Acquired last winter in a trade with the Miami Marlins, Yamamoto spent most of the year in the minor leagues. The Mets called him up briefly but an injury shortly after knocked him out for nearly the rest of the season.
Yamamoto had a chance to provide the Mets with some starting pitching depth this year. Now designated for assignment, his job with the Mets is in jeopardy.
The Mets starting rotation depth is being put to the test early on this season
The decision makes a lot of sense considering the more immediate need for a lefty reliever like Shreve. Yamamoto was already behind guys like Tylor Megill and David Peterson on the depth charter. Less proven in the big leagues, he was probably going to sit around in Syracuse for most of the year with maybe an emergency start or two thrown in. Perhaps he could have even become a long man out of the bullpen.
His time with the team isn’t definitely over. Yamamoto would still need to pass through waivers. Given the need for starting pitching around baseball, he could easily get claimed. If not, the Mets can always send him down to the minor leagues. There’s also the possibility of a trade although I’d imagine the Mets would prefer to stash him on the farm.
The starting rotation depth is already being put to the test. With Jacob deGrom out until you put your air conditioners back in your bedroom window, the team will turn to less experienced arms for help. Starts from Megill and Peterson early on this year are very possible. The bullpen’s long man, Trevor Williams, could also be called upon to go a few extra frames in a shorter start/opener role.
For Yamamoto, getting back to the big leagues with the Mets has become a lot tougher. Even if they do keep him around, they’d need to make room for him on the 40-man roster for this to happen.