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Francisco Lindor's late season pain, plan for Francisco Álvarez, David Peterson and Tylor Megill, and where are the IFs?
There's a calm and business-like atmosphere with Mets camp these days as the Mets get spring training rolling
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
Francisco Lindor dealt with late-season abdominal pain in 2022, which turned out to be appendicitis (New York Post)
The Mets don’t want Francisco Álvarez to be their designated hitter, which suggests he will begin the season in the minors, although manager Buck Showalter wants Álvarez to approach camp as if he is fighting for a job (SI)
David Peterson and Tylor Megill will also likely to begin the season in the minors if everyone in the Mets rotation is healthy (Newsday)
Eduardo Escobar dealt with personal issues in 2022 which he insists impacted his early season struggles (New York Post)
Former Met catcher René Rivera announced his retirement (Instagram)
The silly IF’s are gone for the Mets… ✍🏻
We are living in a Mets world where the biggest problems they have in the early stages of spring training are what they are going to do with their best prospects, which one of their future hall of famers will get the ball on opening day, what Brandon Nimmo will do with his 2010 Nissan Altima, and how the Mets should navigate their sixth and seventh starters assuming their top five are healthy.
Of course, these are the Mets and things can change. They probably will, too. People get hurt in camp. There’s also the World Baseball Classic sandwiched in between today and Opening Day which will afford the Mets an extended opportunity to look at Francisco Álvarez behind the plate, Brett Baty at third base, and maybe left field too. And of course there’s Mark Vientos, Ronny Mauricio, Kevin Parada and a bunch of other intriguing young players who will get a lot of TV time when the Grapefruit League schedule starts a week from today.
And there is a path - albeit a narrow one - for all of them minus Parada and perhaps Mauricio to at least get into the conversation for opening day (that path being one filled with injuries to the top of the depth chart).
But the calm and business-like aura that now hovers around the Mets is pretty hard to get used to. Of course, it helps when the roster is nearly complete and we don’t have to compare, contrast and pretend secondary and tertiary players are capable of giving the Mets 140-plus games with elite performance and the magic “IF” to go along with it. Such a roster gives us no IFs to imagine, for the only IFs is IF they stay healthy, IF Kodai Senga can successfully adjust to big league ball and life, and IF (or really when) the likes of Álvarez and Baty can break the big league barrier for good.
Rather, I think the biggest challenge for the Mets will be navigating a schedule which is once again rigorous and figuring out the formula to afford their starting rotation the rest and recharge they’re going to require over the course of 162 so they can not only stay healthy, but effective as well. That starts now of course and the Mets certainly know how to manage their pace and conditioning this time of year.
Take the first two months of the schedule as the first hurdle for the club. Between April 14 and May 22, the Mets have two off-days on the board: April 24 and May 8. That makes for a challenging puzzle to piece together to get their older pieces of their rotation extra rest, specifically Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.
For context, 14 of Scherzer’s 23 starts in 2022 came with at least five days rest, 23 of Verlander’s 28 starts came in the same fashion.
And you can guarantee the Mets are already trying to solve this early season puzzle, two to three months out.
That’s where the likes of David Peterson, Tylor Megill, and perhaps Joey Lucchesi potentially come into play and where they will likely be needed to either lengthen the rotation, skip a start, or both depending on how the chips fall on the calendar.
For now, we can enjoy the smooth ride through the sunshine and palm trees of spring training. We all know turbulence is a part of every flight, but the Mets are well equipped again to navigate that bumpy air when it arrives.