Looking to upgrade their bullpen before the August 31 waiver trade deadline, the New York Mets claimed left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski off waivers from the San Diego Padres, as reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports on Saturday.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 29, 2015
Outside of set up man Tyler Clippard and closer Jeurys Familia, the Mets bullpen has not fared well recently. Thanks to recent workloads of the Mets’ relievers, starter Bartolo Colon had to pitch the 9th inning in the team’s 3-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
In particular, the Mets have run into problems when trying to get consistency out of the southpaw portion of their bullpen.
Rzepczynski, 30, is a seven-year Major League veteran who could potentially fill the left-handed void in the bullpen. But if the Mets are able to acquire the 6’2″ lefty, New York would become the veteran’s third team in 2015.
Beginning the season as a fixture of the Cleveland Indians bullpen, Rzepczynski saw action in 45 games for the Indians. He pitched to a 4.43 ERA through 20-and-one-third innings for a slumping Indians team. He was dealt on the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. The Padres acquired him in exchange for Abraham Almonte, per Keith Law of ESPN.
However, since the trade, Rzepczynski has struggled as a member of the Padres. In 15 games and seven-and-one-third innings, Rzepczynski is pitching to a dreadful 6.14 ERA.
Combined for the season, Rzepczynski owns a 4.88 ERA through 60 games and 27-and-two-thirds innings between the Indians and Padres.
While the Mets are looking for a lefty specialist who can neutralize same-side hitters, Rzepczynski may not be the ideal candidate. Left-handed hitters are hitting him at a.257 clip in 2015, and the only batter to take Rzepczynski deep in 2015 was a left-handed batter. He has struggled immensely against right-handed batters in 2015 (.324 BAA).
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Mets acquired Eric O’Flaherty from the Oakland Athletics earlier this month. The former Atlanta Braves mainstay seemed to be on the upswing in Oakland, giving the Mets hope he could continue his string of success. But since the trade, O’Flaherty has pitched to an unsightly 15.00 ERA through 10 appearances.
Also, the Mets lost lefty Jerry Blevins for the remainder of 2015 after he fractured his forearm recently. Other acquisitions, such as Alex Torres, have not panned out, either.
As Rosenthal mentioned, the timeline on when a trade must be completed is unclear. Since the Mets claimed Rzepczynski on waivers, they only have a certain amount of time to swing a deal. If they are unsuccessful, Rzepczynski will remain with the Padres.
The Padres could place Rzepczynski on waivers again, but would not have the option of pulling him back as he would be on irrevocable waivers. Also, with the waiver trade deadline on Monday, he would not be eligible for a postseason roster spot if he’s traded after August 31.
A source tells Marc Craig of Newsday that the Mets are not likely to complete a deal for Rzepczynski. With addition of right-hander Addison Reed late Saturday, the Mets will not have let the waiver trade deadline pass without making a trade. But acquiring Reed should not impact a potential deal for Rzepczynski, who is a lefty-specialist type, rather than a former established closer.
With a few more days remaining, Mets’ fans should expect that the team will shore up it’s left-handed reliever situation. While it may not end up being Rzepczynski, the Mets’ will look through all of their options.
[Image by Mike McGinnis / Getty Images]