Mets have decisions to make when Vic Black, Bobby Parnell return

By Danny Abriano

Both Vic Black and Bobby Parnell should be rejoining the bullpen soon, and the Mets will have a few decisions to make when that time comes.

Black, working his way back from shoulder weakness, may be able to return early next week.

Parnell, in the final stages of his return from Tommy John surgery, has been pegged by Sandy Alderson for a return potentially around the third week of April.

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While Jenrry Mejia‘s disabled list stint might allow the Mets to put off a decision regarding the bullpen for an extra week or so, they’ll soon have a tough choice to make.

At present, the Mets’ bullpen consists of Jeurys Familia, Carlos Torres, Rafael Montero, Sean Gilmartin, Alex Torres, Jerry Blevins, Buddy Carlyle, and Erik Goeddel.

When Black returns, Goeddel will almost certainly be sent back to Triple-A Las Vegas. However, when Parnell returns, the Mets will have nine relievers for eight spots, which will become 10 relievers for eight spots once Mejia is back. And the fact that Sean Gilmartin must stay on the 25-man roster or be offered back to the Twins throws a wrench into things.

When you take into account that it’s not tenable for the Mets to carry eight relievers and four bench players for much longer, the situation that’s developing will result in the Mets having 10 relievers for just seven spots. What to do?

Here’s how I see it shaking out…

  • When Vic Black returns, Erik Goeddel will be sent back to Triple-A, leaving eight relievers in the bullpen.
  • When Bobby Parnell returns, Buddy Carlyle will be the odd man out, again leaving eight relievers in the bullpen.
  • When Jenrry Mejia returns, however, the Mets will not have a logical choice to be demoted/cut, meaning that a trade needs to materialize.

Dillon Gee, who was on the trading block all winter and was expected to get dealt, is currently in the starting rotation – though the Mets have made it known that Rafael Montero and their fast-moving minor league starters (Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz) are expected to get time in the big league rotation sooner rather than later.

The Mets need to deal Gee to help clear room in the rotation and in order to deal with their glut of bullpen arms.

If Gee is moved, it will allow Rafael Montero to slide into the rotation and create room for Jenrry Mejia in the bullpen when he’s ready to return.

As far as what happens when the Mets revert to a seven-man bullpen? That’s anyone’s guess.