The most open competition with the New York Mets this spring takes place in the bullpen. The team has three spots up for grabs. We can lump certain players into each battle along the way, too.
We’re only a couple of games into Spring Training action. Nobody has yet to differentiate themselves either way. With a 30-day challenge ahead for all of these relievers, who comes out on top in these three smack fests?
1) Open NY Mets bullpen spot: Long-man
The long-man is the specific role that’s open while the other two we’ll discuss are more “spots” than anything else. The long-man has a specific talent. He can throw multiple innings and do it on short notice. The over-planner in me knows this is not something I could ever do. It takes a special pitcher. Who can help us get over the loss of Trevor Williams?
The Mets seem to have narrowed down the long-man competition to two arms. Joey Lucchesi and Elieser Hernandez are those guys. Each has started in their big league career without much success. We know Lucchesi well enough and how he is coming back from Tommy John Surgery. He’s a lefty which does seem to match with another hole in the bullpen. Brooks Raley is currently the only left-handed reliever with a roster spot locked.
Between the two, Lucchesi could have the advantage early on. The Mets are more familiar with him. He can provide them with shorter outings as well, possibly entering with an out or two to face a left-handed hitter.
Regardless of who wins, Lucchesi and Hernandez are likely to switch between the majors and minors regularly throughout the year. The Mets may only have two relievers on their Opening Day roster they’d be able and willing to demote. Drew Smith does have options, but he seems to be one of the core group.