
Ramos’ production problems from last year may be connected to his mechanical issues outlined here. He will have to earn back trust in order to be used again in those high leverage situations through consistent quality outings.
As for Blevins, he would make a great option in those high leverage situations. Coupled with Shaw, Callaway would have two consistent lockdown arms for late inning jams, should they arise.
The fact that the Mets have so much reported interest and already have a multi-year offer on the table is a great sign for the Mets’ future. If they can manage to have the more enticing deal and get Shaw to sign the dotted line, this offseason’s outlook would become much rosier.
With a splash in the bullpen, the Mets could be potentially healing their bullpen ailments with a durable, consistent, and affordable Callaway favorite.