Former New York Mets reliever Tyler Clippard found himself a new team. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic is reporting that the Arizona Diamondbacks and Clippard agreed on a two-year contract.
The Diamondbacks have a few potential openings in their bullpen and Clippard brings some welcome experience.
The Mets had been rumored to be looking for additional bullpen help. Clippard and the Mets had been open to a reunion, but the Mets are looking for minor-league deals with an invite to spring training.
Although Clippard would have been a nice piece to have for the Mets bullpen, he is not worth a multi-year contract. The Mets have already signed reliever Antonio Bastardo to a two-year contract. With the growth of Hansel Robles and Addison Reed in the setup role, Clippard would clog the bullpen beyond this season. Down the stretch, Clippard struggled with the Mets, and fatigue seemed to play a big part in his inability to find his changeup.
If the Mets were to sign Clippard, he would have had to accept a different role. I feel that Clippard would not be at the top of the list to handle the eighth inning. At times, Clippard could be relied upon to handle some heavy loads. For the most part, this Mets bullpen will have specific assignments.
In a perfect world for the Mets, Jeurys Familia will be entering the game with the lead often. But the key to success will be the bridge between the excellent starting rotation and the exciting young closer.
In my opinion, Reed has earned the first chance at the eighth inning. He possesses the experience of being a closer and showed signs of brilliance while with the Mets. With every relief pitcher, nothing is guaranteed year to year.
Bastardo should be the seventh-inning man. He could even go longer to face tougher lefties if necessary. He was brought in on a multi-year deal to work a heavy load. He will also provide some insurance for Reed in the eighth-inning role.
Jerry Blevins will handle the lefty specialist role out of the pen. Eventually Bartolo Colon will turn into the long-relief man. This will all be contingent on how the progress of Zack Wheeler‘s arm goes through the spring. Either way, the Mets have some young options to fill the long-man spot while Wheeler builds up his arm strength.
The wildcard in this bullpen will be Robles. For a rookie, Robles showed phenomenal flashes of dominance. I believe Robles is on his way to becoming the full-time eighth-inning man for the Mets. He will need to mature through some issues such as the quick pitch. Overall, this bullpen will be very solid, but not flashy.