New York Mets News

What happens to the bullpen when Gonzalez Germen returns?

By Danny Abriano

Gonzalez Germen, who was placed on the disabled list on May 5, is nearing a return to the majors. Germen is slated to make another rehab appearance tonight for High-A St. Lucie, and may be activated Tuesday.

Germen was initially placed on the disabled list with a virus, but has also dealt with an abscess.

Apr 15, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Gonzalez Germen throws during the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Once Germen returns, the Mets will have to subtract a reliever. So, who goes to make room?

Of the seven relievers currently active, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, and Carlos Torres are going nowhere.

It’s also a safe bet that both Vic Black and Josh Edgin are safe.

That would leave either Dana Eveland or Scott Rice – both lefties – as the roster casualty when Germen is activated.

Eveland, 30, posted a 3.91 ERA while working as a starter for Triple-A Las Vegas and has been solid in limited duty since being called up on June 1. For his career, Eveland has actually been a tad worse against left-handed hitters (they’ve hit .293 off him) than right-handed hitters, which would make using him as a lefty specialist unwise.

Rice, 32, has had a dreadful 2014. A year after he was solid as a 31-year-old rookie, Rice has regressed badly, posting a 5.93 ERA and 1.98 WHIP in 13.2 innings spanning 32 appearances.

Rice has struggled against lefties, with them reaching against him close to 40 percent of the time.

While Rice merits a demotion, the fact that Eveland isn’t a lefty specialist complicates things.

It might make the most sense for the Mets to swap out both Rice and Eveland, while activating Gonzalez Germen and giving a shot to lefty Jack Leathersich.

Leathersich, 23, has had reverse platoon splits throughout his career, but some argue that the sample size on Leathersich is too small to draw conclusions from.

While pitching out of the bullpen for Double-A Binghamton in 2014, Leathersich has struck out 16.41 per 9 while posting a 2.73 ERA and 1.33 WHIP.

It’s likely that the Mets will simply demote one of Rice or Eveland to make room for Germen, but making room for Leathersich at this point at the expense of either Rice or Eveland makes sense.