Opening Day 2024 Is Here!

Opening Day 2024 Is Here!

By: Dan Bartels

The good old day before Spring Training, a day in which fans can anticipate the baseball season and look back on what Spring Training has shown each respective fanbase. In the case of the Mets, the results are pretty cut and dry. Let’s take a look at the Mets Spring Training, results along with additional signings, as this team gets ready for a slightly weather-delayed Opening Day. 

 

The most glaring signing of recent has been once-free agent J.D. Martinez, who recently joined the Mets on a one-year, $12 million contract. After a great season with the Dodgers last year in which Martinez posted a great stats line of 113 GP | BA .271 | 33 HR. While age is a concern for Martinez, who is now 36 going on 37 by the year's end, he feels he has enough in the tank in order to make an impact. Martinez is strictly a DH at this point in his career and will be in that role for the Mets once he gets situated in Triple-A Syracuse. Mets fans can anticipate Martinez to make his debut around April 7th when the Mets plate the Cincinnati Reds. The Mets signaled to the rest of the league in acquiring J.D. Martinez that they are serious about contending, now it’s up to how Martinez does moving forward, as he has completely changed the look of the Mets lineup.

 

In terms of other pieces, the Mets look to build upon last season. The usual suspects who come to mind are Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo, and Jeff McNeil. Alonso is in a potential walk year with his ability to hit free agency after this season. This is a storyline worth following as the season goes on. The Mets announced Sunday morning that INF Zack Short will make the team. He provides extreme flexibility and versatility in playing multiple positions, which will come in handy as the DH position will be strictly manned by Martinez. This decision ultimately forced Mark Vientos down to Triple-A Syracuse to begin the year. What was likely an extremely tough decision, the Mets and David Stearns feel Vientos is a “professional” and that this decision will only provide more motivation as the season goes on. Sure, I would you have liked to see Mark Vientos get some reps for that week and a half before Martinez arrives. At the end of the day, the only place that Mark Vientos could get continual reps at the third base is at the Triple-A level. The third base position is Brett Baty’s to lose as of now, but that is another interesting story to follow as the season develops. 

 

Looking back at Spring Training, certain pieces have proven themselves well over the course of the Spring. With Kodai Senga recently throwing at Citi Field this week, it’s certainly a positive in their pitching department that was otherwise not as strong as prior years. If the Mets are going to have a downfall this year, it will likely be because of their starting pitching. To his credit, Luis Severino has looked amazing this spring, still being able to reach the upper 90s on his fastball, bolstering this rotation of Jose Quintana, Sean Manaea, Adrian Houser, and Tylor Megill, who have all shown their respective promise so far. The Mets bullpen is certainly solid and generally has proven that over the course of camp. This, as well as having pieces such as flamethrower Shintaro Fujinami in Triple-A getting proper seasoning and ready to be deployed at a moments notice is a major plus. The Mets bullpen should not be the issue, but you have to wonder how much taxation will be put on their arms, and how early in the season. If the Mets are going to their bullpen in the 5th and 6th innings on most nights, that likely will be a problem long-term, and something fans will be able to sense pretty quickly. 

 

Another thing the Mets fans will be able to sense very quickly is how good of a grasp first-year manager Carlos Mendoza has over his club. Whenever you are dealing with a manager in their first year without real prior experience of managing, question marks will be raised. So far, the players have gravitated towards “Mendy” and hopefully he’s able to ease any bumps that will appear along the way. With many unanswered questions, at least Met fans should have a sense of relief in terms of the way Spring Training went, leaving fewer of those questions unanswered.  

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