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Mets solidify 25-man roster for Opening Day

Lugo gets final rotation spot in place of injured Vargas
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- By the time the Mets broke camp this week, no surprises lingered regarding their roster. The news that Michael Conforto and Jason Vargas would begin the year on the disabled list, and Zack Wheeler in the Minors, essentially solidified the Mets' 25-man unit.

That's not to say the roster the Mets brought north was entirely expected. A few surprises snuck their way into the group that will toe the foul line on Opening Day:

NEW YORK -- By the time the Mets broke camp this week, no surprises lingered regarding their roster. The news that Michael Conforto and Jason Vargas would begin the year on the disabled list, and Zack Wheeler in the Minors, essentially solidified the Mets' 25-man unit.

That's not to say the roster the Mets brought north was entirely expected. A few surprises snuck their way into the group that will toe the foul line on Opening Day:

Catcher (2): Travis d'Arnaud, Kevin Plawecki

This wound up as expected, though Phillip Evans -- more on him later -- is also capable of playing catcher in a pinch. While not a traditional platoon (both d'Arnaud and Plawecki are right-handed hitters), this situation could play out like one, with Plawecki receiving the bulk of chances against right-handed pitchers. Ultimately, whichever catcher performs best will play the most.

First base (2): Adrian Gonzalez, Wilmer Flores

Again, no surprises here. Dominic Smith was a long-shot to make the team entering camp, and a quad strain knocked him out for nearly the entirety of it. Expect Gonzalez to start around four games per week, with Flores picking up the slack. The Mets want to get Flores' bat in the lineup as often as possible, mostly at first and second base.

Video: NYM@WSH: Gonzalez on his goal for the 2018 season

Second base (1): Asdrubal Cabrera

The Mets' uncontested second baseman at the beginning of spring, Cabrera did nothing to harm his status. Now 32 years old, Cabrera has averaged 142 games per season the last seven years. If he falls off that pace, Flores and Jose Reyes will pick up the slack.

• Mets' OD lineup: Nimmo leading off; Thor 8th

Shortstop (2): Amed Rosario, Reyes

Rosario hit for both average and power during Grapefruit League play, but he didn't show quite as much patience as the Mets would have liked. There's still plenty of time for Rosario, age 22, to do so, leaning on tips along the way from his friend and mentor, Reyes.

Video: MIA@NYM: Rosario belts an RBI triple to right-center

Third base (2): Todd Frazier, Evans

Never a realistic threat to break camp with the Mets, David Wright won't even begin baseball activities until at least mid-May. The Mets anticipated that, importing a third baseman in Frazier who has averaged 154 games the past five seasons. The surprise here is Evans, who earned his way onto the roster by proving capable at second and third base, both corner-outfield spots and catcher. The Mets will use him everywhere, at least until Conforto's return likely costs him his roster spot.

Outfield (4): Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Nimmo, Jay Bruce, Juan Lagares

Despite a frantic charge late in camp, Conforto couldn't quite finish rehabbing from shoulder surgery in time for Opening Day. That means Nimmo, who hit .306 with a .984 OPS this spring, will start in center field, winning the temporary job over Lagares. Cespedes and Bruce are stalwarts at the corners, for as long as they are healthy.

Video: WSH@NYM: Nimmo smacks an RBI double to left field

Starters (5): Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Matt Harvey, Seth Lugo

A fractured bone in Vargas' right hand knocked him out for at least the first week of the season, opening the door for Lugo to make the rotation. Although the job was earmarked for Wheeler, his poor spring performance prompted the Mets to send him to the Minors instead.

Video: Lugo discusses being added to the Mets' rotation

Bullpen (7): Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, Jerry Blevins, Anthony Swarzak, Paul Sewald, Robert Gsellman, Jacob Rhame

A difficult decision turned into an easy one for the Mets when Rafael Montero tore his right ulnar collateral ligament, necessitating Tommy John surgery. Because they wanted to carry Evans as an extra bench player, the Mets also chose to open with a seven-man bullpen instead of eight. With Lugo in the rotation, the final job came down to Rhame and Hansel Robles, who posted a 9.26 ERA this spring. It wasn't much of a fight.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets