Mets players who could be vulnerable when rosters are trimmed from 28 to 26

Buck Showalter Billy Eppler on field at Nationals Park 2022

Before play on May 2, the Mets and every other MLB team will have to trim their 28-man roster to 26. As part of that reduction, teams will be allowed to keep up to 14 pitchers from May 2 through May 29, after which the limit for pitchers will be 13.

The 28-man roster was put in order for teams to better navigate the early part of the season — and handle pitching staff workloads — following the shortened spring training that was a result of the lockout.

The Mets have a tricky road to navigate as they trim the roster. Who could be vulnerable — and who should be vulnerable — as they decide who to remove?

One upcoming roster machination to note: Taijuan Walker will be activated from the IL and start on Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies. When Walker is activated, reliever Yoan Lopez (who has two minor league remaining) will almost certainly be demoted to the minors.

What makes the situation so difficult for the Mets is that most players on the roster are out of minor league options, meaning they would have to DFA most vulnerable players (and risk losing them) in order to remove them from the active roster while going from 28 players to 26.

The likelihood is that the Mets will either remove two pitchers or remove one pitcher and one position player. It’s close to impossible to envision a scenario where they trim two position players.

So who could be in danger?

Aside from Lopez, who is expected to be demoted to make room for Walker, the only Mets relievers with minor league options are Drew Smith and Seth Lugo. Clearly, Smith and Lugo are going nowhere. So that leaves Reid-Foley as by far the most likely reliever to be the odd man out when rosters are sliced.

Reid-Foley had a 5.23 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 20.2 innings over 12 appearances for the Mets last season, and has a 4.91 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 7.1 innings over five appearances this season.

Since Reid-Foley is out of options, he would have to clear waivers in order to potentially remain in the Mets organization in the event he is DFA’d.

Guillorme — the Mets’ only true backup shortstop and a grinder at the plate — should not be in danger of losing his spot on the roster, but the presence of Robinson Cano (more on him below) and the fact that Travis Jankowski is out of options makes Guillorme perhaps the most likely position player to be removed.

Both JD Davis and Dominic Smith have options remaining (two for Davis, one for Smith) and can be sent to the minors without having to pass through waivers. But demoting either of them cannot be justified.

That means that unless the Mets drop two relievers, Guillorme could be one of the roster’s consequence.

In the event the Mets do remove two relievers from the roster, Williams could be the other one aside from Reid-Foley who is in danger.

But with Williams earning roughly $4 million this season and with him being one of the Mets’ depth starters, it’s hard to see them going that route — at least this early.

Williams has struggled for the Mets in limited action this season, but was solid for them in 2021 after being acquired from the Chicago Cubs, with a 3.06 ERA (2.71 FIP) and 1.42 WHIP in 32.1 innings (three starts, seven relief appearances).

In 40 plate appearances this season, Cano is hitting .184/.225/.263 with one extra-base hit. And as an offense-first player who has no speed and whose defense at second base is seriously diminished, Cano doesn’t offer much.

I recently wrote that Cano’s regular playing time should be taken away immediately. And while an easy argument can be made that the Mets should cut bait with him at this point, it’s hard to envision them doing it this soon.

That doesn’t mean the Mets shouldn’t cut Cano. It just means that it’s hard to picture him going from lineup regular to off the team in the matter of a week. And the main reason why is that he’s owed $20 million this season and next.

Perhaps the Mets can work out a reasonable buyout with Cano. But if not, they’ll soon have to decide just how long they’re willing to carry him, when doing so is to the detriment of the team.

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