Rotation use, Wright's health key questions for Mets

February 18th, 2016

This is the sixth in a seven-part Mets Spring Training preview. Next up: Three Questions.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Spring Training is a time for experimentation, and the Mets are no exception to that. Michael Conforto in right field? Might as well try it. Wilmer Flores at first base? Give it a go.

Yet with so little of their roster in flux this spring, the Mets will spend much of their time pondering more significant questions. The most critical of those have to do with the health of key players, from the club's vaunted pitching staff to its older stars.

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With that in mind, look for the Mets to spend the next six weeks answering the following key questions:

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1. How will the Mets handle their rotation?

General manager Sandy Alderson has dropped plenty of hints about this in recent weeks, saying that he expects to hold his four youngest starters back from what would be their first turn through the Grapefruit League rotation. Considering the bulky innings totals most of their starters amassed last summer, the Mets will be extremely prudent with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz in particular this spring. The goal is to treat them carefully now, so that none will be limited during the regular season.

2. What is David Wright capable of providing?

It's impossible to predict what Wright may be able to accomplish at age 33, less than a year removed from his spinal stenosis diagnosis. Alderson has set a rough benchmark of 130 games for his starting third baseman, but that's admittedly not much more than a guess. How Wright fares in Grapefruit League games -- and how his body responds to the workload -- should provide hints at how his regular season will unfold.

3. Who makes the bullpen?

Only one corner of the roster isn't set heading into camp, and that's the bullpen. Four spots appear earmarked for closer Jeurys Familia, Addison Reed, Antonio Bastardo and Jerry Blevins, leaving three for any number of other candidates: Hansel Robles, Erik Goeddel, Sean Gilmartin, Jim Henderson and Logan Verrett, to name a handful. This is the only true roster battle the Mets have in Spring Training, and it should be a competitive one.