1. Zack Wheeler will be a starting pitcher in spring training and will be monitored closely. Terry Collins also said that he might end up being a reliever because they are expecting some sort of innings limit for him, and don’t want to be stuck with the obligation to shut him down late in the season. While Wheeler is a starter, he isn’t a lock for the rotation. Collins said that what he saw Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo do last season is still fresh in his mind, leaving an open competition for the fifth spot in the rotation.It will be exciting to see an open competition for the 5th spot in the rotation this spring as they’re all very talented pitchers. My money is on Rob Gsellman taking the 5th spot with Wheeler starting the season in the MLB bullpen so he can still pitch while limiting his innings. Later in the season, though, I’d expect to see Wheeler back in the rotation.
2. Collins raved about the front office and the great job they did in the offseason keeping the team as is. He loves the depth at his disposal, saying that players are bound to get dinged up but they now have quality Major League talent (namely Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes) to fill in. He also said that bringing back Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas were “huge” moves by the front office in keeping a strong bullpen.The Mets didn’t bring in anyone new this offseason which says a lot about how much confidence the front office has in this Mets team. The only important player that has yet to be re-signed is Kelly Johnson, however with the Mets all around depth, I don’t see a place for him on the roster.
3. The coaching staff is keeping a close eye on the pitchers this spring. They decided that they had been throwing too much too early in recent years, so they will be cutting back early in the spring. The pitchers won’t throw during pitching fielding drills for example, saving hundreds of throws a day. Matt Harvey feels great. Collins had a great quote, “There are two kinds of players, those who’ve been humbled and those who will be.” He says that Harvey was humbled last year and he’s ready to come back in 2017 and make 2016 disappear.Collins recognizes how important pitching is in winning games, so it is good to see them taking steps to make sure the staff is healthy. I love that quote as well and it certainly applies to Harvey. It’s of course uncertain how he will bounce back from this surgery, however his determination and ability make him a likely candidate for Comeback Player of the Year… Again. Zack Wheeler is also a possible candidate for that award.
4. Michael Conforto will not be taking reps at first base as had been previously reported, as Collins says he has enough on his plate as is. He says that Conforto feels great and has trimmed down, with another coach saying he “looks like a center fielder.” In terms of whether or not he will make the team, Collins said that the best 25 guys will make the team out of spring training. The staff will make a decision about Conforto depending on how well he swings the bat in the next month.I agree with the decision to keep Conforto in the outfield. He has enough to worry about in getting his bat to where he wants it to be, and learning a new position would only make it harder. I am a believer that Jay Bruce will be traded during spring training, but if he isn’t, it should be an interesting few weeks to see how well Conforto swings the bat. Whether or not Conforto is in the Majors will most likely come down to whether or not Bruce is on the team come April.
5. Cespedes spent the winter getting in great shape going to the Barwis facility three times a week. The strength and conditioning coaches rave about him and how hard he worked, and so did Collins. Terry also said that Cespedes can feel relaxed because he finally knows where he’s going to be next year and beyond. There won’t be trade rumors or anything to distract him, he can go to the park every day and focus on playing.I have yet to hear anyone in a Mets uniform say anything less than praiseworthy about Yoenis Cespedes. Whatever rumors that swirled about him before his trade to New York seem to be either false or exaggerated. I think he will continue to bash baseballs this season and prove any and all haters wrong.
6. David Wright will be treated as day-to-day going forward. This spring they will get him plenty of at-bats and ground balls but they will be smart about it, making sure to keep him as healthy as possible. They also will get David into games earlier than last year so they can see what he’s got and what he can bring to the table, while being cautious at the same time.We all tend to forget that The Captain is a great baseball player when healthy. The coaching and training staffs will work hard to keep him on the field as often as possible, but as Terry said above, the Mets have great depth and will be able to replace him on a daily basis with a quality MLB player, most likely Jose Reyes.