At the GM meetings on Monday, Mets GM Sandy Alderson stressed the importance of bolstering the team's bullpen.
"Any way you cut it, the bullpen is becoming more important," Alderson said, reports Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
Newsday's Marc Carig revealed last week that Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom may be the only starting pitchers the Mets allow to face an opposing team the third time through the lineup each game.
This means the Mets will need more bullpen arms capable of giving more than one inning to eat the rest of the game after the first 18 at bats.
Carig also said that the Mets will be focusing on pitching this offseason and are intent on making eight arms in the bullpen the norm for 2018.
Last week, team sources told the NY Post's Mike Puma that Sandy Alderson's top priority this winter will be to acquire an established reliever to complement Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, and Jerry Blevins.
This is not exclusive to the Mets. It's every team, which is why adding a late-inning reliever is more or less every team's top priority, even the teams that already have strong bullpens.
The issue, as Carig introduced, is that teams are finally accepting the reality that their starting pitchers will and should only be logging 15 outs every night. Because, after that, the starting pitcher is significantly less effective, which only puts added stress and chaos on the bullpen.
On the other hand, if a team can approach each game in a more predictable manner, i.e., Starter only goes five innings, bullpen has to go four, they can better prepare in advance of each series.
However, to do that, it means having as many versatile and durable pitchers capable of being used in high-leverage situations. And, because there are only a few dozen pitchers capable of filling this role, as demand goes up, the cost of the pitcher goes up.
As a result, I keep hearing that Addison Reed, Bryan Shaw, Brandon Morrow and Brandon Kintzler, etc., will have no problem finding multiple three- or four-year deals, especially with the Mets, Dodgers, Twins and other several other teams eager eager to move sooner than later.
By the way, while trying to learn more about this, I sense apprehension in baseball to sign relievers of this mold that tossed a lot of innings in the postseason, such as Morrow. I assume there is evidence indicating the extra workload may be negatively impacting how a pitcher performs the following season. We kind of, sort of saw this with the Mets in 2016. The Giants have been talking about it for a decade. Fair or not, it's apparently viewed now as a legit trend and may start impact the market.
That said, I expect to hear a lot about the Mets expressing interest in Shaw, who had a good relationship in Cleveland with Mets manager Mickey Callawa. Last year, Shaw was used in all sorts of situations, including save opportunities, which is exactly what Alderson is seemingly looking to add to next year's roster >> Read more on Shaw.