Mets’ Top Five Questions As Opening Day Looms

Opening Day is three weeks from today and there’s more than a foot of snow outside my door. The Mets lost today and now are 5-9 this spring. Today the Nationals lit up Jeurys Familia for five runs.

Results and stats don’t matter in spring training. It’s about getting ready for the season and right now Mickey Callaway’s team isn’t ready. Far from it.

Callaway and GM Sandy Alderson have a boatload of questions that must be addressed before the Cardinals get to town.

The following are the top five:

  1. What is the rotation?

A: There are four givens – Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Jason Vargas – with Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo competing for the fifth spot.

  1. What is the make-up of the front end of the bullpen?

A: Familia, AJ Ramos, Anthony Swarzak and Jerry Blevins are the givens at the back end.  If Gsellman and Lugo don’t start, one of them could end up in the pen. So might Rafael Montero, who is out of options. Jamie Callahan, Paul Sewald, Jacob Rhame and Hansel Robles will compete for the final spot or two.

  1. Who is the leadoff hitter?

A: Brandon Nimmo is the best bet because of his on-base percentage. But, will the Mets commit to him in center field until Michael Conforto returns or will they go with a platoon of Nimmo and Juan Lagares until then? Amed Rosario has the speed, but a poor on-base percentage. It could end up being Asdrubal Cabrera, who has a passable on-base percentage and can add some pop.

  1. Is there a healthy first baseman?

A: Adrian Gonzalez has a bad back and Dominic Smith has a bum leg. Other than me, nobody ever mentions Wilmer Flores, who is destined never to get a fair shake with the Mets.

  1. How healthy is Yoenis Cespedes?

A: He played only 81 games last year with a quad injury and is having a slow spring. If the Mets are to be competitive, they need a big year from Cespedes.


6 thoughts on “Mets’ Top Five Questions As Opening Day Looms

  1. Lack of depth and horrid bullpen will do them in this year. When the injuries come, there are only the usual 4A guys to fill in.

  2. The fifth starter looks to be Zach surprisingly enough

    The pen won’t have Robles or Montero

    I will be ok with Nimmo and what’s with rushing mike?

    If our designated 1b are hurt you always have Wilmer or Cabrera

  3. Nothing wrong with all the arms poised for the starting rotation. Syndergaard looks solid; DeGrom coming around; Harvey looks improved; Vargas is the ultimate southpaw soft tosser with a flair, which plays well in the midst of all those hard throwers; Virtually every organization would love to have Wheeler, Matz, Lugo, Gsellman and Montero vying for the last two or three slots. Here, they are vying for one starter and two bullpen spots. Matz is the worry.

    The pen can end up being the breaker for this bunch, but Famila, Ramos, Swarzak, Blevins, Sewald, Gsellman/Lugo/Wheeler, and Matz. The Vegas pen is fortified by lots of interesting arms brought to us by deadline deals.

    There is no lack of depth among the everyday players. The Mets are loaded with young and promising infielders from Rosario to Guillorme to Evans to Cecchini. Frankly, why not go with a platoon of Guillorme and Evans at 2B and look to package Cabrera with Robles and Montero with Cecchini for some prospects? For some corner depth, the Mets can move Bruce to 1B if Gonzalez and Smith have their issues. If Flores can dominate southpaws as he has in the past, perhaps he can be moved in mid-season with Harvey for some pieces and prospects. TJ and/or Evans can ably fill the void.

    The Mets are deep in MLB caliber outfielders, but very weak in the system with only a bunch of lefty hitters ready to man the last campaign in Vegas. Give Nimmo 4-6 weeks of strict platooning with Lagares and see what we’ve got. Seems like quite a few teams were interested in Brandon for some reason—likely his uncanny ability to get on base and his extremely athletic approach to the game.

    In addition to an effective bullpen, the real key to the season may well turn out to be behind the dish. It’s time for d’Arnaud and Plawecki to bust out and be a solid force both offensively and defensively.

    Can the Amazins win with what they have? Sure. If they stay healthy and the Nats don’t, the Mets can even run away with the division. But right now, they look much deeper this March than in any previous March in this decade. Far better this March than in March 2015. Remember, the Mets really took off in August and September after some terrific deals in late July. Positivity is a good thing!

  4. It’s been a bit of a strange spring training so far for this team. While we’ve witnessed some inspiring performances from guys like Nimmo, Wheeler, Thor, Cechinni and others, it just seems like our first year manager has a lot of work to get done before opening day. How healthy and productive will guys like Smith, Gonzales, Rosario, Matz, Cespedes, Conforto, Harvey and others be?
    How good can this rotation actually be even with the surplus of arms?
    It’s still early but loads of questions needing answers before the 2018 campaign gets under way.