In a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post, Terry Collins said that Addison Reed, Hansel Robles, Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas are all locked into bullpen spots (Collins seems to be presuming a Jeurys Familia suspension) to begin the season and mentioned the following pitchers as candidates for the final two spots:
LHP Josh Smoker
2016 Stats: 3-0, 4.70 ERA, 20 G, 15.1 IP, 1.304 WHIP, 14.7 K/9
While Smoker is a left-handed pitcher, he has reverse splits. In total, he struggled against left-handed batters and pitching multiple innings. Despite these issues, he can make a strong case for himself with his high strikeout rate.
LHP Josh Edgin
2016 Stats: 1-0, 5.23 ERA, 16 G, 10.1 IP, 1.548 WHIP, 9.6 K/9
Edgin struggled in his return from Tommy John due in large part to his not fully regaining his velocity. Despite these struggles, and with the caveat of an extremely small sample size, Edgin pitched well to left-handed batters limiting them to a .235/.300/.235 batting line.
Edgin may have the inside track to making the bullpen as he is out of options.
RHP Erik Goeddel
2016 Stats: 2-2, 4.54 ERA, 36 G, 35.2 IP, 1.318 WHIP, 9.1 K/9
Heading into the 2016 season, Goeddel had a 2.48 career ERA. The poor numbers from the 2016 season may be the result of a bone spur in his elbow that needed to be surgically removed in the offseason. With the successful surgery, it is reasonable to expect Goeddel can pitch like he had prior to 2016.
RHP Seth Lugo
2016 Stats: 5-2, 2.67 ERA, 17 G, 8 GS, 64.0 IP, 1.094 WHIP, 6.3 K/9
After struggling in the rotation in Vegas, he was moved to the bullpen where he thrived. Before being thrust into the starting rotation late in the season, Lugo had made nine relief appearances going 0-1 with a 2.65 ERA, 0.941 WHIP, and an 8.5 K/9.
He also thrived in the rotation earning his way into a three man competition for the fifth starters role. Should he lose the question is whether he’s better suited to a bullpen role or if he’s better suited being stretched out in Vegas?
RHP Robert Gsellman
2016 Stats: 4-2, 2.42 ERA, 8 G, 7 GS, 44.2 IP, 1.276 WHIP, 8.5 K/9
Like Lugo, Gsellman was thrust into the starting rotation due to injuries, and he thrived. While in the majors, Gsellman found an extra gear or two with his fastball making him even more lethal on the mound.
Now, given his young age and service time issues, it’s doubtful the Mets move him in the bullpen should he lose the fifth starter competition.
RHP Zack Wheeler
2014 Stats: 11-11, 3.54 ERA, 32 G, 32 GS, 1.85.1 IP, 1.327 WHIP, 9.1 K/9
In the second half of the 2014 season, Wheeler seemed to realize his potential. During that stretch, he was 6-3 with a 3.04 ERA, 1.286 WHIP, and a 9.6 K/9.
He would then need Tommy John surgery on the eve of the 2015 season. He was supposed to return in 2016, but he couldn’t due to a number of setbacks. Now, no one knows what to expect from him either today or years down the road.
Certainly, whatever concerns you had were not alleviated by his having a sore elbow on the first day he started throwing this Spring.
LHP Tom Gorzelanny
2016 Stats: 1-0, 21.00 ERA, 7 G, 3.0 IP, 3.000 WHIP, 12.0 K/9.
Gorzelanny has had a rough few years, but he is still capable of getting left-handed batter out. Last year, he limited them to a .111/.273/.111 batting line in 11 PA. His career numbers are .229/.302/.356. With numbers like these, he’s got potential as a LOOGY.
Like Edgin, it appears Gorzellany may have a good shot to make the bullpen with Collins saying of him, “We will see how effective he is against lefties [b]ecause certainly having that experience down there will be a big factor if he shows us this spring he can get outs.”
For what it’s worth, Collins indicated he would not be adverse to carrying two additional left-handed relievers. This comment would appear that Collins is prepared to give Smoker, Edgin, and Gorzelanny a long look during Spring Training.
Ultimately, it appears who will join the bullpen will depend on who claims the fifth starters job and whether the Mets feel the two are better suited to joining the bullpen or being stretched out in the majors.
Collins fails to mention Jeurys Familia in the piece as we wait to hear if he will be suspended or not, and possibly for how long.