Mets 26-man roster As spring training draws to a close, injuries mount

Things have certainly changed for the Mets over the past two weeks.

The Mets’ World Series hopes took a hit last week when closer Edwin Diaz had knee surgery following an injury in the World Baseball Classic and outfielder Brandon Nimmo suffered a sprained right knee and right ankle resulting from an awkward slide into second base. The bullpen was hurt by injuries to left-hander Brooks Raley and right-handers Bryce Montes de Oca and Sam Coonrod.

Further alternating the concerns of fans are the performances of Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso in the WBC. The duo is 2-for-18 for Team USA. Despite the thrilling spectacle of America’s quarterfinal win 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 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 that Diaz will likely be out for the year and Nimmo could miss Opening Day. The only takeaway is that the Mets could have some salary relief with Diaz, as MLB’s WBC insurance will cover his contract through 2023. The Mets aren’t exactly plagued by financial concerns under owner Steve Cohen, but should the team find that the offense isn’t offensive enough or the pitching pool isn’t as deep as it once appeared on paper, general manager Billy Eppler will have the freedom to make moves and take salary.

But for now, the Mets have to work with what they have. Here’s our second breakdown of the 26-man roster projection.

Catcher: Omar Narvaez, Tomas Nido

No change here. The Mets’ catching crew was decided before the start of spring training. Nido, a reliable, homegrown backstop, is strong at the plate, hitting .344 with a 1.052 OPS and three home runs. That’s a good sign for the regular season.

On the field: Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Eduardo Escobar, Francisco Lindor, Luis Guillorme

No changes for this group. If you’re looking for reason for optimism, look no further than Lindor’s performance in the WBC: The shortstop is 9-for-20 (.450) with a triple, five RBIs and six runs scored. Defensive wizard Luis Guillorme came off his spring training slump this weekend with a big game against the Miami Marlins and is expected to make the team over Danny Mendick, who is healthy again after tearing his ACL last season.

Court: Mark Canha, Starling Marte, Tommy Pham, Tim Locastro

If Nimmo starts the season on the disabled list, it would open up a spot for former Yankees and Syracuse native Tim Locastro. Base running is Locastro’s specialty and he can impact the game and create runs with his speed. He stole six bags this spring and was impressive at the plate as well. 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

Just like last season, Vogelbach will be the DH against right-handed pitching and Ruf against left-handed pitching. Ruf has been delayed starting this spring with a wrist injury, but hopes he’s adjusted well enough after last season’s trade to return to his old form.

Rotation: RHP Max Scherzer, RHP Justin Verlander, RHP Kodai Senga, RHP Carlos Carrasco, LHP David Peterson, RHP Tylor Megill

The Mets don’t want to use a six-man rotation all season, but would like to do so in certain parts of the year to allow more rest for starters. Using an extra pitcher for 162 games would require pitchers to adjust to a new schedule, which would force them to adjust to new routines. But using an extra man during busy stretches would give some arms an extra day or two sometimes. They can keep lefty Joey Lucchesi in Triple-A so they can call on him when needed because they won’t be able to use lefty Jose Quintana (bone graft surgery) until sometime in the summer.

Bullpen: RHP Drew Smith, RHP Adam Ottavino, RHP David Robertson, LHP 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 (lat stem) and Montes de Oca (forearm strain) looked like locks to make the team until they went down with injuries. But veteran Tommy Hunter entered the mix with six scoreless innings in five appearances and seven strikeouts. Curtiss has been ready for several months, eager to pitch again after missing all of 2022 and most of 2021 with Tommy John surgery.


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