Assessing the New York Mets roster competition rounding out the bullpen

stephen ridings, yankees
Aug 15, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Stephen Ridings (70) throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the eighth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets have a new and improved bullpen. Coming off what was a dreadful year, in which their relief pitching was an obvious weakness, the Mets set out from the jump of this offseason to change just that.

It started with the huge re-signing of Edwin Diaz, right as free agency started. Shortly after, two savvy additions were made as the Mets signed David Robertson and acquired Brooks Raley through a trade. Following those two quality moves, the Mets were still not done, as they re-signed Adam Ottavino. With these four, the Mets give themselves a group to feel more than comfortable with.

Beyond the four of them, though, some still feel that it would be wise to add one more left-hander to complete the overhaul. There was some buzz nearly two weeks ago about the Mets being one of the teams in on Andrew Chafin, as well as in contact with Zack Britton. Either would make for a shrewd signing at this point that would garner excitement. However, to ultimately expect either one is unrealistic, as reported by Andy Martino of SNY last week.

As a result, it leaves the Mets with some fascinating questions as to how this group will round out this season. Let’s take a look at who all the options in play are going into Spring Training.

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New York Mets bullpen depth competing for roster spots:

As noted, it is obvious that four of the Mets relief pitchers on the Opening Day 26-man roster will be Diaz, Ottavino, Robertson, and Raley. From there, Drew Smith is comfortably positioned for the next spot in the group. So, the Mets have five presumed locks in their bullpen for the start of the year. They will likely end up keeping seven or eight. That leads to at least two or potentially a third possible opening for a player vying to make the team.

The first two potential options to mention are David Peterson and Tylor Megill. Both pitchers offer flexibility as starters or relievers. They have talent and, with some experience, shown glimpses of promise, most notably last year. Barring an injury to the starting rotation, neither will start the year in the rotation, but one of them could possibly land in the bullpen. As noted, the Mets could use a left-hander, which is where Peterson comes into play. Although, the Mets could look to have Peterson continue to gain starting experience in the minor leagues, which could lead to Megill getting a spot in the bullpen.

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Two young bullpen arms were added this offseason by the Mets. Ironically, both were former Yankees. The first one was Stephen Ridings, who the Mets claimed off waivers. A few weeks later, Zach Greene, who the Mets got in the Rule 5 Draft. The two are both right-handed pitchers. Ridings has only five games of MLB experience but has imposing size and heat. Greene has not gained any major league experience yet, but over three years in the minor leagues has a 3.08 ERA.

A few veteran additions were made by the Mets as well. Early in the offseason process, they went out and traded for Jeff Brigham and Elieser Hernandez. Neither one has accomplished much in their careers to date, however, as they both have just one season with an ERA below four. Brigham has four years of experience, and Hernandez, has five. Hernandez has 47 career starts but with a crowded Mets pitching staff and options like Peterson and Megill seems unlikely to earn a starting pitching role.

The Mets have a veteran in-house, John Curtiss, who seems likely to be able to carve out a role in the bullpen this spring. He signed with the Mets last April but did not pitch at all last season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. In 76 career games, Curtiss has a 3.63 ERA.

Two final players to highlight have both been with the Mets for some time but do not have much experience, Stephen Nogosek and Bryce Montes de Oca. Between 2019, 2021, and 2022, Nogosek has 20 career appearances, all with the Mets. Montes de Oca played in just the first three games of his MLB career last season with the Mets.

All in all, the Mets could have up to nine arms vying for, at most, up to four spots. Beyond Diaz, Robertson, Raley, Ottavino, and Smith, it will be fun to see how the competition shakes out. One of Peterson or Megill seems probable to land in the group to open the season. Curtiss will certainly have a favorable chance. The Mets did trade for Brigham and Hernandez, who have some experience in the league. It will be interesting to see how the younger or less experienced arms in Ridings, Greene, Nogosek, and Montes de Oca perform this spring as well.