How might the Mets bulk up their bullpen? By having a rookie make the Opening Day roster as a member of the relief corps, according to one team official.
Leathersich The insider specifically mentioned prospects Jack Leathersich and Jeff Walters being candidates for relief work from the get-go, while not ruling out a minor-league starter such as Rafael Montero or Cory Mazzoni.
Leathersich, the lone left-hander among that group, is a fifth-round pick in 2011 out of UMass-Lowell. He has 241 strikeouts in 143 career minor-league innings and posted a 1.53 ERA last season with Double-A Binghamton. But Leathersich struggled after a late-season promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas, posting a 7.76 ERA while walking 29 in 29 innings with the 51s.
Walters, a seventh-round pick in 2010 from the University of Georgia, set a Double-A Binghamton single-season and career record with 38 saves in 2013 with the B-Mets, although he struggled in the Eastern League playoffs.
Montero would be an intriguing option because of his prospect status and the fact that he has nearly exclusively started games during his minor-league career. He certainly has the command for the role -- having walked only 67 in 348 1/3 career minor-league innings.
Terry Collins previously has mentioned Mazzoni, another minor-league starter, potentially getting a bullpen look this spring training.
Of those four, all will be in camp, but only Walters is on the 40-man roster.