MIAMI, Fla. -- Like all clubs, the Mets entered Spring Training assuming injuries would affect them. They braced for unforeseen circumstances. And while such misfortunes indeed occurred over the course of seven weeks, the Mets emerged with what they feel is a strong, well-rounded roster capable of rising back to the top of the NL East.
The club made its 26-man roster official on Thursday, finalizing several developments that became clear in the final days of Spring Training.
Catchers (2): Omar Narváez, Tomás Nido
The addition of Narváez allows the Mets to develop Francisco Álvarez at their own pace, which means starting their top prospect back at Triple-A Syracuse. Álvarez came to Major League camp with an opportunity to prove his case, but a slow start in Grapefruit League play essentially eliminated any slim chance he had to make the team. For now, the plan is to have Narváez and Nido split time behind the plate until Álvarez is ready to stick in the Majors for good.
First basemen (1): Pete Alonso
Not only has Alonso been one of baseball’s foremost sluggers over his first four years in the league, he’s also been one of its sturdiest players, appearing in 97% of the Mets’ games. The team will look for more of the same as Alonso enters his age-28 season. If Alonso needs a day off, Daniel Vogelbach and Mark Canha can play first in a pinch. Prospect Mark Vientos also received reps there this spring and could be an option later in the season.
Second basemen (1): Jeff McNeil
As usual, the Mets expect McNeil to receive the bulk of his work at second base, but that could change if a need arises in the outfield. Luis Guillorme and Eduardo Escobar are both capable of playing second base as well, and the Mets have used McNeil liberally at both corner outfield spots in the past.
Shortstop (2): Francisco Lindor, Luis Guillorme
Is there a better starter-backup combo than Lindor and Guillorme? The former rebounded from his poor 2021 to become a critical part of the Mets’ lineup. The latter is one of the game’s top bench players, a defensive wizard at three infield positions who can also put the ball in play at will.
Third baseman (1): Eduardo Escobar
When Escobar left camp to play for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, it opened additional playing time for second-ranked Mets prospect Brett Baty, who debuted last season but missed September and October recovering from right thumb surgery. Baty did his best to push Escobar, batting .325 with improved defense in Grapefruit League play, but the Mets ultimately opted to carry Escobar over him. The incumbent is coming off a white-hot September and is still owed $10 million, both of which played a factor in this decision.
Outfielders (5): Mark Canha, Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte, Tommy Pham, Tim Locastro
Canha, Nimmo and Marte will start, and Pham figures to fill in at all three spots while also receiving DH reps. Key to everything will be the health of Nimmo and Marte, two dynamic all-around players who haven’t always been able to stay on the field. Both began Spring Training on slower spring progressions than their teammates but ended camp completely healthy. The most significant roster surprise was Locastro, who made the team over Darin Ruf and will serve as a late-game pinch-runner and defensive replacement.
Designated hitters (1): Daniel Vogelbach
Rather than import a full-time DH through free agency, the Mets entered camp expecting to run back the Vogelbach-Ruf combination that fared well for them in August but became less potent down the stretch. Ruf in particular struggled in September, eventually losing playing time to Álvarez, then was slowed by a sore right wrist early in spring. Just before leaving Port St. Lucie, the Mets designated him for assignment, clearing a path for Locastro to make the team. Pham figures to absorb most of the right-handed DH reps in Ruf’s absence.
Starting pitchers (5): Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, Carlos Carrasco, David Peterson
A major injury to José Quintana opened a rotation spot for Peterson, who won it thanks to a near-flawless spring. Verlander technically made the Opening Day roster, but an MRI taken that morning revealed a teres major strain on his right side, forcing the Mets to replace him with Tylor Megill. Peterson and Megill will remain the top rotation depth options for the Mets this season, followed by some combination of Dylan Bundy, Elieser Hernández and Joey Lucchesi. While Verlander hopes for a brief absence, Quintana is not due back until July at the earliest.
Relief pitchers (8): Adam Ottavino, David Robertson, Brooks Raley, Drew Smith, Stephen Nogosek, John Curtiss, Tommy Hunter, Dennis Santana
The bullpen situation changed dramatically midway through camp, when Edwin Díaz suffered what was likely a season-ending tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee. Robertson figures to soak up the bulk of save chances in Díaz’s absence, with Ottavino and Raley also appearing regularly in the ninth. The Mets also endured injuries to Bryce Montes de Oca and Sam Coonrod, who had been strong contenders to make the club.
Smith and Hunter were roster locks, while Nogosek and Santana made the team in part because they were out of Minor League options. Curtiss, meanwhile, was a Spring Training star, striking out 11 batters over 6 2/3 innings with a 2.70 ERA.