Mets Sign Alex Claudio, Stephen Nogosek To Minor League Contracts

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The Mets recently signed left-hander Alex Claudio and right-hander Stephen Nogosek to minor league deals, Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America reports.  The signings are allowed during the lockout since both players are minor league free agents.

Claudio was released by the Red Sox in late September after inking a minors deal with Boston in August.  That deal with the Sox came on the heels of a 5.51 ERA over 32 2/3 innings with the Angels, as Claudio had some uncharacteristic struggles against left-handed batters and with his control (10.1% walk rate).

Known for his durability and his knack for inducing grounders, Claudio enjoyed some solid success with the Rangers and Brewers from 2014-20, even if his lack of a traditional high velo/high strikeout bullpen resume twice led Milwaukee to non-tender him.  Claudio’s early-career numbers (a 2.66 ERA over 162 1/3 innings from 2014-17) were better than his more recent work (4.28 ERA in 149 1/3 IP in 2018-20), and he has also had trouble keeping the ball in the park in two of his last three seasons.  In 2021, Claudio posted a 26.1% homer rate, allowing six home runs over his 32 2/3 frames with the Halos.

Only just entering his age-30 season, Claudio could be an interesting candidate for something of a rebound year, particularly since the defensively-challenged Angels weren’t a great fit for a groundball pitcher.  The Mets can take a closer look at Claudio in spring camp, and he would seemingly have a good shot at winning a job in a New York bullpen thin on southpaws.  David Peterson represents the only healthy left-handed pitcher on the Mets’ entire 40-man roster.

For Nogosek, it marks a quick return to the organization after the Mets cut him loose at the November 30 non-tender deadline.  Nogosek (who just turned 27 earlier this week) first came to the Mets from the Red Sox in July 2017 as part of the trade package for Addison Reed, and the righty has eight career MLB games on his resume.  Between 6 2/3 innings over seven appearances in 2019 and a single three-inning appearance this past season, Nogosek has a 9.31 ERA in his brief big league career.

As a minor leaguer, Nogosek has a 3.55 ERA over 238 innings, working as a reliever for all but three of his 170 games.  Nogosek can miss some bats (27.01% strikeout rate) but control has been an issue, with an above-average 11.91% walk rate in his time on the farm.  He struggled to a 5.14 ERA over 35 innings with Triple-A Syracuse in 2021, and also spent about six weeks on the injured list due to shoulder inflammation.

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