Giménez, Peterson part of Mets' player pool

June 29th, 2020

NEW YORK -- Top prospects and were among 45 names the Mets submitted to Major League Baseball on Sunday as part of their 60-man player pool for the upcoming season. Although only 30 will make the club's Opening Day roster, the Mets can draw on anyone in the pool over the course of the season.

Notably, the Mets decided not to carry Tim Tebow in their initial player pool. Unless they use one of their empty spots on him, Tebow will not be eligible to appear in the Majors this season.

The Mets added five more players to the pool on Monday, bringing their total to 50 players. They can otherwise fill the remaining 10 vacancies with some combination of free agents, trade acquisitions or other players already in their organization. Here’s a breakdown of the 50 spots in the Mets' player pool:

No surprises here. Ramos and Nido were likely to be the Mets’ Opening Day pair when Spring Training was halted; both remain in line to make the team. Sanchez is a defensive-minded prospect on the 40-man roster, while Rivera is a non-roster veteran familiar with the pitching staff. He is a strong candidate to spend time on the Mets’ three-man taxi squad later this summer if he doesn’t make the team outright.

Alonso, Canó, Rosario and McNeil figure to start, with Smith spending time both at DH and as Alonso’s backup at first. Questions remain about Lowrie’s health, but at this point, the Mets are more interested in his bat than his glove. Guillorme is a capable defensive reserve, as is Giménez, the team’s third-ranked prospect who has yet to make his debut.

Even if the Mets had carried Tebow in the player pool, he would have been a long-shot to make the Opening Day roster. As for the rest, the situation here will depend in large part on whether Céspedes is capable of playing left field. If Céspedes is the full-time DH (or something close to it), then the Mets will frequently use an outfield of Davis, Nimmo and Conforto, from left to right. If Céspedes can play the field, it opens up more options for manager Luis Rojas.

Fargas is an interesting add as an athletic 25-year-old who has never appeared above Double-A, but he could potentially provide value as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement. The Mets did not initially include veteran Cordell, who had been enjoying a fine Spring Training before the coronavirus shutdown, but they announced that he had been re-signed on Monday and added to the pool. Cabrera, a 15-year veteran and 2009 World Series champion, was also signed on Monday.

The obvious omission here is Noah Syndergaard, who was placed on the 60-day injured list earlier this weekend. Syndergaard, recovering from Tommy John surgery, will not pitch in 2020.

The rest was relatively straightforward -- for now. deGrom, Stroman, Matz, Porcello and Wacha figure to make up the Mets’ five-man rotation, with Lockett, Peterson and Oswalt serving as the first line of defense should injuries strike. The Mets chose not to include Stephen Gonsalves, Jordan Humphreys, Franklyn Kilomé or Thomas Szapucki, all of whom are on their 40-man roster, but the club could still reverse that decision. The most intriguing name here is Peterson, a former first-round pick who could pitch out of the bullpen if the Mets decide not to keep him stretched out as a starter. It also remains to be seen whether the shortened season could prompt the Mets to use Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman in nontraditional roles.

Had this been a typical year, the Mets likely would have proceeded with an eight-man bullpen of Díaz, Lugo, Betances, Familia, Wilson, Gsellman, Brach and one other. Given the expanded 30-man rosters that teams can now employ on Opening Day, the Mets have space for additional names. Two of note: left-handed Kevin Smith, the team’s ninth-ranked prospect, and righty Drew Smith, who has not pitched since underdoing Tommy John surgery in March 2019. Strickland, whose signing the team announced Monday, is the newest addition to the relief corps.