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Inbox: How do A-Gon, Bruce affect Mets at 1B?

Beat reporter Anthony DiComo answers questions from fans
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

Finally, some action. The Mets made their first significant waves of the offseason last week, reportedly inking both Jay Bruce and Adrian Gonzalez to contracts that should become official in the coming days. Until they do, questions abound regarding first base, the position most affected by those signings. Consider that the backdrop to another batch of questions and answers:

If the Mets signed Bruce to fill in at first base if Dominic Smith falters, why in the world did they also sign Gonzalez? All three are left-handed hitters.
--@metsfan73 via Twitter

Finally, some action. The Mets made their first significant waves of the offseason last week, reportedly inking both Jay Bruce and Adrian Gonzalez to contracts that should become official in the coming days. Until they do, questions abound regarding first base, the position most affected by those signings. Consider that the backdrop to another batch of questions and answers:

If the Mets signed Bruce to fill in at first base if Dominic Smith falters, why in the world did they also sign Gonzalez? All three are left-handed hitters.
--@metsfan73 via Twitter

Insurance. It seems many fans saw the signing of Bruce as a move to shore up first base, when in reality Bruce -- regardless of Gonzalez's status -- is going to receive far more reps in the outfield. The Mets are operating under the assumption that Michael Conforto won't be ready for Opening Day, meaning they need Bruce and Cespedes at the corners in the outfield with Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo platooning in center.

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It's likely they'll require such outfield insurance throughout the season, given the injury histories of Cespedes and Lagares. For that reason, I don't see Bruce receiving all that many reps at first.

Gonzalez would then become the insurance that the Mets need at that position, with Wilmer Flores also capable of playing first against left-handed pitchers. Gonzalez offers an ideal type of insurance because he's cheap, meaning the Mets won't lose much if Smith goes on an early-season tear, proving once and for all that he -- not Gonzalez -- deserves to play every day.

• Source: Mets, Bruce reunite on three-year deal

Video: Bruce brings steady veteran leadership back to Mets

What is the story on the clubhouse presence and leadership of Gonzalez? It seems he garnered mixed feelings last year, but aside from that, is there anything else of note, positive or negative?
--@MrReegz via Twitter

Gonzalez's reputation certainly took a hit in October, when the injured first baseman didn't show up for the Dodgers' first World Series home game since 1988. He also had well-publicized differences over the years with the media in Boston.

• Mets, A-Gon reportedly agree to deal

But there are two sides to every story, and in between those rather public episodes, Gonzalez did establish himself as a clubhouse leader in multiple cities. His knowledge of the game is unassailable. The Mets are certainly hoping that's the version of Gonzalez that arrives in New York, considering they signed him to mentor to Smith, as well as to provide value with his own bat and glove.

Do you see any scenario in which Smith starts the 2018 season in Triple-A?
--@jlatimer11 via Twitter

I can honestly envision everything from Smith starting at Las Vegas to playing 150-plus games in the Majors. That's not a cop-out answer; it's an acknowledgement that Smith's status is very much dependent upon what he does in Spring Training. The Mets aren't sold on how the rookie performed down the stretch last season, but they can be swayed by his upcoming Grapefruit League performance -- one way or the other.

Video: Dominic Smith reflects on 2017, what he learned

Out of Todd Frazier, Josh Harrison or Eduardo Nunez, who is the most likely to be in Port St. Lucie, Fla. for Spring Training?
--@Thahn531 via Twitter

Throughout this offseason, the Mets have been linked most consistently with Frazier. He fits the mold of a Sandy Alderson-type player, though there's certainly a chance the Mets acquire none of those three. Remember, Jose Reyes is still very much an option for the infield.

Video: Mets considering Frazier and Moustakas at third base

Six-man rotations look to be the trend on the horizon, but it seems lots of pitchers dislike it for many reasons. With Mickey Callaway being a former pitching coach, where does he stand on this? How much of it will we see in 2018?
--@BoriSswag via Twitter

If anything, the Mets are going in the opposite direction, placing more emphasis on the bullpen and less on their starters. With Steven Matz, Matt Harvey and others unlikely to rack up significant pitch counts in individual games under Callaway's new plan, there's not as much need for those starters to receive extra days of rest -- the main benefit of a six-man rotation. It's not as if the Mets boast significant rotation depth. Even if everyone stays healthy, they're likely to stick with a five-man rotation throughout the summer.

Why do the Mets love Travis d'Arnaud so much? I can see this ballclub take off with a real catcher.
--@leifgranlind via Twitter

Perhaps "love" is a strong word. Perhaps, also, your take is a bit harsh. The best way to put it is that d'Arnaud is among the least of New York's problems. In 112 games last year, d'Arnaud profiled as an above-average defender who socked 16 home runs, more than all but seven National League backstops (many of whom played full seasons). The Mets also have some solid-if-unspectacular depth at the position in Kevin Plawecki, Tomas Nido and, now, Jose Lobaton. On a limited budget, their needs at other positions loom far more important.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

New York Mets, Jay Bruce, Adrian Gonzalez, Dominic Smith