New York Mets Sign Veteran Relief Pitcher Matt Festa to Minor League Deal

Matt Festa, who spent eight years in the Seattle Mariners' organization and opened 2024 with the San Diego Padres, is set to join the New York Mets' Triple-A affiliate.
Apr 3, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Matt Festa (67) pitches to the Los Angeles Angels during the eighth inning at T-Mobile Park.
Apr 3, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Matt Festa (67) pitches to the Los Angeles Angels during the eighth inning at T-Mobile Park. / Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Mets signed veteran relief pitcher Matt Festa to a minor league contract on Sunday, according to their transaction log.

Festa immediately joined the Mets' Triple-A affiliate, the Syracuse Mets, taking the mound against the Iowa Cubs on Sunday. The Brooklyn native struck out two and allowed one hit in 1.1 scoreless innings of action.

Just one week earlier, Festa was part of the San Diego Padres' organization. The 31-year-old right-hander was released last Thursday, though, after going 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA and 1.563 WHIP across 16 appearances with Triple-A El Paso.

The Padres signed Festa to a minor league contract in January. Despite earning an invitation to major league Spring Training camp, he did not making the Opening Day roster.

Festa spent the previous eight years in the Seattle Mariners' organization, joining the club when they drafted him in the seventh round back in 2016.

Entering the 2018 season, Festa was pegged as the No. 9 prospect in the Mariners' farm system. The righty made his MLB debut later that year, then made Seattle's Opening Day roster in 2019.

Festa's production fell off, though, and he spent most of 2019 bouncing back and forth between Triple-A and the big leagues. Tommy John surgery knocked him for the entire 2020 season, and he could only muster a few minor league appearances down the stretch in 2021.

In 2022, Festa finally carved out a significant role in the Mariners' bullpen. Across 53 appearances, Festa went 2-0 with a 4.17 ERA, 1.130 WHIP, 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings and a 0.1 WAR.

Festa put up some similar numbers in 2023, but struggled with issuing walks. Seattle designated Festa for assignment and released him in August.

Now, Festa is trying to work his way back to the majors, this time with the Mets.

New York boasts the sixth-best bullpen ERA in all of baseball at 3.27, but Brooks Raley and Drew Smith are on the injured list. If their short-term replacements aren't performing, perhaps Festa could get a call sooner rather than later.

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Sam Connon


Sam Connon is a Staff Writer for Fastball on the Sports Illustrated/FanNation networks. He previously covered UCLA Athletics for Sports Illustrated/FanNation's All Bruins, 247Sports' Bruin Report Online, Rivals' Bruin Blitz, the Bleav Podcast Network and the Daily Bruin, with his work as a sports columnist receiving awards from the College Media Association and Society of Professional Journalists. Connon also wrote for Sports Illustrated/FanNation's New England Patriots site, Patriots Country, and he was on the Patriots and Boston Red Sox beats at Prime Time Sports Talk.