A little less than one year ago, the Mets did something that was both smart and a rare occurrence in franchise history, signing the then-injured John Curtiss to a one-year deal with a team option for a second year. Curtiss never stood much of a chance of pitching in the first year of the contract, as he had undergone Tommy John surgery in September of 2021. But by signing him, the Mets were able to aide in his recovery and—more importantly from the team’s perspective—have a pretty good reliever lined up for their 2023 roster.
Set to turn 30 in early April, the right-handed Curtiss broke into the big leagues with the Twins in 2017 but got just 15.0 major league innings with them over the course of two seasons. A few months before the 2019 season began, the Twins traded him to the Angels, and he wound up throwing just two-and-one-third innings for them at the major league level before they released him in June of that year.
Curtiss signed with the Phillies shortly after that but found himself released again less than a month later. And he didn’t land with another organization until the Rays picked him up in February of 2020. And then the world shut down.
When Major League Baseball launched its shortened version of the 2020 season, though, Curtiss got his longest major league look yet and did well with it. In 25.0 innings over the course of 17 appearances for the Rays, he had an excellent 1.80 ERA and a pretty good 3.35 FIP. He didn’t rack up strikeouts the way some relievers do, but he limited walks at an incredible rate. Among qualified relievers in that short season, his 1.2 percent walk rate was the best in baseball.
Following the short season, the Rays promptly traded Curtiss to the Marlins, and he fared pretty well in Miami over the course of 40.0 innings in 2021. The Marlins dealt him to the Brewers at the deadline, and then things went awry. Curtiss threw just four-and-one-third innings in Milwaukee with disastrous results before undergoing the aforementioned Tommy John surgery.
At the moment, Curtiss is in the mix for the coveted KoST crown, though his prospects took a bit of a hit with an appearance last night that saw him give up one run in two-thirds of an inning. He’s also currently listed fifth on the Mets’ bullpen depth chart over at Roster Resource, which seems like a fairly reasonable way of looking at things.
Should the Mets need to send him to Syracuse for any reason this season, he does have one year of options remaining. But if he is able to pitch as well as he did for the Rays and Marlins in the not-too-distant past, he should be a good piece of a Mets bullpen that could use every possible boost with Edwin Díaz sidelined by his knee injury.