The Mets announced they’ve claimed right-hander Nick Tropeano off waivers from the Giants. He’s been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. Reliever Tommy Hunter was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list to open 40-man roster space. The Giants designated Tropeano for assignment last week.
This marks the second time in nine months the Mets have snagged Tropeano off the waiver wire. New York claimed him from the Pirates after the conclusion of last season. Ultimately, they decided not to carry him over the winter, non-tendering him a little more than a month later. Tropeano then signed a minor league deal with the Giants and was selected to the major league roster on May 21.
The 30-year-old wound up appearing in four games with San Francisco, tossing six innings of relief. He only allowed one earned run in that time, but Tropeano also managed just a pair of strikeouts. While he didn’t punch many batters in his limited work in San Francisco, he flashed some bat-missing ability with Pittsburgh last season. Tropeano struck out a strong 28.8% of opposing hitters in 15 2/3 innings with the Pirates, allowing just a pair of runs in that time. He generated swings and misses on a strong 14.9% of his offerings in 2020, and that bat-missing ability and recent run of strong run prevention clearly holds some appeal to the Mets front office.
While Tropeano has only worked in relief at the major league level the past two seasons, he could serve as either rotation or bullpen depth for New York. He was a decent back-of-the-rotation arm for the Astros and Angels earlier in his career, and he’d started all three of his appearances with the Giants Triple-A affiliate this season (albeit without ever working into the sixth inning).
By claiming Tropeano, the Mets assume the remaining balance of his $1.1MM contract. He remains under team control via arbitration through 2022, so he could be a multi-year piece for New York if he performs well enough for the club to tender him a contract. Tropeano is in his final minor league option year, so he can be shuttled back and forth between Queens and Syracuse for the rest of this season if he sticks on the 40-man roster.
Hunter was placed on the IL on May 19 with the rather nebulous diagnosis of lower back pain. It’s not precisely clear when the team expects him to return this season, but he’ll now be out of action until at least late July. He has made four scoreless appearances in 2021.