By the standards of the New York Mets, used to chaos and uncertainty, the first three weeks of their preparation for the 2021 season have been near perfect.
New York opened the doors of its training headquarters in Port St. Lucie, Florida, on February 17, full of optimism for an improved roster that could lead to its first appearance in five years in the major league postseason.
The team led by Luis Rojas is 3-2 in its first exhibition games, but more importantly, with three weeks to go until the opening day of the regular season, nothing extraordinary has happened outside of the initial plan.
“For me, the training has gone better than I thought,” Rojas told ESPN Digital during a conference call via Zoom from Clover Park.
“I expected everything to be clean, in order, everyone working collaboratively, but it has been better than that. [El coach de banca] Dave Jauss has done an incredible job preparing the day to day and making adjustments with the uncertainty that there is sometimes, due to weather, some players who need the day off, among other things, “said Rojas.
“Everything can be damaged due to the timing of the plans. He makes adjustments easy and keeps everything fluid,” he added. Since the end of last year’s coronavirus-shortened season, in which they were tied with the Washington Nationals for last place in the NL East at 26-34, the Mets had an organizational shakeup, starting for a change of owner.
In November, Steve Cohen completed the acquisition of the Queens club for $ 2.4 billion from the Wilpon family. Then there were several player movements, the most important being a change with the Cleveland Indians that sent the brilliant Puerto Rican shortstop to The Big Apple. Francisco Lindor and the Venezuelan pitcher Carlos Carrasco.
Lindor, who will be a free agent after the season, has energized the entire field with his dedication and bright smile. Extending his long-term contract is one of the pending tasks that the Mets have before playing their first official game, on April 1 in Washington.
Carrasco, a leukemia survivor, has been handled with care and is expected to make his first spring appearance this weekend and be ready to join the rotation that leads the star right. Jacob deGrom, who has already been announced for its third consecutive inaugural opening.
“He is increasing his quota of work. We will see him soon. We feel good where he is to start the season,” Rojas said of Carrasco.
DeGrom, Marcus Stroman, Taijuan Walker and those who fight for fifth place in the rotation are working without problems, something that also happens with relievers Trevor May, Aaron Wolf, Dellin Betances, Edwin Diaz Y Jeurys Family, among others. Betances and Familia have not looked dominant, but they are healthy.
Of the position players with guaranteed jobs (Lindor, the catcher James McCann, the 1B Pete Alonso, el 1B-OF Dominic Smith, the middlemen Jeff McNeil Y Jonathan Villar, the third baseman JD Davis and the gardeners Michael Comfort, Brandon Nimmo, Kevin Pillar Y Albert Almora Jr.), none are currently injured.
The Venezuelan Jose Martinez, who fights a space as a substitute for several positions, injured his left knee during Sunday’s game against the Miami Marlins and will miss about four months, a more regrettable news for the player, than for the team,
Syndergaard, who is scheduled to return from Tommy John surgery in June, added breaking pitches to his recent bullpen sessions and would soon begin facing hitters in batting practice. Lugo, who had an elbow cleaning on February 16, would start shooting in the first week of April and if rehab goes well, he would join the club in May.
Among the players who are on the Mets’ training field as guests without roster spots, Rojas pointed to some who have made the best impression in the first few weeks.
“I was very impressed [el relevista] Arodys Vizcaino. [El receptor] Bruce Maxwell it looked pretty good, too [el infielder] Jose Peraza. I would not want to leave anyone out, young boys alike, but the ones I mentioned have looked very good, “said Rojas.
Rojas and the operations office that Sandy Alderson runs will still have three weeks and plenty of innings and at-bats before making a final-spots decision for a 26-player roster that was nearly settled when training began.
In baseball, especially for the Mets as of late, that’s very good news.
“Everything has gone quite well, better than I expected,” said Rojas.