The Mets already needed to add an arm. Actually, they needed one before this season even started. Their bullpen has been inconsistent at best, which just confirms what they have been missing.
Now, after losing Jeurys Familia, likely for a long time, they can’t wait if they still have the same expectations for this season they started with.
It’s only early May and the Mets have already have had a season’s worth of devastating injuries. Familia isn’t even officially on the disabled list yet, but after being diagnosed with an arterial clot in his right shoulder Thursday, he’s headed there. The Mets have their best starter, Noah Syndergaard, out until after the All-Star break, and their “depth” in Steven Matz and Seth Lugo are both still weeks away. They have their best hitter, Yoenis Cespedes, on the disabled list and he is weeks away from returning, too.
So there is some argument that this season is a long shot at best to end in a playoff spot and so it is not worth giving up already limited prospects for now.
But even after a disastrous stretch on the field to end last month, the Mets are back in second place in the, albeit weak, division. Terry Collins has managed to keep the Mets playing hard through injuries and drama. They may be out of reach of the Nationals in the division, 5.5 games back before Thursday’s games, but they still have a reasonable shot at the wild card.
But they need to make a move to help their bullpen to keep that possibility alive.
And it’s going to be very costly.
The Mets are not going to be able to fill these needs internally anytime soon. They have no viable major league pitching down at Triple-A that can help, which they basically admitted when they claimed Tommy Milone off waivers last week. Rafael Montero and Sean Gilmartin are stopgaps at this point.
Familia, no matter the second opinion, is not coming back soon.
Heading to see Dr. Robert Thompson in St. Louis Friday after being diagnosed with an arterial clot in his right shoulder is not a good sign for Familia. A vascular surgeon who not only did then Mets’ pitcher Dillon Gee’s 2012 surgery for a blood clot in his shoulder, Thompson also performed the surgery to address circulation issues associated with Matt Harvey’s Thoracic Outlet Surgery.
In other words, Familia is not an option at least for a couple months and perhaps not for the rest of this season.
So the Mets have to look outside the organization.
Closers like David Robertson (who is believed to have the Mets on his no-trade clause), Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome are reportedly available, but with plenty of teams (like the Nationals) needing solid veteran closers and the market set high last winter by Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon, those arms will be costly.
And it is really too early in the season to expect teams to make the move, so they will likely be able to drive up the prices as they get closer to the trade deadline.
So Friday night, the Mets will slide Addison Reed into the closer’s role. It’s not a new role for the 28-year-old. Reed saved 101 games for the White Sox from 2012-14. He handled the role for the Mets already this season when Familia began the season serving a 15-game suspension under the MLB domestic violence policy.
Reed, who has had some inconsistencies this season (he’s already given up four home runs in 19 appearances — as many as he gave up in 80 last year), could handle the role.
But the Mets needed a veteran arm before that. They can survive with Reed as the closer but then they need to add a setup man. Fernando Salas was pushed into that role while Familia was suspended and struggled with the workload. Though he has not been scored on in his last six appearances (4.1 innings), he has allowed 11 runs (10 earned) in 19 appearances this season.
The Mets do not want to use Jerry Blevins in that role, needing him for the big lefty bats in the division. Hansel Robles needs to show more consistency if he is to become a setup man.
These are just quick fixes though. The Mets needed a veteran reliever from the start.
Now, they need to get creative and they can’t wait too long.