Though Erik Goeddel entered spring training with an inside track on winning a bullpen spot, a lat strain delayed his spring debut until the end of March and consequently led to a Triple-A designation to start the year. He ultimately earned a promotion to the majors in June, but the 27-year-old made multiple trips back and forth between the majors and minors over the second half of the season, and he didn't put up overwhelming numbers at either level. Of some concern, particularly at his age and with no apparent explanation, Goeddel's average fastball velocity fell over a full tick to just under 92 mph, but he was still able to miss bats, striking out 36 in 35.2 major league innings. That said, the righty was used mostly in mop-up duty and will have to show continued improvement to work his way into more meaningful situations in 2017.
Goeddel was optioned to the Mets' minor-league camp Wednesday, Marc Carig of Newsday reports. Goeddel's slim chances of claiming an Opening Day bullpen spot took a severe hit after he was tagged for seven runs on 12 hits in 6.1 innings during spring training. The right-hander is expected to open the season at Triple-A Las Vegas and could earn a promotion back to the big leagues if he proves he can do a better job commanding his pitches.
Goeddel underwent surgery in October to remove bone spurs from his elbow but is back to full health now, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports. This operation was previously unreported, but it might be an explanation as to why the right-hander's performance last season declined so much from his strong 2015 campaign. Goeddel's ERA ballooned from 2.43 in 2015 to 4.54 last year, and he gave up four more home runs over the past year in just 2.1 more innings. As long as his elbow doesn't act up anymore, the 28-year-old will be in the mix for a spot in the Mets bullpen during spring training.
Goeddel will compete for a spot in the Mets' bullpen this spring. His 9.1 K/9 rate in 35.2 innings last year with the big club was nice, but Goeddel doesn't have overpowering raw stuff and his overall numbers were somewhat shaky. With the Mets bringing back Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas to bolster their middle relief corps, Goeddel's best chance of breaking camp on the 25-man roster, even in a low-leverage role, might come if Jeurys Familia gets suspended by MLB.
Goeddel will be recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday, Marc Carig of Newsday reports. The Mets will bring forth a second wave of September call-ups Tuesday with Las Vegas' season coming to an end, but Goeddel isn't expected to hold down a meaningful role out of the big club's bullpen in September. He'll likely see his appearances limited to mop-up duty in non-competitive games.
Goeddel was sent back to Triple-A Las Vegas following Wednesday's game against the Cardinals, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Goeddel's recent results haven't been encouraging, having allowed seven runs over three innings in his last four appearances. Another unspectacular pitcher (Sean Gilmartin) will replace him in the bullpen for the time being, but Goeddel could rejoin the big league club when rosters expand in September.