Some people still expect the Mets to make a trade to acquire a guy for the Opening Day roster. While it certainly could happen, if you put a gun to my head and asked me my thoughts – my answer would be “no.” So, if this is it for the offseason, what would the roster look like when the Mets leave Spring Training and head north? In a bit of a surprise, there’s actually very little debate how makes the 26-man roster, assuming everyone is healthy and ready to go.
SP – Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Steven Matz, Rick Porcello
RP – Seth Lugo, Edwin Diaz, Dellin Betances, Justin Wilson, Jeurys Familia, Brad Brach, Robert Gsellman, Michael Wacha
C – Wilson Ramos, Tomas Nido
INF – Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Jed Lowrie
OF – Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis, Jake Marisnick
The big question is what happens if/when Cespedes isn’t ready to go. But it almost seems like there’s an instant answer there, too. With Smith’s ability to play OF in a pinch, the Mets add Luis Guilorme to go with a real backup SS.
Theoretically, there’s a competition for the fourth/fifth starter slots, with Wacha in the running along with Matz and Porcello. But it’s hard to imagine the Mets not carrying a lefty in the rotation and the guaranteed salary for Porcello means it’s hard to think of him opening in the pen. Perhaps crazier things have happened but if someone offered you a bet saying they expect Wacha to win a spot in the rotation during Graprefruit League play, even if the others are healthy, you should probably take it.
The actual biggest question if the hierarchy in the pen.
Diaz was acquired last offseason to be the shut-down closer. But he failed miserably in that regard. Does he get the first crack in 2020 or does that go to Lugo, who had such a good season in 2019, eventually taking over for Diaz. It might be a nice reward for him, given that he still wants to be a starter and they signed two guys to ensure that didn’t happen. Does the “loser” for the closer’s job become the eighth inning man? Or does Betances automatically assume that role?
And what do you do with Familia? Do you give him the lowest of low-leverage appearances and hope to ease him back into a more prominent role? Or is the sixth inning guy enough of a low-pressure spot for him? And how do you handle Wacha, who’s been primarily a starter in his career? Do you just use him for multi-inning appearances whenever the need arises or do you give him dedicated days to pitch so he can plan accordingly?
And how about that lineup?
It’s easy to break up the lefties. Perhaps the biggest worry with this configuration is the lack of speed with Ramos and Cano going back-to-back. You could make an argument for flipping Ramos and Rosario but it seems like Ramos is the better bet in the RBI spot. Rosario will just have to be alert if those guys are on base ahead of him. They’ll turn doubles into singles for him.
That lineup should score runs. Those starters should be able to give innings. Will the health hold up? Will some of the bullpen guys bounce back near to 2018 levels? How bad will the defense be? If any of those last three questions are answered in a good way, the 2020 season should be a fun one.