Mets should look to boost bullpen by trading for a late-inning reliever

With a depleted bullpen, the Mets should look to acquire a late-inning releiver, with options including Pittsburgh’s Tony Watson (No. 44), Kansas City’s Kelvin Herrera (No. 40), and Chicago’s David Robertson (r.).
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While the 2017 MLB trade deadline is still a good two months away, the Mets may need to make a move sooner rather than later if they want to remain in the playoff picture this summer.

New York has been devastated by injuries — some of which are long-term — and the team needs to look outside the organization for help, particularly for its depleted and struggling bullpen.

The Mets played the first 15 games of the season without Jeurys Familia and had Addison Reed handle the closing duties. Familia returned only to hit the disabled list due to a blood clot in his shoulder. Familia had surgery to remove the clot and will be out for most of, if not the remainder of the season, leaving the Mets bullpen once again shorthanded.

There are a handful of relievers who could be available and the Mets would be wise to pounce on at least one arm to add to their bullpen. Let’s take a look at the possible trade candidates who could be available.

Tony Watson - Pittsburgh Pirates

Watson has emerged as one of the top left-handed relievers in the game since breaking into the big leagues with the Pirates in 2011. He sports a stellar career record of 28-14 with a sterling 2.61 ERA and 30 saves. Of his 30 career saves, 25 have come in the past two years.

Watson won’t overpower hitters, but has a knack for getting guys out and is tough against lefties, who have hit just .206 against the southpaw since 2011.

This season, Watson has a 2-1 record with a 3.54 ERA and 10 saves in 12 chances. He could become available if the Pirates continue to struggle and Watson would be a welcome addition to the Mets’ bullpen.

Kelvin Herrera - Kansas City Royals

Like Watson, Herrera has only recently become a closer. He follows Greg Holland and Wade Davis in Kansas City and has big shoes to fill. Herrera has performed well and has converted nine saves in 11 chances despite a bloated 4.26 ERA in 2017.

The righty has postseason and World Series experience — he pitched against the Mets in the World Series in 2015 — and the value of that can’t be understated. The Mets need another dependable arm with Familia out, and Herrera’s power arm would fit in nicely in New York.

David Robertson - Chicago White Sox

David Robertson has seemingly been on the market ever since he signed with the White Sox following his time in New York with the Yankees.

Robertson boasts a fastball with tons of movement and a devastating curveball. He often pitches himself into trouble, only to Houdini his way out yet. He can walk the bases loaded with nobody out and then strikeout the side to escape the jam.

Robertson is by no means a perfect reliever. But he has experience pitching in New York. He has 123 career saves and boasts a 3-0 postseason record.

Another reason to trade for Robertson is that he has long been rumored as a target for the Washington Nationals. The Mets trail Washington in the division and trading for Robertson — and keeping him away from the Nationals — would be even more of a strong move for the Mets.

There are others options available for New York to chase, but this trio represents the best available bullpen arms. The Mets would be wise to swing a deal to add to their relief corps and enhance their playoff chances before it’s too late.

Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4539.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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