The New York Mets have had an agonizing 2021 season.
After a roller-coaster summer, the team was eliminated from playoff contention earlier this week.
Fans are understandably frustrated, but it’s important to keep in mind that there have been a few bright spots this year.
Relief pitcher Aaron Loup has been one of them.
The Tulane University product has had an incredible campaign, and he has given Mets fans plenty to cheer about.
Thing is, he’s about to become a free agent.
New York needs to make sure Loup doesn’t play for another team in 2022.
Re-signing the southpaw needs to be a priority this offseason.
Loup Has Been New York’s Best Bullpen Arm All Season
Loup has been lights-out this entire season.
In fact, he has been one of the best relievers in baseball for most of the 2021 campaign.
The lefty has a 0.97 ERA, 413 ERA+, 2.49 FIP, and 0.93 WHIP across 64 outings.
He has given up just one home run all season long, which is a miraculous accomplishment for a guy who has been used so often.
Lowest regular-season ERA in Mets history for pitchers with at least 50 innings:
1. Aaron Loup (2021): 0.97
2. Jacob deGrom (2021): 1.08
3. Jesse Orosco (1983): 1.47
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) September 28, 2021
Currently, Loup is riding an 11.1-inning scoreless streak.
Over his last 31.2 innings, he has allowed one run, giving him an ERA of 0.28 over that span.
And if you extend the sample size to his last 44.1 innings, then he has a 0.41 ERA over the span.
The 33-year-old is playing out of his mind.
He’s almost certainly going to get consideration for the Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year Award.
He Is New York’s Only Reliable Left-Handed Reliever
The Mets actually have a pretty solid bullpen.
The team has the 10th-best bullpen ERA (3.91) in all of baseball.
But without Loup, the unit wouldn’t be the same.
He is New York’s only reliable lefty reliever aside from Brad Hand, who just joined the team a few weeks ago (and will become a free agent after the season ends).
Every bullpen needs at least one solid lefty, and Loup checks that box in a major way.
When the Mets begin to consider which areas need to be addressed in the offseason, the need for a left-handed reliever will be one of them, and bringing Loup back would give the team one less thing to worry about.
Above All, Loup Has Made It Clear That He Wants To Re-Sign With The Mets
Loup has made it perfectly clear where he wants to be: New York.
Pending free agent Aaron Loup on his future with the Mets:
"I'd love to come back. I've had a blast playing here. I've had fun with the guys all year long and I've had a great year, so I see no reason not to." pic.twitter.com/d4yASh3rT0
— SNY (@SNYtv) September 20, 2021
The veteran figures to attract a very nice AAV in free agency, but it sounds like he’d rather get it with the Mets than any other team.
Given his age (33), Loup likely won’t receive any crazy long-term offers, but he’s certainly deserving of, say, a two-year deal.
The Mets can swing that.
Here’s something else that’s important to keep in mind: The former ninth-round pick isn’t just catching lightning in a bottle this season.
He has been trending up for a few years.
Since the start of the 2019 season, he has a 1.39 ERA.
If the Mets don’t pay him, someone else will.
It’s clear that he wants to return to New York, so if the organization makes him a competitive offer, then Mets fans will probably get to enjoy watching Loup pitch for their club in 2022 and possibly beyond.