Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Mets, coming off their first winning season since 2016, have the makings of a team that should contend again in 2020, though that won't be easy to do in the fiercely competitve NL East.
To that end, they need to add more between now and the end of the offseason. And finding legitimate bullpen help is chief among the Mets' needs.
Still, it's likely that much of the 26-man Opening Day roster for 2020 is already in place. Factoring in the players already on the roster and what could happen between now and when things get going at Citi Field on March 26, here is our way too early 26-man roster prediction...
Wilson Ramos, C
Pete Alonso, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Amed Rosario, SS
Jeff McNeil, 3B
J.D. Davis, LF
Brandon Nimmo, CF
Michael Conforto, RF
There's really not much to determine here.
Unless Yoenis Cespedes is healthy enough to not only play the outfield but play it regularly, it should be Davis in left field most days. And with a trade for Starling Marte looking unlikely, that means Nimmo should get the bulk of the time in center field.
McNeil, who played all over the diamond in 2019, appears to be locked in at third base barring a trade of Davis.
After adding Porcello and Michael Wacha, the Mets have six starting pitchers for five spots, which GM Brodie Van Wagenen said is a good problem to have.
Porcello will be starting if he's healthy and the Mets aren't going to use a six-man rotation. That means the above pitchers look like the Opening Day starting five, unless the Mets trade Matz or Stroman (which they should absolutely not do).
Yoenis Cespedes, OF
Jake Marisnick, OF
Luis Guillorme, INF
Sam Haggerty, INF/OF
Tomas Nido, C
In the above scenario, Dominic Smith and Jed Lowrie have been traded -- in the same deal. That means Cano is your backup first baseman and that it's time for Nido to also learn the position.
While Cespedes should have some trade value to an AL team in need of a DH now that his contract for 2020 has been amended, it's still far likelier than not that he'll be on the Mets to start the 2020 season. And if he's on the Mets, it's hard to see him anywhere but the bench -- at least early on.
Marisnick is a lock, and Guillorme is a solid backup infielder option who offers tremendous defensive potential and some pop at the plate.
Haggerty, who made his big league debut in 2019, can play second base, shortstop, third base, and all three outfield positions.
When it comes to the backup catcher, while the Mets want to upgrade, the free agents left on the market leave a lot to be desired.
The Mets have been in on Betances, then out. Then in, then back out. But with the money saved on Cespedes' deal and a big upgrade elsewhere not looking likely, Betances winding up on the Mets makes too much sense for it not to happen.
Wacha, who will be pushed out of the rotation if everyone else is healthy, lands in the 'pen, where he made five appearances in 2019 and where his stuff should tick up.
As far as the other six bullpen spots go, those pitchers are locks as long as they're healthy. And this unit -- as was the case last season -- could be the difference between the Mets sipping champagne in October or sitting at home.