PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Even something as seemingly arbitrary as the seating arrangement in the clubhouse can offer a sense of where a team stands at the start of spring training.
Consider the Mets, a team that has barely changed, though those changes are not insignificant.
“You don’t very often come to spring training with a camp of 50-something guys and have 52 returning from the year before,” manager Terry Collins said.
The prime real estate in the Mets’ spring training clubhouse is near the corners of the room — where there often is extra space and ample cover from buzzing reporters — and those areas often are populated by familiar faces.
Jose Reyes will be back at Mets camp for the first time since 2011. He reclaimed a spot in one of the desired corners, right next to longtime friend David Wright.
Lucas Duda, who had graduated to that corner position (he had taken over for Ike Davis), was moved a few lockers down.
In another corner, there is another big void to be filled. During Bartolo Colon’s tenure with the Mets, his locker became a gathering spot for other players. It wasn’t uncommon for Colon to hold court, particularly with the younger Spanish-speaking players in the room.
But with Colon gone, the space now belongs to one of the players who often had been part of those locker-side chats: closer Jeurys Familia.
And just as he will be out of the bullpen this season, Familia is flanked by setup man Addison Reed, who earned a move down relievers’ row.
The starting pitchers — Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler — are all lined up together along one wall.
“You already see them feeding off one another,” Collins said. “Those guys, they’re sitting there at their lockers together, and they’re already excited about the fact that there’s going to be a little competition between them, and rightly so.”
Jay Bruce began the offseason as the most likely Mets player to be traded. He wasn’t. Now his locker looks a bit out of place, along the wall that is mostly occupied by catchers.