Yesterday was the deadline for MLB teams to add minor leaguers to their roster in order to protect them from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. The New York Mets had close to a dozen players to consider, and in the end they filled all four of the vacancies on their 40-man roster with pitchers Jacob deGrom, Jeff Walters, Steven Matz, and Erik Goeddel.
Both deGrom and Walters were considered obvious choices to be protected, as both have a chance to contribute to the Mets in 2014 and may have a shot to compete for a spot on the opening day roster. deGrom could end up being a reliever in the long run, but he’ll likely be a starter next season in triple-A, providing rotation depth. This will be an important role for the Mets, who currently have just three starters penciled into their rotation.
Walters was a lights-out closer for the Mets’ double-A affiliate in 2013 and should have a legitimate chance to be a member of the Mets’ bullpen coming out of spring training; if not, he should get a mid-season call up to the big leagues.
Matz was less certain to be protected; he hasn’t pitched above A-ball and 2013 was the first year he pitched a full season in the minors. However, he’s the best left-handed pitching prospect that the Mets have, and they couldn’t afford to risk losing him even though he could be two years away form reaching the big leagues. He has the stuff to be an above-average major league starter.
Goeddel was a bit of a surprise, although he could provide rotation depth in the event they don’t find reliable veterans to fill their empty rotation spots even though he’s like going to be a reliever in the big leagues. Goeddel has had trouble with his consistency and durability, but he has great stuff and could be a valuable bullpen piece for the Mets. That’s why they decided to protect him, and deservedly so.
The Mets chose not to protect any position players from the Rule 5 Draft, with outfielder Cory Vaughn being the most likely to be selected. Vaughn is one of the Mets’ top outfield prospects, but his strikeout rate is alarming and his performance in the Arizona Fall League didn’t convince the Mets to protect him.
With these four additions, the Mets 40-man roster is once again full meaning that they will need to consider cutting several players in order to make room for free agent acquisitions and players acquired via trade this offseason. However, they were wise in the four roster additions they made and aren’t likely to regret adding any of them.