The Mets open their season on Monday, April 5th against the Florida Marlins.
Between now and then, they have a few holes on the roster that they need to plug.
One hole that they no longer have to worry about is who will be their starting shortstop. Though he may still open the season on the disabled list, Jose Reyes won't miss nearly the time the worst-case scenario of his thyroid condition had him missing.
But other players aren't so secure in their spots.
Johan Santana, John Maine, Mike Pelfrey, and Oliver Perez are going to be four of the Mets' starters. Jon Niese, Fernando Nieve, and Nelson Figueroa are competing for that fifth spot in the rotation. If you go strictly based on spring performance, Figueroa is getting the nod - but Niese will continue to give him a run, I think, because I think Mets management would rather see him get the spot. I suspect if Niese doesn't make the cut, he'll start in the minors, and Nieve looks like he's heading to the bullpen.
There are a few spots in the bullpen that are up for grabs. Hisanori Takahashi has been impressive, and looks like a lock to be pitching in relief - plus, he's lefthanded. Ryota Igarashi has been OK, but I think he'll still grab a spot. Bobby Parnell and Pedro Feliciano will be back. Jenrry Mejia could mess things up for other veterans, like Sean Green. From everything I've seen, if Jerry Manuel had his way, he'd bring Mejia to the majors. I have to think that, with management feeling some heat to perform, they're going to go with the guys who will bring them more instant success, and it looks right now like Mejia is the one who will help them most immediately. So I bet he gets a bullpen spot.
There's a bench spot that's open as well, and some retreads are in the mix for it. Frank Catalanotto and Mike Jacobs are two of the possibilities, as is Chris Carter, who the Mets picked up from the Red Sox and has been lighting it up this spring. I can't for the life of me remember who this was, but I feel like it was Carter in a brief major league showing either last year or the year before. (If I'm wrong, I apologize...I can't think of who else it might have been.) He played the outfield and made a couple of bad throws back to the infield - just a terrible arm. If he makes the Mets, he'd most likely factor in at first base. I would like to see Catalanotto get the nod because of his position flexibility, considering the Mets' recent injury history.
In less than two weeks, we'll have all of the answers...and we'll know exactly who will be contributing to the Mets in 2010.
I can't wait.