Playing out the string while largely out of contention is not proving to be dull for the Mets.
On a whirlwind Friday, the Mets placed T.J. Rivera on the DL with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow that ideally will calm without the need for Tommy John surgery, activated Neil Walker and Brandon Nimmo from the disabled list, defeated the Mariners 7-5 behind two homers from Michael Conforto in his return to his native Seattle, and acquired reliever A.J. Ramos from the Marlins with an eye toward reconstructing their bullpen for 2018.
And, soon, top prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith should be promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas.
Don't forget also: Jacob deGrom takes the mound Saturday aiming to match Frank Viola's franchise record of nine straight starts earning a win.
Ramos is not eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season. So even though the Mets are expected to trade Addison Reed by Monday's non-waiver deadline, team officials already have done some heavy lifting toward ensuring next season is competitive.
Jeurys Familia will again be the closer next year after missing a chunk of this season due to suspension and then a blood clot in his right shoulder that required surgery to address. And the Mets hold a $7 million option on Jerry Blevins for next season that's sure to be exercised.
If Drew Smith, the prospect acquired from the Rays for Lucas Duda, ends up contributing to the Mets in 2018, that would further bolster a relief corps that also potentially may include Josh Edgin, Paul Sewald, and Hansel Robles as well as any overflow from the rotation if everyone is healthy. Smith, 23, has been assigned to Double-A Binghamton for now.
Added benefits of acquiring Ramos now as opposed to pursuing relief help in the offseason: It diminishes the trade-deadline relief market, arguably increasing what the Mets can command for Reed. It also allows the Mets to complete this season -- even if they're largely out of contention -- without having to worry about how to get to the finish line of games once Reed is dealt.
In acquiring Ramos, the Mets surrendered outfielder Ricardo Cespedes and right-hander Merandy Gonzalez. They appeared 23rd and 14th, respectively, on Baseball America's Mets preseason prospect list.
The bottom line: The Mets are in a better position today than they were 24 hours ago to be relevant again in 2018.
Adam Rubin (Facebook | Twitter | Contact) has covered the Mets since 2002. He previously worked for the Daily News and ESPN. He also serves as assistant athletic director for strategic communications at NYIT. He is a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the University of Pennsylvania.