The Mets have four spots and no real crunch looming.
The New York Mets’ 40-man roster has four open spots at the moment, but there’s not much reason to expect they’ll add any of their prospects eligible for the Rule 5 draft before today’s deadline. Clubs are required to finalize their 40-man rosters on November 20 ahead of the Rule 5 draft.
If a player has enough years of professional experience to be eligible and is not placed on the 40-man roster, he could be taken by another team when that draft happens on December 10. To take a player, a club has to be willing to keep that player on its active roster for the entire season, with a 90-day minimum to ensure clubs don’t simply take a player and then stash them on the injured list. Most often, Rule 5 picks end up being returned when a club decides they can’t or don’t want to keep the player active all year, in which case the original club gets the option to take the player back, though they must be added to the 40-man roster.
For the Mets, most of their highest-profile prospects are either ineligible or already on the 40-man. Shorstop Shervyen Newton is the biggest name on New York’s list, and after going unselected last winter when he first became eligible, the 21-year-old seems at no greater risk. He’s yet to play above Single-A, spending 2019 struggling as a youngster in Columbia. While he’s still tooled out and has every chance to make the most of his skills with a few more years of development, he was not part of the Mets’ 60 player pool this year, meaning other clubs are unlikely to have any fresh info on him. He should be safe.
Beyond Newton, the risks are slim. Third baseman Will Toffey will be 26 on New Year’s Eve, with good plate discipline numbers but neither the superlative hit tool nor power to make a club think he’ll stick at a corner infield spot. Right-handed pitcher Dedniel Nunez has intriguing characteristics, namely a high-spin four-seam with good backspin, but the 24-year-old also was not present at the Brooklyn alternate site and has yet to pitch above High-A. Fellow right-handed pitchers Michel Otanez and Daison Acosta are even further away, with mid-to-upper-90s heat but next to no minors track record, which is a profile almost every system has in triplicate right now.
A club short on starter depth might take a look at Tony Dibrell, another right-handed pitcher who at least has made a handful of starts at Double-A, but relative to the dozens of similar high-minors starters who go unprotected and unselected each year, there’s not much to suggest he’ll be threatened either. Infielder Luis Carpio is the only other particularly plausible name on the list, though he was available last winter as well and went unchosen.
The Mets can and likely will need to continue to make roster moves in the coming weeks. Their 40-man roster includes at least a few players who could be designated for assignment and would have a shot at clearing waivers, including Nick Tropeano, Corey Oswalt, Jacob Barnes, Paul Sewald, Drew Smith, Daniel Zamora, Guillermo Heredia, and Robel Garcia, but there’s nothing constituting a time crunch on those moves. As the Mets sign free agents, they will eventually need to shuffle some of the chaff on the edges of the roster, but that doesn’t promise to matter imminently.