mets bullpen options
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The Mets have spent the majority of this offseason — and really, the past week — spending lots of money to rebuild the roster for 2023. With a rotation that suddenly has enviable depth, general manager Billy Eppler could use it to make a trade.

So, the rumor that New York is open to trade proposals for Carlos Carrasco isn’t shocking. Reports have also surfaced that the Mets are interested in finding trade partners for James McCann and Darin Ruf.

New York is focused on adding another arm to the bullpen, but could also use another bat. One would imagine they might fill one of these needs should a trade materialize. But what if things don’t go how they want? Well, the Mets could also dip back into free agency for another bullpen arm. Here are five relievers they could have an interest in.

Adam Ottavino

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it… right? Ottavino signed with the Mets last March to the tune of one year and $4 million. He ended up being a valuable part of the bridge between starters and Edwin Diaz. Things went so well for Ottavino that the 37-year-old is in the market for a multi-year deal.

The Mets already have a new set-up man to pair with Diaz in David Robertson. But can you imagine if Otto is added back into the mix for the seventh inning? If he can have some semblance of the 2.06-ERA, 1.1-fWAR performance he posted in 2022, this would be a slam dunk.

It’s worth noting that Ottavino also knows what it’s like to play in New York. In addition to playing for the Mets this past year, he suited up for the Yankees from 2019-20.

Corey Knebel

Knebel is pretty far removed from a 2017 campaign in which he posted a 1.78 ERA with a 40.8% strikeout rate, which led to 2.8 fWAR. He did turn things around with the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 2.45 ERA (although it came in just 25.2 innings).

The right-hander spent this past season with the Philadelphia Phillies. He posted a 3.43 ERA in 44.2 innings pitched before landing on the Injured List with a torn shoulder capsule.

Knebel is another reliever with late-game experience, which would be a plus. But even if he’s deemed fully healthy and ready to go, the Mets should seriously consider other options.

I only really included him because Mike Puma of the New York Post mentioned Knebel as a possibility (sorry, I refuse to put Craig Kimbrel on this list). Knebel has struggled with command at times throughout his career. It came to a head in 2022, as his 21.1% strikeout rate and 14.4% walk rate were both career-worst marks.

Maybe Knebel would be an option on a low-risk deal, but not as another impact arm in the bullpen.

Andrew Chafin

New York recently added a southpaw reliever by acquiring Brooks Raley in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. Another one like Chafin certainly wouldn’t hurt, though. It feels like the Mets have been connected to him in the rumor mill since last winter before he signed with the Detroit Tigers.

The southpaw posted a 2.83 ERA with a 0.9 fWAR in 57.1 innings last season. His 19.8% strikeout-to-walk ratio was the best it’s been since a 22.2% mark in 2019 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Chafin has also continued to successfully limit hard contact. His hard-hit rate allowed settled in at 37.0% or higher each year between 2018 and 2020. It dipped down to 29.3% in 2021 and continued dropping to 26.6% in 2022. That was paired with a 51.3% ground-ball rate, which was the highest it’s been since 2017 (56.3%).

Trevor May

The overall stats from this past year don’t look great for Trevor May. However, he was much better from August through the end of the regular season upon returning from the IL.

May’s first 8.1 innings included an 8.64 ERA with a 12.2% strikeout rate, a 7.3% walk rate, and 2.16 home runs allowed per nine innings. In his final 16.2 frames, the right-hander’s numbers improved to 3.24, 35.7%, 8.6%, and 1.06, respectively.

That second set of numbers should be what interested teams — including the Mets — look at more closely since they mostly jive with what he did in 2021 for New York. Through 62.2 innings, May posted a 3.59 ERA with a 31.2% strikeout rate, a 9.0% walk rate, and 1.44 home runs allowed per nine innings.

Michael Fulmer

At the moment, Michael Fulmer’s Mets legacy is entrenched in the fact that he was a main piece of the deal that brought Yoenis Cespedes to Queens at the 2015 trade deadline. But could the hurler come home?

Fulmer hit the big leagues as a starting pitcher but has made a transition to relief, which began in 2021. After posting a 2.97 ERA in 69.2 innings that season, he followed it up with a 3.39 ERA in 63.2 innings this past year. While this most recent performance included a career-best 27.5% hard-hit rate allowed, it was accompanied by a career-worst 10.1% walk rate.

The right-hander’s slider usage has skyrocketed since his transition to relief. It jumped to 39.9% in 2021 before settling at 63.5% in 2022. His fastball usage has gone from 45.7% to 28.4% during this same time. Command of his fastball was part of his control issues in ’22. His four-seamer walk rate went from 10.0% to 20.5% over the past two years.

New York has amassed several bullpen arms already this offseason for the purposes of depth. They’ll need at least one more proven arm to pair with Diaz, Robertson, and Drew Smith. If the Mets can’t find a viable option in the trade market, there are still plenty of hurlers left on the open market to pursue.

Matt Musico can be reached at and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.