Matt Ehalt of The Record reported on Saturday that rumors circulating regarding the New York Mets roster, specifically the team’s re-hauled relief corps, are close to confirming the team will carry seven relievers heading into the upcoming season.
After the headlining group of Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo, and Justin Wilson at the back-end of the Mets’ bullpen corps, there appears to be a bit of a logjam of worthy talent in newcomers Luis Avilan and Hector Santiago, as well as incumbents Robert Gsellman, Tyler Bashlor, and Tim Peterson ready to battle it out for any remaining spots among the group.
Kyle Dowdy, a Rule 5 draft pick of the Mets this offseason via Cleveland, meaning the Mets have to keep him on the major league roster through the 2019 season or send him back to the Tribe, has largely disappointed this spring.
After allowing two runs on four hits in one inning of work versus Boston on Saturday, the 26-year-old right-hander has a 12.46 earned-run average over four Grapefruit League innings. Unfortunately for Dowdy, that level of productivity simply won’t cut it at the major league level.
Thankfully, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen has constructed this team’s roster with depth in mind, so underperformance and/or injuries — which are bound to happen over the course of a 162-game season — won’t completely derail this team from its ultimate goal.
The aforementioned Avilan and Peterson own 0.00 ERAs over their first five outings (5.2 and 4.1 innings pitched, respectively). Bashlor has a 1.50 ERA over his first four appearances (6.0 innings). Drew Smith hasn’t allowed an earned run over four innings of work (four appearances). If the Mets do indeed choose to cut ties with Dowdy, there are plenty of live arms ready at moment’s notice to slide into that vacated roster spot.
So after Diaz, Familia, Lugo, Wilson, Gsellman, Avilan, and Santiago — who are my early picks to break camp with the Mets — solid hurlers in Peterson, Bashlor, and Smith are waiting in the wings, ready to seize whatever opportunities come their way.
Van Wagenen’s plan to bring the best 25 players up north has already given this team an “earn your way” mentality and identity, as evidenced by the ever-evolving battle at first base between Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith. In this writer’s opinion, that’s a terrific byproduct of healthy competition.