By: JOSEPH SIMILE / SPORTS CO-EDITOR
As the Major League Baseball season kicks off this week, the New York Mets have a lot of optimism surrounding the team.
Last season the Mets finished with an underwhelming 77-85 record under manager Luis Rojas. However, this past offseason, the Mets front office got to work.
Buck Showalter, former manager of the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rangers and Orioles was named the new manager of the Mets.
The team made one of the biggest signings in baseball history by signing future Hall of Fame pitcher Max Scherzer to a record 3 year, $130 million deal.
The Mets also made other key signings, such as All Star third baseman Eduardo Escobar, and two-time gold glove and former All Star outfielder Starling Marte. Additionally, the Mets added corner outfielder and infielder Mark Canha.
The Mets also solidified their starting rotation, trading for All Star Chris Bassitt, as well as southpaw journeyman Joely Rodriguez.
If everyone were to be healthy, the Mets are expected to have a rotation of Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker, and Carlos Carrasco. However, stud sophomores Tylor Megil and David Peterson may cause Showalter to consider switching up the expected rotation. Megill started for the Mets on opening day, throwing five shutout innings to the tune of six strikeouts, no walks, and only three hits, while hitting 99 on the radar gun.
One thing the Mets do have is depth.
All seven of the above players could be valuable pieces to a rotation, deGrom and Scherzer are shoe-ins to be first ballot Hall of Famers, Bassitt and Walker were both All Stars last season, and Carlos Carrasco was fourth in Cy Young voting just a few seasons ago.
Megill and Peterson are both rising stars in the organization. However, Showalter won’t have to worry about it for a couple more weeks, as deGrom is out with a shoulder injury.
As for the bullpen, expect Peterson to get some innings out of the pen.
At the backend of the bullpen, Edwin Diaz should be dependable in close ninth innings, as he has been most of his career.
Stopper Seth Lugo is looking forward to having a healthy and productive season after having surgery last season.
Expect Trevor May to get a good bulk of innings in relief, as for the Mets last season he gave them 62 great innings in 68 games.
Joely Rodriguez and Chasen Shreve should be quality lefty options in middle relief, and newly acquired Adam Ottavino and career Met Drew Smith should be solid righty counterparts.
Sean Reid-Foley should fill in nicely as a long relief option. Joey Lucchesi should also be a great lefty option for the Mets once he returns from injury, he could fill a number of roles, whether it be middle relief, setup, or innings muncher.
As for the position players, the Mets also have a lot of depth. Behind the dish, James McCann and Tomas Nido are both formidable backstops.
In the infield, first base is expected to be held down by All Star slugger Pete Alonso as well as batting sleuth Dom Smith.
Second base will be occupied by former All Star power threat Robinson Cano, who missed last season with a PED suspension, as well as batting wizard and dog lover Jeff McNeil.
Third base should be steadily played by Eduardo Escobar, with JD Davis getting occasional reps, and the Mets shortstop will be defensive guru Francisco Lindor, who is expected to have a bounce back season after struggling at the plate early on last season.
Luis Guillorme should be expected to fill in where needed, having experience playing second, third and short with the Mets.
The outfield will be serviced by a number of players. Center field will be anchored by Brandon Nimmo and Travis Jankowski.
Left field will primarily be Mark Canha’s spot to use, although expect McNeil and Davis to get their fair share of opportunities there, as well as right field which will be Starling Marte’s stomping ground.
This year's roster is much improved from previous years. The organization and fans are expecting a big year in Queens.
Expect a lot of big wins from the offensive output as well as the premiere pitching.
This team should be more than capable of securing a playoff spot, especially with the newly ushered in expanded playoffs. Fans are hopeful their squad can bring a pennant home to Flushing, and only time will tell.