UPDATE, 3/27/23 at 8:15a ET
The Mets’ final roster decisions are down to two. New York has designated Darin Ruf for assignment, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
So, that means Tim Locastro will indeed make the Opening Day roster.
Original article, 3/27/23 at 5a ET
The Mets’ Grapefruit League schedule is officially complete. After 28 spring training games, New York posted a 10-14-4 record. Now, the only thing standing between them and Opening Day is an intrasquad game on Monday and a workout in Miami on Wednesday.
Oh, yea — and they’ll have to officially submit their 26-man roster.
We heard over the weekend that neither Brett Baty nor Mark Vientos will be at loanDepot park on Thursday. That’s unfortunate, but they’ll be back in the majors soon enough. The roster is essentially set for Game 1 of 162. However, three questions still need to be answered.
Final spot on the Mets’ bench
Heading into New York’s Grapefruit League finale on Sunday, there were three options for one bench spot. After infielder Danny Mendick got optioned to Triple-A, there are only two left. One is Darin Ruf and the other is Tim Locastro.
Ruf hasn’t had a great spring (if we take out what he’s done on the backfields, at least), and Locastro has played well enough to earn a spot. It’s now a matter of whether the Mets want to potentially eat Ruf’s $3 million salary to put the speedy outfielder on the Opening Day roster.
Based on how the organization has made decisions so far this spring, you’d think Ruf has the inside track. But it certainly sounds like this decision is very much up in the air.
Who’s taking Jose Quintana’s rotation spot?
The Mets will be without their $26 million southpaw for the first few months of this season. Thankfully, New York has viable alternatives available in David Peterson and Tylor Megill. They’ve both put together solid performances this spring.
Peterson would seemingly have the upper hand, but as usual, manager Buck Showalter isn’t tipping his hand just yet. He also said on Sunday afternoon that the Mets are close to announcing publicly who has officially won that final rotation spot.
It’s important who it is, but we also know that both of them will be significant factors in the rotation throughout the year based on how teams use pitchers these days.
How the Mets’ bullpen ultimately shakes out
Not having Edwin Diaz locking down the back of the bullpen stinks. The show must go on, though. New York sent three relievers to minor-league camp on Sunday morning, meaning there are now three spots open for four dudes, per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo:
The Mets haven't made any formal decisions regarding their final bullpen spots, but Showalter said today that he sees Elieser Hernández more on the starting pitching side of the depth chart.
That would strongly hint at Curtiss, Nogosek and Santana claiming the last three jobs.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) March 26, 2023
The vast majority of things are set for the Mets’ Opening Day matchup against the Marlins. However, these final decisions will likely be difficult. You know they’ll be scrutinized by the media and fan base once they’re official, too.
MORE ON ESNY:
• This is exactly why Mets aren’t rushing to replace Edwin Diaz in bullpen
• Reasons for sending Mets’ Brett Baty to minors is Grade-A bologna
• Mets’ Max Scherzer finishes off dominant spring with lots of strikeouts
• WATCH: Yankees tell Anthony Volpe he made Opening Day Roster
• Giants’ Brian Daboll still not ready to pump up Daniel Jones’ tires
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.