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Mets close out camp with short intrasquad games, Senga preps, and thoughts on the roster
Tim Locastro and David Peterson earned the final roster spots as the team heads to Miami for Opening Day
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets played an intrasquad game at Clover Park on Monday to cap exhibition play this spring
Kodai Senga threw 75 pitches in another intrasquad scrimmage - he threw 12-15 fork balls and is set for a 90-pitch limit when he makes his big league debut against the Marlins this weekend
David Peterson was officially named to the starting rotation, which resulted in Tylor Megill being assigned to Triple-A Syracuse
Roster Moves 📰
Mets select the contract of OF Tim Locastro
RHP Tylor Megill optioned to Triple-A Syracuse
INF Darin Ruf designated for assignment
Today’s Game 🗓️
The Mets are off today and tomorrow. They begin the 2023 regular season on Thursday afternoon at 4:10 PM ET against the Marlins at loanDepot Park in Miami.
The Mets mostly made merit-based roster decisions, but others remain confusing… ✍🏻
The Mets spent the last few days of camp finalizing their major league roster, and the results of those moves were generally unsurprising, albeit disappointing in many respects.
On Monday, the Mets cleared up the matter of who was going to take over for José Quintana in the starting rotation, naming David Peterson as his replacement and optioning Tylor Megill to Triple-A Syracuse.
Of course, Megill was upset but probably not surprised given how he fared compared to Peterson this spring. But performance aside, it made more logistical sense to have Peterson in the rotation anyway given he’s a left-handed arm and at this point, a little more established in the league than Megill is.
Plus, given what Peterson did for the Mets and their rotation - he was their savior and there’s no debate about it - he deserved the opportunity based on that entry to his resume.
But it’s funny how things work out, isn’t it?
It was a year ago on around this date Megill was named the opening day starter for the Mets. He dazzled the Mets last spring with his high-octane fastball, was missing bats and seemed like he was ready to take a step in his career to emerge as a frontline starter in the big leagues. But then he got hurt, got hurt again, came back and the stuff just wasn’t the same as it was, by design of course as he dialed it back in an attempt to stay healthy. But he has stopped missing bats and just doesn’t have that crispness or command of really any of his pitches he had when he first got here.
Still, Megill is going to get another shot. They’re playing eight straight days to open the season, are off next Friday, play five in a row before an off-day April 13, but then have a long west coast trip for ten straight beginning April 15. It’s a good bet he’s going to get a start during that stretch as part of the club’s strategy to afford their aging rotation extra rest over the course of that season.
The bullpen was always going to be a more difficult puzzle to solve with the absence of Edwin Díaz, but Tommy Hunter’s performance certainly made it easier to answer those questions. He had an outstanding camp for the Mets, he has had success in the big leagues and Mets manager Buck Showalter is very familiar with his work. He also fits the profile best to fill the Mets need as a long man out of the bullpen. None of that discounts the work of both Jimmy Yacabonis and Jeff Brigham - both were good themselves and while they didn’t earn that final spot in the bullpen, they both certainly moved up the pecking order when the Mets inevitably need a reliever in the coming weeks.
As for the rest of the roster, I discussed at length over the weekend why it came as no surprise the Mets optioned both Brett Baty and Mark Vientos to Triple-A over the weekend, even if it came as a disappointment given how well they both hit during camp.
Having said that, I wrote that under the assumption they were going to give Darin Ruf a crack at sticking by adding him to the opening day roster. But when the Mets held onto Tim Locastro into the spring’s final day, it made me wonder if that was actually going to happen, and I became concerned it wasn't.
Not because the Mets needed to carry Ruf, of course. But if they didn’t, they would have no clear solution to their right-handed platoon situation (which, by the way, this situation with their DH was resolvable in free agency over the winter) since Vientos was gone and could only be recalled before 10 days if there was an injury to someone on the active roster.
Now, I guess that could still happen, but there are no signs of that right now as the team quietly finished their spring with an informal set of intrasquad games at their minor league complex yesterday with nothing of the kind coming out of them.
My point is, I think the Mets optioned Vientos prematurely, even if I do agree with their position that they shouldn’t bring players to the big leagues that still need development in some areas of their game.
Yes, I get what Mets GM Billy Eppler has said about the defense. And yes, we all saw where he needs to improve over the course of camp. And to be fair, I don’t think the Mets know where he belongs on the field considering he was used at both corner infield positions throughout the Grapefruit League schedule.
But in the end, they don’t have to stick to anything, let alone what they tell the media.
They still have no answer on the right side of the DH platoon. I’m not even sure they have an answer for their DH, period. But I figured if they were still up in the air on what they were going to do with Ruf on Friday, or they knew they were cutting Ruf and adding Tim Locastro before they optioned Vientos, why wouldn’t they have waited until after they cut Ruf to make a decision on Vientos, for no other reason but to give themselves flexibility on the decision?
They could’ve always optioned Vientos anyway, right or wrong.
Of course, the Mets could decide to bring one of Baty and Vientos back in the next week, which would end this debate provided they stay and perform.
As I always say, time will tell if their decision making was right.
(For the record, I think Vientos is the logical choice right now, since they have a need from the right side of the plate. That is not meant to serve as a demerit for Baty - he just doesn’t directly fill that need right now)
Around the League 🚩
The Cubs and INF Nico Hoerner agreed to a three-year, $35 million extension (MLB.com)
Guardians RHP Triston McKenzie has been shutdown with a shoulder strain - he could be out two months (ESPN)
The Brewers brought Luke Voit back on a one-year contract after cutting him over the weekend (MLB.com)
Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Matt Duffy made the Royals opening day roster (MLB.com)