Mets' last roster question: Who completes 'pen?

Callaway wants best available arms on team, suggesting Lugo, Gsellman will join relief corps

March 20th, 2018

JUPITER, Fla. -- As some Mets prepared to bus south on Tuesday for a game against the Cardinals, others lingered in street clothes. Victims of the Mets' latest round of roster cuts, 10 players made the short drive to Minor League camp as clubhouse attendants cleared out their lockers.
Among them were four relievers: Matt Purke, , and , all of whom entered camp with outside shots to pitch their way onto the roster. With that quartet out of the picture, the Mets' bullpen picture became clearer.
The four players in camp on guaranteed contracts -- , AJ Ramos, and -- have always been roster locks, leaving three or four spots -- depending on if the Mets carry seven or eight relievers on Opening Day -- for the following six pitchers:

Although Sewald's roster spot isn't quite as certain as those of his more tenured teammates, he appears -- notwithstanding a three-run blip in Tuesday's 8-7 win over the Cardinals -- to have done enough to make the team. Sewald can be the right-handed complement to Blevins after holding righty batters to a .627 OPS last season.
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When asked Tuesday, manager Mickey Callaway indicated that the Mets don't need to keep Lugo or stretched out as starters at Triple-A Las Vegas.
"We want to take the best guys, the best pitchers we have, that give us the best chance to get as many outs in any game as possible," Callaway said.

Lugo certainly qualifies based on his 12 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings this spring, as does …
Robert Gsellman
… who has generated three groundouts for every flyout in Grapefruit League play. Both Lugo and Gsellman are candidates to become the Mets' version of : someone who can enter at any time, pitch multiple innings and save the rest of the bullpen from overuse.

No Mets reliever has done more for himself this spring than Rhame, a rookie with nine strikeouts and one walk in nine innings. If the Mets take the pitchers from this group who have looked the best in March, then Sewald, Lugo, Gsellman and Rhame would be the choices to head north.

Once a strong candidate to make the club based on the fact that he is out of Minor League options, Montero has pitched his way to the outside of the roster bubble. Six walks in nine innings have contributed to a 9.00 ERA, perhaps spelling the end for Montero's time with the Mets. All offseason, the Mets kept Montero on their 40-man roster, based on the belief that he has been unlucky in years past. But without supporting evidence this spring, it will be difficult for the Mets to carry him over one of their other options.

If they don't take Montero, the Mets will need to trade him or designate him for assignment, exposing him to all 29 other teams on waivers.

Mets fans are plenty familiar with Robles, whose disastrous spring has included 17 hits and four walks in 11 2/3 innings. Robles has still managed to strike out 12 batters, showcasing the type of mid-90s stuff that has worked at the big league level in the past. But he also has Minor League options, giving the Mets the ability to send him to Triple-A Las Vegas to refine his game.