While the Mets might sign a player to a minor league contract, it seems the major candidates for a spot in the Opening Day bullpen are set. Let’s break them down into three categories:

Edwin Diaz
Jake Diekman
Adam Ottavino
Brooks Raley
Drew Smith

Leg Up
Phil Bickford
Shintaro Fujinami
Jorge Lopez
Michael Tonkin

*Kyle Crick
Reed Garrett
Grant Hartwig
Yohan Ramirez
Sean Reid-Foley
*Andre Scrubb
*Cole Sulser
Josh Walker

The Mets also invited several of their top pitching prospects to Spring Training. But an even more important thing to consider is if depth starters like Jose Butto, Joey Lucchesi and Tylor Megill will be considered for a bullpen spot. Finally, in addition to all of the players listed above, the Mets signed numerous pitchers to minor league contracts. There’s already a glut of potential SP at Triple-A and it’s likely the same thing will happen in the bullpen in SYR, too.

20 comments on “Wednesday catch-all thread (2/7/24)

  • Steve_S.

    I have a feeling that (if no injuries among their top relievers), they will cut Bickford in spring training.

    • Brian Joura

      That’s certainly a possibility.

      Much like with Drew Smith, you have to think that by offering arbitration in the first place, the club sees them as worthwhile players. I’m not going to lose any sleep if they cut Bickford but he looked good in September.

    • Metstabolism

      Not sure why so many are so sour on Bickford. Stearns did say he wants a lot of different looks in the pen, and Bickford’s angle and release points are certainly that.
      There are plenty of expendable pieces in that pen. Can’t see any of them being more or less likely to be cut.

  • TexasGusCC

    Did anyone catch Buck Showalter’s comments yesterday on Foul Territory about being told who to play and how to make up lineups, and Zack Scott having to come to Billy Eppler’s defense saying that front offices don’t dictate lineups? Showalter is enjoying crapping on Eppler, but Eppler did enough to merit another job while Showalter…. I don’t see it. I wouldn’t hire him again, but I am not happy about a rookie manager either.

    • Brian Joura

      Zack Scott can talk about how generally these things work but he cannot specifically talk about what went on between Eppler and Showalter last year because he wasn’t there. I don’t know if Eppler did or did not control Showalter in this way. All I can do is try to read the tea leaves. Why would a respected manager like Showalter – one who is still trying to get a job – make something up about his boss? I just have a hard time believing that.

      • Metstabolism

        Curious as to your opinion on this:
        Drew Smith does still have options. Does Stearns value depth enough that this makes Smith a candidate for that in order to avoid having to cut one of the out-of-options relievers??

        • Brian Joura

          It’s not clear to me if Smith has any option available in 2024. I know he did last year, which makes the org’s decision to consider him a “lock” rather than an option reliever baffling.

          I’m not a Smith fan. I would have non-tendered him and retained Trevor Gott, instead. As for the out of option relievers, my thought is that there are enough bodies of similar value kicking around that losing one or two of them is no big deal.

          • Metsense

            Smith had ore than 5 years MLB service time. He can refuse to go the minors and declare himself a free agent and forfeit his $2.25m contract.

  • Boomboom

    I hope Andre Scrubb becomes the feel good story of the year. “A scrubb no more, as mets reliever saves key win against division rival”

  • Metstabolism

    It seems to me that Stearns did not give Lopez, who is out of options, a $2 million contract so early in spring just to cut him. He seems like a lock to me. More of a lock than Drew Smith who still has two options.

  • Woodrow

    MeGill,Luchessi,Buttoneed to be in the BP if they perform well in ST. Enough of 4A guys moving up and down from Syracuse.

  • Metsense

    The lock list , five relievers, are a good core and are average or above average. The next three spots are suspect.
    The leg up list of Bickford, Lopez and Fujinami sure throw hard but walked too many batters. Tonkin is a reliable reliever. Lopez and Fijinami has contract security.
    Crick, Ramirez and Scrubb are the longshots that are appealing.

  • T.J.

    Stearns certainly did a good job accumulating a variety of bullpen pieces. Lopez to me is the key wildcard, as he is the only guy that has shown (albeit not recently) he can be a high end 8th inning guy. If he pitched like that in 2024 and Diaz is close to the Diaz of 2022, this had the makings of a quality pen. That may be too much to ask, but I’ll ask for that in February.

    • Brian Joura

      I have no faith in Lopez.

      To me the bullpen can work if Raley is used as the primary 8th inning man. Ottavino and/or Diekman for the 7th, Raley for the 8th and Diaz for the ninth.

      Lopez and Smith for 6th inning and low leverage spots and the others in blowouts or backups to give the main guys a break.

      • T.J.

        I have little faith in Lopez too. And I Raley and the Ottavino signings, but I see them as weaker 8th inning options overall. To compete with the BP being a strength, they’ll need to avoid browning late leads with defense and a dominant 8th and 9th from the pen. The 2022 version of Lopez is the only other dominant chance I see, unless someone unexpectedly steps up or Megill grabs it with his new ghost pitch. …but he’ll likely start if he looks good in ST.

  • Denis Engel

    The problem with signing J. D. Martinez has less to do with money and more to do with player development (but not that much more or less).
    If the Mets were to sign JD Martinez, it would likely cost between $22M-25M, not in salary, but in salary plus competitive balance taxes, and maybe even more. That’s a hefty sum for a mid-30’s player who has no defensive position.
    But that’s not the entire reason for not signing him. If they did, they’d be obligated to put his name on a lineup card between 125-140 games in 2024. This is the greater concern in my view because Martinez in the DH slot means Mark Vientos doesn’t have a place to play. The only way anyone will ever know if Vientos has a future is if he gets at-bats this season. If Vientos hits, he’s a valuable commodity for a team that has both a logjam of young position players with little or no service time and simultaneously a paucity of power bats. Finding out if Vientos can hit and hit for power gives the team options that they wouldn’t have if he’s only a part time player with limited at-bats to prove himself. Vientos as an offensive force can be traded for a pitcher. If he struggles, they know they can move on from him and all it cost them was 2-3 wins in a year they don’t figure to contend anyway.

  • Brian Joura

    “Major League Baseball has suspended former New York Mets general manager Billy Eppler through the 2024 World Series for improper use of the injured list, including the “deliberate fabrication of injuries,” commissioner Rob Manfred announced Friday.”


    • Mike W

      Eppler is a fool. He may have shot himself in the foot in getting another job.

      Plus what do the players who were put on the DL without being hurt think of the integrity of the team.

      • Metstabolism

        Let’s not overstate it. Its been stated all over the place that every team and Gm do this. The fact that an third party sent MLB a letter about this forced their hand into acting on something for which they typically (and preferably) look the other way.
        So Eppler did not shoot himself in the foot. (Not with this act, anyway). As for his “punishment”, it amounts to a slap on the wrist. He was already paid for the ’24 season when he resigned. And was he really going to get another job this season, anyway? Not likely. He’s going to have to hang back for now, and eventually take another player development type of job Before/if he is to ever work his way back into a FO role.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 100 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here