One of the many flaws of the 2017 New York Mets season was their bullpen. Jeurys Familia was suspended, then ineffective, then injured. Josh Edgin could not turn the corner from Tommy John Surgery. Multiple pitchers were ineffective from the start. The exceptions were Addison Reed, who the Mets traded away for three kids and Jerry Blevins, who got the Pedro Feliciano-treatment from Terry Collins. In order to compete in 2018, the Mets will need to improve their bullpen consideration. The Milwaukee Brewers might have given them one option, Carlos Torres.
Before we get to Carlos Torres’ value, let us look at what the Mets have to offer for the 2018 bullpen. Then again, let us not. It is a big question mark. Familia, if healthy, will be just fine. If the Mets choose to activate Jerry Blevins’ team option, which is a mere formality, he is fine. Blevins is probably happy that Mickey Callaway will not blow his arm out from over use. His job as a LOOGY is secure, but he is just as fragile as a starter. The Mets have got to be careful with their $7 million investment. After Familia and Blevins, the #3 reliever is AJ Ramos. The Mets acquired Ramos to replace Reed and his results in 2017 were unsatisfactory. Hopefully he turns it around in 2018.
After Ramos, it gets murky. Will Hansel Robles go back to the one from 2015 and 2016? There are a lot of pitchers with some unusually abhorrent numbers this season, so it is possible. Is Paul Sewald ready to take the next step and be a good fireman? No one is sure. However, when Paul Sewald is your number four reliever, something is also wrong. A bullpen cannot survive on three relievers. All seven need to be able to contribute. That is where bringing people from the outside come in.
The right-handed reliever market is a mess. Some of the top names include Anthony Swarzak, Bryan Shaw, Wade Davis, Greg Holland and Addison Reed. Addison Reed is not coming back. If he did, that would be a massive surprise. Wade Davis and Greg Holland are going to make bank this offseason. The Mets are trying to reduce payroll, so Davis or Holland would be rather surprising. The Mets would not pay a closer that much when they have Familia. Are we sure this one-off Swarzak year is the future? Bryan Shaw would be a good pickup for durability. Relievers are fickle though.
Then comes Carlos Torres. The Brewers were able to outright him, which means he went through waivers. He has the right to refuse a AAA assignment to Colorado Springs. That is likely, so he would become a free agent. He can sign with any team he wants in the majors. The problem is that his 2017 statistics, much like Robles, went up. Torres had a 4.21 ERA in 2017, over a point higher than 2016. His strikeouts also went down and his FIP and WHIP both went up. With the supposedly-juiced baseball, 2017 numbers are hard to deal with. The benefit: he will come really cheap in 2018. Torres should not cost more than $1-2 million.
The other problems come in age and workload. Torres is now 35 years old. Is Torres in decline? Other than 2015, Torres had a large workload with the Mets, putting up 183.1 innings in 106 games. He managed a 3.24 ERA during that time. However, he was 30 and 31. He is 35 now. Is he going to be the same? The Mets have to be careful with his workload if they do sign him. However, Torres is available and should be a seventh-reliever option for Mickey Callaway.