What might a Mets playoff roster look like?
Imagine if the Mets had made the playoffs this season. Given so many season-ending injuries and so much roster uncertainty, constructing a capable playoff roster would be a monumental task. Here’s a stab at what one might have looked like:
Catcher: Anthony Recker, Juan Centeno
Travis d’Arnaud had surgery earlier this week to remove a bone chip from his right elbow, in what sounded like a painful injury. It’s doubtful d’Arnaud would have been able to contribute to the playoff push, leaving the Mets stuck with Recker and Centeno. Top prospect Kevin Plawecki, even if ready (he’s not), would not have been eligible for the postseason roster.
Infield: Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, Wilmer Flores, David Wright, Ruben Tejada, Eric Campbell
A monster plot line would have been Wright’s left shoulder health heading into the playoffs. Assuming an in-contention Mets team would have shut their third baseman down at the same point they actually did this September, Wright would now be two weeks into a six-week rehab and strengthening program. Would that have been enough for the Mets to carry him on their postseason roster? Perhaps they would have proceeded how the Nationals are with Ryan Zimmerman, using him off the bench with potential for a spot start against left-handed pitching.
Outfield: Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Matt den Dekker, Eric Young Jr.
Granderson and Nieuwenhuis are locks, while Young provides the late-inning speed that most playoff teams crave off the bench. The big question here would have been the health of Lagares, who sprained his right elbow late in September. If Lagares was not ready to go, the Mets would have been forced to use Nieuwenhuis in center on an everyday basis (assuming he had fully recovered from the infection that hospitalized him over the season’s final weekend — yeesh, the Mets really were a mess heading into October).
Rotation: Zack Wheeler, Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee
Sorry, Matt Harvey, but the Mets would certainly have mimicked the 2012 Nationals, who lost a five-game Division Series to the Cardinals while Tommy John patient Stephen Strasburg sat unused on the bench. Though Harvey likely would have protested both publicly and privately, the Mets would not sacrifice any part of his future for this fictional playoff run.
Sorry, also, to Rookie of the Year favorite Jacob deGrom, who rubbed up against an innings limit late in September. DeGrom had a few innings left at the end of the season, but not enough to start. Instead, the Mets might have placed him in the…
Bullpen: Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Josh Edgin, Carlos Torres, deGrom, Buddy Carlyle, Rafael Montero, Dario Alvarez
Mejia, Familia, Edgin and Torres would have been the four locks, with deGrom a strong bet to make this group as long as he was not starting. Injuries to Vic Black and Dana Eveland may have been serious enough for the Mets to give them more rest, perhaps hoping to add them to the roster in later rounds. That left room for both Caryle and Montero, another rookie up against an innings limit. Though Alvarez did not do much to distinguish himself in September, Terry Collins would have adored the idea of a second left-hander in his bullpen.
Snubs: Harvey (have to protect that shoulder), Black (likewise), Eveland (his elbow was cranky), d’Arnaud (too injured), Bobby Abreu (too ineffective), Dilson Herrera (not quite ready at age 20), Gonzalez German (the Mets had better options).