Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Mets Add a Big Bat to the Fold

Shale Briskin
MM Editor

Two weeks after signing Adrian Gonzalez to a one-year contract,  the Mets made another big addition to the lineup by signing third baseman Todd Frazier to a two-year $17 million contract

The New Jersey native split the 2017 season between the Chicago White Sox and the crosstown New York Yankees. His combined totals included 27 home runs and 76 RBI, despite a .213 average. He also provides a solid glove at third base, a position the Mets have had trouble filling since David Wright's back problems began in 2015.

The Mets' infield is now set for Opening Day, with Gonzalez at first base, Asdrubal Cabrera moving to second base, Frazier at third base and the rookie Amed Rosario at shortstop. The Mets will also have Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores providing solid bench depth, with T.J. Rivera working to recover from Tommy John surgery he had in September.

Offensively, the Mets certainly look better now than they did at the start of the offseason. Here is what a possible Opening Day lineup could consist of. Keep in mind Michael Conforto is not likely to return to the lineup until May

1. CF Brandon Nimmo/Juan Lagares
2. 2B Asdrubal Cabrera
3. LF Yoenis Cespedes
4. RF Jay Bruce
5. 3B Todd Frazier
6. 1B Adrian Gonzalez
7. SS Amed Rosario
8. C Travis d'Arnaud/Kevin Plawecki

Nimmo and Lagares are likely to platoon in center field through April. The Mets have made it clear that the d'Arnaud and Plawecki platoon late in the 2017 season is likely to continue into the 2018 season. Both of course are right-handed hitters, but a splitting of time could help each of them thrive offensively.

On the pitching side, the Mets are still testing the waters on possibly adding a veteran starting pitcher into the rotation. The Mets already have Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard anchoring the rotation, plus Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo providing good young depth. Robert Gsellman is another starting pitcher on the depth chart, but after a rough 2017 season, Gsellman will likely get sent to the bullpen as a long reliever or start the season in Triple A.

The bullpen is more or less set for Opening Day. Jeurys Familia, A.J. Ramos, Jerry Blevins and Anthony Swarzak will be the popular late-inning options. The rest of the bullpen will probably be determined during Spring Training, with Paul Sewald, Hansel Robles, Jamie Callahan, Jacob Rhame, Rafael Montero and the aforementioned Gsellman all being potential options. Furthermore, the loser of the rotation battle between Matz, Wheeler and Lugo will almost certainly get sent to the bullpen instead of starting the season at Triple A.

The Mets' 2018 roster is shaping up to be a real contender. Whether they can actually stay healthy and give the Nationals a run for their money in the division remains to be seen, but the potential certainly is there. Pitchers and catchers will report to Port St. Lucie on Feb. 12, while the first full team workout will be a week later on the 19th. I don't know about you guys, but I can't wait for this season to get started!

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