It has been three weeks since pitchers and catchers were required to report to St. Lucie. The regular season is roughly three weeks away. So, we're smack in the middle of the Spring Training grind, which continues to feel unnecessarily too long, especially considering how peaceful life is at First Data Field.
It's moments like these when I wish Opening Day was next week.
That said, though Noah Syndergaard appears to be in mid-season form, the rest of the pitching staff is still in need of physically ramping themselves up to what's needed in early-April. Similarly, while most of the position players are set, first base and center field (and, if you ask me, second base) is still worth debating when trying to fill out the Opening Day lineup...
Adrian Gonzalez has looked terrific in the field, but has also struck out six times compared to just four hits in 21 plate appearances. Three of his hits have been soft singles, with the other a well-struck double. Unfortunately, Dominic Smith has not been able to get in to a Grapefruit League game since Feb. 24 due to a quad injury.
At this point, the best option at first base will likely end up being a platoon with Gonzalez against righties and Wilmer Flores against lefties to start the regular season.
This duo should be able to put up enough collective offensive to survive April and May. Then, once Smith is healthy and in gear at Triple-A, the front office can revisit what is best for the overall roster and what the infield should look like through the remainder of the season.
In terms of second base, if Flores is going to be used two-to-three times each week at first base, the Mets may find themselves needing Asdrubal Cabrera acting more as a utility infielder than everyday second baseman. In that scenario, I would love to see Luis Guillorme get a shot to start at second. His glove has never been a concern.
The thing is, with the way Guillorme has been swinging this entire spring, his bat is becoming less of a concern as well. The kid isn't going to win a Silver Slugger, but he's showing himself capable of putting the ball in play, ripping the occasional surprise extra base hit, and doing just enough to keep the line moving, while always playing Gold Glove defense.
Here are some things worth mentioning that I've overheard from insiders this week...
Manager Mickey Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland are in full control of what's happening with the pitchers, who have developed a solid respect for the two new coaches, especially as it pertains to suggestions and ideas and managing their body and mechanics. This is great news...
In particular, Harvey has developed a quality bond with Callaway, who is getting him to fully embrace thinking like a pitcher in his 30s not his 20s.
There's a strong chance Jacob deGrom is able to start during the first week of the season, but it's not likely to be Opening Day, which will almost certainly instead go to Syndergaard.
Steven Matz is fine physically. However, "He just needs to get the season started so he gets through a few outings with no issues, no aches, no pains, just go do his thing and feel good about what's capable of doing on a mound," a person close to Matz told me. "He's missing swagger and confidence because it's been so long since he's had it."
Thankfully, Hansel Robles has an option and can be sent to Triple-A without passing through waivers. I have no idea what his future is on the Mets, but he is still all over the place with his location.
The team is very happy to see Jeurys Familia in terrific shape and genuinely open to pitching in whatever role Callaway wants him to pitch. He's not at all concerned with save totals, I'm told.
Callaway may push to have his starting pitchers throw in more simulated games ... 1) So they can track and manage the pitcher's outing in a controlled setting, but also 2) To reduce facing the Cardinals, Marlins, and Nationals in late-March, since the Mets are playing all of them in early-April.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!