🎶It’s the most wonderful time of the year. 🎶
It’s finally here. All the roster cuts have been made. All the inter squad and split squad games are done.
Baseball is finally here and all the games will be televised!
It’s been a pretty eventful spring to say the least. As we are less than 24 hours away from Noah Syndergaard taking the mound at Citi Field against the St. Louis Cardinals, we will try our best to wrap up what has happened and look forward to the regular season.
I guess first base is a good starting point. Dominic Smith underwhelmed at the end of 2017 when he was called up from Las Vegas. He did hit 9 homeruns in less than 50 games, but overall it’s safe to say he was a disappointment. This winter, reports leaked out that stated the Mets were unhappy with Smith’s weight and work ethic.
The Mets decided to acquire Adrian Gonzalez for the league minimum. Gonzalez is coming off a back injury and did not make the postseason roster for the Dodgers last fall. Somehow a lot of fans brought into a narrative that a man who went to Europe instead of staying with his team during the World Series would be a good “mentor.”
Personally, I was rooting like hell for Dominic Smith to take the first base job this spring. It seems like every year we have a new Michael Cuddyer on the roster, and I wish it would stop.
No such luck.
Dominic Smith suffered a right quad injury after one at bat and saw no other action in Grapefruit League games. Fans are clamoring for Jay Bruce to play first, and manager Mickey Callaway seems very likely to give Wilmer Flores plenty of time there. As it stands now though, our first baseman is Adrian Gonzalez.
For a brief moment in time it looked like Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler would finally pitch together in the same rotation. After our sole starting pitching acquisition Jason Vargas, suffered a fracture in his glove hand, the fifth rotation spot appeared to be there for Zack Wheeler to take. A rough ending to the spring all but ended the notion of our five studs pitching together though. Seth Lugo snatched the fifth and final rotation spot and Zack Wheeler is headed to Las Vegas.
Hey, I’m a romantic. Just the thought of these five pitchers finally together in the same rotation gets me insanely excited. I’m coming to terms with the reality that it most likely will never happen. Also, the Mets should be commended. Lugo performed well and he was rewarded.
On that note, goodbye Hansel Robles! Robles was sent down to Las Vegas to see if he could figure out what it takes to be an effective pitcher in the major leagues. I think I still blame him for teaching the quick pitch to Jeurys Familia. Anyways, he’s been awful and hopefully he can regain his form because he does have good stuff.
Another name we won’t be hearing for a while is Rafael Montero. Montero was diagnosed with a tear of his UCL in his right elbow and opted to undergo Tommy John surgery. What can you say? It got really hard to say anything positive about him, but that’s not how you wanted things to play out.
Let’s backtrack for a minute. I mentioned that the Mets were rewarding players for performing well this spring. I’d be remiss to not mention Philip Evans in that regard. He played all over the place, hit well and earned a spot on the opening day roster. Congrats Philip!
Along the same vein, Brandon Nimmo outplayed Juan Lagares all spring and was just named the opening day center fielder. In that same announcement, we learned Kevin Plawecki would be the opening day catcher. That’s no knock on Travis d’Arnaud who had a very good spring. Plawecki was just great. The catching duo of Plawecki and d’Arnaud may be one of the most encouraging storylines to come out of Port St. Lucie.
We all know what the storyline that brings Mets fans the most joy is though.
When the Mets announced that Michael Conforto was scheduled to return to game action around May 1st following his horrific shoulder injury, I gotta be honest. I was thinking it would be at least until the All-Star break before we’d see him.
Well, sometimes good things do happen for the Mets. We got word that he was ahead of schedule and he started taking batting practice. Then out of nowhere he was playing the outfield and hitting home runs. Is there a more beautiful sight than Michael Conforto swinging the bat? He is still going to start the year on the DL, but it’s hard to foresee him missing more than the first two or three series which is great news.
Jacob Rhame was a huge surprise and pitched his way onto the opening day roster. The Mets acquired Rhame in the deal that sent Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers. Very nice to see one of our trade deadline deals last year pay immediate dividends.
Other than that, the roster looks about how you’d expect it to. Luis Guillorme and Gavin Cecchini were very impressive. Guillorme especially. Something crazy would have had to happen for them to break camp with the big club though so they will be holding down the infield in Las Vegas. It’s great to know you have organizational depth. Guillorme is one of the smoothest fielders I’ve ever seen and we saw flashes of what made the Mets take Cecchini in the first round.
I believe that our season hinges on the effectiveness of our starting pitching. Well Syndergaard and deGrom have looked downright dominant. After a shaky start Matz has looked great. Coming off two major surgeries and two awful seasons Matt Harvey looks ready to bounce back.
Honestly, I’m excited. And I think it’s more than just the return of baseball. I believe this team can compete.
Cespedes had some bumps and bruises but seems to hit a home run every time he plays.
Amed Rosario really impressed this spring and I believe that we’ll love watching him play for years to come.
Here are the things that concern me…
I still don’t understand the Jay Bruce signing. Our two best players on the roster are corner outfielders and Brandon Nimmo looks poised to breakout. He has said he doesn’t want to play first base. With that being said…if he takes to the position and Nimmo continues to play well it really lengthens the lineup.
AJ Ramos scares the hell out of me. I have visions of him in a Marlins uniform walking two hitters every appearance. Just praying that doesn’t continue in a Mets jersey.
I absolutely hate the Adrian Gonzalez signing. Let’s pray Wilmer Flores steals the position and doesn’t kill us with his glove, or Dominic Smith resurfaces.
Other than that I like the bullpen. I like Todd Frazier. I gotta say…I really like our chances.
The Nationals are a great team but didn’t do anything to improve this off-season. The Phillies and Braves are still rebuilding (although I fear the Phillies might be ahead of schedule. 😳)
The Giants lost Bumgarner. The Dodgers lost Turner. The Brewers never got a starting pitcher. The Cardinals have no pitching. We can get a wildcard if we don’t win the East.
Well, we are here. Everyone is in first place, and the possibilities are endless.
Happy opening day everyone!