Mets’ bullpen battle winding down to the final days of spring training

MLB: Spring Training-Houston Astros at New York Mets
Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, new President of Baseball Operations David Stearns announced the Mets’ third base competition winner. Now, just one roster competition remains: who will be in the bullpen come opening day.

There are six current locks for the bullpen in Edwin Díaz, Jake Diekman, Adam Ottavino, Brooks Raley, Jorge Lopez, and Drew Smith, resulting in two spots being up for grabs.

Stearns brought many intriguing options to the table in addition to those he inherited from the previous regime, but three remain to claim the final two spots.

The Mets’ Contenders

The three remaining contenders to make the opening-day roster out of the pen: Michael TonkinSean Reid-Foley, and Yohan Ramírez.

Phil Bickford was previously in contention before the 28-year-old got designated for assignment to make room for J.D. Martinez on the 40-man roster.

After a six-year absence from the major leagues, Tonkin spent 2023 coming out of the bullpen for the Atlanta Braves.

The California native pitched 80 innings across 45 games to a 4.28 ERA with a 1.088 WHIP alongside 75 strikeouts.

Tonkin has made five appearances this spring, pitching 7.2  innings while allowing no runs to score and striking out seven.

Reid-Foley spent most of the 2023 campaign in the Mets’ minor league system before coming up at the end of August.

In eight appearances for the big league club, Reid-Foley pitched 7.2 innings, posting a 3.52 ERA, a 1.30 WHIP, and 16 punch-outs.

Reid-Foley has made five appearances this spring, pitching four innings to a 4.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and seven strikeouts.

Ramírez spent 2023 splitting time between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox organization.

The 28-year-old pitched 38.1 innings across 31 appearances to a 4.23 ERA with a 1.461 WHIP and 35 strikeouts.

The Dominican Republic native has made seven appearances this spring, pitching 10 innings to a 1.80 ERA with a 0.90 WHIP and striking out 11 while also picking up a pair of saves.

Who’s the odd man out?

Reid-Foley is likely the odd pitcher out.

The 28-year-old, despite demonstrating excellent strikeout skills, has yet to put it all together consistently and certainly has not dominated this spring like his competition.

In addition, with Tonkin likely making the roster as the long reliever, it would eliminate the need for Reid-Foley in the pen for the Blue and Orange.

Time will tell who will be in the bullpen on opening day, but all signs are pointing to Tonkin and Ramírez claiming the final two spots.

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