Now that the 2023 season is over for the New York Mets, we have been looking back at the year that was. After taking a more general view of the offense, pitching, and coaching staff, it’s time to take a deeper dive into the Mets’ players. This series will take a look at every player on the roster for the Mets at the end of the season from A (Abraham Almonte) to W (Josh Walker). The review will look at their season statistics, stories, and what role (if any) they will have next season. We continue the series today with a look at relief pitcher Jeff Brigham.
Player Review: Jeff Brigham
Minor Leagues: 10 Appearances, 9.0 Innings Pitched, 0-1 Won-Loss Record, 10.00 ERA, 2.56 WHIP, 2 Holds, 6:9 K:BB Ratio, .400 Batting Average Against
Major Leagues: 37 Appearances, 37.2 Innings Pitched, 1-3 Won-Loss Record, 5.26 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 6 Holds, 2 Blown Saves, 42:18 K:BB Ratio, .191 Batting Average Against, -0.1 WAR
Story: Seeking optionable arms for their bullpen, the New York Mets swung a trade with the Miami Marlins in November of 2022. The deal brought Jeff Brigham and Elieser Hernandez to the Mets in exchange for prospects Franklin Sanchez and Jake Magnum. After beginning the season on the injured list with AAA Syracuse, the Mets promoted Brigham to the majors in mid-April and he became a dependable middle reliever early on. Manager Buck Showalter slowly began to integrate Brigham into more set up responsibilities, which lead to his most notorious moment as a Met on June 25.
On a day where the Mets were thin in the back of the bullpen, Showalter summoned Brigham to clean up a mess in the eighth inning when Grant Hartwig loaded the bases with no one out and the Mets protecting a 6-3 lead against the Philadelphia Phillies. Brigham induced what should have been a double play ball but an egregious error by Brett Baty allowed a run to score and no outs were recorded, leaving Brigham with a bigger mess. The Mets saw Brigham implode after that, walking in a run and forcing in the tying and go-ahead runs by hitting batters while recording just one out. The Phillies took a 7-6 lead and Brigham was stuck with the loss in what would become the Mets’ most devastating defeat of the season.
That loss seemed to stick with Brigham, who was never the same after that and was sent back to the minors in early July. Brigham made more negative headlines with Syracuse after getting ejected for using sticky substances on August 9th, earning a 10-game suspension in the process and forcing the affiliate to go a man short for 10 days. The big club ended up bringing Brigham back in late August and he made five more appearances, working mostly in mop-up situations, and surrendered runs in four of them.
Brigham looked like a savvy pickup by former GM Billy Eppler until his implosion in Philadelphia. The fact that the complete meltdown essentially torpedoed his season does not reflect positively on Brigham’s grade for the year, although his performance prior to June 25 saves Brigham’s grade from entering the D range.
Contract Status: Arbitration Eligible (Second Time)
Odds Of Returning: 50%
2024 Role: Middle Reliever
Brigham is another player among the glut of relievers that the organization has with arbitration eligibility entering the offseason. The Mets could maintain team control of Brigham for three more years and he is projected to earn just about $1 million, making him a cost-effective bullpen option if new President of Baseball Operations David Stearns feels that Brigham can be useful in 2024. Brigham also has a minor league option left, which makes him a better option to keep than Phil Bickford, who has one more year of team control but cannot be optioned to the minors without being exposed to waivers.
Stearns knows he has to reconstruct the Mets’ bullpen, however, so at least a few of the relievers in Brigham’s category will get non-tendered to make room for new additions. It is truly a coin flip whether Brigham gets to experience a second year in Queens.
Check back tomorrow as our Player Review Series continues with a look at starting pitcher Jose Butto!