Opening Day is just eleven days away. The New York Mets roster is finally starting to take shape. However, one thing that still needs to be figured out are the last two bench spots.
There are some obvious candidates that standout. Michael Conforto is having an outstanding spring, hitting .348/.362/.609, but is expected to being the season with the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s to play everyday.
Outfielder Brandon Nimmo is another candidate for the spot. Nimmo, hit .274/.338/.329 last season for the Mets 80 plate appearances in his first taste if the big leagues. However, Nimmo strained his hamstring while playing for Team Italy in the WBC and is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day.
The two likely candidates for the last spots on the Mets bench also played in the World Baseball Classic this spring.
The first guy is utility man Ty Kelly. Kelly, 28, played for Team Israel this spring. In their six tournament games, he hit .208 and had a .571 OPS while playing third base.
Kelly would give the Mets versatility having played six different positions for them last season. He also showed the willingness to take a walk with a .352 OPS in 71 major league plate appearances. Kelly posted a 0.4 fWAR last season in only 39 games showing he can have some value as a 25th man on a roster.
One obstacle for Kelly is that he needs to be added to the 40-man roster that is currently full.
The other candidate is utility infielder T.J. Rivera. Rivera played for team Puerto Rico that lost to the US last night in the WBC championship game. Rivera struggled offensively for Puerto Rico, hitting only .154 but two of his four hits were home runs.
T.J. played first base most of the time for Puerto Rico. That is just another position to add to his resume, as he has the ability to play just about every infield position and saw some time in left field last year.
Rivera hit .333/.345/.476 with four doubles, a triple and three home runs for the Mets in 33 games last season. The 28-year old posted a 0.6 fWAR in the majors while playing first, second and third base.
In Kelly and Rivera, the Mets add some more versatility to an already versatile group. Kelly however, could end up back in Triple-A when Nimmo returns healthy.
Of course, this could all change if the Mets decide to bring back Kelly Johnson who’s still looking for a major league gig.