The post’s Mets beat writer Mike Puma breaks all corners as the Amazins prepare for the open spring training.
Best position fight
The Mets have six jugs for five rotation points. So if everyone is healthy, who's going to be bullpened? Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are barriers to rotation, and Marcus Stroman probably seems to have a place too. Then Steven Matz, Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha would fight for two places. Matz is the only left-hander among the starting pitchers.
The most fascinating little Leaguer
Andres Gimenez aggressively slumped at Double-A Binghamton last season, but recovered and clinched the Arizona Fall League title. Gimenez is a smooth infielder whose defense is considered first class.
Develop a story to watch
Syndergaard wasn't thrilled with the idea of throwing Wilson Ramos over the past season. Now the Mets will try to keep the two in sync. Ramos puts a solid bat in the Mets lineup, but his game and defense are questionable.
The manager's biggest challenges
Finding bats for J. D. Davis could be a challenge for Luis Rojas if everyone is healthy. Davis was one of the Mets' most enduring offensive artists last season, but if Yoenis Cespedes returns, where's Davis playing? Rojas also has to find out early on whom he can rely on in the late innings. Is it Edwin Diaz? Can you trust Jeurys Familia again?
The most fascinating newcomer
If Dellin Betances were healthy, he could give the Mets an all-star arm that will be placed in the eighth or ninth inning. Betances will have a lot to prove after almost the entire last season with shoulder and Achilles tendon injuries.
Most notable absence
Zack Wheeler received a five-year, $ 118 million contract from the Phillies to remove a high octane arm from the rotation of the Mets. Since Wheeler is still in the NL East and a team is expected to fight for the playoffs, his departure could be a double strike for the Mets.
Don't be surprised if it becomes a problem
Robinson Cano recovered in the second half of last season, but if he breaks in early, there will be an outcry to put the second baseman's veteran on the bench. Cano has strong supporters in Rojas and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, but these loyalties could be tested.
Cespedes has not played for 1½ seasons after undergoing surgery on both heels and having broken ankle at his ranch in May last year to avoid a wild boar. The contract for the experienced outfielder has been drastically cut (with additional incentives resulting from avoiding the list of injuries) and he is starting his hiking year. He will be very motivated to stay in the field and produce.