Mets' 2021 MLB Spring Training: 5 things to watch

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Danny Abriano
·4 min read
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Michael Conforto, Luis Rojas, and Noah Syndergaard TREATED ART
Michael Conforto, Luis Rojas, and Noah Syndergaard TREATED ART

Mets Spring Training is underway in Florida as the team prepares for the first season of the Steve Cohen/Sandy Alderson/Zack Scott regime and the second season of Luis Rojas being at the helm as manager.

Here are five things to watch...

Roster battles

The Mets are pretty set when it comes to their expected regular lineup, the top of the rotation, and the back end of the bullpen, but there are still a bunch of roster battles to keep an eye on.

With the Mets adding Taijuan Walker, a competition could be brewing between David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi for the final spot in the starting rotation -- which Peterson should have a leg up on.

On the bench, the recent addition of Kevin Pillar means that someone (Albert Almora Jr.?) might get squeezed out when it comes to one of five bench spots.

In the bullpen, a bunch of spots are locked up, but there will likely be a battle for one or two of the final spots between Robert Gsellman, Drew Smith, Sam McWilliams, Jerry Blevins, and others.

Potential extensions for Conforto and Lindor

Acting Mets GM Zack Scott recently said that he expected extension talks with Michael Conforto and Francisco Lindor to coincide with spring training.

"I've always looked at those (as being) the best time to do that is in spring training," Scott said. "And I think we'll have those conversations. We've had conversations internally, and I know Sandy (Alderson) was talking about that we obviously acquired Francisco with the hope of having him here longer than one year.

"We want to have those conversations. The focus has been on building the best roster we can for 2021. That could still be ongoing, but that's an important thing for us to at least talk to players about the potential for those types of deals."

While the Mets can still keep Conforto and/or Lindor if they reach free agency, things will get dicey. That means the time to strike is now. And when it comes to Lindor, he's on record that he does not want talks to spill into the regular season.

As far as Conforto is concerned, the Mets chose the possibility of Conforto tomorrow over George Springer today (per SNY's Andy Martino). So it would be wise to lock him up soon as well.

How does Syndergaard look?

Noah Syndergaard is on track as he recovers from Tommy John surgery and could potentially return by June.

Scott recently said, though, that it will be natural for Syndergaard to try to move that timeline up. And a potentially faster return (if it's in the cards) is something that might start to come into focus in Florida.

Syndergaard has been throwing from the slope of the mound for months, so it will be interesting to see where he's at when he gets to camp and what he thinks his potential return date could be.

Who else will the Mets add to the roster?

The Mets could really use another reliable reliever now that Seth Lugo will miss the beginning of the season due to minor elbow surgery.

Meanwhile, Jackie Bradley Jr. remains on the free agent market and is still a perfect fit for the Mets in center field in the event an agreement is reached on the universal DH for the 2021 season.

The Mets also have a need at third base, where J.D. Davis' defense makes him a less than ideal fit.

With a bunch of needs and with a solid amount of cap space before the Mets reach the luxury tax threshold (and the possibility of clearing more room by trading Jeurys Familia or Dellin Betances), more additions should be expected.

How will Rojas adjust under a new regime in Year 2?

Luis Rojas dealt with a lot in 2020, taking over after Carlos Beltran was fired and learning quickly during what was his first big league managing job.

Rojas endeared himself to his players (many of whom were already fond of him after playing for him in the minors) due in part to keeping them in the loop when it came to his decisions around their playing time.

Rojas was also pretty savvy with the media, representing the Mets as the daily face of the operation.

This year will be different, as a new owner, team president, GM, higher expectations, and a more star-studded roster changes the dynamic. It will be interesting to see how Rojas' daily interactions, philosophy, and answers might change with it.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
NY Mets
+100--
Houston
-121--