New York Mets Ink Antonio Bastardo To Bolster Bullpen

The New York Mets have agreed to terms with free agent Antonio Bastardo, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. 

Bastardo, a left-handed reliever who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates last year, signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the 2015 National League Champs. 

Last season, the 30-year-old posted a 2.98 ERA with a 1.134 WHIP over 57 1/3 innings. Bastardo pitched most often in the seventh and eighth innings, and was a key component to the Pirates' top-ranked bullpen ERA last year (2.67). Throughout his career, Bastardo has been effective against most hitters, allowing lefties to hit .178 with a .277 OBP and allowing righties to hit .211 with a .308 OBP. 

Bastardo joins a Mets team that had many bullpen issues last season, despite reaching the World Series for the first time since 1986. However, Bastardo should bolster the back end of the Mets' pen nicely, most likely pairing up with right-hander Addison Reed in setting up for closer Jeurys Familia.

The Mets also brought back left-hander Jerry Blevins earlier in the offseason, who will largely be used as a lefty specialist after breaking his left arm in April last year. Blevins never pitched again in 2015, and he was quite effective in his short time. 

The only other left-hander the Mets can use is Sean Gilmartin, who the team selected in the Rule 5 draft last season. In his first season in the big leagues, Gilmartin was very reliable as a long reliever, finishing with an ERA of 2.67 in 57 1/3 innings.

All in all, this is a good move for New York. The bridge to Familia last year -- particularly in the postseason -- was all too rickety, and Bastardo repairs it nicely. Suddenly, what felt like a question mark going into free agency has become a strength. Bastardo will improve the bullpen and help ease pressure of Familia in the later innings.