The New York Mets made one of the first, and most important, moves of the Major League Baseball offseason by signing Edwin Díaz to a long-term deal.
Some of New York's focus should turn to the trade market to add help for Díaz and even bolster the starting rotation that could lose Jacob deGrom in free agency.
According to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, the Mets are among a few teams that are interested in the available pitching that the Tampa Bay Rays have on their roster.
Jon Morosi @jonmorosi
Sources: Mets, Cubs, and Reds have been in touch with the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rays?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Rays</a> about their available pitching. The Angels have shown interest, too, as previously reported. <a href="https://twitter.com/MLBNetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLBNetwork</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/MLB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLB</a> <a href="https://t.co/WToEdP5PYf">https://t.co/WToEdP5PYf</a>
Tampa Bay is notorious for trading some of its top talents, and it already made one deal this offseason by shipping Ji-Man Choi to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The most notable name on the Tampa Bay roster is Tyler Glasnow, but he would require a large return of prospects. The Mets have a slew of prospects, led by catcher Francisco Álvarez, ready to hit the majors in 2023, and it may not be wise for the front office to trade away some of their top young players in this instance.
The best approach to trading with the Rays could be to go after their bullpen arms to add help in front of Edwin Díaz ahead of the expected fight between the Mets, Atlanta and Philadelphia in the National League East.
Jason Adam, Brooks Raley, Shawn Armstrong and Pete Fairbanks could be available for a lower cost. The Mets could add one or two of them to the bullpen and it would make that unit better going into 2023.
New York could even go after Drew Rasmussen, Jeffrey Springs or Ryan Yarbrough to build up depth at the back end of the rotation, or for the fifth and sixth innings to bridge the gap between starters and the top bullpen arms.
As of Monday morning, the Mets have Max Scherzer, Carlos Carrasco, Tylor Megill and David Peterson on the 40-man roster as potential starters. They may be better off chasing a starter in free agency than sending a mix of top prospects to Tampa Bay for Glasnow.
There are only three left-handed arms on the current 40-man roster. The Mets could call up the Rays to look at Springs, Raley or Colin Poche to balance out their pitching staff a bit.
Raley, who had a 2.68 ERA in 2022, has some playoff experience from his two seasons in Houston. He had 61 strikeouts to 15 walks in his 53.2 innings of work in the regular season.
Poche is a younger bullpen option than Raley. He produced 64 strikeouts in 58.2 innings, but he also walked 22 batters and had a 3.99 ERA.
Springs could be a back-end starter, a role that Yarbrough and Drew Rasmussen could also fill if the Mets pursue an addition to their starting rotation.
Both Springs and Rasmussen threw over 135 innings and struck out over 120 batters in 2022. They would be capable of filling a No. 4 or No. 5 starter role that could help the Mets overtake the Braves and Phillies on pitching depth.
The word "depth" is vital to the Mets' approach this offseason. They need to have depth behind Scherzer in the rotation and in support of Díaz in the bullpen.
Tampa Bay has a plethora of available arms who could help the Mets with that, and they may not come at expensive prices. A mid-tier prospect or two would be worth the deal for one pitcher, or the Mets could package some promising prospects to bring in multiple arms from the Rays.
A trade with Tampa Bay is one of the many avenues the Mets should explore, and it could become even more important to add pitching depth in a deal with the American League East squad if deGrom bolts in free agency.