Mets to carry two left-handed relievers in the bullpen

Pedro Feliciano 1 polaroidThe Mets intend to carry two left-handed relievers in the bullpen, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

Josh Edgin should make the team, Rubin says. The second lefty will be either Pedro Feliciano, Robert Carson, or Scott Rice.

Per the new collective bargaining agreement, a player with significant Major League experience who was signed to a minor league deal and wasn’t non-tendered the previous winter must be informed they’ve made the Major League team by March 26, pay them $100,000 to go to the minor leagues, or release them.

Feliciano, LaTroy Hawkins and Tim Byrdak  are the non-roster invitees who must be informed by March 26 as to whether or not they will make the team.

Scott Atchison was signed to a minor league deal this winter, but since he was non-tendered by the Red Sox in December, he will not have to be informed until camp breaks (like most other players).

Michael Baron, Contributor

After last year’s lack of flexibility, the overuse of Byrdak, and the poor performance of the bullpen in general, I would have been really surprised if the Mets were to carry only one lefty in the bullpen for Opening Day. Given how this roster is not projected to score many runs, the Mets are going to have to limit the amount of runs they allow, especially late in games. Carrying two lefties may help achieve that goal, as it will give Terry Collins more maneuverability and better matchups late in games.

The solids in the bullpen for Opening Day are Josh Edgin, Bobby Parnell and Brandon Lyon. Atchison and Hawkins should make the team; Terry Collins has said all spring he and the staff are more comfortable going with veterans with track records in the bullpen, and they fit that criteria. If the Mets are comfortable with Feliciano’s reduced velocity, he will probably make the team —  he has the most experience of any of the other candidates. If he does go north with the club, the Mets need to be careful how Feliciano is used going forward – he should only be used against left-handed hitters, and certainly not at the rate he was used in his first go-around with the Mets. They can easily send Robert Carson and Aaron Laffey to the minor leagues, get them some more work, and call them up later — if or when — a need arises.

As for Jeurys Familia and Greg Burke, they’ve both had good, but not great springs, and both have options that can be used as well. I like Familia’s power arm in a short-relief or setup role, but I also think they could see what Burke is about in a specialty role against right-handed hitters first. If he falters, they can turn to Familia for a setup role at any time.