High Heat: Mets have more work to do to keep up with rivals

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Free agent Yankees reliever Dellin Betances could be an ideal and powerful addition to the Mets bullpen for 2020. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Mets have seen the Phillies add Didi Gregorius and Zack Wheeler, the Braves sign Cole Hamels and Will Smith, and the Nationals retain Stephen Strasburg — and the Yankees reel in the market’s biggest fish in Gerrit Cole. 

As their biggest rivals have showed their financial might, the Mets have done their usual off-season shopping for bargains. And with news of new ownership taking over in the not-so-distant future, the Wilpons should allow general manager Brodie Van Wagenen to do whatever is necessary to stay relevant and competitive in what is looking like a stacked National League East. 

Don’t get me wrong. Jake Marisnick, acquired in a trade with the Astros, will provide value on defense and on the basepaths. Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello were smart, safe signings that add much needed depth for the starting rotation. And, perhaps most importantly to the penny-pinching franchise, they came cheap. 

But there are still moves left for the Mets to make. They can’t be done. The Yankees have given their fans Cole, and the Mets need to ensure they give their faithful followers more than coal this holiday season. 

While there are unlikely to be any big deals signed before the holidays, Van Wagenen must improve this team before Spring Training begins in February if the Mets are going to be legitimate contenders in 2020.

So, what’s left on the holiday shopping list? 

Well, if they’re not going to go out and pay for a star player, the Mets should look to bring as much depth to the bullpen as possible. 

The club has done well in building their starting pitching depth, but aside from signing Brad Brach, they have done little to enhance their bullpen. Chances are that Van Wagenen is counting on bounceback seasons from Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz. And given their track record, you don’t have to look hard to see both relievers returning to their previous status as elite relievers. But they still need one more piece. 

Enter Dellin Betances.

With the Yankees likely spending most of their budget on Cole, the chance of a reunion with Betances has dwindled. Betances should have his eyes set on Queens and the Mets should welcome him with open arms. He is an elite reliever with experience pitching in New York and, despite his injury-plagued 2019 campaign, still has a lot to offer.

Look for him to sign a one-year, prove-it deal to build his value back up. The Mets, though, should offer a player option on top of a one-year $10 to $12 million contract. That gives Betances security in case he struggles in his return from injury, and gives the Mets a chance to keep him for another year if he does indeed bounce back. 

Will Harris, formerly of the Houston Astros also remains unsigned. While he doesn’t offer as much upside as Betances, his sweeping off-speed stuff would be a nice change from the high-velocity arms in the ‘pen.