Mets sign LHP Duane Below to minor league deal

By Danny Abriano

The Mets have signed left-handed pitcher Duane Below to a minor league deal that does not include an invite to major league Spring Training.

Below, 29, spent last season with the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate, starting 21 games and appearing in one game in relief.

Overall, Below had a 3.70 ERA (4.68 FIP) and 1.41 WHIP in 116.2 innings pitched in 2014.

For his career, Below has a 4.27 ERA and 1.33 WHIP over nine seasons, most of which have been spent in the minors.

Below’s longest major league stint came with the Tigers in 2012, when he appeared in 27 games (46.1 innings) in relief while posting a 3.88 ERA and 1.23 WHIP.

Below operates primarily with a fastball that sits around 90 MPH and a cutter that is usually around 85 MPH. He also features a changeup and curveball.


One reason why Below did not receive an invite to big league Spring Training could be his splits, which show a pitcher who has fared better against right-handed hitters than left-handed hitters during his 78 innings in the majors.

Below’s splits are as follows:

Against lefties, Below has allowed a .289/.321/.394 triple slash.

Against righties, Below has allowed a .254/.324/.392 triple slash.

While Below’s sample size in the majors is fairly small, perhaps it was enough for the Mets to determine that he wouldn’t be an immediate help in the pen as a lefty specialist.

Competing with Josh Edgin to be the second lefty in the pen will be recent Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin, Scott Rice, Dario Alvarez and perhaps minor leaguer Jack Leathersich.

If the Mets do not keep Gilmartin on the 25-man roster for the entire 2015 season, they’ll be forced to offer him back to the Twins. So, it’s fair to assume that if Gilmartin performs well during Spring Training, he will have the inside track to becoming the Mets’ second lefty in the bullpen.

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