A Way-Too-Early Look at the Opening Day 25-Man Roster


Hansel Robles, spring training 2015. Robles impressed in camp and became a valuable addition to the Mets bullpen.
Photo by Stephen Guilbert

I hate the middle of January. This is the worst time of the year to be a baseball fan. We are still over a month away from pitchers and catchers and two and a half months from Opening Day. This is the time of the year we all start to think about the best case scenarios and "what ifs" for our favorite team. I find myself doing the same. With that in mind, let's take a look at what a reasonable 25-man Opening Day roster could look like if the season were to start today.

Catcher- Catcher is easy. Travis d'Arnaud starts, Kevin Plawecki backs up. The Mets will likely sign a 3rd-stringer sometime in the following months who will get reps in spring training but ultimately the Mets have a solid catching duo in d'Arnaud and Plawecki who should get the only two catching roster spots.

Infield- Lucas Duda is a man alone at first at the moment. While some think Michael Conforto should take reps at 1st, I think this is a terrible idea. First, Conforto looks like a good outfielder and should not get out of his rhythm there. Second, Conforto is also a left-handed batter. I would prefer my backup for Duda to be right-handed, making me wonder if the organization has any thought of Wilmer Flores taking reps there. Second base will be occupied by Neil Walker, shortstop by Asdrubal Cabrera and third base by David Wright with Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada backing them up for six total infielders on the roster.

Outfield- As it stands on January 14th, Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson occupy the corners and a platoon of Alejandro de Aza and Juan Lagares roam center. The only other outfielders on the 40-man roster are Brandon Nimmo (who will not make the opening day roster unless a number of injuries inflict the team) and Darrell Ceciliani. Ceciliani had a nice debut and showed his value defensively in 2015 but this seems like one area the Mets will still add to before spring training. My money is on Steve Pearce, a RHH who can also play some first base to give Lucas Duda a day off. Since I cannot predict a signing, let's just say that Ceciliani gets the 5th outfielder spot.

Rotation- Easy. deGrom, Harvey, Syndergaard, Matz, Colon.

Bullpen- Here is where it gets fun. This is my best guess right now, though signings, spring training and injuries will undoubtedly change this up (it always does): Familia, Reed, Robles, Gilmartin, Goeddel, Blevins, Verrett. Rafael Montero will start in Las Vegas as a starting pitcher. Jenrry Mejia and Josh Edgin will be back later in the year. Bartolo Colon will move to the bullpen when Zack Wheeler comes back over the summer. There are also a few intriguing minor leaguers who could make some waves in spring training, headed by Akeel Morris, Dario Alvarez and Josh Smoker, each of whom are on the 40-man roster and all could pitch in a major league bullpen right now. The Mets continue to monitor the free agent market as well and someone the likes of Antonio Bastardo or Tyler Clippard could find their way onto the roster in the coming weeks as well.

There you have it, here is my 25-man Opening Day roster, projected far too early:

1- Travis d'Arnaud
2- Kevin Plawecki

3- Lucas Duda
4- Neil Walker
5- Asdrubal Cabrera
6- David Wright
7- Wilmer Flores
8- Ruben Tejada

9- Curtis Granderson
10- Juan Lagares
11- Alejandro De Aza
12- Michael Conforto
13- Steve Pearce Darrell Ceciliani

14- Jacob deGrom
15- Matt Harvey
16- Noah Syndergaard
17- Steven Matz
18- Bartolo Colon

19- Jeurys Familia
20- Addison Reed
21- Hansel Robles
22- Jerry Blevins
23- Erik Goeddel
24- Sean Gilmartin
25- Logan Verrett

There you have it. Seven relievers (two lefties, five righties). Verrett or Gilmartin can eat the Carlos Torres innings with Goeddel capable of multiple innings as well. The rotation is set. The five man bench has a good combination of defense, versatility, speed and power, though it is very right-handed, especially if the Mets sign Pearce and keep Ceciliani in the minors, as they should.

This is a very solid team. I agree with the fan base that Alderson & Co. did not have much more than a lackluster off-season but the core of the team had so much talent to begin with that I find it hard to dislike this team in any way. I get especially excited when I think about the fact that Zack Wheeler, Josh Edgin, Rafael Montero, Jenrry Mejia and potentially Akeel Morris, Brandon Nimmo, Josh Smoker and Dilson Herrera could provide reinforcements to the team when they are healthy/ready/when injuries hit.

Sound off in the comments. Who did I miss? What do you do with all of the bullpen depth? Is Cespedes still an option for this team? What about Clippard? Tweet me a question and I will answer it in an article.


Thomas Brennan said...

NEVER too early, Mr G. Like your breakdown. Still hope Cespedes signs and messes you up:)

Mack Ade said...

Good to 'hear' from you Stephen.

I too agree that Torres is history. Not worth the arbitration process.

Reese Kaplan said...

I think some of the quantity in the bullpen (and to a lesser extent in the middle infield) will be bundled off in trade for a more known commodity for the pen or for the OF. I still stand by my prediction of Ruben Tejada gone and Matt Reynolds taking his place. Gotta save $2 million where you can when you shop at Dollartree.

Thomas Brennan said...

Funny. Dollartree aisle 8, discount players.

Thomas Brennan said...

Funny. Dollartree aisle 8, discount players.

Hobie said...

Still think Montero, Verrett & Gilmartin will be a startin trio in Vegas.

hat leaves Alverez (still hoping for Bastardo) as another LHRP. RHRP? They re-signed Carlyle, and there's Clippard (if they don't sign Barstartdo). My dark horse is Jannis.

Still think Cespedes is more likely than not. If so, would you contemplate dealing Granderson (for a heavyweight RP*) and play Yo in RF?

* Think Nate Jones from the ChiSox.

Yeah, I kmow. But I did pick the Powerball number yesterday. (+ one other = $4)

Ernest Dove said...

I also agree that ceciliani will be back hitting his customary .350 in vegas rather than break camp with the Mets. Mets need a righty hitting backup toround out the outfield on the 25man

Stephen Guilbert said...

Hobie, I see no reason to trade Granderson at this point.

Stephen Guilbert said...

Thomas: "NEVER too early, Mr G. Like your breakdown. Still hope Cespedes signs and messes you up:)"

Love that he did!

Thomas Brennan said...

Stephen: I never gave up hope on METS getting Cespy. Close to a white flag a few times, but he signed and I'm psyched. My brother Steven is too, and it takes him a lot to get there.

Mack's Mets © 2012