The Mets have acquired left-hander Brooks Raley from the Rays in exchange for left-hander Keyshawn Askew, per Jon Heyman of The New York Post. Both clubs subsequently announced the trade.
Raley, 35 in June, made his MLB debut with the Cubs back in 2012. After a few seasons of mediocre results, he went to Korea and pitched as a starter in the KBO from 2015 to 2019. He came back to MLB in 2020 and signed with the Reds but got designated for assignment after just four relief appearances.
The Reds then traded him to the Astros just before his career took off. He made 17 further appearances with Houston in 2020 and posted a 3.94 ERA in that time. In 2021, he threw 49 innings with a 4.78 ERA but strong peripherals. He struck out 31.7% of batters faced and walked just 7.8% of them, while also getting grounders on 45.3% of balls in play. His incredibly low strand rate of 59.7% surely contributed to that ERA, as he had much lower advanced metrics like a 3.27 FIP and 2.91 SIERA.
Going into 2022, the Rays signed him to a two-year, $10MM deal with a club option for 2024. Raley tossed 53 2/3 frames this year with a 2.68 ERA, 27.9% strikeout rate, 6.8% walk rate and 37.5% ground ball rate. He recorded six saves and 22 holds on the season.
For the Mets, they’re looking to rebuild almost an entire bullpen as Edwin Díaz, Adam Ottavino, Seth Lugo, Trevor Williams, Joely Rodriguez and Trevor May all reached free agency at the end of the most recent campaign. They’ve signed re-signed Díaz and made some other small moves but Raley immediately becomes the club’s top lefty in the bullpen. Like most southpaws, he is better against left-handed hitters, as they hit just .155/.200/.282 against him this year. Raley will add $4.5MM to the Mets’ payroll in 2023 and also has a $6.5MM club option for 2024 with a $1.25MM buyout.
For the Rays, they’re generally not shy about trading players coming off solid seasons, especially if they are making some notable salary. Raley’s contract wasn’t especially onerous but this is fairly standard operating procedure for the club, as they always look to keep a well-stocked farm system by selling high on major league talent. Without Raley, they still have Jalen Beeks, Garrett Cleavinger and Colin Poche as left-handed options for their bullpen.
Today, they’ve added Askew to their system, who was a 10th round selection of the Mets in 2021. He split 2022 between Single-A and High-A, throwing 66 1/3 innings with a 34.2% strikeout rate and 10.4% walk rate. He’ll turn 23 in January.
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