With the Mets turning focus towards the bullpen, as they look to turn around one of the league's worst from last season, we will hear from some familiar names (like the rest of MLB, they will be kicking the tires on Addison Reed and Brandon Morrow), but also some lesser-known relievers with established histories of success.
One right-hander they are looking at that fits this mold is Bryan Shaw, who they have reportedly made a multiyear offer to. The 30-year-old put in two solid years with the Diamondbacks before blossoming over five excellent seasons with the Indians. His pitching coach there? Mickey Callaway, who knows a good arm when he sees one.
Shaw made 378 appearances for Cleveland from 2011-2017 and hits free agency having put together a 3.11 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP for them. His strikeout rate is far from dominant for a relief arm -- just 8 batters per 9 innings -- but his strong groundball tendency has given him considerable added value in this homerun-heavy era.
He has shown only minor splits in his career, with right-handed batters putting up a .621 OPS against him and lefties .713. He also is equally effective in save situations and non-save situations, making him highly versatile.
One negative for a team picking up Shaw is that his arm has gotten a lot of mileage in recent years. He has pitched at least 64 innings every year going back to 2013 and threw a career-high 76 2/3 in 2017. This indicates that he is durable, certainly a good trait for a reliever, but even a rubber arm like his will start to break down eventually. Luckily for the Mets, Callaway is uniquely qualified to advise the team on Shaw's injury risk, so some of that concern may be offset.
Reliever contracts are often difficult to project, but as a non-closer, Shaw's salary will likely be lower than what similar pitchers with that label will receive. Fangraphs estimates that he will receive somewhere between $20 million and $27 million over three years, and in the current market, that's a solid deal for a reliever who can be trusted in high-leverage situations.
If the Mets are serious about building up a strong bullpen, and if Callaway trusts him to produce, Shaw should definitely be on their shopping list.
Maggie Wiggin (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Archive Posts) has been a Mets fan since birth and a MetsBlog contributor since 2013. She loves throwing hard and hitting hard and hates the DH. When baseball is out of season, she fills her days with data analysis and evaluation and patiently waits for Spring