NEW YORK -- More than six weeks after last taking the field, the Mets on Thursday made their first offseason signings of players from outside the organization. The club inked right-handed pitchers Ben Rowen and Cory Burns to Minor League deals, inviting Rowen to big league Spring Training.
Rowen, 28, appeared in four games for the Brewers in 2016, allowing five earned runs in three innings. He was successful throughout the season at Triple-A, posting a 2.33 combined ERA at the Blue Jays' and Brewers' top affiliates. A 22nd-round Draft pick of the Rangers in 2010, Rowen will be among a large number of relievers competing for spots in the Mets' Opening Day bullpen.
• Hot Stove Tracker
Burns, 29, spent the entire 2016 season with Lancaster of the independent Atlantic League. An eighth-round Draft pick of the Indians in 2009, Burns appeared briefly in the Majors in '12 for San Diego and '13 for Texas. He provides the Mets a measure of organizational depth.
The Mets plan to sign at least one reliever to a Major League deal this offseason, setting up a Spring Training bullpen competition that could include more than a dozen arms. Outside of closer Jeurys Familia and setup man Addison Reed, few members of last year's bullpen are guaranteed jobs.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.