With less than a week to go before Opening Day, the Mets bullpen appears to be rounding into shape. According to a tweet from Hector Gomez earlier tonight, Rafael Montero has secured a spot in the Mets bullpen to open the season. This news comes hours after the club announced righty reliever Paul Sewald was reassigned to minor league camp. While both relievers pitched well in camp, the decision likely came down to roster machinations, namely the fact that Montero is on the 40-man roster and Sewald is not.
Montero joins Addison Reed, Fernando Salas, Hansel Robles, and Jerry Blevins in the Mets pen with Jeurys Familia likely suspended. That leaves two open spots, though one of those seems likely to go to lefty Josh Smoker who has had himself a strong camp. Depending on the status of Steven Matz, there are a couple of scenarios for the last spot. Josh Edgin, who is out of options and likely gets lost on waivers if he doesn’t make the team, could sneak onto the roster as a third lefty. That spot could also go to Seth Lugo, though only if Matz or Zack Wheeler break camp as the 5th starter.
It feels like he has nine lives but Montero is still just 26 years old and has thrown all of 73.1 career innings in the majors. Over 9 appearances this spring, he’s tossed 18.1 innings with a 1.96 ERA, allowed 14 hits and struck out a team-leading 21 batters versus 8 walks. Sewald, a Las Vegas native who pitched well for his hometown 51s last year, opened eyes appearing in 11 games in Mets camp with a 2.51 ERA compiled over 14.1 innings. Sewald struck out 12, walked 5, and allowed just 7 hits.