While there are several jobs up in the air, the Opening Day roster is starting to take shape for the Mets. There are 17 positions which seem set and another four which seem likely. And the remaining four are possibly already on the team, it is just a matter of which direction Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson choose to go.

The definites
Pelfrey, Dickey, Niese, Capuano, Rodriguez, Parnell, Buchholz, Carrasco, Thole, Paulino, Davis, Wright, Reyes, Hu, Bay, Beltran, Pagan

The likely
Gee, Acosta, Murphy, Evans

For lack of a better option, Dillon Gee seems to be the club’s fifth starter. There also remains the possibility he becomes a long man/swing guy if the Mets sign another starter before the start of Spring Training.

Manny Acosta had 42 strikeouts in 39.2 IP for the Mets last year and a 2.95 ERA. He is not yet eligible for arbitration and seems like a good, low-cost reliever. One thing working in his favor is his success last year versus LHB, who posted a .163/.217/.256 mark, albeit in just 46 PA.

Daniel Murphy might be the starting second baseman on Opening Day. Even if he does not win the job, his ability to play multiple positions (he played third base in the minors and left field and first base for the Mets) seems like an obvious asset, unless the Mets want him to go to the minors to concentrate on playing second on a daily basis.

Nick Evans should benefit from the shift in management, having, for whatever reason, seemingly fallen out of favor with Manuel/Minaya. Evans’ ability to play first base, along with both corner outfield spots, seems to give him a leg up. Also, being a righty bat with some sock helps Evans’ chances.

That leaves two bullpen spots, a second baseman and one other reserve position, likely an outfielder, up for grabs. It makes sense that the two Rule 5 guys – Pedro Beato and Brad Emaus – get a long look to fill a reliever spot and the second base job.

Next, the question is if the Mets hold onto Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo because of their contracts or if they are willing to eat part of all of their salaries in trades/releases. If the Mets do get rid of Perez, how important is having a lefty in the bullpen? Southpaw Mike O’Connor was unimpressive in two short stints with the Nationals, but had 70 Ks in 70.2 IP in Buffalo last year with a 2.67 ERA. Pat Misch is a lefty but has displayed little ability to be a LOOGY. But he does have the ability to pitch multiple innings as a reliever and should not be discounted.

If Emaus makes it, it seems unlikely that Castillo will also be on the team. Justin Turner probably needs Emaus to fall flat and another team to show interest in Castillo to have a shot, especially since he can be sent to the minors without risk.

That leaves the outfield. Ordinarily, Lucas Duda would be an asset as a power lefty bat off the bench, but he is likely better served to get regular ABs in Triple-A. Plus, he looked stretched as a left fielder and the Mets probably want this reserve to be a good defensive outfielder. Jason Pridie could fill the bill, although there is a chance the Mets bring in a veteran who is willing to sign on the cheap. Recently, MLB Trade Rumors indicated Scott Podsednik might be an option here.

My guess is that both Rule 5 guys make the roster and both salary guys are elsewhere. O’Connor gets the other relief spot and Pridie is the final guy for Opening Day. If this is indeed the Opening Day roster, their will be just six players returning from the 2010 Opening Day roster (Niese, Pelfrey, Rodriguez, Wright, Bay and Pagan). There were 11 returnees on the 2010 roster and 13 on the 2009 Opening Day one.

18 comments on “Sizing up the Mets’ 2011 Opening Day roster

  • MyMets

    Why is it almost every Mets blogger speaks in such a negative tone when analizing their team? When speaking on Dillon Gee their attitude is overly apparant when choosing statements as “for lack of better option” when with they way this young man has performed all through his minor league and major league career he could just as easily be spoken of as the promising young prospect he has prooved to be so far. If thats what constitutes a “Met Fan” then count me out. I Choose to Believe!

    • Ron Davis

      So somebody knows something we don’t where is Reyes in that list.

      • Ron Davis

        i messed up i did not see until now i expect Reyes to be first . so my bad didn’t we have another rule 5 in Brito if he does not make the club he must go back to his original team (Baltimore) i see Emaus name.

      • Ventura4Prez

        Under the definites.

  • Brian Joura

    Thanks for reading and commenting MyMets!

    I think if you type “Dillon Gee” into the search box here on the site and see all of the things I’ve written about him, you’ll find more positive things than just about any other blogger. I had him on my Top 10 prospects list heading into 2010, which I don’t think anyone else can claim.

    But he got knocked around in Triple-A and his success in the majors last year was luck more than anything else. If he pitches a full season in the majors like he pitched last year, the results will not be pretty.

    There’s plenty of things to be optimistic about with the 2011 Mets. However, Dillon Gee is not one of them.

  • Mike Koehler

    Ugh. Manny Acosta, really? Can’t we find some other piece off the scrap heap or middling Triple A pitcher to toss in the pen who won’t always give up the big hit?

    I don’t expect Gee to stay with the rotation. Sandy and Co. are actively searching for another starter and I’d imagine Capuano gets a chance so long as he’s moderately healthy.

  • Joe A.

    If I had to guess today, I would pick the exact same roster you did, with Pridie and O’Connor in the last two spots.

    Ulimately I think the Mets will bring in another starter, a LH reliever and 4th OF, so Gee, Pridie and either O’connor or Beato will be out.

    And technically Paulino won’t be on the opening day roster because he is suspended for the first 8 games. Right now I assume that spot would go to Nickeas, but the Mets will probably bring in another C or 2 for AAA and one of them will likely be better than Nickeas.

