The Mets announced that right-hander Cole Sulser has been signed to a minor league deal with an invite to major league Spring Training.
Sulser, 34 in March, began the 2023 campaign with the Diamondbacks. He made three appearances in the early going but a right shoulder strain landed him on the injured list in early April. He returned to make one more appearance at the end of July before getting designated for assignment. The Rays put in a claim but kept Sulser on optional assignment for the final two months of the season and then outrighted him as the offseason was kicking off.
Despite the mostly lost season, he’s not too far removed from an excellent 2021 season. Sulser threw 63 1/3 innings for the Orioles that year with an earned run average of 2.70. He struck out 28.4% of batters faced while walking 8.9%. The last two campaigns haven’t gone his way with injuries playing a role. A lat strain cost him over a month in 2022 as his ERA jumped to 5.29, which was followed by another injury-marred year in 2023. He was able to finish strong, however, posting an ERA of 3.86 over 18 2/3 innings at Triple-A Durham after the waiver claim.
There’s plenty of uncertainty in the Mets’ bullpen, with Adam Ottavino having opted out of his deal while the club non-tendered Trevor Gott, Jeff Brigham and Sam Coonrod last week. Edwin Díaz will be back in 2024 but he’ll be returning from missing all of 2023 due to knee surgery. If Sulser is healthy and resembling his 2021 self, he could earn his way onto the roster. He still an option year and has less than four years of service time, meaning he could be retained for future seasons via arbitration if things go especially well in the year to come.