We are one sleep away from Opening Day!
Tomorrow we will introduce our first series preview issue of the year. It will include a lot of the graphics we have worked together to perfect during the offseason. We want this newsletter to act as a tool that you can reference while you watch the games, as much as it is a place to learn what happened, why it happened and for you to offer your own thoughts in the comments and chat.
If you haven’t already downloaded the Substack app, we highly recommend that you do. We will have a live chat during the game on Thursday, and during games throughout the season. If you prefer using your laptop or ol’ fashioned PC, you can access the chat here.
Today, I’m going to jump around on a few topics and discuss what concerns us most heading into the season. But first, let’s catch you up on the latest news.
🤕 SURGERY: Despite receiving initial positive reports, right-hander Bryce Montes de Oca will undergo arthroscopic surgery today to remove bone fragments from his right elbow, per Russell Dorsey. The expected timeline for recovery is four months. Eeek!
👍 GOOD TO GO: Carlos Carrasco threw 70 pitches in a minor league game on Tuesday in prep of his first regular season start next Monday. Recent acquisition Dylan Bundy threw a simulated game.
CATCHING: Omar Narváez will be the Opening Day catcher for Max Scherzer. He is expected to split duties with Tomás Nido, although manager Buck Showalter noted it won’t be a straight platoon situation.
💰 BIG SPENDER: MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred acknowledged Mets owner Steve Cohen is operating within the rules of the game, but thinks the spending disparity proves baseball has a problem.
“What Steve spent in the offseason was completely consistent with all of our rules. He perfectly had every right to spend those dollars,” Manfred said during a live recording of The Show podcast with Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman. “There are actually real benefits for the game associated with that spending. It does energize the Mets’ fan base.
“The downside is spending at that level, particularly at a level that kind of steps away from everybody else, emphasizes a problem that baseball, since I started in 1987, has grappled with. And that is the disparity in the revenues that are generated in our markets produces a challenge in terms of competitive balance.”
🚜 DOWN ON THE FARM: Catcher Kevin Parada and right-hander Blade Tidwell will open the year with High-A Brooklyn, per Tim Healey.
Meanwhile, the 2023 Syracuse Mets roster has been finalized, and it’s a fun one, with several of the organization’s top prospects, including Francisco Álvarez and Brett Baty.
🍻 PARTY CITI: The Mets will open “The K Korner” in the old McFadden's location on Seaver Way this season for fans to enjoy food and beverages on game days.
Now that we have moved on from the discussion about the Mets’ 26th man or 13th reliever in the bullpen, we can take a wider look at the roster in preparing for Opening Day.
What concerns us about this team? Let’s discuss three main things, in no particular order.
🔷 The Lineup
Steve Cohen is learning to be more careful with his words. He admitted he wish he didn’t put a timeline on winning the World Series during his first press conference as owner. He also probably regrets noting the team needed “one more hitter” when they almost signed Carlos Correa.
But do they need one more hitter? To help us answer that question, I pulled projections for the Mets, Braves and Phillies, using a projected Opening Day lineup against a right-handed starter, and sorting by wRC+.
As you can see, the Mets clearly have a deeper lineup than the Phillies, who limp into the season without Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins. Philly hopes to make the best of multiple platoon situations with Josh Harrison and Edmundo Sosa taking at-bats against left-handed starters. But they are clearly reeling after losing two key sluggers.
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