    • Brian Joura

      Good point about Paulino – I think he’s not eligible for the first eight games of the season.

  • PhlavioPhega

    Lineup: 8
    1. J. Reyes, SS (S)
    2. A. Pagan, CF (S)
    3. D. Wright, 3B (R)
    4. C. Beltran, RF (S)
    5. I. Davis 1B (L)
    6. J. Bay LF (R)
    7. D. Murphy 2B (L)
    8. J. Thole C (C)

    Rotation: 5
    1. M. Pelfrey (R)
    2. J. Niese (L)
    3. R.A. Dickey (R)
    4. Free Agent (C. Young/J. Francis/D. Bush) (R)
    5. D. Gee (R)

    Bullpen: 7
    CL. F. Rodriguez (R)
    SU. B. Parnell (R)
    SU. T. Buchholz (R)
    MR. O. Perez (P. Misch) (L)
    MR. D.J. Carrasco (R)
    MR. P. Beato (R)
    LR. C. Capuano (L)

    Bench: 5
    R. Paulino, C (R)
    B. Emaus, 2B/3B/1B (R)
    L. Duda, LF/1B/RF (L)
    J. Turner, 2B/SS/3B/OF (R)
    J. Pridie, OF (L) (Free Agent)

    My Issues:

    Chin-Lung Hu vs. Justin Turner: Turner hits better and that holds more weight with me. Sure if Jose Reyes is hurt we could talk about Ruben Tejada or Chin-Lung Hu but I’d hate to waste a spot on the bench with a complete non-hitter.

    Capuano, Gee, Misch and Perez will have shots for the 5th spot in the rotation until Santana comes back. I don’t expect any of them to impress us too much as starter material.

    Manny Acosta will not make the team unless the Mets give up on Beato (who they apparently have wanted for some time) or only want 1 lefty in the pen then Acosta will make the team. If Capuano is a starter we’ll have no lefties in the pen.

    Nick Evans vs. Lucas Duda: Evans plays better defense but Duda has more pop and a higher ceiling. If we are having Murphy and Emaus on the team and carrying an OF just to play defense then we can afford Duda’s poor glove. Evans being a righty might actually work against him.

    All things are subject to how people play in the Spring, but that’s how I see it.

  • Troublesome

    I agree with mostly every pick you made, I also think Acosta, Beato and O’Connor will fill out the bullpen. The only thing I disagree with is Hu being a definite.

  • ProfessorReese

    They dumped Carter because they didn’t want a lefty with pop who couldn’t field. Duda has put together ONE stellar campaign…letting him play every day will let them know if trading Beltran at the deadline is a viable option. Having him rot on the bench won’t accomplish anything.

  • Greentaxman

    Your projected list of just 6 returnees from last year’s opening day roster may be technically correct but it is somewhat misleading. It’s not as if the Mets have had a massive overhaul in their personnel. Beltran missed the first half of last season and Santana will miss a good chunk of this season due to injuries. Jose Reyes missed the first couple of weeks last year recuperating from his thyroid issues. Also, Thole, Davis, Parnell and Dickey were with the parent club for most of the season. The only projected “new” player in the starting lineup is Daniel Murphy who would have probably been the starting first baseman if he hadn’t sustained that Spring Training injury.

    • Brian Joura

      What you say is true, but it works both ways. If Reyes and Beltran played on Opening Day in 2010, there would have been 13 returnees last year, not 11. Your larger point about Opening Day roster not being indicative of the roster for the majority of the season is also true. However, it is much easier to find historical records for Opening Day than it is to see who was on the roster on, say, August 15th, 2009.

  • Greentaxman

    I hope I didn’t come across as too nitpicky. I enjoyed your post on the projected roster and your analysis. It’s fun to compare rosters from year to year. My only point was that the amount of turnover from 2010 to 2011 is not significant and the comparison of the 2010 starting lineup to a projected 2011 lineup is not indicative of the amount of changes that have been made. Of course the loss of Santana is significant and who knows what Spring Training will bring: injuries?, breakouts?, new acquisitions?. Will the plethora of injury prone prospects; Havens, F. Martinez, Lutz be able to put together healthy seasons? Will the old Jason Bay come back? Will there be another RA Dickey story this year? As I look out here in upstate New York my driveway has just be sealed in by the town snowplow. Hopefully I will be able to dig out in time for Spring Training. Hope Springs Eternal for this Met fan since 1963.

    • Brian Joura

      No, not at all. I’m very glad that you read and commented and I hope you will visit us here again and share more of your insights.

  • Henry Jasen

    I would like to suggest another possible tweak to the alignment. Castillo can’t be moved. I believe that Murphy has an option left. Emaus must be kept on the 25 man roster to stay Mets property. Suppose that Castillo shows that he has something left in the tank in ST and Emaus looks competent in ST. Then Castillo starts at second and Emaus is the super sub who can play any infield spot or the outfield corners. This gives Murphy some more practice at second in AAA, gives the Mets something for their money from Castillo and a possibly better fielding sub than Murphy.

  • Bill Myatt

    What is your opinion as to whether Jason Isringhauson will make to opening day roster????

    • Brian Joura

      Hi Bill – thanks for reading and commenting.

      Obviously, this piece was written before Izzy signed with the Mets. Right now, I would say that Izzy makes the staff if he is healthy.

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