The battle for the last Mets bullpen spot

Who will win the last spot in the Mets bullpen?
Feb 22, 2024; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA;  New York Mets pitcher Sean Reid-Foley (71). Mandatory
Feb 22, 2024; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets pitcher Sean Reid-Foley (71). Mandatory / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets don’t have much in the way of flexibility when it comes to naming their Opening Day roster. The bullpen, where a team would like to have the most room for change, has very little room to maneuver. Coming into camp, only Shintaro Fujinami looked like a lock to make the team with minor league options. This pushed three other pitchers on the 40-man roster to the brim.

Assuming free agent signings like Jorge Lopez and Michael Tonkin make the team despite being on cheap enough contracts, the Mets have only one open spot for a pitcher to claim. Very likely to end up belonging to someone already on the 40-man roster, two of those three haven’t made it easy.

Yohan Ramirez and Sean Reid-Foley are in a tight battle for the last Mets bullpen spot

Yohan Ramirez and Sean Reid-Foley are two of the three pitchers vying for the final spot. The other, Phil Bickford, is a bit more on the outside right now. He struggled in his spring training debut. And considering the Mets took him to arbitration, he’s probably not a favorite of David Stearns although that is reading into things maybe a little more deeply than needed.

Ramirez and SRF have each tossed three shutout innings this spring. Ramirez escaped a dangerous situation in Tuesday’s game against the New York Yankees to pick up the save. Reid-Foley, meanwhile, hasn’t allowed a hit yet and has struck out 6 batters already.

As impressive of a start as this is to the spring, weighing out who eventually gets the gig will have far more to do with factors outside of statistics. Performance in spring training matters for players like these, but much more will be at play.

Considering Ramirez was an addition by Stearns via trade this offseason, one would think he’d have a slight edge over Reid-Foley if all things were equal. Reid-Foley remained with the club through the Stearns bloodletting of the 40-man roster if for no other reason than to have another body available. Since joining the Mets, he hasn’t been able to stay healthy or productive enough at the major league level to warrant a roster spot.

Selecting which pitcher you’d like on the roster based on three innings goes beyond judging a book by its cover. It’s like judging one by how many vowels the author’s first name has in it. Save those quirks for someone like former homicide detective Adrian Monk.

Who’ll win this spot? Knowing how the baseball gods feel about the Mets, they’ll both be there on Opening Day because someone else will get hurt and allow the battle to rage on into the regular season.