Adam Ottavino will pitch for the New York Mets again in 2024. A suddenly bleak Mets bullpen feels a little bit better. At $4.5 million for a season, Ottavino signs up for a third year in Queens alongside several familiar names.
The Mets bullpen has been one of the more questionable parts of the roster up until this point. It still is. There’s a lot more spin needed to justify entering the season with the guys they had prior to the Ottavino signing. Uncertainty remains, however, as the relief corps has some clear issues.
What does the Mets bullpen look like now?
Managing a bullpen goes beyond talent. It’s about matchups and flexibility. The Mets don’t have any at all in terms of roster flexibility. When the Ottavino signing becomes official, they’ll already have to DFA someone with a roster full at 40.
Here’s the current most realistic option for the Mets bullpen:
1) Edwin Diaz
2) Adam Ottavino
3) Brooks Raley
4) Drew Smith
5) Jorge Lopez
6) Michael Tonkin
7) Yohan Ramirez
8) Phil Bickford
Yohan Ramirez is often a forgotten pitcher in this mix and understandably so. He blends in. Justification for having him in the bullpen is simple. He was acquired in a trade. You don’t release players you paid cash considerations to acquire unless they give you a reason. Having yet to pitch for the Mets, there is no reason.
Phil Bickford is the player on the outs most. In arbitration limbo as well, he’s someone the Mets could always DFA or look to trade in a small deal for cash considerations. Neither Ramirez nor Bickford or anyone else for that matter is optional to the minor leagues. They’d have to pass through waivers to stay with the Mets organization. In the offseason, most relievers would probably prefer to test free agency.
The roster cuts from this bullpen would be Sean Reid-Foley and Austin Adams. The latter of which signed a split contract with the Mets this offseason is likely destined to end up starting off with the minor league portion of his deal. Reid-Foley, on the other hand, has spent enough time with the Mets to show he is not only replaceable, he could have an interest in sticking around. He has already returned to them in the past after getting released.
The Mets don’t have to immediately cut one of the relievers in order to make room for Ottavino. There are different options, even pitchers not truly in consideration for the bullpen, whose 40-man roster spot could get handed over to the returning veteran.
As of now, those eight names listed above are the ones who make the most sense for the Mets. Replace Bickford for someone else, preferably a lefty, and suddenly the biggest weakness of the roster has some fuel.