The Mets current roster projection should give fans a sense of hope and excitement for the 2021 season. They’ve added a superstar in Francisco Lindor, a frontline starter in Carlos Carrasco, upgraded at catcher with James McCann, signed a top bullpen arm in Trevor May, and acquired multiple other pieces that significantly improved their big league roster and overall depth.
Pitchers and catchers start next week and there’s still work to be done to the roster before Opening Day. I doubt the Mets are done adding major league pieces, so let’s take a look at Roster Resources’ current projection at the 26-man roster to evaluate where they should improve.
Projected Starting Lineup
CF Brandon Nimmo
2B Jeff McNeil
SS Francisco Lindor
RF Michael Conforto
1B Pete Alonso
LF Dominic Smith
3B J.D. Davis
C James McCann
This is a lineup that is going to score a ton of runs, that being said, it’s also going to struggle defensively.
C Tomás Nido
INF Luis Guillorme
INF José Peraza
OF Albert Almora Jr.
DH/1B José Martínez
The bench got a small bump on Sunday when the Mets added defensive-minded center fielder Albert Amora Jr., Guillermo Heredia was previously projected to occupy that outfield spot. The clear spot to upgrade here is Peraza, he hasn’t been a major league caliber player (-1.0 WAR) over the last two seasons.
Mets have added speedster Mallex Smith and former Yankee Brandon Drury on minor league deals this offseason.
I recently took a look at the Mets lack of infield depth, while examining potential options including trading for Kris Bryant or Eugenio Suárez or dipping into the free agent market where Justin Turner and Jedd Gyorko are options.
RHP Jacob deGrom
RHP Carlos Carrasco
RHP Marcus Stroman
LHP David Peterson
LHP Joey Lucchesi
The Mets rotation depth has seen a complete makeover with trades for Carrasco, Lucchesi, and right-hander Jordan Yamamoto, and Stroman accepting the qualifying offer. Noah Syndergaard’s timeline has him looking at a June return from Tommy John Surgery.
Right-handers Corey Oswalt, Franklyn Kilomé, Jerad Eickhoff, Oscar De La Cruz, and Harol Gonzalez, and lefty Thomas Szapucki serve as further rotation depth. Oswalt and Kilomé are both on the 40-man roster and also out of options.
Despite the numerous additions, the Mets were the runner-up for 2020 National League Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer — even willing to pay him $40 million for the 2021 season. It’s pretty clear the Mets wish to continue upgrading the rotation, lefty James Paxton and righties Jake Odorizzi and Taijuan Walker are among the best options left on the free agent market.
RHP Edwin Díaz
RHP Seth Lugo
RHP Trevor May
RHP Miguel Castro
RHP Dellin Betances
RHP Jeurys Familia
LHP Aaron Loup
RHP Brad Brach
Bringing in both May and Loup help a group that struggled in 2020. They also acquired optionable 40-man roster depth in righties Sam McWilliams, Sean Reid-Foley, Yenssy Diaz, and left-hander Stephen Tarpley. Right-hander Jacob Barnes was claimed off waivers by the Mets very early in the offseason, but he’s out of options.
The Mets have signed lefties Jerry Blevins and Tom Windle to minor league deals, as well as right-handers Arodys Vizcaino, Trevor Hildenberger, and Jared Robinson. Finally, the Mets have right-hander Drew Smith and lefty Daniel Zamora on the 40-man roster with minor league options.
Despite all the acquisitions that the Mets have made to deepening their bullpen, they still have question marks in Betances, Brach, and Familia.
Like I said earlier, the Mets offseason has been a strong one that has bulked up several key positions and improved the overall depth at many others.
However, the defense is still a weak spot in terms of center field, left field, and third base. That entire situation becomes harder to enhance without knowing for sure that the NL with have the universal DH again in 2021. For me, that means that third base is the most likely position we see the Mets add to before Opening Day. That type of move would also likely push Davis to the bench — where he would be a big upgrade over Peraza.
If we find out in the coming days that there will be a universal DH for the upcoming season, signing Jackie Bradley Jr. should become a priority for the Mets. Such a move, would greatly boost the Mets defense in center field with Bradley and in left field with Nimmo. Would also help the Mets defensively at first base, with the likelihood of Smith playing there most days and Alonso being the DH.
I don’t believe the Mets are done on the pitching side either, adding another proven starter would let them shift one of Lucchesi/Peterson to the bullpen. As we saw in just a 60-game season in 2020, having 7 to 8 legitimate big league starters is a must.
Of course, the Mets could also go the bullpen route to help shorten the games for their rotation. Trevor Rosenthal is still a free agent and coming off an elite (1.90 ERA, 1.2 WAR) season in which he dominated right-handed and left-handed hitters.
With the Mets 2021 regular season scheduled to start in less than two months, I expect they will continue to do what they’ve done this entire offseason — look for ways to make the team better and the organization deeper.