The New York Mets have signed relief pitcher Trevor May, according to multiple reports. The deal -- which is for two years, per ESPN's Jeff Passan -- is pending a physical. According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the deal will be worth a total of about $15 million.
May, a 31-year-old right-hander, finished the 2020 season with a 3.86 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 38 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings (24 games) for the Twins. May's 14.66 K/9 in 2020 ranked as seventh-best among all relievers. He's ranked as the 37th-best free agent on CBS Sports' top 60 free agent list, and No. 6 on our top 10 free agent relievers. Here's what CBS Sports' RJ Anderson wrote of May:
Bill James once theorized that it's better for a player to start hot than to finish hot, even if their statistics end up the same. James' thinking was that the player who started hot would have better-looking numbers throughout, which would in turn buy them more leeway from management and fans. May is evidence that the inverse is true when it comes to paths to free agency: in his first three seasons in the Show, he posted a 5.14 ERA and looked like a bust; in his last three, he accumulated a 3.19 ERA and gained recognition as a legitimate high-leverage arm. Part of his improvement was a permanent move to the bullpen, where he's continued to seek the ideal pitch mix. Last season, that meant shelving his curveball and throwing more than 80 percent fastballs and sliders. It's an effective combination for missing bats; he's still home-run prone, however, which could prevent him from ever being viewed as a worthy closing option.
May didn't have a set role with the Twins bullpen, filling in as at the middle, set up and closer spots. Since undergoing Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss the 2017 season, May has notched a 3.19 ERA mark and shown improved velocity. May did not allow a single earned run in his final eight appearances (7 2/3 IP) of the 2020 season.
The Mets could certainly use some bullpen help after finishing in the bottom half of the league for ERA (4.60) and FIP (4.74) last season. Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia, and Edwin Diaz all struggled at times for the Mets in 2020. The club blew seven saves during last year's abbreviated season, and had 27 blown saves during the 2019 season.
It's been a busy first offseason already for new Mets owner Steve Cohen. Starter Marcus Stroman accepted the club's qualifying offer to return with the Mets for the 2021 season. Mets second baseman Robinson Cano was recently handed a season-long suspension due to a second positive PED test, which means the club has $20.25 million more to spend for next season.
All the while, the Mets are also still searching for their new general manager. The club has interviewed six candidates for general manager so far, and potential second- and third-round of interviews are expected in the near future.
The Mets, under Cohen, are hoping to return to contention next season after a disappointing 2020 in which they failed to earn a spot in the expanded postseason. Cohen figures to make an aggressive opening statement during his first offseason as owner while opposing owners may decide to save this winter.