John Curtiss ‘thrilled’ to be competing for spot with Mets: ‘This is the place to be right now’
The Mets bullpen has maybe one or two spots up for grabs heading into spring training action.
Edwin Diaz, Adam Ottavino, David Robertson, Brooks Raley, and Drew Smith seem like the locks so far. There will be a competition for the remaining spots, which GM Billy Eppler says he will be “paying a lot of attention to.”
New York added plenty of depth this offseason, such as Jeff Brigham, Elieser Hernandez, Zach Greene, T.J. McFarland, and Stephen Ridings. Joey Lucchesi will be returning from injury and youngsters Bryce Montas de Oca and Stephen Nogosek impressed last season.
There’s also Tylor Megill and David Peterson who have to be in consideration, though both may be destined to begin the year with Triple-A Syracuse to remain stretched out as rotation depth.
Perhaps someone Mets fans aren’t familiar with yet, and may have an inside track to one of those remaining spots, is right-hander John Curtiss.
The Mets signed Curtiss to a two-year deal last winter, knowing he’d miss the whole season after undergoing Tommy John. He spent all of last season Port St. Lucie rehabbing.
While there, Curtiss had the opportunity to work with and pick the brains of two of the best in the game, Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, who were rehabbing from their respective injuries.
Prior to his injury, Curtiss was a relatively reliable backend reliever for the Rays and Marlins. From 2020-21, he posted a combined 2.86 ERA across 69.1 innings of work. Over that span, he averaged 1.9 BB/9 and 9.0 K/9.
Now, 17 months removed from surgery, the 29-year-old is looking to crack the Mets’ big league bullpen.
While there’s certainly some pressure competing for only a handful of remaining spots, Curtiss recently told MLB.com's Anthony Dicomo that he’s just focusing on what he can control.
“I’m really just worried about getting back to my best version of myself. Go out there, execute, do my job, and let all that stuff fall into place as it will,” he said.
Curtiss built up his workload all winter and was said to be game-ready by January. He added a changeup to his arsenal, which he will be working on this spring. He's also been sitting in the mid-90's with his fastball, which is where he was prior to surgery.
With a strong showing in spring training, Curtiss could find himself occupying one of those remaining bullpen spots. He does also have an option remaining, so in the event Curtiss struggles, the Mets could always send him to Triple-A to continue working out the kinks.
Either way, Curtiss seems like someone who could make an impact for this team at some point this season. The right-hander's certainly extremely excited to be a Met.
“I’m freaking thrilled to be with a contending team. Are you kidding me? This is the place to be right now. I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”