Instead of relief, all the Mets get is agita.
But the team’s search for answers is limited in scope based on a reluctance to sign Craig Kimbrel and the scarcity of potential trade options this early, coupled with the organization’s dearth of high-end prospects, according to sources.
Kimbrel would be the most intriguing option for a bullpen that owns a 5.00 ERA, which ranked 24th in the major leagues on Monday. But whereas team officials have kept in contact with the All-Star closer’s representatives there are factors dissuading the Mets.
There is the financial — always a significant factor — as Kimbrel would likely command at minimum the qualifying offer of $17.9 million prorated for this season. That works out to roughly $11 million for a pitcher who might need all of June to build up, by which point the Mets could already be eliminated from the playoff race. As players who received qualifying offers last season, Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel on Monday became free to sign without a compensatory draft pick attached to them.
If the Mets were to sign Kimbrel to a one-year deal, that would likely entail moving Edwin Diaz to a setup role given that Kimbrel will be searching for a closer’s job and salary in the offseason. And there is skepticism within the organization that Diaz would be removed from the closer’s role to accommodate even a reliever of Kimbrel’s pedigree.