Low-risk Mets free agent signing has already backfired but there's thick a silver lining

The benefits go beyond just not having to see him any more.
Detroit Tigers v New York Mets - Game One
Detroit Tigers v New York Mets - Game One / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

It took a week before the New York Mets saw enough of Michael Tonkin. The right-handed free agent was designated for assignment before Friday’s game to make room for Julio Teheran. 

A helpful addition to the roster because of his ability to go multiple innings, Tonkin was put in a tough spot in his second and third appearances. Summoned from the bullpen in extra innings twice, Tonkin took the loss on Monday and again in game one on Thursday.

Tonkin will depart from the 40-man roster with a 4.50 ERA in 4 innings and 8 runs against him but only 2 coming earned because of the ghost runner rule in extra innings. It might not be the end of him, however. Tonkin will have a chance to pass through waivers and even accept an assignment to the minor leagues. If he chooses to opt for free agency, he’ll forfeit the $1 million deal he signed with the Mets.

The biggest silver lining with this Mets roster decision

Although immediately replaced by Teheran on the roster, we can consider Reed Garrett the bullpen replacement for Tonkin in the interim. What does Garrett have that Tonkin doesn’t other than a win versus two losses? It’s the ever-important minor league options.

No more Tonkin might be satisfying enough for some fans. The bigger bump for the entire team is they have the maneuverability they didn’t at the start of the year to more easily demote and promote relievers. We saw in game one against the Tigers on Thursday how quickly the bullpen arms can get used. Lacking the ability to call someone up from Triple-A on a moment’s notice wasn’t something the team could’ve done without the risk of losing a player through waivers.

Tonkin hasn’t shown enough in his 3 appearances for the Mets to worry much about him getting snagged even at the bargain rate he’ll come with. However, for the same reasons the Mets were intrigued by him, others could willingly take him on along with the pro-rated salary now less than $1 million. The constant need for bullpen arms should have David Stearns actually looking to trade Tonkin if, for nothing else, to keep him away from a rival or add some cash considerations to the pocketbook.

The best-case scenario will be for Tonkin to remain with the organization, off the 40-man roster, and available in the future if the need arises. He was handed a raw deal twice.

The quick action by the Mets front office should put everyone else on notice. They’ve been a bit unforgiving over the last few weeks with the moves being in the best interest of the team. Mark Vientos had his soul crushed in favor of signing J.D. Martinez. Soon enough, DJ Stewart will follow. So will others.