The Mets have signed right-hander Brad Brach, as per the team’s Twitter feed. Brandon Nimmo was shifted to the 60-day injured list to create a 40-man roster spot, while left-hander Donnie Hart was optioned to Triple-A to create space on New York’s active roster.
After being released earlier this week by the Cubs, the Mets are hopeful that a change of scenery can turn around what has been easily the roughest full season of Brach’s career. The righty has a 6.13 ERA, 10.2 K/9, and 1.61 K/BB rate over 39 2/3 innings this season, with an ungainly 6.4 BB/9 and a career-high 37.4% hard-hit ball rate standing out as the biggest issues. That said, Brach was perhaps a touch unlucky to post that big ERA, as his .375 BABIP and ERA predictors (4.13 FIP, 4.88 xFIP, 4.93 SIERA) could hint.
It’s worth noting that Brach also didn’t pitch well last season with the Orioles before a midseason trade to the Braves got him back on track, as Brach had a 1.52 ERA over 23 2/3 frames for Atlanta. Overall, Brach has spent much of the decade as a solid-to-excellent relief arm for the Padres, Orioles, and Braves, posting a 3.05 ERA, 2.43 K/BB rate, and 9.4 K/9 over 449 innings from 2012-18.
Anything close to that performance would be a big help to a New York bullpen that has largely struggled this season, apart from a superlative year from Seth Lugo and some good work from southpaw Justin Wilson over his 21 innings with the club. Edwin Diaz is ostensibly still the closer, though Lugo could potentially get more save opportunities down the stretch, so Brach could possibly step right into a setup role.
The Mets will only be paying Brach a prorated minimum salary for the remainder of the season, as the Cubs are covering the rest of the salary owed to Brach under the terms of his rather bonus-heavy one-year contract. The deal also contains a dual option for 2020 — the Mets can either pay Brach $5MM or buy him out for $100K. If the latter option occurs, Brach can enact a player option worth $1.35MM.
Though Brodie Van Wagenen has only been the Mets’ general manager for less than a year, the club had interest in Brach prior to the 2018 season, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. A Brach-for-Matt Harvey deal was discussed between the Mets and Orioles, which creates an interesting what-if scenario for fans.