Yes, it’s still early. The first spring training game has yet to be played. I’m still going to put on my Kreskin hat and predict the Mets opening day roster.
I’ve already predicted my bullpen. With the injury to Frank Francisco, I’ll slide LaTroy Hawkins into that spot (even thought that does mean having to clear out another spot on the 40 man roster).
So I’m predicting the 12 pitchers that will go north will be:
LaTroy Hawkins (replacing the injured Frank Francisco)
This leaves us 13 spots for the position players. The starting infield is obvious.
1B – Ike Davis
2B – Daniel Murphy
SS – Ruben Tejada
3B – David Wright
This leaves 9 open spots.
Justin Turner – Utility backup for 1B, 2B, 3B, corner OF and emergency SS
This leaves 8 open spots
John Buck – Catcher
7 Spots left.
Outfield – who will go north?
Lucas Duda in LF, Kirk Nieuwenhuis & Collin Cowgill platooning in CF. Terry Collins is giving Marlon Byrd the inside track for RF so toss him in. Add Mike Baxter as the 5th outfielder and PH.
With these 5 outfielders, that leaves 2 roster spots left.
We need a backup catcher. d’Arnaud isn’t going to break camp – Anthony Recker for the time being.
Which brings us to our final spot on the roster coming out of spring training.
Will Terry Collins be comfortable with Justin Turner being the backup Shortstop? If not, they’re going to need a backup – and at the moment, the contenders are Omar Quintanilla (minor league deal), Brian Bixler (minor league deal), and Brandon Hicks (who is on the 40 man roster). And if Collins is comfortable with Turner as the backup SS, that gives a little more opportunity to Valdespin to make the roster as a super utility guy who will be getting more of a look in the infield this season. With Valdespin’s propensity to strike out, not walk, and he’s a lefty bat (just like Baxter), he’s a long shot for opening day.
I’ll give this last and 25th spot to Brandon Hicks – if for no other reason than he’s on the 40 man and that gives the team additional flexibility and won’t have to release a player from the 40 man to make room for Quintanilla should the injury bug hit.
Realistically speaking – there are likely only 3 spots up for grabs. The backup Catcher, the 25th man as the backup shortstop, and the 12th man in the bullpen.
And we’re still looking at a 68-94 record.