5 Mets storylines to watch with 2021 MLB season underway

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Danny Abriano
·4 min read
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Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis and Noah Syndergaard treated image 2021 Mets storylines
Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis and Noah Syndergaard treated image 2021 Mets storylines

The Mets open the 2021 season Monday in Philadelphia and SNY will provide fans with a special 60-minute Citi Pre-Game Live at 6:00 p.m. SNY’s coverage will continue with W.B. Mason Post-Game Live following the game.

Here are five Mets storylines to keep an eye on as the 2021 MLB season begins...

How are things shaking out at third base?

Going by playing time in spring training and what manager Luis Rojas has said lately, it seems likely that J.D. Davis is going to be getting most of the starts at third base when the season begins.

But Rojas also noted that Luis Guillorme would be playing mostly every day, which could mean him coming in late for defense often.

There is no denying the kind of impact Davis can have with the bat, and he was a true difference-maker in the lineup in 2019.

Meanwhile, Guillorme's defense is usually sparkling, and he has been showing signs of life with the bat as well, albeit in a small sample during the 2020 season and again during 2021 spring training.

Will Davis' defense be strong enough to keep him entrenched at the hot corner? Stay tuned.

Is the bullpen good enough?

Without Seth Lugo for the first month or so of the season, the Mets will likely be forced to rely heavily on Edwin Diaz and Trevor May.

Aaron Loup might also play a big role, and if Miguel Castro has finally found a way to harness his stuff (and it seems that might be the case), he could be a difference-maker.

But with Jeurys Familia (who still cannot find the plate often enough) and Dellin Betances (whose velocity is seemingly not coming back), the Mets have two relievers who truly cannot be counted on to get big outs -- at least not at this point.

Instead of forcing Betances and/or Familia into the late innings, the Mets should be relying on others who might be green in those situations, but whose current ability makes them better options for those spots.

Drew Smith, who has been dealing with shoulder soreness, should be a big help in the middle innings once he returns.

Noah Syndergaard's return and Mets future

Before Carlos Carrasco got hurt, the return of Noah Syndergaard (though important) wasn't quite as important as it is now.

And when you combine the way Syndergaard has been progressing with the fact that Carrasco is going to have to ramp back up after recovering from his hamstring injury, it's possible that Syndergaard beats Carrasco back.

If Syndergaard resembles his old self when he returns, the Mets will be getting a true 1A to go along with Jacob deGrom.

There's also the matter of Syndergaard's Mets future, with him set to become a free agent after the season.

It makes all the sense in the world for the Mets to try to extend him, but will they?

How is Brandon Nimmo's defense in center field?

With all the talk about Davis and Guillorme at third base, and with Dominic Smith not getting much exposure in left field during spring training due to the Mets bringing him along slowly and then because of wrist soreness, Brandon Nimmo has flown under the radar a bit.

Nimmo is still miscast as a center fielder, but the lack of the DH in the National League has left the Mets no choice but to use him there.

Nimmo's on-base skills are simply too good to put on the bench.

One of the things Nimmo struggled with in 2020, when he was tied with Aaron Hicks as the worst defensive center fielder in baseball per Outs Above Average, was going back on fly balls.

And during spring training, Nimmo played ridiculously deep to make up for his difficulty going back, which might be an issue during the regular season if pop ups are routinely dropping in front of him.

Will Michael Conforto sign an extension?

Per SNY's Andy Martino, the Mets chose the possibility of Michael Conforto tomorrow over George Springer today. And tomorrow is rapidly approaching.

The Mets have been engaged in extension talks with Conforto, and there wasn't a hard deadline of Opening Day to get a deal done.

But it's fair to wonder just how much longer the Mets will have the chance to extend Conforto, who is set to become a free agent after the season.

If the Mets let Conforto walk, they'll be able to direct the money he would've received elsewhere. But their decision to not sign Springer will look terrible in retrospect and they will be losing not only one of their best players, but a homegrown Met who is a leader in the clubhouse.