Posted on January 25, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
After a busy offseason, the New York Mets appear to be putting the finishing touches on their roster with spring training fast approaching. On Friday, the Mets reached a deal with lefty reliever Justin Wilson. The sides agreed to a two-year deal worth $10 million plus performance bonuses. Wilson appears to be the final addition to a revamped New York bullpen.
The 31-year old Wilson is fresh off a year and a half long stint with the Cubs. In 2018, he was 4-5 with a 3.46 ERA while making 71 appearances for the best bullpen in the National League. Prior to that, Wilson had stints with the Tigers, Yankees, and Pirates, accumulating 14 saves and 110 holds along the way. His experience as a closer is largely confined to the first half of the 2017 season. However, Wilson is accustomed to pitching late in games in a set up role, which was no doubt attractive to the Mets.
If there’s a weakness for Wilson, it’s his control. He’s conceded a few too many walks the past two seasons, which could be a flaw the Mets will have to live with the next two years. However, Wilson is also tough on left-handed hitters with his mid-90s fastball and a solid curveball. That’s not to say he’s strictly a lefty specialist. However, the Mets can use him as such if needed, which is an element they were previously lacking on their roster.
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Of course, Wilson is just the latest addition the Mets have made to their bullpen this winter. They brought in Edwin Diaz to be their new closer as part of the Robinson Cano trade. The club also brought back former closer Jeurys Familia to serve in a setup role. Familia and Wilson figure to join Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman in what is now a rather deep contingent of setup men in the New York bullpen. Most of those pitchers, excluding Wilson, have proven to be comfortable pitching more than one inning at a time, giving the Mets plenty of depth and flexibility late in games.
The only potential caveat is that Wilson could end up being the only lefty the Mets have in their bullpen. Prior to signing Wilson, rookie Daniel Zamora was the only left-handed reliever the Mets had on their 40-man roster. They also have veteran Luis Avilan signed to a minor league contract. But there’s no guarantee either will provide the left-handed presence in the bullpen the Mets will need. Adding Wilson gives the Mets at least one trustworthy lefty and another proven setup man.
On the surface, signing Wilson doesn’t move the needle much for a team hoping to compete in 2019. But it’s a move the Mets were smart to make. They’ve now added three proven commodities to their bullpen this winter, which should help them provide more support for what could be one of the best rotations in baseball. With Wilson on board, the Mets have one fewer holes on their roster that could hurt them during the course of the 2019 season.