Today is finally report day to Port St. Lucie for the 2023 New York Mets. Excitement is brewing for this talented group entering the season with World Series aspirations.
This team does have some quality depth as spring work gets underway. Particularly with their pitching. In both the starting rotation and bullpen, the Mets do have some fascinating battles set to take place to round out this roster.
Let’s take a look at three players who could be on the outside looking in when all is said and done.
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Three surprising cuts for the Mets post-Spring Training:
1. John Curtiss:
As just previously stated, the Mets have a crowded group of arms vying for two to, at most, three spots in the bullpen this spring. With all of the competition, John Curtiss could, unfortunately, be one of the players surprisingly let go.
The Mets were active in the relief pitching market this offseason a,nd as a result, the group is vastly improved. Curtiss signed with the Mets in 2022 but missed last season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. Now, he looks to be in a competition between many new additions. Whether it be the veteran arms added in a trade, Elieser Hernandez and Jeff Brigham. Or, one of the new young pitchers claimed in Zach Greene or Stephen Ridings.
Curtiss enters Spring Training with a chance of making this team, undoubtedly. But, with much better depth and competition in place, there is no guarantee he makes the 26-man Opening Day roster.
2. Stephen Nogosek:
Another relief pitcher here stuck in the midst of what looks to be a battle between many arms. What is working against Stephen Nogosek is the fact that he has no miminor-leagueptions remaining. Curtiss, mentioned above, has one. Also noted, Hernandez, who has one option remaining a,nd Brigham still has two.
The top five pitchers in the Mets bullpen are set with Edwin Diaz, Adam Ottavino, David Robertson, Brooks Raley, and Drew Smith. From there, whether the Mets go with seven or eight relief pitchers remains to be seen. Not to mention, the Mets could put David Peterson or Tylor Megill in this bullpen to begin the year, making the already deep competition that much greater.
Nogosek has pitched in just 20 games in three years with the Mets (2019, 2021-22). With no minor league options remaining, he certainly has to prove himself well over this next month.
3. Darin Ruf:
Darin Ruf being cut would come as no surprise to any Mets fan. From what seems to be the team’s perspective, though, Ruf is fairly well positioned to begin the year, at this moment, to be the right-handed designated hitter. So therefore, for the Mets to actually part with Ruf next month would come as somewhat of a surprise.
As I mentioned yesterday when discussing three players to watch in Spring Training, the Mets’ right-handed DH is arguably the biggest question the lineup has going into the regular season. For Ruf to ultimately get cut, the Mets would need to see convincing play from one of their top prospects in Mark Vientos or Francisco Alvarez or a quality spring from either one of their veteran additions in Tommy Pham or Danny Mendick.
Ruf’s 2022 with the Mets was nothing short of a disaster. Despite that, however, thanks to the complete unknown that is the right-handed designated hitter at this time, Ruf enters Spring Training with still somewhat of a chance. The upside is undeniably far greater for the Mets with someone like Alvarez or Vientos. Just one of the two has to have a strong enough showing in Port St. Lucie to snatch the role from Ruf.