An early November addition to the roster by the New York Mets brought them lefty reliever Tayler Saucedo from the Toronto Blue Jays. The 29-year-old southpaw began his transition from part-time starter to a full-time reliever in 2021.
Already a candidate for the Mets bullpen in 2023, Saucedo is much more depth than he is an Opening Day roster candidate. The Mets already acquired Brooks Raley in a trade as a more proven lefty out of the bullpen. Saucedo could, instead, fill the role of second lefty if the team misses out on other opportunities. We're still hoping for a bit more.
It was an issue plaguing the Mets throughout 2022. They never did have a single lefty reliever the fans could buy into. Joely Rodriguez is now out of the picture. Can Saucedo be an upgrade over him?
Where Tayler Saucedo falls on the Mets depth chart
Saucedo is already a better fit for the Mets over Rodriguez for two reasons: his minor league options. There are two left which means the team can shuttle him back and forth throughout the 2023 season as needed and do the same again in 2024. Each of the three options is used only once per season. He’s a project the team can have some patience with.
That was the problem with Rodriguez last year. He was out of options which meant he’d need to be designated for assignment. Saucedo can struggle, go to Syracuse, and become an arm the Mets can turn to later on in the season. Better yet, he can start the year in the minor leagues.
Saucedo has only 28.1 MLB innings on his resume. A 5.40 ERA is one of the reasons why the Blue Jays made him available on the waiver wire. Why interest from the Mets? It might be his performance in the minors these last two years.
In 2021, Saucedo had a 1.96 ERA and a strikeout rate of 12.3 per nine. Last year, he posted a 2.25 ERA and strikeout rate of 13.5 per nine.
It’s a low-cost move for a Mets team without too many very good lefties in the minor leagues. It’s easy to expect Saucedo to disappear into the vortex of the Mets system before we even get to Opening Day. The biggest question will be whether or not he sticks on the 40-man roster. Because he throws with a left arm, he should at least be able to make it into spring training with a spot on the 40 and a shot to see some innings later on.