PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets’ new state-of-the-art spring clubhouse has space for 62 lockers, one less than the number of players in big league camp. Consider the fact that two must share a stall a temporary inconvenience, as the Mets spend February and March whittling their roster down
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets’ new state-of-the-art spring clubhouse has space for 62 lockers, one less than the number of players in big league camp. Consider the fact that two must share a stall a temporary inconvenience, as the Mets spend February and March whittling their roster down to the best 26.
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What shape that group ultimately takes will depend on health, performance and contract concerns. At the dawn of spring, here’s a snapshot of how the Mets’ Opening Day roster might look:
Locks: Wilson Ramos
Possibilities: Tomas Nido, Rene Rivera
The Mets publicly committed to Ramos early in the offseason, calling him their unquestioned starting catcher. The only question is whether Nido or Rivera will be his backup. Both reported to camp in great shape -- particularly Rivera, who lost 30-35 pounds over the offseason. But Nido boasts more significant recent experience with the Mets’ pitching staff, is out of Minor League options and is already on the 40-man roster. It’s his job to lose.
Locks: Pete Alonso
Possibilities: Matt Adams
Coming off a 53-homer season as a rookie, Alonso should again start 150-plus games in 2020. Dominic Smith is also back, but the Mets have used him exclusively as an outfielder so far this spring. Although New York has several other first basemen in camp, Adams -- an eight-year veteran who leads all active Major Leaguers with 11 career pinch-hit homers -- is the backup most likely to break with the team.
Locks: Robinson Canó
Possibilities: Jed Lowrie, Eduardo Núñez, 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, but who didn’t provide many answers about his health upon reporting to camp. Despite such question marks, the Mets have enough depth to feel comfortable at second.
Locks: Amed Rosario
Possibilities: Luis Guillorme, Max Moroff, Jake Hager, Eduardo Núñez
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. Both Núñez and Guillorme stand decent chances of making the team as versatile backups.
Locks: Jeff McNeil
Possibilities: J.D. Davis, Jed Lowrie, Eduardo Núñez
While the Mets have been adamant that they consider McNeil their everyday third baseman, Davis will also receive reps there this 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 reported to camp 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 in left. He’s likely to make the club. The wild card here is Céspedes, whose renegotiated contract eliminated a potential barrier to playing time. Limited in the opening days of camp, Céspedes refused to discuss his status. His future remains murky.
Locks: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello
Possibilities: Michael Wacha, 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. Expect some intrigue here, in what figures to be the Mets’ most hotly contested spring battle.
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, Stephen Gonsalves, Matt Blackham, Nick Rumbelow
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 depends on it; outside of Betances, this is largely the same group that ranked 25th in the Majors in bullpen ERA last season. The main uncertainty here is which starting pitcher -- Matz or Wacha, most likely -- will wind up in the bullpen.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.