DENVER — The Mets’ homestand is starting the same way the last one ended: with a couple of fresh faces.
Righthanded reliever Drew Smith and outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski will join the Mets — for their first time — from Triple-A Las Vegas in advance of the team’s game Friday against the Dodgers at Citi Field, a source confirmed.
Smith, 24, came to the Mets last July in the Lucas Duda trade with the Rays. With Las Vegas, he has a 3.00 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, striking out 28 batters in 30 innings. Smith has gone more than one inning — a skill the Mets covet in their relievers — in 13 of 21 appearances, throwing as many as three innings on two occasions. MLB Pipeline, which ranks Smith as the Mets’ No. 30 prospect, says he has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and an above-average curveball.
Kaczmarski, 26, will help alleviate the Mets’ outfield situation and bring their bench back to five players. First baseman Dominic Smith and Jose Bautista have been splitting time in leftfield in Jay Bruce’s absence, and although the Mets said they were comfortable with Smith playing the corner spots, Kaczmarski as a natural outfielder will be an obvious option.
A ninth-round pick by the Mets in 2015, Kaczmarski has had a steady climb through the minors, including posting a .363/.413/.450 slash line in 24 games with Las Vegas this year. MLB Pipeline does not rank him among the club’s top 30 prospects.
The Mets cleared space for two players on the 25-man roster Thursday after a loss to the Rockies by optioning righthanders Paul Sewald and Chris Flexen to Las Vegas.
Neither Smith nor Kaczmarski is on the 40-man roster, which is full, so the Mets will need to make room there. Moving AJ Ramos, who had season-ending shoulder surgery this week, to the 60-day disabled list will be one move.
Another possible space-clearer would be to move minor-league reliever Jamie Callahan (also shoulder surgery) to the major-league 60-day DL, though that would require paying Callahan a major-league salary and awarding him service time while he doesn’t pitch. The Mets could also designate a player for assignment.