Sandy Alderson's top priority this winter will be to acquire an established reliever to complement Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, and Jerry Blevins, club sources told the NY Post's Mike Puma.
Last offseason, Alderson reportedly had been looking to trade for a former closer, who was still successful pitching in high-leverage situations. However, he ended up only reacquiring Fernando Salas, who was designated for assignment less than six months later.
Wade Davis, Addison Reed,and Greg Holland are free agents, but are not going to want to join the Mets, who already have two closers in Familia and Ramos. Instead, this trio will want to be with a team with whom they can get the majority of save opportunities. Also, all three are likely to be paid $12-15 million per season, which is more than the Mets (or any team) will want to spend on what they view as a set-up guy for the set-up guy.
In that context, expect to hear a lot about the Mets expressing interest in free agent relievers Bryan Shaw, Brandon Morrow, Luke Gregerson, Brandon Kintzler, Matt Albers, and Mike Minor, all of whom Puma also mentions in his report.
In particular, keep an eye on Shaw, who I hear Mets manager Mickey Callaway is pushing hard for the Mets to pursue. He and Shaw had a terrific relationship in Cleveland, where Shaw was used in all sorts of situations, including save opportunities.
In five seasons together with the Indians, Shaw was 21-22 with a 3.11 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, while making at least 70 appearances in each season. He also has a 2.45 ERA in 22 postseason innings.
Obviously, I'd love to see Davis join the Mets, but I don't see it happening. If not him, I think Shaw would be a perfect fit, especially knowing he'd be again working with Callaway and shift to pitching in a pitcher's park in the National League. Also, unlike the rest of Callaway's current staff, Shaw isn't a strikeout pitcher that relies on his fastball. Instead, he relies heavily on his cutter, which averaged 94.4 MPH last season.
He lives outside the strike zone, utilizing his slider, yet doesn't walk a lot of batters. In contrast, Mets relievers walk a ton of people, so having at least one guy that can come in, get a ground ball and end a quick inning is absolutely needed next season.
Shaw, 30, delivered $12 million in value last season, while being paid just $4.6 million, according to FanGraphs.com. In yesterday's NY Post, columnist Ken Davidoff predicted Shaw would end up getting a three-year deal worth around $9 million a season.
If this is the goal, in terms of value, need, and role, Shaw should clearly be Alderson's top target.