PHILADELPHIA — One last time before the rules change next year, major league rosters will expand to up to 40 players on Sunday, marking a parade of September call-ups and the beginning of the end of the regular season.
In 2020, active rosters will be 26 players and expand in September to 28 players, tweaks agreed upon by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association before this season.
For now, though, the Mets are allowed to call up all the reinforcements they reasonably might need — including outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who manager Mickey Callaway said is “a possibility” to join the Mets Sunday. Nimmo hasn’t played since May due a bulging disc in his neck.
Beyond that, Callaway hinted the Mets’ call-ups will be limited. The team wants to add players it thinks will actually help as it competes for a playoff spot.
“We’re still in it,” he said. “When you’re in that kind of fight mode, you don’t want to bring in just everybody just to bring them in and get looks. You want to keep it small. Who can help you?
“You want guys that are going to be able to contribute, be able to give you a tactical advantage, cover you when things go bad, save you for the next day. We don’t want to bring in so many guys that people are feeling awkward [due to crowdedness].”
Among the Mets’ options are the pitchers who have bounced between the majors and minors this season and last: Tyler Bashlor, Chris Flexen, Drew Gagnon, Corey Oswalt, Daniel Zamora and others.
The Mets don’t have any healthy position players on the 40-man roster, though they could always make room for, say, Dilson Herrera, who has played well for Triple-A Syracuse.
Like Nimmo, the injured Tomas Nido (concussion), Jed Lowrie (various leg injuries), Dominic Smith (stress reaction in left foot) and Robinson Cano (torn left hamstring) will be added if and when they are healthy.
A father delivers
Before one of the best games of Todd Frazier’s career — two homers and a career-high tying six RBIs on Friday against the Phillies — he had a conversation with one of his biggest critics: 5-year-old son Blake Frazier.
At bedtime Thursday, Blake reminded his dad he hadn’t homered lately — and he was right. Frazier hadn’t homered in two weeks and only had a pair of long balls the previous five weeks.
“He gives me very, very, very constructive criticism,” the elder Frazier said with a laugh. “And I have to take it, because he’s my son.
“He was going to bed, and he basically just told me, ‘You haven’t hit any home runs lately.’ I said, ‘All right, I’ll try and get two tomorrow.’ He’s like, ‘That would be good.’ Then he basically passed out. Maybe he was dreaming.”
That wasn’t on Frazier’s mind at all, he said, when he stepped to the plate in the eighth inning Friday, hit a three-run homer, then stepped to the plate in the ninth and hit another three-run blast.
“It’s crazy, but I didn’t even think of it,” Frazier said. “My wife [Jackie] brought it up, ‘You promised him two.’ I don’t even remember saying it. Yup. That’s how it works.”
Frazier went 3-for-4 in the Mets’ 6-3 win over the Phillies on Saturday, making him 7-for-16 since he started Wednesday’s game on the bench.
“I told Mickey I understand I’m not pulling my weight,” he said. “Sometimes when a manager puts a little pressure on you, it’s either put up or shut up. I’m glad I could step up the last couple of days.”
The Mets called up righthander Walker Lockett from Syracuse and optioned righthander Chris Mazza. Mazza gave up four runs to the Phillies in the ninth inning Friday . . . Jeff McNeil was out of the lineup Saturday. Callaway said it was a scheduled day off, “part of the plan when we brought him back” from the injured list last weekend . . . Callaway is comfortable with his hitters swinging in 3-and-0 counts, a philosophy solidified in his penultimate game as a major league pitcher. “In , I had Victor Martinez 3-and-0 and he hit a two-run homer,” Callaway said. “And ever since then, I was like, that’s a pretty good idea because we [pitchers] are just laying the pitch in there.”