1) Brandon Nimmo (CF)
2) Sterling Marte (RF)
3) Francisco Lindor (SS)
4) Pete Alonso (1B)
5) Jeff McNeil (2B/Lf)
6) Bret Baty and Mark Vientos (DH)
7) Eduardo Escobar (3B)
8) Mark Canha (or free agent) (LF)
9) Francisco Alvarez and Tomás Nido (catcher)
1) Brandon Nimmo – Centerfield
Re-signing Nimmo is one of the top priorities for the New York Mets. Nimmo put up another solid season in 2022, and has made himself into the best centerfielder not named Arron Judge.
If the Mets don’t re-sign Nimmo, they would have to replace him with a centerfielder that is either older, or that’s worse in the field, or at bat. And in most cases, that player would be all three. I don’t think Starling Marte is an option for center for the Mets at his age.
Remember also that Pollack, Cain and Springer all got hefty paydays when they were the top free agent centerfielder. Expect the same for Nimmo.
2) Starlin Marte – Right field
Mets fans saw how important Marte was to the lineup once he was injured with the broken finger. The offense all but disappeared when he was out. Keeping Sterling on the field is a priority. Marte also provides steady defense and the best outfield arm in right field.
Some fans have suggested moving Marte to center, if Nimmo leaves. I don’t know if a 34-year-old would hold up over a full season playing centerfield. And we all saw how valuable his bat in the lineup is.
It’s also possible that manager Buck Showalter, and the Mets front office, flip Marte and McNeil in the batting order. I know many Mets fans are hoping this will happen.
3) Francisco Lindor – shortstop
Lindor could also be a candidate to either leadoff -if Nimmo departs- or move into the 2nd hole. Fransisco looked like a new man in 2022, and lead the Mets to the playoffs. His fWAR of 6.8 was tops on the team, and 5th in the National League.
4)Pete Alonso – first base
Pete Alonso is the premier slugging in the National League. Going into his second year of arbitration, it’s possible the Mets look to extend Pete Alonso’s contract. A 5 year, $125 million deal could be in the Polar Bear’s future.
5) Jeff McNeil – second base –
After chasing down the Dodger’s Freedie Freeman to win the National League batting title, it’s possible the Mets move McNeil into the second hole. McNeil could also see time in left field, if the Mets decide to bring back Luis Guilorme in a bench role.
6) Bret Baty and Mark Vientos – Designated hitter –
Yeah, I know, it’s crazy to have the 2 youngest guys on the team as the DH. But they also might be the least capable with the glove. Their bats play, however. With Baty as the lefty, and Vientos as a right hander, there should be plenty of playing time for each. And with some major league coaching – both at the plate in the in field – a year splitting time as DH could really help their development.
Playing these rookies also frees up resources the Mets could use elsewhere, like on pitching. And, if the rookies do struggle, as we’ve seen, there are always plenty of DHes available at the trade deadline.
7) Eduardo Escobar- third base
It’s possible we see an open competition for both 3B and DH going into spring training. Escobar’s experience, fielding and being a switch hitter all work in his favor.
8) Mark Cahna – left field –
Left field is a position where the Mets could spend some money to upgrade the offense. Cahna is a pro, though, and came ready to play everyday in 2022. He always seemed to put himself in a position to be successful.
If Mark Cahna is the Mets starting left fielder, I won’t be too disappointed. I am a bit concerned with both Cahna and Marte slowing down a bit as they get older, or the NL east pitchers and teams learn their habits. Having Cahna on the bench – in favor of a big, free agent bat – only makes the bench that much stronger.
9) Tomás Nido and Fransisco Alvarez – catcher
Nido was a gold glove finalist at catcher this past season. In limited plate appearances, Francisco Alvarez has an OPS pushing .800. It seems like the perfect platoon to me. And I rather see James McCann’s salary spent elsewhere – like pitching.
This leaves a bench of: that day’s back-up catcher (either Nido or Alvarez), Baty or Vientos, and Luis Guilorme. With room for one or two others. A big bat in left field, moving Canha to this bench, certainly makes the Mets that much stronger.
The New York Mets won 101 games in 2022. I don’t see this offense as being worse off, in any way. If the three rookies come around like the scouting reports suggest, all three of them could add significant thump to the lineup, and that means more runs scored for the Mets lineup in 2023.