The Mets saw yet another of the pitchers they thought might be a significant part of their 2022 pitching staff sign elsewhere on Monday.
Again, with the Los Angeles Angels.
Noah Syndergaard reached a one-year, $21 million deal with the Angels last Tuesday. Lefthander Aaron Loup, not only the Mets’ best reliever by far but one of the best relievers in MLB last season, officially departed for Southern California on Monday.
Loup signed a two-year, $17 million deal, the Angels said in a late-afternoon announcement. The contract includes a $7.5 million club option for 2024, the team said.
"Our budget today without even signing anybody’s already at $185 million or so," Mets owner Steve Cohen said last Friday during a Zoom news conference announcing the hiring of Billy Eppler as his new general manager. "So if we’re going to find the right type of talent, it’s going to probably be either trades with other clubs or free agents. We don’t really have a lot in our farm to supplement what we need, so it’s going to require probably spending. And that’s what’s going to happen."
That spending, at the moment, isn’t being directed toward the bullpen but still is very much expected to be used to add pitching, with the Mets in the market for two or perhaps even more starting pitchers.
Even if they are successful in that quest, filling Loup’s shoes will not be done easily.
Loup, 33, was the clear star in a Mets bullpen that did little to distinguish itself last season. He went 6-0 with a 0.95 ERA and struck out 57 in 56 2⁄3 innings.
A ninth-round pick in the 2009 draft by the Blue Jays who has a 3.05 career ERA in 10 big-league seasons, Loup led all major league relievers in 2021 in ERA (minimum 50 innings pitched). He held the opposition to a .192 batting average, which ranked him third among NL lefthanders. Lefthanded hitters batted .167 against him.