Kodai Senga of the Mets throws his 200th strikeout to end the...

Kodai Senga of the Mets throws his 200th strikeout to end the third inning against the Marlins in the second game of a doubleheader at Citi Field on Sept. 27, 2023. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Congratulations. You have almost made it through another long — and occasionally boring — Mets offseason.

Their pitchers and catchers will report to spring training in Port St. Lucie, Florida, on Feb. 12, with their first workout two days later and the rest of the team following suit during the ensuing week.

Among the themes of camp: There won’t be as much sizzle and hype as in the recent past. President of baseball operations David Stearns and the front office are fine with that, though, in their quest to build — in their words — a team that can contend for a playoff spot.

With that comes more uncertainty about the Opening Day roster. Before the inevitable twists that come during camp, here is our best educated guess.

  

THE ROTATION (5):

RHP Kodai Senga

RHP Luis Severino

LHP Jose Quintana

LHP Sean Manaea

RHP Adrian Houser

For the first time since 2018, before Jacob deGrom won his first, the Mets are heading into a season without a Cy Young Award winner in the rotation. Senga is the closest thing they have to an ace.

The rest of the group consists of someone trying to rebound from the worst year of his career (Severino), someone who will try to make the second half of his 30s as successful as the first half (Quintana) and a pair of guys trying to make the jump (back) to being full-time members of the rotation (Manaea and Houser).

The next men up are Tylor Megill and Joey Lucchesi in some order; both will be relied on if the Mets aggressively use a sixth starter, as they did last year. David Peterson, once he recovers from hip surgery, and Jose Butto also represent depth options. By the end of the season, another wave of pitching prospects should start to filter up to the majors. That includes Mike Vasil, Christian Scott, Blade Tidwell and Tyler Stuart.

  

THE LINEUP (9):

C Francisco Alvarez

1B Pete Alonso

2B Jeff McNeil

3B Brett Baty

SS Francisco Lindor

LF Brandon Nimmo

CF Harrison Bader

RF Starling Marte

DH Mark Vientos

The biggest potential wrinkle here: Will the Mets sign a DH? They don’t seem particularly inclined to do so, in part because one of their goals this season is to see what they have in their younger players. Giving Vientos a real shot — on the heels of positive signs last September — should be part of that.

The infield appears mostly set. Baty, however, will need to prove with his performance that he deserves to be the regular third baseman.

Bader probably won’t be the everyday centerfielder in a literal sense, but he should be there most days. His presence allows the Mets to move Nimmo to left, basically giving them two centerfielders in the same outfield.

  

THE BENCH (4):

C Omar Narvaez

OF Tyrone Taylor

IF Joey Wendle

OF/DH DJ Stewart

Stewart is positioned to be the backup at DH and rightfield, the latter of which could yield more playing time depending on Marte’s health. His groin caused him major problems last season — creating an opportunity for Stewart, who seized it — so the Mets are in wait-and-see mode on that front. On days when Vientos doesn’t play, Stewart and Marte could share time at DH and rightfield, in whatever combination.

Taylor, one of Stearns’ imports from his former team, the Brewers, can play all three outfield spots. A source of minor intrigue: When Bader doesn’t play, will the Mets simply insert Taylor in center, allowing Nimmo to focus exclusively on leftfield? Or will they have Nimmo toggle between left and center?

  

THE BULLPEN (8):

RHP Edwin Diaz

RHP Adam Ottavino

LHP Brooks Raley

LHP Jake Diekman

RHP Jorge Lopez

RHP Drew Smith

RHP Shintaro Fujinami

RHP Michael Tonkin

The entire feel around this unit changed with the late-offseason return of Ottavino and the additions of Diekman, who fills the important role of a second lefty, and Fujinami, who throws hard but was mostly ineffective as a rookie in 2023. That means more solidified names and less competition in spring training.

The final, say, two spots probably will be up for grabs during camp. At the outset, we favor one reliever who is considered to have a high ceiling but is eligible to be sent to the minors (Fujinami) and one regarded highly enough by the Mets that he received a split contract and thus is on the 40-man roster (Tonkin). Tonkin was solid in a multi-inning role for Atlanta last year, posting a 4.28 ERA in 45 appearances (80 innings).

Among the others who will be looking to grab those jobs: Phil Bickford and Sean Reid-Foley, both of whom are out of minor-league options; Austin Adams, another split-contract recipient; 40-man arms including Grant Hartwig, Josh Walker and Reed Garrett, and a bunch of non-roster options. Yes, it’s crowded.

The fun part of this section of the roster is Diaz’s return after he missed last season because of a knee injury. Diaz, Ottavino and Raley are the late-inning core, but the Mets will need more than that — meaning there is plenty of room for others to pitch their way into the high-leverage picture.

KEY DATES

Pitchers, catchers report: Feb. 12

First workout: Feb. 14

Full squad reports: Feb. 17

First workout: Feb. 19

First exhibition game: Feb. 24 (vs. Cardinals)

Opening Day: March 28 (vs. Brewers)

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