by Jim Maggiore
Now that we’re in the final week of spring training, a lot of roster decisions have to be made by all the major league organizations as teams pare down to the 25 men to take north for the start of the season. The Mets’ decisions on the last two spots on the roster will go right down to the final moment, as the organization decides whether to go to Citi Field with 13 or 12 pitchers on its pitching staff. The pitching staff decision will dictate if the Mets put 4 or 5 bench players on its opening day roster. The pitchers battling for the 12th and 13th spot on the staff have, for the most part, all pitched well, so the decision will not be an easy one and whether the pitcher has options remaining will definitely play a role in the decision-making process. For example, Rafael Montero has had a disappointing spring, but because he doesn’t have any options left, if he does not make the opening-day roster, the Mets will have to expose him to waivers, where he would be claimed by another team. For this reason the odds are Montero will at least start the season with the Mets, with every one of his performances becoming crucial ones regarding his future with the Mets.
Here’s a pass at the opening-day rosters for the top three teams of the Mets. Of course, decisions made at each level affect the next level in the system. I have Tebow starting the year in Binghamton, despite his poor spring training season. This has as much to do with the dearth of outfield prospects at the Double-A level as it has to do with Tebow’s age—Tebow turns 31 this year and if he has any shot to play in the big leagues he needs Double-A playing time this season. I do, however, have Wilmer Becerra and John Mora listed ahead of him on the depth chart. I use “rotational players” instead of “bench” for the minor league teams because I do see the Mets giving their bench/rotational players plenty of action during the season.
Also, I have many of the relievers that finished the year at Binghamton returning to start the season at Rumbletown as well; this is due to the abundance of hard throwers in the system that the Mets attained during last year’s purge of the major league roster.
Bold=”on the bubble”—Lugo may start season on ML roster; Tebow with St. Lucie; Robles/Montero/Gsellman could be in Vegas at the start of the season.
Flushing: (P) Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jason Vargas, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia, A.J. Ramos, Anthony Swarzak, Jerry Blevins, Paul Sewald, Robert Gsellman, Rafael Montero; (Catcher) Travis d’Arnaud, Kevin Plawecki; (1B) Andres Gonzalez, (2B) Asdrubal Cabrera, (3B) Todd Frazier, (SS) Amed Rosario, (LF) Yoenis Cespedes, (CF) Juan Lagares, (RF) Jay Bruce; (Bench) Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores, Brandon Nimmo. [Robles takes roster spot of Vargas, who starts season on DL; Conforto replaces Montero or Gsellman in mid-April.]
Las Vegas (AAA): (P) Seth Lugo, Chris Flexen, Corey Oswalt, A.J. Griffin, Marcos Molina, Hansel Robles, Matt Purke, Jamie Callahan, Jacob Rhame, P.J. Conlon, Kevin McGowan, David Roseboom, Kyle Regnault, (catcher) Jose Lobaton, Tomas Nido; (1b) Dominic Smith, (2B) Gavin Cecchini, (3B) David Thompson, (SS) Luis Guillorme, (LF) Zach Borenstein, (CF) Matt den Dekker, (RF) Kevin Kaczmarski; (Rotational Players) Kevin Taylor, Ty Kelly, Jayce Boyd, Phil Evans, LJ Mazzilli.
Binghamton (AA): Rickey Knapp, Andrew Church, Nabil Crismatt, Mickey Jannis, Johnny Magliozzi, Adonis Uceta, Gerson Bautista, Drew Smith, Tylor Bashlor, Corey Taylor; Alex Palsha; (catcher) Pat Mazeika; Colton Plaia, (1B) Peter Alonso, (2B) Jeff McNeil, (3B) Jhoan Urena, (SS) J.C. Rodriguez, (LF) John Mora, (CF) Champ Stuart, (RF) Wilmer Becerra; (Rotational Players) Pat Biondi, Tim Tebow, JJ Franco, Matt Oberste (DH)