Sunday, January 23, 2011

First Attempt at Projecting the Opening Day 25-Man Roster

SP- Mike Pelfrey
SP- Jon Niese
SP- R.A. Dickey
SP- Chris Capuano
SP- Chris Young

Johan Santana won't be back in the rotation until the All-Star Game (at the earliest), and I wouldn't be surprised if he misses the entire 2011 season. Pelfrey, Niese and Dickey appear to the the only locks - Dickey is probably going to arbitration, even as he looks for a two-year deal. Capuano and Young will round out the rotation, provided both men are healthy to start the season. Dillon Gee, Pat Misch and *gulp* Oliver Perez will compete for rotation spots that open up as the result of injury or ineffectiveness.

RP- Francisco Rodriguez
RP- DJ Carrasco
RP- Bobby Parnell
RP- Taylor Buchholz
RP- Pedro Beato
RP- Oliver Perez

The Mets will start the season with seven relievers, of course, but I suspect at least one slot in the bullpen will be awarded to a dark horse who pitches impressively in Spring Training. Yes, I know you don't want to see Oliver Perez throw a pitch in a Mets uniform ever again, but right now they do not appear to have any viable left-handed options in the bullpen. I could see Perez filling a dual long man/lefty specialist role, especially if the Mets go into camp without a larger selection of southpaws to choose from. Terry Collins absolutely has to dance the fine line of keeping K-Rod's 2012 contract option from triggering without drawing a grievance from the MLB Players Association.

C- Josh Thole
C- Ronny Paulino

I really like this combination. Thole is the clear starter and Paulino is a veteran platoon partner who will hit lefties well enough to be a positive contributor, but not well enough to tempt Collins from taking at-bats from Thole even if he gets off to a slow start. I don't expect that to happen, however - Thole looks like a good bet to put up a string of .285/.360/.375 seasons in a Mets uniform. It ain't great, but you don't need much more from a #8 hitter and/or a catcher.

1B- Ike Davis
2B- Dan Murphy
3B- David Wright
SS- Jose Reyes
IF- Brad Emaus
IF- Justin Turner

The only competition is at second base, where Murphy, Emaus and Turner are the most likely players to stick with the team. I'm not sure if Luis Castillo will be with the team by the time it heads south, but he will have to hit like the the 2000 version of Castillo to have any hope of making this team. Chin-lung Hu and Luis Hernandez are in the mix as well, I suppose, but Murphy and Emaus seem pretty secure and only Turner seems vulnerable. I think he will out-play his competition and stick with the big club.

LF- Jason Bay
CF- Carlos Beltran
RF- Angel Pagan

The starters are set in stone, unless injuries get in the way. I'm not ready to speculate on the backups, because the race just seems so wide open. I suspect Scott Hairston has the edge for one of those positions; he hit 17 home runs in both 2008 and 2009 and has a career line of .278/.331/.498 line against lefties. Lucas Duda and Nick Evans are in the mix as well, but Hairston's position flexibility and major league resume seems more likely to block the right-handed Evans than the left-handed Duda.


Mackle said...

I actually like this Mets team. Obviously they have no shot at the division, but I can see them chasing the wild card. Should be a fun team to watch. I look at this year's Mets like last years Knicks -- fun, because you know they aren't there yet, but they are clearly moving in the right direction.

Jack Flynn said...

It's actually a relief just to see the Mets attempting to make good decisions with the roster. I believe MLB told the Wilpons that Sandy was in charge and for Jeffy to stay out of the way. Because of that, there's actually a sense of hope for the future.

TW said...

I believe that Alderson's ability to fill holes without spending a lot has allowed him to DFA both Castillo and Perez. They don't even talk about Castillo, like he's already gone and Perez is slowly disappearing from the conversation. If they can hit, they will win a fair amount of games.