Lack of bodies forcing Mets to be 'creative' with arms

Megill optioned as N.Y. looks to beef up relief corps

June 30th, 2024

NEW YORK -- In Carlos Mendoza’s words, the Mets have reached a point where they must be “creative” with their pitching.

With Edwin Díaz serving a 10-game sticky stuff suspension and four other relievers on the injured list, the Mets made a flurry of transactions on Sunday to shore up their bullpen. To clear roster space, they optioned starting pitcher to Triple-A Syracuse, where he will stay until at least the All-Star break.

The Mets also optioned reliever to Syracuse and called up bullpen arms and .

For some time, Mets officials had considered these types of moves a possibility. They became reality after the team required 8 2/3 innings from its bullpen on Friday and Saturday nights due to abbreviated starts from Megill and Jose Quintana. Rather than keep Megill on the roster until his next scheduled outing on Thursday, the Mets felt they would be better served using his spot on a reliever for the next four days.

Once Thursday arrives, the Mets can replace Megill with either Christian Scott or José Buttó, who have both been in the rotation at Syracuse. Buttó, who last pitched Friday, makes perhaps the most sense based on where his rotation turn falls, but Mendoza confirmed that both pitchers are possibilities. Ultimately, the Mets could choose a similar path with David Peterson following his next scheduled start on Monday, thereby creating space for both Scott and Buttó.

Everything hinges on the needs of a bullpen missing Díaz, Brooks Raley, Drew Smith, Sean Reid-Foley and Shintaro Fujinami. Díaz is not eligible to return from his suspension until Saturday; Raley and Smith are out for the season.

“Where we’re at bullpen-wise, it’s day-to-day,” Mendoza said. “We have Plan A, B and C, and we’ll adjust accordingly.”

Since Scott returned to Syracuse, the Mets have taken the opportunity to limit his workload, knowing the rookie has never compiled more than 87 2/3 innings in a season. Scott topped out at 81 pitches during his four recent starts at that level, pitching to a 2.12 ERA. Buttó has also been mostly solid since his return to the Minors on May 15, producing a 2.97 ERA over 13 starts.

As for Megill, he must spend at least 15 days on his optional assignment to the Minors (barring an injury elsewhere on the roster). That should take him through the All-Star break, after which point the Mets will reassess the situation to determine which combination of Megill, Peterson, Scott and Buttó -- or perhaps even Kodai Senga, if his rehab from a right shoulder injury goes well -- best suits the rotation at that time.

In the interim, the Mets want Megill, who posted a 7.64 ERA over his past four starts, to work on putting batters away in two-strike counts.

“It’s just basically trusting his stuff,” Mendoza said, “staying on the attack and trying to put hitters away as quickly as possible, so he can go deep into games.”