The New York Mets continued fortifying their bullpen Wednesday, agreeing to a two-year, $12 million deal with veteran reliever Antonio Bastardo.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported the news. Bastardo, 30, spent last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He compiled a 4-1 record with a 2.98 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, earning one save and nine holds. It was his first and only campaign in a Pirates uniform, having spent the previous six years with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Fresh off a World Series appearance, the Mets have nonetheless kept spending to a minimum this offseason. They added Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera, but neither player comes with an exorbitantly high cost or a long-term commitment. Walker can be a free agent after this season, and Cabrera’s deal was only for two years.
The Bastardo signing continues an organizational trend of short-term commitments. While many Mets fans have become disenchanted with a perceived lack of effort from the front office, keeping things short-term with Bastardo is smart.
He’s never produced more than one win in a single season, perFanGraphs, and has a strange trend of performing in every other season. Starting in 2010, Bastardo has never produced an ERA lower than 3.94 in even-numbered years and has posted ERAs of 2.98 or lower in odd-numbered years.
Statheads would correctly point out that’s a result of fluky variance, but it nonetheless illustrates Bastardo’s inconsistency. He’s not someone worth tethering your franchise to; in most years he’s a slightly above replacement-level reliever.
Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal nonetheless pointed out Bastardo’s strengths: