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Rule 5 draft protection looms for Brandon Nimmo, other Mets prospects

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets on Friday will need to add some prospects to the 40-man roster to shield them from Rule 5 draft eligibility.

One no-brainer is former first-round pick Brandon Nimmo, who likely is ticketed for Triple-A Las Vegas to open 2016.

Other candidates to be added include right-handers Robert Gsellman, Matt Bowman, Jeff Walters and Paul Sewald as well as outfield prospect Wuilmer Becerra.

Becerra, acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays along with Noah Syndergaard and Travis d'Arnaud in the trade for R.A. Dickey, has not played above low-A Savannah. So it may not make sense to protect him. After all, he would need to stick on another team's major league roster a full season in order for the Mets to officially lose his rights.

Seth Lugo, Jayce Boyd and T.J. Rivera also will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft among upper-level minor leaguers if they are not added to the 40-man roster.

After losing Jack Leathersich off waivers to the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, the Mets' 40-man roster currently stands at 35. (Jenrry Mejia, serving a 162-game suspension, does not count against the 40-man roster.)

The Mets used the Rule 5 draft to select Sean Gilmartin from the Minnesota Twins at the winter meetings last December. Gilmartin spent the entire 2015 regular season on the Mets' major league roster and now officially is their property.

The Mets earlier this offseason added reliever Josh Smoker to the 40-man roster.