With Opening Day fast approaching, Mickey Callaway, Dave Eiland, and the Mets’ front office need to decide who will form their bullpen to begin the 2018 season. One of their priorities within the upcoming days should be leaving Hansel Robles and Rafael Montero off the roster. With uninspiring results from their spring training outings, both Robles and Montero have showcased struggles with control.
Robles owns a 9.26 ERA, allowing 17 hits, 13 runs (12 earned), and four walks in 11 2⁄3 innings pitched. Montero has not fared much better with a 9.00 ERA, 13 hits, 13 runs (nine earned), and six walks in just nine innings.
Aside from the near-certainties of Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, Jerry Blevins, and Anthony Swarzak, the rest of the bullpen slots had been up for grabs entering spring. Familiar faces from 2017, Paul Sewald, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, and Jacob Rhame have performed well enough this spring to lock down slots in the pen. Lugo and Gsellman figure in as long-relievers and valuable insurance for the starting rotation, while Sewald and Rhame could work as 6th or 7th inning bridges to the back end of the pen. Since the Mets are looking at an eight-man bullpen to begin the season, Robles and Montero look like the odd-men out.
The fates of Robles and Montero at this point going forward should be an easy decision to make for the Mets. As of this writing, Robles still has one minor league option remaining and could return at some point during the season. Montero is out of options and would need to be designated for assignment to be left off the Opening Day roster.
Despite all of his issues, Robles has proven that he is able to pitch in clutch situations in his first two seasons with the Mets, despite his regression in 2017 and this spring. The same cannot be said for Montero, who has been given multiple opportunities to pitch in both the starting rotation and bullpen since 2014 and has a career ERA of 5.38 in 192.1 innings with a WHIP of 1.705 to show for it.
Compare Montero’s numbers with Robles, and Robles has been the better pitcher with a 3.97 ERA in 188.1 innings and a 1.253 WHIP. Even though Montero is a starter by trade who has shifted back and forth from the bullpen to the rotation and Robles has always pitched in relief, these numbers don’t lie.
Starting the 2018 season, the Mets should look to send Robles down to Triple-A Las Vegas to continue working on his pitch command and selection, while Montero may find himself looking for a fresh start in professional baseball.