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Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Mets roster projection 2013.03

By Adam Rubin

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.

The final bullpen spot now looks to favor (7) submariner Greg Burke, whom Collins labels a groundball machine, over hard-throwing prospect Jeurys Familia.

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.”

With Johan Santana slated to open the year on the DL, the rotation is straightforward: (8) Jonathon Niese, (9) Shaun Marcum, (10) Matt Harvey, (11) Dillon Gee and (12) Jeremy Hefner.

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.

On the position-player side, the biggest question is whether David Wright and Daniel Murphy will be ready.

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.

The five outfielders in that scenario: (18) Lucas Duda, (19) Collin Cowgill, (20) Jordany Valdespin, (21) Marlon Byrd and (22) Mike Baxter.

(23) Anthony Recker makes sense over Landon Powell as the backup catcher, if for no other reason than Recker is the one on the 40-man roster.

And that leaves the two backup infield spots.

Scouts believe (24) Omar Quintanilla has beaten out Brandon Hicks for the backup shortstop job, even though Hicks in the one on the 40-man roster.

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.