With Opening Day less than two weeks away, New York Mets third baseman, J.D. Davis, and manager, Luis Rojas spoke with WCBS Newsradio 880 as part of the program’s “2021 Mets Preview Special.”
During his interview, Davis talked about his personal performance and how spring training is going for the team.
Meanwhile, the Mets skipper shed some light on the positive influence he’s seen from their offseason acquisitions both on and off the field, in addition to a scoop about how the pitching staff could shake out once April rolls around.
Davis blames shortened 2020 season on Mets failures last season
After bursting onto the scene during his Mets debut in 2019, Davis seemingly hit a roadblock in 2020 along with the rest of his team. In an interview with Mets Radio Host, Ed Coleman, Davis made the case that had the season been longer, the team would have gone further.
“We had a top five offense last year, average and all that. We got on base, we just never really got to score any runs, when you compare 2019 to 2020. I think that just has to do with more of the 60 games than if you go to 162 games.”
Although Davis expressed his confidence in the team’s determination to reach the postseason this year, let us hope that with a star-infused roster – thanks the work of the new regime – banking on ‘getting hot in the second half’ is not the crutch or mentality they lean on heading into the season.
Fans expect to see a consistent winner with an above .500 record day-in and day-out.
Davis also spoke about working with Mets third base coach, Gary Disarcina, saying that he feels confident he’ll be able to shore up the left side of the infield with teammate, Francisco Lindor. When pressed about playing next to the best shortstop in the league, Davis remarked, “He glides all over the infield. It’s impressive.”
The co-leader of The Cookie Club is expected to be the starting third base once the season starts, and also took this opportunity to share his optimism with fans that he’ll be ready to man the hot corner on a regular basis as they strive for a World Series title – a feat this franchise has not celebrated in 35 years.
Rojas comments on Mets newcomers, spring training, and pitching
Returning for his second-year as the Mets skipper, Luis Rojas spoke in his own interview with Wayne Randazzo and Coleman to comment on the additions of Lindor and Carlos Carrasco.
“[Lindor’s] just perfect,” he said, “that’s the best way to describe it. We all want to win, and this kid is coming with a lot of winning experience, great abilities, and I know his personality. We spoke on the phone for the first time after acquiring him and immediately I felt that energy and that winning mentality and that’s exactly what he’s brought from day one.”
No comment was made on Lindor’s current contract negotiations with the organization, which many have projected to surpass $300 million in total value if/when both sides are able to come to an agreement prior to the start of season.
From watching the development of the younger players early on in camp to working with the Mets expected Opening Day players, Rojas also recounted how exciting the spring has been.
“Starting with our young prospects … that was exciting to watch them play. … but now the guys that we acquired in the offseason, they’re also very exciting to watch daily and observe them in the clubhouse, in the way they carry themselves – in some of the things that they bring to the team, not only on the field.”
Rojas even mentioned James McCann, Kevin Pillar, and Albert Almora Jr. as specific pick-ups who, so far, have performed well in camp and are turning out to be great presences in the clubhouse.
On Carrasco, Rojas noted that, “he’s going to be there when the season starts, and we feel that he’s going to be there when the season starts. So, we’ll just follow through his progression. Next step is to throw a live in a couple of days and then we’ll see if we can include him in games.”
However, it appears these plans will surely be nixed by the news following this interview, regarding Carrasco’s right hamstring tear in addition to the sore elbow he was already in the process of rehabbing.
What remains now is to decide who will fill the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation with a competitive pool of pitching depth to choose from.
When answering questions about how the back end of the rotation is going to shake out, even Rojas admitted, “That’s a tough one,” adding that David Peterson, Jordan Yamamoto, and Joey Lucchesi have each performed well enough to earn that fifth spot.
Now it seems answering that question won’t be so tough.
Coming off a short season last year, teams will need depth in their pitching staffs and that bodes well for the Mets who left no stone unturned in adding pitchers like Yamamoto, Lucchesi, Jerad Eickhoff, and even Corey Oswalt; all of whom have had solid performances this spring and will act as true depth once the season starts as players who can toe the rubber when called upon.
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Overall, fans should expect big things from the orange and blue in 2021, and that will be due in no small part to Davis, Lindor, and Carrasco’s projected performances.