Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Mets are likely about to be close to full-strength, with Brandon Nimmo and Robinson Cano both in the middle of rehab assignments with Triple-A Syracuse and nearing returns to the big league roster.
And with the return of two everyday players will come two 25-man roster moves.
Here's how things could shake out and who the odd-men-out could be...
A reliever will almost certainly be dropped
The Mets are currently carrying 13 pitchers and 12 position players, which is something they haven't shied away from doing this season. But with two regular position players coming back, it almost has to come at the expense of one of the relievers.
Tim Peterson was recently called up and is the mop-up man right now, with Wilmer Font serving in a long-relief role (he pitched well on Tuesday against the Yankees) and able to fill in as an emergency starter. It would make sense for the Mets to drop Peterson when the first of Nimmo or Cano returns.
New York will have to make another bullpen move when Justin Wilson -- also rehabbing with Triple-A -- comes back.
Dominic Smith's roster spot could be in danger
As much as this would suck, it can be argued that one of the most logical moves when both Nimmo and Cano return is to send Smith back to Triple-A Syracuse.
With Nimmo back in the fold, the Mets will have their regular outfield of Jeff McNeil, Nimmo, and Michael Conforto from left to right. And with Cano back, it means the infield will be even more clogged -- with hot-hitting Todd Frazier at third base, Amed Rosario at shortstop, Cano at second base, and Pete Alonso at first base. There's also the presence of J.D. Davis, who will be fighting for playing time at third base and in left field.
That means Smith would be primarily in a pinch-hit role, while getting starts at first base every 10 days or so and a start here and there in the outfield.
If not Smith, the other logical options are Carlos Gomez or Adeiny Hechavarria
Aside from some huge homers, Gomez has struggled for the most part -- hitting .227/.292/.409. And while subtracting him from the roster would leave the Mets with only one true backup outfielder (Juan Lagares), they would also have Smith as a left field fill-in.
As far as Hechavarria, he has hit a bit better than Gomez while offering even more pop (.250/.278/.461). Removing Hechavarria would make Todd Frazier the Mets' only backup shortstop. Not ideal.
What should happen?
Dropping Hechavarria is too much of a risk at this point, which means this will likely come down to Smith or Gomez.
Aside from hitting an absolutely blistering .354/.446/.582, Smith has been one of the Mets' most energetic and positive presences on the bench and in the clubhouse. And while he wouldn't be getting regular playing time, having him as a lefty bat off the bench and true backup first baseman (Frazier can also play there, but not at the level of Smith) still provides value.
Along with Smith, Gomez has brought an infectious personality and positivity to the Mets. But once the Mets' outfield regulars are all back, Gomez -- with Lagares also on the roster -- is a bit of a redundancy. And that makes him the more logical choice to go than Smith.