By Steven Inman
Throughout the entire postseason, Terry Collins had trouble finding a reliever to help bridge the gap from his starting pitcher to Jeurys Familia. That situation cost the Mets a few times leading up to the World Series. The Mets had hoped that a trio of Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard and Familia would help the Mets make games shorter. It certainly didn’t work out that way as Tyler Clippard looked finished by the time the postseason came around and Reed was the losing pitcher in the Mets final game of the season.
Reed is back after settling at $5.3M in arbitration with the Mets and Clippard is still a free agent. Expecting that Reed would be better than he was in ’15 and hoping somebody else internally stepped up as a set-up man was a naive approach for a contending club so the Mets went out and got arguably the best set-up man on the market in Antonio Bastardo.
Bastardo has been an elite reliever with the Phillies and Pirates the past few seasons. Being left-handed many assume Bastardo is strictly a lefty specialist but that is not the case. Right-handed bats have hit just .211/.308/.332 against Bastardo in his 7-year career. (LHB just .178/.277/.319) He can be the Mets 8th inning guy against lefties and righties.
While Bastardo’s big red flag came from being involved in the Biogenesis scandal a few seasons ago, the 30-year old lefty has been very durable throughout his career. Bastardo has not been on the disabled list since 2010. To continue being an elite reliever the lefty must limit his walks going forward.
Bastardo at 2 years for $12 million is a terrific signing for the Mets. Lesser relievers have done less and earned more this winter and the combination of Bastardo and Familia at the back end of the bullpen will be very formidable. This is a very good signing by the Mets and will help put less pressure on the Mets starters to go deep into games early in the season.
The Mets for the first time in the Sandy Alderson era have now addressed all of their needs in an offseason. They enter Spring Training as one of the favorites to return to the World Series.