NEW YORK -- The baseball season is rapidly approaching, with the Mets less than a month away from gathering their pitchers and catchers in Port St. Lucie, Fla. for the start of another Spring Training. Although general manager Brodie Van Wagenen will continue to poke around for upgrades between now
NEW YORK -- The baseball season is rapidly approaching, with the Mets less than a month away from gathering their pitchers and catchers in Port St. Lucie, Fla. for the start of another Spring Training. Although general manager Brodie Van Wagenen will continue to poke around for upgrades between now and then, New York's roster appears to be reasonably complete.
Here’s a snapshot of how the Mets' Opening Day configuration might look:
Locks: Wilson Ramos
Possibilities: Tomas Nido, Ali Sanchez
The Mets publicly committed to Ramos early in the offseason, calling him their unquestioned starting catcher. While they considered adding Major League depth at the position, they never signed anyone, all but ensuring Nido will return as Ramos’ primary backup. He’ll compete with the 22-year-old Sanchez and several non-roster invitees this spring.
Locks: Pete Alonso, Dominic Smith
Possibilities: Jake Hager
Coming off a 53-homer season as a rookie, Alonso should again start 150-plus games in 2020. After a relatively quiet winter of trade rumors, it seems probable that Smith will stick around to back up Alonso, even if his better path to playing time is in the outfield. Hager, a non-roster invitee, will be one of the few other players in camp with experience at first base.
Locks: Robinson Canó
Possibilities: Jed Lowrie, Luis Guillorme
Whether they like it or not, the Mets are committed to Canó for four more seasons at big money. Health may be an issue for him at age 37, but the team can ask Jeff McNeil to slide over to second when Canó needs a break. The Mets are also hopeful to receive some production from Lowrie, who gave them eight plate appearances in the first season of a two-year, $20 million contract. Despite all those question marks, the Mets have enough depth to feel comfortable at this position.
Locks: Amed Rosario
Possibilities: Luis Guillorme, Max Moroff, Jake Hager
Rosario’s breakout gives the Mets confidence that shortstop is well-covered, both in 2020 and for the foreseeable future. Despite a rash of Francisco Lindor trade rumors that went nowhere, the Mets are committed to seeing Rosario blossom as their everyday shortstop. Guillorme is his likely backup.
Locks: Jeff McNeil
Possibilities: J.D. Davis, Jed Lowrie
While the Mets have been adamant that they consider McNeil their everyday third baseman, it’s possible Davis will also receive reps there in spring. Both players will be cogs of the starting lineup one way or the other, which was the Mets’ plan going into the offseason; they never seriously pursued Anthony Rendon, Josh Donaldson or any other top-flight third baseman on the open market.
Locks: Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis, Jake Marisnick
Possibilities: Yoenis Céspedes, Dominic Smith, Jarrett Parker, Ryan Cordell
Despite months’ worth of rumors connecting the Mets to Starling Marte, Mookie Betts and others, the Mets appear set to enter this season with a familiar outfield: Davis, Nimmo and Conforto, from left to right. The team acquired Marisnick as a defensive-minded option to accompany Nimmo in center, and Smith is still around to back up left. The wild card here is Céspedes, whose renegotiated contract eliminated a potential barrier to playing time. Until the Mets report to Spring Training, they won’t have a great idea of how much -- if anything -- Céspedes can provide after losing more than a season and a half to injuries.
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Locks: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman
Possibilities: Michael Wacha, Rick Porcello, Steven Matz
While no one is saying so explicitly, the Mets seem committed to giving Porcello and Wacha every chance to win rotation jobs, putting Matz at risk of being the odd man out. Seth Lugo also badly wants to start, but there isn’t a clear path for him to do so barring multiple injuries in front of him. The Mets will call this an open competition.
Locks: Edwin Díaz, Seth Lugo, Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Brad Brach
Possibilities: Steven Matz, Michael Wacha, Robert Gsellman, Chasen Shreve, Paul Sewald, Tyler Bashlor, Daniel Zamora, Stephen Nogosek, Matt Blackham
Although team officials have indicated they want Díaz to close, Lugo is a decent bet to steal some saves from him -- at least early in the season. The Mets hope both Díaz and Familia can rebound, knowing a significant portion of the team’s success may depend on it; outside of Betances, this is largely the same group that ranked 25th in the Majors in bullpen ERA last season. If Wacha and Porcello are in the rotation, Matz would become the most likely starting pitcher to shift to the bullpen. But a single injury could change that plan, and Matz could certainly force his way into the rotation with a strong spring.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.