How an Opening Day roster decision could affect another in early April

The Mets will have to get creative with their roster in early April.
New York Mets v Miami Marlins
New York Mets v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

The addition of J.D. Martinez to the New York Mets roster has us all losing sleep over excitement—or maybe it’s the crippling anxiety dreams of being back at a workplace that left us fearing ever quitting a job ever again. In either case, Mets baseball is coming back and Martinez will be a part of the lineup after a short stint in the minor leagues.

Martinez shouldn’t be in the minors long. Ten days is the minimum. As a result, the Mets will have an extra roster decision to make for Opening Day.

Before this signing, it looked like Mark Vientos would be the DH and a battle was brewing between Ji-Man Choi and DJ Stewart for the last spot. With Vientos already sliding down the depth chart as a result of Martinez’s presence, a lot more should go into this final roster decision while also looking ahead at another. An early April decision they’re already aware of could factor into which bats they have on the bench to begin the year.

The April Mets schedule and their lack of optional pitchers could matter as soon as Opening Day

The 13 straight Mets games without a day off (barring the inevitable rainout) will likely have them dipping into the minor leagues, likely summoning Jose Butto, for a start. Despite not having Kodai Senga around, the team is expected to still utilize the occasional sixth starter. After all, the health of someone like Luis Severino is paramount for the club to succeed. Jose Quintana isn’t exactly remembering his time in the womb either.

When the time comes to call up Butto, the Mets won’t have too many other roster choices. They can send down Tylor Megill but unless they intend to have Butto around for more than one start, they can’t simply reverse the choice. MLB requires ten days to pass before a player can be recalled from the minors. Only an injury will open up a roster spot unless they go shorthanded on the bench.

What does this have to do with Opening Day? In a way, it could mean they pick someone they intend to demote shortly after regardless of the performance. Here’s how they can do it:

-Carry Choi and Stewart on the bench to begin the year

-Activate Martinez and DFA Choi

-Call up Butto and demote Stewart

-Demote Butto and call up Vientos

The names Stewart and Vientos can be interchanged at any point. Having options with both of them and no need for either in the starting lineup makes them interchangeable. Stewart playing the outfield can help, but with Jeff McNeil on the roster, he’s not so necessary for depth.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Mets make it through a full season without an abundance of optional players. The situation with Martinez accepting a minor league assignment to begin the season is a special circumstance. Would other Mets veterans who secretly have options remaining be so kind in the middle of the year? It would be unprecedented and yet a terrific way to consistently have the pitchers rested.