The Cubs, leading the NL Central, are aiming for their fifth straight postseason appearance, and Brach didn’t want that to end his chance at a ring.
“I feel like they’re a team whose bullpen I can help and bring a fresh arm at the end of games,” Brach told Yahoo Sports on Friday in his first comments since signing with the Mets on Thursday. “I grew up a Mets fan, and that’s part of it, but I feel I can help this team win and they’re really an exciting team right now.”
Brach had eight major-league offers, according to a source. He will be on the roster for tonight’s series opener against the Washington Nationals.
Brach, a native of Freehold, New Jersey, grew up a Mets fan saw a perfect fit in Flushing. He’s a low-risk move that could produce significant rewards for a bullpen in need of help.
While the team’s bullpen has pitched better as of late while facing poor lineups, the team has at most two reliable late-inning relievers in Seth Lugo and Justin Wilson. Closer Edwin Diaz is unreliable and may soon be removed from his role, and $30-million man Jeurys Familia cannot be trusted in high-leverage situations.
Brach, 33, had a rough stint with the Cubs, but he’s not that far removed from being one of the game’s top relievers.
The former Monmouth standout posted a 6.13 ERA with the Cubs spanning 39 2/3 innings, and battled wildness, walking 28 batters.
Brach pointed to two outings against the Colorado Rockies in which he allowed four runs in each appearances as the moment his season derailed.
He owned a 3.70 ERA before those outings, and a 9.98 ERA from then on. Brach tried mechanical adjustments and pitch selections, but it didn’t help.
“I went into a tailspin and never righted the ship,” Brach said. “It was frustrating. My stuff is as good as it’s always been, the results weren’t there. I wasn’t getting out. It’s almost like it wasn’t meant to be. It didn’t work out. Got some bad bounces, bloop hits, and then I gave up big hits. I never could that final streak.
“I’m happy to get this second lease on life.”
Brach could work his way into big opportunities if he can regain his form from his days with the Orioles, and his family of Mets fans loves his new team.
Brach grew up about 90 minutes from Flushing, and still remembers his first game, a doubleheader against the Pirates at Shea Stadium.
The first play of the game featured Bobby Bonilla making an error.
Brach even attended Game 3 of 2015 World Series with this two brothers and his wife, and both of his brothers are huge Mets fans.
His family also has a connection to Mets manager Mickey Callaway with his younger brother, Brett, pitching in the Indians system during Callaway’s time with Cleveland. Callaway served as Brett’s pitching coach in Single-A.
“[Brett] has always talked highly of Mickey,” Brach said.
Now, it’s Brad’s turn to work with Callaway, and he hopes he can help the red-hot Mets continue their playoff push.
“Their turnaround has been unbelievable. Series after they played (the Cubs), it seemed all hell had broken loose,” Brach said. “It’s been impressive to watch. Everybody that plays against them knows about the starting pitching they have. The opportunities are endless. We’re right there for the Wild Card. I’m glad I’m part of this team. I know it gets exciting in New York when the Mets are playing well.”
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