Let’s take a look at how the Mets roster might shake out. This isn’t a prediction of what I think will happen, but what I think should happen (and I’ll refrain from including names such as John Lackey, Orlando Hudson and Tom Seaver).
Rotation: The starters are already etched in stone: Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, John Maine and Jon Niese. We can debate whether it will be a disaster or exceed expectations, but barring a last-minute trade (with the Reds?), it is what it is.
Bullpen: This is where it gets interesting, with a number of different combinations the Mets can go with. Frankie Rodriguez and Pedro Feliciano may be the only two who are guaranteed a spot in the ’pen. I would go with Kiko Calero, Hisanori Takahashi, Fernando Nieve, Ryota Igarashi and Nelson Figueroa to round out the rest of the relief corps. Takashi may be having trouble getting lefties out, but otherwise he’s looked impressive – and he throws strikes. Having been jerked around last year, Bobby Parnell should start the season in the minors, and get back to being a full-time reliever. Let him develop some more without any pressure. Sean Green was awful last season and terrible this spring, so he doesn’t deserve a spot. Jenrry Mejia should be starting in Double A, because the Mets, um, well, they’ll need starting pitching as we can plainly see, whether it be this year or next. And the Mets shouldn’t create their own Joba Chamberlain situation. I believe Pat Misch will have to clear waivers if he’s optioned to the minors, but that’s the chance the Mets will have to take with him. He’s only Pat Misch after all.
Starting Position Players: This group is all set – Rod Barajas, Daniel Murphy, Luis Castillo, Jose Reyes (we’ll just assume he’ll be ready sometime soon; if it’s not opening day, Ruben Tejada will take his spot and then be sent down to the minors when Reyes is put on the roster), David Wright, Jason Bay, Angel Pagan, Jeff Francoeur.
Bench: Henry Blanco, Alex Cora, Fernando Tatis and Gary Matthews, Jr. are all locks, which only leaves one spot. Three players are fighting for that last place on the bench. As much as I would love Frank Catalanotto to be on the team, and even replacing Tatis (but he bats lefty and can’t play short in a pinch the way Tatis can), I think the Mets need to go with a home run hitter for this spot, which leave Mike Jacobs and Chris Carter. My pick would be Carter. Though he’s not that young, he is youngish, so go with the hungry upstart. Jacobs has more major league experience, but Carter may give you the same power but with a more patient approach at the plate. And he can play outfield. Maybe he can’t play it very well, but he can play it.