The Mets have released right-hander Marcos Molina in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster for the previously announced selection of outfielder Matt den Dekker, tweets Tim Britton of The Athletic. He’d recently been placed on the disabled list in Double-A, which prevents the Mets from placing him on outright waivers or designating him. The organization could yet try to re-sign Molina to a new minor league pact to keep him in the organization while clearing some 40-man space; such moves are fairly common practice throughout the league.
Molina, 23, has battled arm injuries throughout his career, most notably missing the bulk of the 2015-16 seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He returned with a solid effort in 2017, pitching to a 3.21 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and 0.5 HR/9 to go along with a 46 percent ground-ball rate through 106 2/3 innings between Class-A Advanced and Double-A.
Heading into the 2018 season, in fact, Molina ranked seventh among Mets farmhands, per Baseball America, and eighth per MLB.com. But he’s struggled through a disastrous year between Double-A and Triple-A, as opponents have hammered him for a combined 6.94 ERA (with the vast majority of that work coming at the lower of those two levels). Molina had never averaged higher than 2.4 BB/9 prior to the 2018 season, but he’s issuing 3.7 walks per nine frames in the minors in 2018 (15) than he had in his entire professional career combined prior to this season (13). There’s been no announcement as to exactly what injury had landed Molina on the DL, though his results are certainly indicative of a pitcher who hasn’t been fully healthy.