The Mets designated right-hander Adonis Medina for assignment, and also made Max Scherzer’s 15-day IL placement official. In corresponding moves, New York selected the contract of left-hander Alex Claudio and called up right-hander Yoan Lopez from Triple-A. Lopez will be the 29th man for today’s doubleheader against the Pirates.
Medina has been up and down from Triple-A multiple times this season, and all of the shuttling may have had an adverse effect on his performance. The righty has a 6.08 ERA over 23 2/3 innings with the Mets and a more palatable 3.71 ERA in 26 2/3 frames for Triple-A Syracuse, though Medina’s minor league walk rate is a troubling 12.1%.
This is the third time that Medina has been designated for assignment within the last year, with the first of those DFA stints keeping Medina in transactional limbo throughout the entirety of the offseason lockout. The Pirates claimed Medina off waivers from the Phillies once the lockout was over, and a subsequent DFA from Pittsburgh resulted in Medina being traded to the Mets just prior to Opening Day.
Medina received some top-100 prospect attention as recently as 2019, but he has yet to make a big impact in the majors, pitching only 11 2/3 innings with the Phillies prior to this season. Generally a below-average strikeout pitcher, Medina has posted grounder rates around the 50% mark during his career, usually relying more on soft contact and keeping the ball in play rather than missed bats. Medina has worked as a starter for much of his career but he primarily been a reliever this season in Syracuse, and his 14 Mets appearances were all out of the bullpen.
Claudio inked a minor league deal with the Mets during the offseason, and the southpaw is now on the verge of making it a ninth consecutive season with some MLB action. Speaking of low-strikeout grounder specialists, Claudio has a 17% strikeout rate and 59.8% groundball rate over his 344 1/3 career innings in the majors. Claudio was a generally reliable bullpen arm throughout his time with the Rangers and Brewers from 2014-20, posting a 3.44 ERA and eating plenty of innings — his 83 appearances led the big leagues in 2019.
The Brewers opted to non-tender Claudio following the 2020 season, in part due to his lack of strikeouts or high velocity, as well as the idea that Claudio (who has pretty big career splits) would be hampered by the three-batter rule. Signing with the Angels in the 2020-21 offseason, the southpaw had only a 5.51 ERA over 32 2/3 innings with Anaheim in 2021, and also pitched in the Red Sox farm system after the Angels cut him loose midway through the campaign.
The Mets’ lack of left-handed relief depth has been an ongoing story of their season, with Joely Rodriguez being the only southpaw regular within the bullpen mix. Such left-handed pitchers as Chasen Shreve, Nate Fisher, Rob Zastryzny, Sam Clay, and Thomas Szapucki have all gotten some looks, and Claudio will become the latest southpaw to get a shot at catching on as extra depth.