Mets spring training update: Francisco Alvarez is ready, roster cuts, Yacksel Rios

New York Mets v Miami Marlins
New York Mets v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Nobody looks more ready to get to Opening Day than New York Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez. The man is literally trying to hit the ball to Cuba.

An obvious candidate to have a breakout season with the Mets in 2024, Alvarez’s entire professional career has followed a theme of struggling a bit at one level and adjusting the next year at the same level. As promising as his 2023 rookie season was, there were long dips in his production.

Alvarez looks fully prepared for his first Opening Day with the Mets. In the meantime, he should take some words of wisdom from Luis Severino.

The second round of Mets roster cuts

The Mets shocked no one with their latest round of roster cuts. A bit arbitrary considering players will still be eligible to appear in games and they aren’t going anywhere, these are the six who’ve been told they won’t make the Opening Day roster.

Of them, only Nate Lavender seemed to have any realistic shot. Alex Ramirez is a work in progress down on the farm. Grant Hartwig and Josh Walker debuted last year and make the most sense to have in Triple-A as optional arms. The list also includes offseason minor league signings Taylor Kohlwey and Chad Smith who’ll get a chance to climb the depth chart in the regular season.

Curiously left off this list is a pitcher like Reed Garrett who fits into the same category as Hartwig and Walker. He also has minor league options available and yet he stays. Garrett is older than those two so perhaps it’s one extreme or the other. One interpretation is he doesn’t need the reassignment to minor league camp. The other is he’ll end up designated for assignment.

Yacksel Rios closed out the game and continued an impressive spring

Yacksiel Rios picked up the save in Friday’s win over the Miami Marlins with a two-strikeout ninth. That’s three scoreless innings for the 30-year-old this preseason. Not nearly enough to ignore the career 6.32 ERA in just under 100 MLB innings, the control issues have shown up in actual games.

Rios was never a legitimate candidate to make the Opening Day roster and little will change this. However, the intrigue of this flame-throwing righty should be enough to keep him around for the haul of the season—as long as he doesn’t have an opt out in his contract.

Last year in 25.1 Triple-A innings for the Atlanta Braves, Rios was fantastic. He posted a 2.49 ERA and walked fewer than 3 batters per 9. His most successful major league season came back in 2021 as a member of the Boston Red Sox. In those 24.1 innings, he managed to have a 3.70 ERA. Unfortunately, it did come with 5.2 walks and only 7.8 walks per 9.