Bickford, a 28-year-old righty, was designated for assignment on Saturday to clear a spot for the newly-acquired Joe Kelly. Bickford made the Dodgers’ Opening Day bullpen this year, but hit the IL in June with lower back tightness. All of his key stats moved in the wrong direction this year, with his strikeout rate dropping to 25.3%, his walk rate spiking to 13.7%, and his groundball rate dropping to 29.5%. That’s led to a 5.14 ERA, which is up from 4.72 last year. At his best for the Dodgers in 2021, Bickford was able to punch out nearly 30% of batters and walk fewer than 10%.
Kolarek, a 34-year-old southpaw, signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers last December. Despite some shaky work at Triple-A, the Dodgers selected his contract in mid-June, which resulted in his lone big league appearance so far this year. After that, Kolarek cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A. He has 144 2/3 big league innings to his name, also logging time with the Rays and A’s.
The pair of arms represent a couple of depth pieces for the Mets, who recently shipped out relievers Dominic Leone and David Robertson as well as future Hall of Famers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Despite plans to take a step back for at least the 2024 season, the Mets held on to veteran relievers Adam Ottavino and Brooks Raley.