Mets infielder Francisco Lindor during a spring training workout, Tuesday...

Mets infielder Francisco Lindor during a spring training workout, Tuesday Feb. 13, 2024 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Middle infielders

Entering their fourth season together, shortstop Francisco Lindor and second baseman Jeff McNeil remain the odd-couple double-play combo.

Lindor is the Mets’ best all-around player, a Silver Slugger winner and Gold Glove finalist who received some MVP votes in 2023. It probably isn’t fair to expect him to repeat his 30-homer/30-steal season, but he nonetheless is key to the Mets’ theoretical success.

McNeil’s best skill — putting the ball in play and hitting for a very high average — has failed him in two of the past three years. In the other, he won a batting title. If he stays healthy, which isn’t always the case, bet on him returning to form.


Corner infielders

At first base, the Mets have about as much of a sure thing as exists at the position: Pete Alonso, one of the preeminent sluggers in the game.

At third base, the Mets have as big of a question mark as anywhere on the roster: Brett Baty, who isn’t so much unknown as he is unproven.

Both have the same question attached entering the new season: Will they be playing that position on this team next year?

Alonso is due to be a free agent after 2024, and his return to the Mets is far from guaranteed. Baty struggled  when handed the starting third-base role last year, and if he does so again in the next few months, his future with the organization also will be very much in doubt.



The Mets’ primary offseason objective here was upgrading the defense, which they did by adding Harrison Bader to play centerfield. That means Brandon Nimmo has shifted to left, with Starling Marte — another former centerfielder — returning to his post in right.

Nimmo is a valuable, steady presence as a team leader and at the top of the lineup. Bader and Marte are less reliable.

Bader gets hurt a lot and has never produced much at the plate. If he misses time, it probably will mean Nimmo moving back to center and the Mets’ whole plan out there getting ruined. Marte appears to have overcome the groin issues that plagued him in 2023, but he is 35 and will have to re-prove himself as a well-above-average player.



Francisco Alvarez, still only 22 years old, grabbed the Mets’ starting catcher job last season . . . about a year earlier than they expected.

Now they should reap the benefits of him gaining that experience, from catching and taking command of a pitching staff to hitting major-league pitching to getting more comfortable speaking English and just being around the team in the clubhouse.

Alvarez still has plenty of room for growth, especially offensively, after alternating terrible months with good or great ones  and still ending up with 25 homers. Given his age and stage, anything is possible.



In the third season since the National League permanently adopted the designated hitter rule, the Mets finally have an established option there: J.D. Martinez. His addition on a one-year, $12 million contract a week before Opening Day squeezed Mark Vientos onto the bench or down to the minors.

Martinez was the Mets’ only major offensive addition of the offseason and instantly became the their most accomplished and probably smartest hitter. He is highly regarded as "a hitting savant," as Alonso put it, who is more than happy and able to help his fellow hitters. Oh, and he is a six-time All-Star, including last year with the Dodgers, when he batted .271 with a .893 OPS, 33 homers and 103 RBIs.

The rest of the standard-looking bench is defensively inclined: backup catcher Omar Narvaez, utility infielder Joey Wendle and fourth outfielder Tyrone Taylor. The last spot is in flux but likely will be a bat-first player, potentially even Vientos.



Closer Edwin Diaz is the headliner, back after missing last season because of a right knee injury. That should be one of the more fun storylines and enjoyable aspects of the Mets’ season.

His setup crew looks as if it’ll be fine. There are two returnees in righthander Adam Ottavino and lefthander Brooks Raley, plus a newcomer in lefthander Jake Diekman. Righty Drew Smith, the longest-tenured Mets pitcher, also is back. And the Mets took a low-money chance on righthander Jorge Lopez to see if they can help him regain his All-Star form.

Worth keeping in mind, especially during those inevitable frustrating bullpen nights: All of the above except Diaz can or will be free agents at the end of the season.


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