PORT ST. LUCIE — Justin Wilson would like to believe his experience pitching for the other New York team has prepared him for the Mets.
“Clearly both teams in New York, as far as you guys [in] the media go, there is a stronger presence there,” the lefty reliever said Sunday upon reporting to spring training. “Fans-wise, I think you get a different atmosphere than other stadiums. It prepared me, but a lot goes along with that as well.”
Wilson, who pitched for the Yankees in 2015, also experienced a high-pressure environment with the Cubs for the past season and a half. He received a two-year deal worth $10 million from the Mets, coming off a season in which he went 4-5 with a 3.46 ERA and 1.427 WHIP in 71 appearances.
The Mets’ initially expressed interest in Wilson — who is represented by the same agents as Jeurys Familia — at the general managers meetings in November. But it wasn’t until two weeks ago the sides reached agreement. Familia returned to the Mets in December on a three-year deal worth $30 million.
It’s expected Wilson, who mainly relies on a 95-mph fastball and cutter, will be asked to face both righties and lefties. According to sources, Wilson’s durability helped set him apart from other lefty relievers the Mets considered. Wilson has appeared in at least 65 games in each of the past six seasons. On the flip side, there are concerns about health that come with such usage.
The Mets also have lefty specialist Daniel Zamora as a bullpen candidate. Lefties Luis Avilan and Hector Santiago arrived on minor league deals and will be considered for the team.
Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman are the primary righty options leading into Familia and Edwin Diaz.
“Clearly they made some additions with Jeurys back and Edwin [Diaz] and it’s going to be a lot of fun, a lot of power coming out of the back end,” Wilson said. “I want to play for a contender, and when it came down to it, there were other teams involved, but what it really came down to was the additions that Brodie [Van Wagenen] has made and the ownership and how I felt about them wanting to win.”