Terry Collins’ pronouncement that the Mets expect to carry two left-handers in the bullpen makes the roster composition significantly clearer.
With Frank Francisco set to open the season on the DL with a slow comeback from elbow inflammation, (1) Bobby Parnell serves as the closer. (2) Brandon Lyon should be the primary righty set-up man, with (3) LaTroy Hawkins, (4) Scott Atchison and (5) lefty Josh Edgin claiming spots.
(6) Pedro Feliciano remains the safest bet to serve as the second lefty, with the competition otherwise coming from Robert Carson (who is on the 40-man roster) and Scott Rice, who has never pitched at the major league level.
Reading between the lines, Collins seemed to hint Familia would open at Triple-A Las Vegas. Asked if Familia had a “good chance” of being on the major league roster, Collins defined it only as “a chance.”
“Now it’s about commanding both the pitches,” Collins said about Familia’s sinker and changeup. “He’s made strides in the quality of pitches, but right now it’s all about throwing them where he wants to.”
That would ticket Aaron Laffey for Las Vegas’ rotation, unless Marcum's shoulder issue persists and lands him on the DL to open the season.
Let’s assume Collins ends up being correct, and (13) Wright is ready, while Murphy opens the season on the DL. That makes (14) Justin Turner the starting second baseman in an infield that also includes (15) John Buck, (16) Ike Davis and (17) Ruben Tejada.
And that leaves the two backup infield spots.
So the question, assuming that is correct becomes: Do the Mets carry Hicks as the second backup infielder until Murphy is activated? Or do they just go with Zach Lutz? Given the 40-man roster crunch, it seems to make more sense that (25) Lutz is briefly carried and Hicks ends up on waivers to free a 40-man roster spot. Lutz is on the 40-man roster.
Hicks is out of options, so waivers is in the offing anyway if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster.
In the above scenario, the Mets would need to clear 40-man roster spots for Byrd, Atchison, Hawkins, Feliciano and Quintanilla.
The most vulnerable would seem to be Reese Havens, Hicks, Elvin Ramirez and Cesar Puello.