Mets news you may have missed: Spring training, contracts, and center fielders
Although the Mets focused much of their time and attention on other areas of the field this winter, it’s possible that a strong spring training from the list of pitchers on their non-roster invitees list could make a tangible difference in how they finalize their bullpen.
Veteran LHP Jerry Blevins immediately draws the eye when thinking of a reliable southpaw to bring in late in games. Entering his age 37 season, however, it will be interesting to see how he performs in crowded camp as he trains for a spot on the major league roster. Same goes for RHP Jerad Eickhoff, RHP Trevor Hildenberger.
Conversely, RHP Oscar De La Cruz, RHP Arodys Vizcaíno, RHP Ryley Gilliam, RHP Jared Robinson, and LHP Tom Windle each bring a range of minor league experience that could prove useful to the team and generate healthy competition.
The Mets also signed LHP Mike Montgomery and RHP Tommy Hunter to minor league deals with invites to spring training.
Regardless of who earns the remaining spots on the roster, one positive I can see is that the Syracuse Mets will be loaded with MLB experience this season; so that even after camps close, the front office will still have options if/when injuries force some players on the IL, which inevitably happens.
Case in point: due to the news released earlier this week about a “loose body” in Seth Lugo’s right elbow, the Mets learned that they would be without their star reliever until earliest, May.
The follow-up news that ace reliever Trevor Rosenthal signed with the Oakland Athletics on a one-year, $11 million dollar deal meant another option the Mets had been linked to was off the table. As a result, the stale rumors that Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances were being shopped around seems like any such deal would do more harm than good with so many of their bullpen options dwindling.
In hindsight, it also doesn’t help that they designated Corey Oswald and Brad Brach for assignment just before Lugo was shut down. Both were leaned on heavily to carry the load during their two seasons in New York.
Fortunately, the front office has kept tabs on two of the top remaining starting pitchers on the market, SP Taijon Walker and SP Jake Odorizzi. And never has it seemed so necessary that they sign at least one of those pitchers. As it stands today, the front office has about $20 million in payroll to maneuver below the luxury tax.
Despite pitchers and catchers having already reported this week, I expect the front office has one or more moves up their sleeves. Signing Walker or Odorizzi should be that move.