The Mets return as one of the National League’s favorites, but if they have an Achilles heel, it’s their defense, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes. The team’s two key new position players, Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera, rate as significantly below average at their positions, adding to a team defense that was exposed in the World Series last year. “We’re always looking to upgrade both offensively and defensively,” says Mets GM Sandy Alderson. “But I’d say generally speaking, we have a bias toward offense. I think you see that reflected up the middle for us – (Travis) D’Arnaud, Cabrera, Walker, (Yoenis) Cespedes.” Of course, as Rosenthal notes, the Mets’ pitching staff still figures to have a very high strikeout rate, and the offense should be potent. I’d add that while the Mets’ up-the-middle defense doesn’t look to be strong in 2016, and while the team’s defense struggled at times in late October, the Mets’ 2015 fielders actually graded out decently overall. They’ll also be returning some of their better-rated defenders, including Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson and the improving d’Arnaud, along with many pitchers who have posted good defensive numbers. Here’s more from New York.
- The Mets will be very careful this season with their young pitchers’ health, writes MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. The team will have Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz all begin Grapefruit League action a bit late, and will monitor their progress throughout the season. “We’ve got to get them ready, but it will be a slower process,” says manager Terry Collins. “And we will be careful of them early in the season, because we expect them to be pitching in October again.”
- Jim Henderson, one of the Mets’ non-roster invitees, has a June 15 opt-out on his minor league contract, Newsday’s Marc Carig tweets. Henderson has not pitched in the Majors since 2014 and threw only 35 2/3 innings in 2015 while making his way back from a shoulder injury, so as Carig notes, the opt-out gives the Mets a bit of time to evaluate his progress.