PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets officials are confident they can land a left-handed reliever before Opening Day via waivers or a trade. Even if that acquisition materializes, southpaw Sean Gilmartin, a Rule 5 pick from the Minnesota Twins, has a "good chance" of breaking camp with the team, an organization source told ESPN.com.
The Mets have three locks for the Opening Day bullpen -- Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Carlos Torres -- despite some spring-training struggles from that trio. Rafael Montero is expected to claim a fourth spot, although some team officials prefer he get the rotation nod over Dillon Gee.
That leaves three potential remaining spots.
Those are projected to go to Gilmartin, Buddy Carlyle and the outside acquisition.
If Black is ready by Opening Day, the Mets tentatively prefer Gilmartin over Carlyle making the team. That's because Carlyle -- despite having an "out" in his contract at the end of spring training -- would be expected to remain with the organization at Triple-A Las Vegas if he does not make the club. Gilmartin, as a Rule 5 pick, would have to clear waivers and then be offered back to the Twins if he fails to make the Opening Day roster.
Of course, if the Mets do not land an extra lefty reliever by Opening Day, Gilmartin and Carlyle still fit.
Gilmartin and Dario Alvarez are the only two healthy left-handed relievers remaining in major-league camp. Josh Edgin, who was slated to be the primary southpaw in the bullpen, underwent Tommy John surgery two weeks ago.
After striking out both batters he faced in Grapefruit League action Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals, Gilmartin trimmed his spring-training ERA to 5.19. His last six appearances have been scoreless, though.
Gilmartin, originally a first-round pick (28th overall) in 2011 by the Atlanta Braves out of Florida State, was traded last offseason to Minnesota for Ryan Doumit. Of his 88 professional appearances, 86 have come as a starting pitcher. The two bullpen appearances were relief appearances in name only -- a 2011 two-inning outing in the Arizona Fall League and another two-inning appearance in 2013 in the Gulf Coast League.
Gilmartin’s fastball sits at 88-90 mph. He also throws a curveball, slider and changeup.
He split last season between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester, going a combined 9-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 26 starts. Lefty batters hit .201 against him, while righty batters hit .285.
The Mets haven’t had much of a fruitful history with making Rule 5 selections -- at least not of late. Pedro Beato, in Sandy Alderson’s first season as general manager back in 2011, stuck the entire year and became Mets property. That same year, second baseman Brad Emaus made the Opening Day roster but slumped badly and was gone by mid-April.
Darren O'Day was a shrewd Rule 5 selection at the 2008 winter meetings, but the Mets decided to dump him when they needed a 25-man roster spot for a spot starter for injured-but-not-DL’d Mike Pelfrey during the ensuing season's first month.
Before Beato, the last player to be selected by the Mets in the Rule 5 draft, stay the entire season and become team property was catcher Kelly Stinnett, whose major league debut came in 1994.