Rotation still in order after rainout

Wheeler to get work on Wednesday; Mets face decision on Mesoraco

March 19th, 2019

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- With rain blanketing the state of Florida throughout Tuesday morning, the Mets canceled their Grapefruit League game against the Marlins.

The change in schedule will not affect New York’s Opening Day rotation. Zack Wheeler, Tuesday’s scheduled starter, will instead stretch out to 90-plus pitches in a Minor League intrasquad game on Wednesday. He’ll have an additional tuneup in the Mets’ final Grapefruit League game Monday before starting Game 3 of the regular season in Washington on March 31.

Given some extra free time on Tuesday, manager Mickey Callaway and his staff spent most of the morning and early afternoon discussing their on-field strategies heading into the season.

“It was actually a productive day, considering we got rained out,” Callaway said.

Catching up

One of the Mets’ more intriguing roster decisions will come to a head on Wednesday, when they must offer catcher an Opening Day roster spot or risk losing him to another team. Mesoraco has an upward mobility clause in his contract that will allow him to pursue deals with other clubs beginning Wednesday if the Mets don’t commit to him. Mesoraco can only leave if someone offers him a 25-man roster spot.

Complicating the Mets’ decision is that they are still uncertain about the health of Travis d’Arnaud, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Before Opening Day, d’Arnaud must catch a full nine-inning game, as well as start back-to-back games. He is running out of time to do so.

That uncertainty could prompt the Mets to protect Mesoraco with a 25-man roster spot, all but ensuring they would carry three catchers on Opening Day: d’Arnaud, Mesoraco and starter .

“It’s already a difficult conversation, because we feel like all of those guys can catch at the Major League level and contribute,” Callaway said.

In 11 Grapefruit League games, Mesoraco is batting .240 with one home run and a .720 OPS. While Mesoraco’s preference is to stay with the Mets, he negotiated the upward mobility clause for a reason. If he exercises that clause but does not find an offer elsewhere, the Mets can send him to Triple-A Syracuse.

Up next

Wednesday was supposed to be an off-day for the Mets, but several of them -- including Wheeler, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman -- will instead appear in a Minor League intrasquad game. The final week of Spring Training will then resume as scheduled, with Steven Matz starting against the Marlins at 1:10 p.m. ET on Thursday at First Data Field.