On Wednesday, before the Mets rocked the baseball world by trading for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, we published our first Mets roster prediction for the 2021 season.
In it, we touched on the possibility of the Mets swinging a trade for Lindor, but guessed that doing so would be unlikely if they signed George Springer first. And we predicted that the Mets would indeed land Springer.
While the Mets are still very much in the mix for Springer, the additions of Lindor and Carrasco (and departures of Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez) have shaken things up to the point where a roster prediction 2.0 is in order.
Here it is...
James McCann, C
Pete Alonso, 1B
Jeff McNeil, 2B
Francisco Lindor, SS
J.D. Davis, 3B
Brandon Nimmo, LF
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Michael Conforto, RF
Dominic Smith, DH
The addition of Francisco Lindor changes the entire makeup of the infield, with two expected starters from our roster prediction 1.0 (Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez) now in Cleveland.
While Lindor simply slots in at shortstop in place of Gimenez, the situation at third base is much trickier.
Could it be the defensively-challenged J.D. Davis? What about Luis Guillorme? Is a trade for Kris Bryant possible? The Mets have much bigger needs elsewhere, so the guess here is that Davis and Guillorme both get time at third base, with Davis starting more often. It's not ideal, but the Mets have much more important questions to answer.
One of them is in center field. And even though it wouldn't be a shock if the Mets still found room for Springer, our guess is that they'll spread their money around instead. Look for Jackie Bradley Jr. to be patrolling center field in Queens in 2021.
As far as the first base/DH debate between Alonso and Smith, it should be noted that this is a projection -- not what we would do, but what we think the Mets will do. And since they used Alonso at first base and Smith at DH more often than not last season, that's what we went with.
Jacob deGrom, RHP
Carlos Carrasco, RHP
Marcus Stroman RHP
David Peterson, LHP
Steven Matz, LHP
The addition of Carlos Carrasco (whom we listed as a potential trade option in our roster prediction 1.0) gives the rotation a huge boost, and means free agent Jake Odorizzi (who was part of the rotation in our roster prediction 1.0) is out of the picture.
And even though the Mets are still in on one big ticket item in Springer, it's safe to now slam the door on the possibility Trevor Bauer unless he wants to sign a high AAV one-year deal.
The last spot could easily go to someone aside from Steven Matz (perhaps a high-upside pitcher like Corey Kluber or James Paxton). And the Mets still have about $30 million to work with before hitting the luxury tax threshold. But the guess here is that the Mets spend on a center fielder (Bradley) and another reliever (see below), leaving the fifth spot to Matz.
The above rotation, especially the top three, is now quite formidable. And the Mets could get an enormous boost if Noah Syndergaard is able to return by June.
Edwin Diaz, CLS
Brad Hand, LHP
Seth Lugo, RHP
Trevor May, RHP
Dellin Betances, RHP
Jeurys Familia RHP
Brad Brach, RHP
Miguel Castro, RHP
The bullpen will stay exactly the same in this projection. With Lindor and Carrasco on board, the Mets are still in on Brad Hand and Liam Hendriks. And GM Jared Porter mentioned lefty relief on Friday when talking about a specific area of need.
Joining Diaz in the back end of the bullpen will be free agent addition Hand (who will give the Mets a dominant lefty who can close if needed), Seth Lugo (who belongs in the bullpen instead of the rotation), and hard-throwing Trevor May.
While the rest of the bullpen is sketchy, there's tons of upside there -- especially if Dellin Betances and/or Jeurys Familia can rebound.
Other relievers who will be in the mix for a spot include Robert Gsellman, Jerry Blevins, Stephen Tarpley, Drew Smith, and Jacob Barnes.
Tomas Nido, C
Luis Guillorme, INF
Robel Garcia, INF/OF
Jake Marisnick, OF
With J.D. Davis now expected to be a regular, the last bench spot goes to 27-year-old Robel Garcia, who can play shortstop, third base, second base, and both corner outfield spots -- and who is already on New York's 40-man roster.
Tomas Nido is the backup catcher and Luis Guillorme makes it as a backup infielder.
That leaves one spot that really needs to go to an outfielder who can handle center field, which Garcia cannot do.
A look at the free agent market for potential backups shows slim pickings, meaning the return of Jake Marisnick -- an elite defender with some pop to pair with Bradley -- makes the most sense.