Mets trade deadline addition is the roster casualty to make room for J.D. Martinez

The bullpen battle is shrinking.
New York Mets v Miami Marlins
New York Mets v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

With every addition to the New York Mets roster is a subtraction. The full 40-man roster forced the team to make a swift decision as to who J.D. Martinez would replace. Several more roster casualties are on the way, but for Martinez it’s Phil Bickford who has been designated for assignment.

Acquired by the Mets at last year's trade deadline, Bickford was terrible in August and fantastic in September for them. Reverse monthly splits of DJ Stewart, he is no longer a member of the 40-man roster as of today.

Designating a player for assignment doesn’t always mean the end. Bickford could pass through waivers and accept a minor league assignment. The other option for the Mets is to trade him somewhere. Cash considerations anyone?

More Mets roster casualties looming before Opening Day

DFA’ing Bickford was probably an easy decision. Among those on the bubble without minor league options, he performed the poorest this spring. Sean Reid-Foley and Yohan Ramirez pulled ahead of him early for a spot in the bullpen. Infielder Zack Short, who has an outside chance to make the team still, has played surprisingly well this spring. However, his track record and projected limitations should have the team thinking more about an offensive player than a defensive one.

Ji-Man Choi’s less impressive stretch at the plate may have spoiled any chance he had of making the Opening Day roster thus eliminating him from bumping someone else off. The lack of minor league options available with certain players could have decisions coming down to the wire. In fact, Saturday’s lineup is stacked with players fighting for their 40-man roster life.

DJ Stewart, Ji-Man Choi, and Mark Vientos hitting four-five-six should hopefully allow them an opportunity for RBI chances although failure by one could create less pressurized situations for the others. Spring training statistics don’t typically matter. Today and in these final three games for the Mets, they just might.

The best battle to keep an eye on is the one between Reid-Foley and Ramirez. SRF was a holdover from the previous regime while Ramirez was a pickup by David Stearns. Just as each is a candidate to make the Opening Day roster, other ball clubs could view them favorably as a worthwhile pickup on waivers.

The decision to tender Bickford a contract at the start of the offseason proved to be nothing more than protection. His 5.79 ERA this spring while coming with 7 strikeouts in 4.2 innings fell behind the rest in the race for the final bullpen spot. He’d be nice to have around in the minors but with the team taking him to arbitration over less than $100K, Bickford could prefer to see what other opportunities are out there.