While the coronavirus pandemic has changed everybody’s plans, including MLB, there is a chance, according to a report from ESPN writer Jeff Passan, that play begins in May with all teams in Arizona, in empty stadiums. While playing professional sports in the United States within a couple of weeks or a month seems unrealistic, the fact that the league is considering the idea tells a lot about MLB’s intentions: they want a season this year. The New York Mets, and the rest of the 29 teams, are patiently waiting.
Playing a shortened schedule would mean lots of double-headers and few rest days. That kind of setting could benefit teams with depth, like the New York Mets.
There has been chatter of having expanded rosters to cope with the tight schedule. Teams would need to rotate a lot in order to avoid injuries and burnouts. And, to my view, the Mets are well-equipped, as an organization, to thrive in this environment.
When it comes to position players, few squads boast the depth that the Mets can brag about. Wilson Ramos is the offensive catcher, but Tomas Nido can offer a great glove and call a good game, not to mention he has been toying to alter his swing and pack a little more power in it.
Dominic Smith can spell starting first baseman Pete Alonso, and the likes of Jed Lowrie (if healthy, of course) Luis Guillorme and Eduardo Nunez can offer capable production in the middle infield behind starting duo Robinson Cano and Amed Rosario. Lowrie and J.D. Davis can play in the hot corner if the Mets want to rest starter Jeff McNeil.
The outfield is very deep, too: Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto could be healthy when play starts, and Brandon Nimmo, Jake Marisnick, Davis and Smith can play there, too. They could all rotate and manager Luis Rojas can administrate rest days with ease.
The Mets’ pitching could use one or two reinforcements
The picture gets a little murkier in the pitching department. The rotation has five starters as of now: Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello, Steven Matz and Michael Wacha. After that, there are several question marks, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t talent around. Erasmo Ramirez was having a great spring, and prospect David Peterson showed that he is about ready for the majors. Fellow lefty prospect Kevin Smith could contribute later in the season, as well, and Walter Lockett can make a couple of starts, too.
The New York Mets have some prospects, too, especially catchers and shortstops. They could look to flip a couple in return for a decent starting pitcher for extra depth. The bullpen looks strong, with new signing Dellin Betances and the likes of Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Brad Brach, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo.
All in all, it looks like the Mets could cope with a shortened, tight schedule.