At the beginning of the off-season, Sandy Alderson made it clear that his number one priority would be to significantly improve the bullpen so that they can “bridge the gap” to Jerry Blevins, AJ Ramos, and Jeurys Familia.
He did improve the ‘pen by signing Anthony Swarzak to a two-year, $14 million contract, but there is still a need for at least one more reliever.
However, as we all know, the Mets have made it clear that they are operating with a limited budget and they still have many other needs.
As a result, the Mets will likely have to look for value, which is a word we have heard a lot the last few days and will probably continue to hear the remainder of the off-season.
While there are a plethora of relievers that are still available and many that could fit under this umbrella, one name stands out above the rest.
The 34-year old reliever had a dominating season last year with the Washington Nationals as he went 7-2 and had a 1.62 ERA, 0.852 WHIP, 3.40 FIP, and 63 strikeouts in 61 innings. He accumulated a 2.5 WAR as a result.
His stats over his career though tell a different story, despite having a similar season in 2015. For his career, Albers has a 4.13 ERA, 1.392 WHIP, and a 4.39 FIP in his 665 innings of work to date.
Those statistics make some wary of signing him, which is why he might come cheap.
In a free-agent class that is deep in relief pitching, he has become an afterthought and is likely to receive no more than a one-year deal at this stage.
The marketplace has clearly become a buyer’s market and a player like Albers is not in an advantageous position to receive a lucrative contract, as an older and inconsistent reliever when there are still multiple options available.
The Mets are said to still be interested in upgrading the bullpen, and Albers could represent a nice bargain if he can produce anything close to the numbers he did last season in Washington.