2. Drew Smith
Amidst all the minor-league relief pitching signings, the Mets will have more than enough arms to choose from come opening day. Drew Smith falls on the short list of guaranteed signings now receiving a 1-year arbitration salary. With this in mind, he will definitely make the opening day roster, though his role will be a question.
Smith is coming off an inconsistent 2024 campaign. His season started well, pitching to a 2.79 ERA in 9.2 innings through April. However, Smith consistently hovered around a 5 ERA the rest of the season, surrendering 7 home runs and being credited with 5 losses. These statistics are the worst of Smith’s career, having only had a 2.40 ERA in 2021 and a 3.33 ERA in 2022. One starching reason for this is the near doubling of his walk rate from 2.9 to 4.6 BB/9 between 2022 and 2023.
Smith will become a free agent at the end of 2024, meaning he has every incentive to earn a back-end bullpen role. However, if Jeremy Hefner is unable to draw more performance from Smith early on, the Mets could turn to another relief pitcher from the AAA roster. Smith is also out of options, meaning the Mets would likely lose him to another team such as Stephen Nogosek last season. Fans are also disgruntled with Smith, having seen flashes of talent but too much inconsistency to be trusted.