The quick and brief rise, sudden fall of Robert Gsellman

New York Mets v Washington Nationals - Game Two
New York Mets v Washington Nationals - Game Two / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Robert Gsellman was the most notable member of the New York Mets organization to get non-tendered a few weeks ago. It seems like only yesterday he was a rookie on the 2016 Mets giving them a 2.42 ERA performance across 7 starts and a relief appearance.

Like just about every pitcher in 2017, he struggled. But in 2018, with the Mets having a surplus of starting pitching options now healthy, the club decided to move him to the bullpen. He was the lesser multi-inning threat alongside Seth Lugo—a guy still doing his business in this role years later.

Gsellman’s time in the bullpen was up and down. He had a 4.28 ERA in 2018 and managed to save 13 games. His greatest strength remained the ability to go more than one inning. Unfortunately, by 2019, the momentum seemed to die down.

The Mets never seemed to know exactly what to do with Robert Gsellman

Gsellman remained in his relief role in 2019 but yielded much worse results. He had a 4.66 ERA that season. The poor results likely played a factor in the club’s decision to do something outrageous in 2020: move him to the rotation.

While he did miss time due to injury in 2020, Gsellman did make 4 starts and another 2 relief appearances. This logged him only 14 innings of work for the starting pitcher-needy Mets. Their two offseason starting pitching additions, Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha, were major busts. Steven Matz was having a rough year and Gsellman participated, too. He would end his season with a horrific 9.64 ERA in limited action.

Still unsure where he belongs, the Mets demoted him back to a relief role in 2021 with the exception of a single start. He wasn’t so bad in 2021, pitching to a 3.77 ERA in 28.2 innings of work. However, with a career-worst 5.3 strikeouts per nine, he walked a fine line whenever he took the mound.

Gsellman departs from the Mets with a lifetime 11-10 record as a starter to go with his 4.82 ERA. When pitching in relief, he was 9-6 with a 4.39 ERA.

I bought into Gsellman early on. He seemed like he could be a good pairing with Lugo. When one wasn’t available, the other could get the team through multiple innings and to the back of the bullpen. While Lugo developed into a true weapon, Gsellman was mediocre at best.

Now 28, the Mets apparently saw enough to decide on his future. Rather than keep him around for depth purposes or let him be the long man in relief to mop-up in blowouts, they appear to have turned to Trevor Williams—the other half of the Javier Baez trade from last summer. With far more success as a starter in the big leagues, I understand why they’ve chosen to go in this direction. In a pinch, he’s a much better option. Add in how well he did in 2021 (3.06 ERA in 32.1 innings) and it’s not such a bad alternative to Gsellman.

Gsellman will land on his feet somewhere whether it be on a minor league contract or an invitation to spring training. Mets fans will just have to hope he doesn’t end up being one of those guys that finds himself when he leaves the team.

In other words, keep him away from Paul Sewald.

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