Dellin Betances (remember him?) will begin a rehab assignment this week. The big veteran righty has pitched only one game for the New York Mets this since before he landed on the IL—a place he has spent way too much time on since joining the club.
In a different world, the idea of Betances returning to action would have gotten Mets fans excited. However, given his poor performance last year and the uncertainty of what he can even provide, it’s not exactly thrilling.
When he is ready to return, the Mets will have a roster decision to make. Already carrying a roster that’s bullpen-heavy, I’m curious to see whose spot Betances takes. Let’s look at the candidates.
Can Jacob Barnes survive with the Mets?
Jacob Barnes has been a DFA candidate almost from the start of the season. I’m shocked on a daily basis that he has managed to stay around as long as he has. The last guy in the bullpen, he hasn’t pitched particularly well this year and I don’t see signs of this changing.
The only thing saving Barnes from losing his job has been the minor league options other relievers have. Sean Reid-Foley, for instance, outpitched him by miles. However, the team decided to keep him around.
I’m not so sure Barnes will survive Betances’ return. Everyone else is pitching well which could mean the Mets finally decide to part with their October 2020 waiver claim.
Drew Smith could unjustly lose his spot in the Mets bullpen
I’m a fan of Drew Smith and believe the team needs to continue to see what he can offer them. He has pitched well this year and has the potential to toss some more high-leverage innings as needed. Not quite as brilliant as some other relievers, his minor league options could weigh heavily in what the Mets decide to do.
I feel Smith is a very likely candidate to get sent down in favor of Betances because he is a one-inning reliever as opposed to my final candidate, the long-man in the bullpen.
Would the Mets really demote Robert Gsellman when he’s pitching so well?
Robert Gsellman has been pretty awesome this year out of the bullpen. Imperfect at times, he has served them well as the long-man in relief.
Considering the struggles of Joey Lucchesi and David Peterson, it’s pretty important to keep someone like Gsellman around. I would put him in the “unlikely category” when the team has a Barnes DFA and Smith demotion to also consider.
My final prediction: the Mets DFA Barnes and demote Smith! The bench mob, four strong at the moment, will need a fifth member eventually. When this happens, we’ll see Betances replace one and a position player take over for the other.
This may not all happen when Betances is off the IL. However, barring some kind of injury, I can’t see any other way the club goes.