Mets will miss Aaron Loup, but focusing resources on signing two or more starters

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Aaron Loup in white Mets uniform
Aaron Loup in white Mets uniform

The surprise announcement that dropped on Monday evening heralding Aaron Loup’s agreement with the Los Angeles Angels landed as a bummer in New York, where Loup was by far the Mets’ best reliever in 2021.

But from the Mets’ point of view, the $17 million committed to Loup over the next two seasons was steep for a reliever coming off a career year -- especially when, according to league sources, the Mets are actively seeking a minimum of two and as many as three free agent starting pitchers.

Steve Cohen is willing and ready to exceed whatever the next luxury tax threshold is, but his baseball operations department is still expected to allocate its resources smartly.

In the case of Loup, who posted a 0.95 ERA (with a .259 batting average on balls in play likely providing a better hint to his future performance) in a dominant 2021, he was deep into talks with the Angels before new GM Billy Eppler assumed control of the Mets last Thursday evening, according to a source.

Once the Mets realized what Loup’s market was, they decided to continue to focus on starters.

Agents and executives say the market for starters is moving briskly, with more signings expected before the collective bargaining agreement expires on Dec. 1, likely freezing offseason transactions.