The New York Mets bullpen is new and improved from a year ago. Thanks to the re-signings of Edwin Diaz and Adam Ottavino along with the additions of David Robertson and Brooks Raley, the Mets’ relief pitching is much more reliable, at least on paper, in comparison to last season.
At the moment, the Mets have five presumed Opening Day roster locks in their bullpen. The four mentioned above, Diaz, Ottavino, Robertson, Raley, plus, Drew Smith.
Beyond the five expected guarantees, there is much competition from a depth standpoint in the Mets bullpen that has played out so far in Spring Training.
It is safe to expect the Mets to keep at least seven relief pitchers, and with the depth that will be discussed below, perhaps, they are incentivized to keep an eighth.
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Mets relief pitchers competing for roster spots:
Currently, the Mets have two to three spots up for grabs between many arms. The competition is most notably between Stephen Nogosek, John Curtiss, Zach Greene, Tommy Hunter, and Bryce Montes de Oca, among others. The few others who are worth mentioning are trade acquisitions Elieser Hernandez and Jeff Brigham and lastly, Joey Luchessi as a versatile starter and long-reliever.
So, certainly, many different players, eight to be exact, trying to prove themselves for two to maybe three roster spots. Let’s go over what they each provide the Mets and, ultimately, how things could shake out.
Starting with Nogosek, he turned 28 two months ago and has now been with the Mets since 2017 but has played in just 20 games. He did appear in 12 games in 2022 for the Mets and recorded a 2.45 ERA. Nogosek has had a good start to Spring Training. Lastly, he is out of options which could give him an advantage over the deep competition here.
Curtiss did not pitch last year due to Tommy John surgery and will turn 30 in early April. When he last pitched in 2021, Curtiss recorded a 3.45 ERA in 41 games. Along with Nogosek, Curtiss has done some impressive work in the early part of Spring Training. Curtiss does have one option remaining, which does give the Mets some flexibility and could potentially impact his Opening Day roster status.
The Mets added Greene in December through the Rule 5 Draft. He has potential but no Major League experience. The fact that the Mets have to keep Greene on their 26-man roster all year or he gets offered back to the Yankees could impact how this group rounds out.
Montes de Oca has now been with the Mets since being drafted in 2018, he turns just 27 in late April. He has only appeared in three games though, all of which came last year. Montes de Oca is gifted with a ton of size at 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds. So far in Spring Training, Montes de Oca has been proving his case, hitting up to 102 MPH with his fastball. Lastly, he has three options remaining.
Hunter is the oldest of this group, at 36. He is now in his third year with the Mets. In 18 games last season, Hunter had a 2.42 ERA. For 2023, the right-hander is under contract with the Mets on a minor league deal.
Hernandez is still young, as he will turn 28 in early May. The right-hander offers the Mets some flexibility to start and be a reliever. Hernandez does still have one option left remaining.
Brigham recently turned 31 but has only played 53 MLB games up until this point. In 16 games last year, the right-hander did some solid things, finishing with a 3.38 ERA. He has two options remaining.
Lastly, Lucchesi, will turn 30 in early June and has been with the Mets since 2021. Due to injury though, he has played in just 11 games for the Mets. He could be a prime candidate for the Trevor Williams role. The left-hander has two options left.
Overall, there is a ton of depth leading to competition for very few roles left in the Mets bullpen. It seems that Nogosek, Curtiss, Greene, and Montes de Oca, particularly, are vying for two to three roster spots. The good thing is that the Mets’ bullpen from a year ago is vastly better. Now, we will see how this competition plays out through the rest of Spring Training.