ARLINGTON, Texas -- Veteran reliever Buddy Carlyle has a contract out on the eve of the season that he can exercise if he is not on the Opening Day roster. That's among the factors that seemingly need to be considered, with New York Mets officials weighing whether to carry an extra bullpen arm at the expense of a bench player.
Based on statements from general manager Sandy Alderson and other team officials, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Jerry Blevins, Alex Torres, Carlos Torres, Rafael Montero and Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin all appear safe for Opening Day bullpen spots.
That seemingly leaves Carlyle as the No. 8 reliever, his fate based on the whether the Mets carry the extra arm.
It is unclear whether Carlyle would exercise his out or accept going to Triple-A Las Vegas, but that is part of the calculus the Mets must weigh. Carlyle has declined to address the topic this week.
Manager Terry Collins did not cite Carlyle's contract clause as one of the reasons for considering the unconventional move of carrying eight relievers. Instead, the manager suggested it was partly the result of starting pitchers not yet being capable of going 110 to 115 pitches because they haven't been stretched out enough.
Collins noted some pitchers have not thrown 90 pitches yet, "so 115 is way off."
Collins did not fully explain why pitchers have not been stretched out enough during spring training for full workloads. He did not identify any specific spring-training injuries that would inhibit building up their innings.
The manager acknowledged that having only four bench players could compromise in-game maneuverability, especially if Daniel Murphy needs days off early on as he works back from a pulled right hamstring. Collins suggested Jacob deGrom -- a relatively accomplished hitting pitcher -- could pinch hit if the Mets were short on the bench, though.
Team officials have not portrayed the eight-man bullpen as the likeliest scenario. Collins said it first was broached a week ago.