Things have surely changed for the Mets in the past two weeks.
The Mets’ World Series hopes were hit last week when closer Edwin Diaz underwent knee surgery following an injury in the World Baseball Classic and outfielder Brandon Nimmo suffered knee and ankle sprains. rights as a result of an awkward slide to second base. The bullpen has been affected by injuries to lefty Brooks Raley and righties Bryce Montes de Oca and Sam Coonrod.
The performances of Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso on the WBC further fuel fan concerns. The duo are a combined 2-for-18 for Team USA. Despite the exciting dramatization of the Americans’ quarterfinal victory over Venezuela on Saturday night, some fans are still calling for the event to end. or at least be moved to another time of the year so that it doesn’t affect the major league season.
But the WBC’s concerns are futile at best for now. The regular season is less than two weeks away, and as of Sunday, we know Diaz will likely be out for the entire year and Nimmo could miss Opening Day. The only silver lining is that the Mets could get some salary relief with Diaz, as MLB’s WBC insurance will cover his contract for 2023. The Mets aren’t exactly crippled by financial concerns under owner Steve Cohen, but if the team finds out that the offense isn’t offensive enough or the pitching staff isn’t as deep as it looked on paper, general manager Billy Eppler will have the leeway to make moves and accept salary.
But for now, the Mets have to work with what they have. Here’s our second crack in a projected 26-man roster.
Receiver: Omar Narváez, Tomás Nido
There are no changes here. The Mets’ receiving team was decided before spring training began. A trusted local backup, Nido is having a strong spring at the plate, hitting .344 with a 1.052 OPS and three home runs. It’s a good sign for the regular season.
Inside: Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Eduardo Escobar, Francisco Lindor, Luis Guillorme
There are no changes in this group either. If you’re looking for reason for optimism, look no further than Lindor’s WBC performance: The shortstop is 9-for-20 (.450) with a triple, five RBIs and six runs scored. Defensive genius Luis Guillorme snapped out of his spring training slump this weekend with a big game against the Miami Marlins and is expected to outplay the team’s Danny Mendick, who is healthy again after tearing his ACL last week. last season.
Outfield: Mark Canha, Starling Marte, Tommy Pham, Tim Locastro
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If Nimmo starts the season on the disabled list, it would open up a spot for former Yankees outfielder and Syracuse native Tim Locastro. Baserunning is Locastro’s specialty and he can impact the game and create runs with his speed. He has stolen six bags this spring and has also been impressive at the plate. Locastro is hitting .342 with a 1.049 OPS and leads the team in doubles (five) and runs scored (13).
Designated hitter: Daniel Vogelbach, Darin Ruf
Like last season, Vogelbach will be the designated hitter against right-handed pitching and Ruf against left-handed pitching. Ruf was late starting this spring because of a wrist injury, but hopes he’s adjusted well enough after last season’s trade to return to his former form.
Rotation: RHP Max Scherzer, RHP Justin Verlander, RHP Kodai Senga, RHP Carlos Carrasco, RHP David Peterson, RHP Tylor Megill
The Mets don’t want to use a six-man rotation all season, but would like to do so during specific parts of the year to allow their starters more rest. Using an additional pitcher for 162 games would require pitchers to adjust to a new schedule, forcing them to adjust to new routines. But using an extra man during busy stretches would give some arms a day or two off sometimes. They can keep lefty Joey Lucchesi stretched out at Triple-A so they can call him up when necessary, since they won’t be able to use lefty Jose Quintana (bone graft surgery) until sometime during the summer.
Bullpen: RHP Drew Smith, RHP Adam Ottavino, RHP David Robertson, RHP Brooks Raley, RHP Stephen Nogosek, RHP Tommy Hunter, RHP John Curtiss
Raley has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, but is expected to be ready for the regular season. Coonrod (lateral strain) and Montes de Oca (forearm strain) looked like locks to make the team until they suffered injuries. But veteran Tommy Hunter jumped into the mix with six scoreless innings in five appearances and striking out seven. Curtiss has been ready for a few months now, eager to pitch again after missing all of 2022 and most of 2021 with Tommy John surgery.