The Mets suddenly have another reliever stepping up while Edwin Diaz is down

The Mets bullpen continues to shine despite the struggles of Edwin Diaz.
Apr 27, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets pitcher Josh Walker (91) pitches during a
Apr 27, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets pitcher Josh Walker (91) pitches during a / John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

We’ll know more about the future of the New York Mets roster after Tuesday’s game when Adrian Houser will start. Failure against the Cleveland Guardians could have him packing his things. He enters the game 0-3 with a 7.44 ERA in 6 starts and a pair of relief appearances.

Hiding him in the bullpen is one option. However, yet another once fringe MLB reliever is pushing his hardest to stay around.

Josh Walker pitched another two scoreless innings for the Mets in Monday’s loss against the Guardians. The 29-year-old rebounded nicely from his previous outing where he allowed 2 earned runs in as many innings versus the Miami Marlins over the weekend. His ERA is back down to 2.57. He has struck out at least one batter in each appearance, allowed just 2 walks, and has three appearances where he faced the minimum.

Mets lefty reliever Josh Walker is making it more difficult to send him back to the minors

Walker is fighting a losing battle. His existing minor league options will have him continuously going back and forth between the majors and minors. His 0.85 WHIP won’t save him from the bullpen management game David Stearns will play even with the importance Walker brings.

The 37th round draft pick is a classic starter who converted to a relief role. He had some good minor league seasons but after the 2021 campaign, he was moved away from starting going forward.

Luck hasn’t been on Walker’s side. A car accident that broke his arm in 2019 limited him to just 6 innings. Then came a global pandemic to erase any innings at all in 2020.

The big story with the Mets bullpen right now is the downfall of Edwin Diaz. Meanwhile, so many others have stepped up in a big way. Reed Garrett is literally going to be this team’s All-Star representative at the rate he’s doing. Jorge Lopez has rejuvenated his career. Adam Ottavino has 29 other teams wondering why they didn’t circle to him in free agency.

Then there’s a guy in a similar spot as Walker but on what could be his last chance. Sean Reid-Foley and his 1.54 ERA is second to only Garrett among those with 10+ innings out of the bullpen. Although control has been an issue for him, batters are having a hard time putting their Louisville Slugger’s to work against him. Righties are slashing .150/.346/.200 against him. Lefties have been held even more at bay with a .167/.238/.222 performance.

Unlike Walker, Reid-Foley is out of minor league options and would have to pass through waivers to open up a roster spot. So, the Mets ride on with him regardless until he gives them a reason not to.

Walker, who ironically hasn’t had a walk issue this year, might still have some room to grow. His strikeout numbers have been down which is atypical since his transition to the bullpen. However, if pitching to a little more contact removes some bases on balls and allows him to get through batters more easily, it’ll be a welcomed change.