With Brad Hand gone to the Nationals, the Mets have found a different left-hander for their bullpen.
The Mets have agreed to a deal with free agent Aaron Loup, a source told MLB.com on Wednesday. The club has not confirmed the deal, which is pending a physical.
The deal gives the Mets the type of left-handed stalwart they were looking for. Loup, 33, posted a 2.52 ERA in 25 innings last season, striking out 22 batters while holding lefties to a .212/.278/.303 slash line. That’s an improvement over his career mark of a .621 OPS from left-handed hitters.
Currently, the only lefty relievers on the Mets’ 40-man roster are Daniel Zamora and Stephen Tarpley, both of whom possess checkered recent histories. The Mets also signed veteran specialist Jerry Blevins to a Minor League deal, inviting him to Spring Training. They have several additional pitchers who could come out of the bullpen if needed, including Steven Matz, Joey Lucchesi and prospect Thomas Szapucki, though the team intends to keep at least Matz and Lucchesi stretched out as starters.
Given that backdrop, Loup offers the Mets a measure of stability. He owns a career 3.38 ERA over nine seasons with the Blue Jays, Phillies, Padres and Rays, relying on a four-pitch mix to neutralize both left-handed and right-handed batters.