If a well-respected baseball man from another country – who had no idea who any of the players were nor what their status was – was put in charge of the Mets and given 100% freedom to pick and choose who started, who played where and what role they had on the team, what would the Mets look like? Let’s break them down into groups, focusing on the hitters:
No doubt starters – Alonso, McNeil, Rosario, Nimmo, Conforto
Likely starters – Ramos, Davis
It seems next to impossible to believe that Robinson Cano would be viewed as a likely starter. Now, maybe our veteran baseball guy (let’s call him VBG) would decide that Davis shouldn’t be in the infield and that Cano was a better choice than Luis Guillorme to start at 2B. But in that case Cano would be a starter by default, the best of the bad choices and certainly not a guy you wanted to write in the lineup. It would also be curious to see how VBG would handle Yoenis Cespedes. Would he view him as someone who should log a majority of starts, even playing at less than 100%? It’s hard for us to be objective about Cespedes because we’ve seen firsthand what he can do when playing. But VBG wouldn’t have that handicap. Maybe he’d prefer Dominic Smith‘s bat. Or Jake Marisnick‘s glove.
On the pitching side, the biggest question with the starters would be if VBG saw Seth Lugo as a starter or not. If no, it’s pretty obvious who the five guys should be. If VBG thinks Lugo should start, then it would be at least a little curious if he would prefer Rick Porcello or Michael Wacha to start.
But the biggest question would be how the bullpen roles will shake out. With no allegiance to Edwin Diaz do you see any scenario where VBG would install Diaz as the team’s closer on Opening Day? It seems almost unfathomable to me. It seems more likely that Lugo or Dellin Betances would get that spot. Diaz would be battling with Jeurys Familia for 7th inning guy, rather than top dog in the pen. Now, it’s not hard to imagine things breaking a certain way once games started where Diaz would ascend to the closer’s role. That kind of thing happens all of the time in MLB. But to start the season with the job?