After losing out on Brad Hand to the Washington Nationals, the New York Mets signed former Tampa Bay Rays reliever Aaron Loup.
Over a week ago, the New York Mets appeared to be in agreement with free agent reliever Brad Hand, before the reports were rescinded hours later. This past Sunday, news broke that Hand opted to sign a one-year contract with Washington Nationals. With their target now with their rival, the Mets pivoted to a rather solid backup option.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Mets have agreed to terms with former Tampa Bay Rays left-handed reliever Aaron Loup. The contract is for one-year, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post, but financial details have not been revealed as of this writing.
The Mets targeted Hand after he was placed on outright waivers by the Cleveland Indians back in late October because the team desperately needed a lefty in the bullpen. Hand was the best southpaw on the market, but lost out to the Nationals, who gave him $10.5 million for one season. Even so, signing Loup is a solid contingency plan for New York.
After spending the majority of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays and short stints with the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres, Loup signed a minor-league contract with the Rays. Loup put up great numbers with Tampa Bay and even earned two wins in one day in a double-header against his former team in the Blue Jays!
Through 24 regular-season appearances, Loup recorded a 2.52 ERA, a 0.840 WHIP and 22 strikeouts over 25 innings of work. While he didn’t have a single save opportunity, but he did finish six games. In the Rays’ run to the World Series, Loup posted a 3.38 ERA and struck out seven batters over 5.2 innings (nine games).
The Mets did sign right-hander Trevor May to a two-year, $15.5 million contract, but now they add Loup to the equation to be the lone lefty alongside Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia.