2) Open NY Mets bullpen spot: Relief pitcher with minor league options
There’s another spot in the bullpen open. Those competing for this one need a membership card. It requires minor league options.
Whether a pitcher has minor league options or not is a big deal to the Mets. It’s why they reportedly passed on signing another veteran free agent this offseason. It’s understandable in some ways. You want to have the luxury of fresh arms. If you’ve been paying attention to every transaction the team made this offseason, you will have noticed they loaded up on relief pitchers.
Onto the battle. Who’s going to win this one? Contenders include John Curtiss, Stephen Ridings, Jeff Brigham, Sam Coonrod, and Bryce Montes de Oca. All five have at least one minor league option remaining. Who will come away on top?
Whoever it is, he better not get too cozy in the majors. He’ll be one of the first to get sent to Syracuse. Likely, his replacement will be someone who lost here.
Brigham and Coonrod have something going for them. Curtiss and Ridings didn’t pitch at all last year. Montes de Oca barely even got to savor his sip of coffee last year. Do the Mets go with a more experienced veteran over one of the others?
If I had to rank their chances, without any Spring Training results, we might go Brigham/Coonrod in a tie for the lead followed by Curtiss and his big league success and finishing off with Montes de Oca and Ridings in a tie. Because Ridings does need to make a first impression and Montes de Oca needs to work on his control, a few extra innings in Triple-A to begin the year could benefit them in the long run.