Mets GM Sandy Alderson addressed the media at Spring Training
By Danny Abriano
Alderson arrived at Spring Training on Wednesday
Mets GM Sandy Alderson weighed in on a host of topics after arriving at Port St. Lucie.
On the impact the trip to the World Series could have on the players:
"Experience is always a positive, I think. Even negative experiences can provide lessons. …This is a great group of young players and veteran players, and there’s leadership up and down the roster. I mean that not just from the standpoint of the older players, but the younger players as well."
The young starting pitchers won’t pitch in the first four or five games of Spring Training, instead easing their way in:
"I think you’ve gotta watch the workload of any pitcher, regardless of whether they’ve had previous Tommy John surgery. …We’re gonna be mindful of their health — not necessarily looking at innings limits — but at the same time making sure that they are as strong and healthy and capable as possible throughout the season."
Asdrubal Cabrera or Neil Walker will likely not play third base when David Wright gets days off:
"I don’t think there will be a lot of sliding over to third base from second or short. It’s a possibility. It’s certainly something we can do, but it’s probably something we’ll try to avoid. And it depends on whether we’re facing a right-handed pitcher or left-handed pitcher on that particular day. Depends on how our right-handed hitters are doing against right-handed pitching."
It’s realistic to expect both Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki to see time at first base and/or the outfield during Spring Training:
"We’re not all that anxious to move Travis from behind the plate. He can be a plus-plus player there. Moving him away from that position creates other issues for us. Kevin is very solid. We brought him up last year, maybe a little bit early from the standpoint of his development. …We’re happy. We have two young, quality guys behind the plate, but I do think we’ll see them playing some different positions through the course of Spring Training."
The Mets are still open to adding a reliever between now and the regular season, but offering a major league deal to one is unlikely:
"We have talked over the last 10 days or so, even before Jenrry’s situation was revealed, about adding some right-handed relief. But I think at this point, we’re more likely to see what happens over the course of Spring Training."
Rafael Montero could be used as either a starter or reliever:
"He’s certainly rotation depth — something we don’t have as much of as we did maybe at this point last year. …We’ve gotta get Rafael back pitching consistently, and that’s the first step before we really determine his role. …I would hesitate to designate him one or the other."
The Mets slowed down Zack Wheeler‘s rehab due to the “new paradigm” regarding Tommy John recovery:
"He could’ve been on track to pitch in May, but sort of given the new paradigm that at least we are following with respect to Tommy John, we backed him up a bit. So, we’re looking at the first of July. It could be a little earlier than that. But we have very high expectations for Zack, coming back not just from the surgery, but pain-free for one of the first times in his career."
His cancer diagnosis before the playoffs was “surreal” and his prognosis is good:
"It was a little bit odd, but the great thing about the postseason was it was a distraction and that time. …I feel very well. I have therapy every couple of weeks and the side effects have not been significant. I’ve been working really since the Winter Meetings, pretty much full time. …I feel great, I’m ready to go."
One of Alderson’s most interesting comments was regarding d’Arnaud and Plawecki seeing playing time at positions besides catcher. While he suggested they would both see some time at first base and/or the outfield during Spring Training, he seemed protective of keeping d’Arnaud behind the plate for the most part — and that’s exactly where he should be.
Of the two, d’Arnaud is the one with the most potential, and he should be the regular catcher. Plawecki, who will be the backup catcher, should be the one who is given more exposure to other positions.
Regarding the young starting pitchers not appearing in games until the sixth game of Spring Training or so, that’s something Alderson has been mentioning for the last few weeks. It’s a way to ease them in to the season, but Alderson noted they should be up around 90 pitches or so by the time Spring Training ends. That should allow them to throw between 100 and 105 pitches out of the gate.
As far as adding a reliever is concerned, while it would be nice to have even more stability, the Mets really do have some solid options behind the expected core of Jeurys Familia, Addison Reed, Antonio Bastardo, Hansel Robles, and Jerry Blevins. And Josh Edgin is expected to return around May 1.
Next: Jeurys Familia is getting a custom entrance song
For the time-being, it’s expected that Logan Verrett, Erik Goeddel, Sean Gilmartin, Jim Henderson, Seth Lugo, Jeff Walters, and perhaps a few others will compete for the final two spots in the bullpen.