The Mets were among the ten teams that attended free agent left-hander Zack Britton’s showcase on Friday, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post. While the Mets have just lost their closer to a long-term injury, Heyman notes that the Mets’ level of interest in Britton is still unknown.
Britton, 35, was once one of the game’s top relief pitchers, but injuries have held him back in recent years, and he’s only thrown 21 innings over the past two seasons. That small sample was highly uneffective as well, as Britton owned a 6.16 ERA over those two seasons for the Yankees. Last year, in particular, was a frustrating one for the veteran, as Britton worked his way back from 2021 Tommy John surgery to throw, only to walk six of nine batters in his return and wind up back on the injured list for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.
With those injury concerns fresh in the memory, it’s tricky to predict just what sort of pitcher Britton can be moving forward. There’s no question about his dominance during his prime, as Britton put in year after year of consistently elite relief work between 2014-20, working to a 1.84 ERA over 367 1/3 innings.
With that sort of track record, a healthy Britton would make sense for a number of teams to take a chance, including the Mets. Brooks Raley is the only left-hander currently projected to make their bullpen, so another southpaw would make some sense. They do have TJ McFarland and Zach Muckenhirn as left-handers in camp with the team, but Britton would represent a clear upgrade on both. They’re also down a man after Edwin Diaz’ season-ending injury suffered in the World Baseball Classic. One case against signing a veteran like Britton is the fact that out of their currently projected bullpen, only John Curtiss and Drew Smith have minor league options remaining, so the team may prefer to add an arm with options remaining to allow for a bit more flexibility in the bullpen ahead of a long season.
Of course, that’s only looking at the Mets, and it’s worth remembering that nine other teams also attended his showcase and would have some level of interest. It’s also worth noting that attendance at a showcase is far from a confirmation of any firm interest in a player, and there’s no indication yet that the Mets are actively pursuing the two-time All Star, although they do make a fair bit of sense.
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