Before the winter meetings concluded earlier today, the Mets had reportedly been in discussions with the Texas Rangers about relief pitcher José Leclerc. It’s not clear how far along the discussions got, or if they are still ongoing, but the Mets had also been contacting the Rangers about Jed Lowrie and Dominic Smith, so the dialogue may have been centered around them.
Leclerc burst onto the scene with a dominant 2018 season for the Rangers where he struck out 38.1% of hitters he faced and posted a minuscule 1.56 ERA in 57.2 innings of relief. Perhaps most impressively, he only allowed a single home run during the entire season. Unfortunately, that did not carry over into 2019, and he put up a much more pedestrian 4.33 ERA in 68.2 innings. He has always had control issues, even in 2018, and he walked over 13% of hitters last year. That was somehow not the worst mark of his career; in 2017 he walked 20% of hitters in 45.2 innings.
That said, Leclerc still struck out roughly the same amount of hitters last year as he did in 2018, and still suppressed the home run ball at a strong rate. He has always had good stuff and would stand to be an upgrade to the Mets bullpen. The Mets have not added any new relievers yet, even though Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said they’re not looking for any additional bullpen help right now, for reasons nobody really knows.
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