Mets DFA Brach, Oswalt, Sánchez

February 12th, 2021

NEW YORK -- A complicated week of roster juggling has led to the exits of three Mets players, including one prominent member of the 2020 bullpen.

The Mets designated right-hander for assignment to clear 40-man roster space on Thursday, completing a run of transactions that also saw them DFA starting pitcher and catcher Ali Sánchez. On Friday, Sánchez was dealt to the Cardinals for cash considerations.

When a player is designated for assignment, that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. The Mets have seven days from the time of each DFA to trade those players, place them on outright waivers, or release them.

Designating players to make room for acquisitions is not unusual, and for the Mets, it was necessary; they acquired outfielder Albert Almora, infielder Jonathan Villar and prospect Khalil Lee in the span of less than a week, forcing them to jettison three others from their 40-man roster.

Less common is designating someone under guaranteed contract, such as Brach. A 2019 trade acquisition from the Cubs, Brach later re-signed in New York for one year with a 2021 player option. He subsequently exercised that option, which had inflated to $2.075 million due to a series of prorated incentives.

As such, Brach figured to reprise his role in the Mets’ bullpen in 2021. But the team subsequently acquired relievers Trevor May and Aaron Loup, among others, reducing Brach’s role.

A New Jersey native and lifelong Mets fan, Brach also struggled in 2020, missing most of Summer Camp and the first two weeks of the season due to a COVID-19 diagnosis. The right-hander posted a 1.50 ERA over his first 11 appearances, but ended his season with three ugly outings, which included eight walks, six runs and a single out recorded.

If the Mets are unable to trade Brach, any team that claims him off waivers would be able to sign him for the Major League minimum; the Mets would be on the hook for the difference. Even before designating Brach for assignment, the Mets were reportedly looking to continue improving their bullpen with additional depth signings.

The DFA of Oswalt should affect the Mets’ starting pitching in a similar way, with their acquisitions of Joey Lucchesi, Jordan Yamamoto and Sean Reid-Foley covering for his potential departure. Oswalt spent the past three seasons as one of the Mets’ substitute rotation options but struggled in that role, posting a 6.19 ERA over 13 starts and 10 relief appearances. He was far more effective at Triple-A Syracuse, where he posted a 2.91 ERA over 16 starts in 2019.

Sánchez, a defensive-minded catcher, made his Major League debut last summer, but entered 2021 buried behind James McCann, Tomás Nido and Patrick Mazeika on the depth chart.