Of all their possible free agents, the most important one for the Mets to bring back is set-up reliever Addison Reed.
But wait, what about Yoenis Cespedes you say? Or scream?
Cespedes hit 31 homers and drove in 86 runs, which, of course, is important. But, it can be replaced as the Mets have Jay Bruce – a combined 33 homers and 99 RBI with Cincinnati and New York – plus the untapped potential of Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo to compensate for that loss.
If they don’t bring back Cespedes, they can use the projected $100 million earmarked for him to keep Reed, bring back Bruce and plug elsewhere.
However, there’s no telling where the Mets would have been had they not had Reed’s 40 holds. The eighth-inning set-up role is one of the most difficult to do and Reed was exceptional.
The Mets weren’t in the playoffs without him.
Without Reed, there’s stress throughout the bullpen. Bullpen stress is a season killer. I’ve seen too many Mets’ summers disintegrate because of a lousy bullpen. Anybody remember the great collapse of 2007? Or, how about the one in 2008?
The bullpen is critical to the Mets’ success in 2017 as there are health concerns with all their starters, four of whom are coming off surgery. Realistically, one can’t expect to get seven innings – at least early in the season – from the rotation, which puts pressure on the bullpen. You’ll be surprised with how the innings accumulate.
Then, after two rough Octobers, many have questions about Jeurys Familia. I’m not in that camp, but just suppose those questions are valid. If nothing else, the Mets have the flexibility of using Reed in that role. Reed has also shown the ability to get more than three outs.
As these playoffs have shown, pitching always trumps hitting. A strong staff needs a steady bullpen, and Reed is a critical asset for the Mets. Many of you didn’t like how manager Terry Collins juggled his pen. Imagine how you’d feel if they didn’t have Reed.
I don’t have much faith the Mets will dive deeply into the free-agent pool. I don’t know how much money GM Sandy Alderson will spend, but his first check should go to Reed.
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