NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Opening Day is just two weeks away and the New York Mets look like it's all systems go for a special 2021 season as the team looks to build on an optimistic offseason.
Manager Luis Rojas, who joined Mets radio broadcasters Wayne Randazzo and Ed Coleman for our 2021 Mets Preview Special on Tuesday, said it's been an exciting spring in Port St. Lucie.
"Early, starting with our young prospects, that was exciting to watch them play," Rojas said. "Now the guys that we acquired in the offseason, they've also been very exciting to watch on a daily basis in the clubhouse and the way they carry themselves and some of the things that they bring to the team not only on the field... I think everyone is working hard, getting to know these guys and seeing how they go about their business."
Among the highlights of the offseason was the arrival of All-Star Francisco Lindor, who brings an energy and winning mentality to the team.
Rojas said they jokingly refer to him as "Coach Lindor" because he demands the best version of himself and his teammates every single day.
"He's just perfect, that's the best way to describe it," Rojas said. "We all want to win and this kid is coming with a lot of winning experience, great abilities, and I know his personality. We spoke on the phone for the first time after acquiring him and immediately I felt that energy and that winning mentality and that's exactly what he's brought from day one."
Another player getting plenty of attention is pitcher Carlos Carrasco, a late arrival to camp.
Carrasco has said he'll be ready for Opening Day and threw for the first time Tuesday after elbow soreness left him sidelined for a few days.
Rojas said Carrasco threw 18 pitches and felt great, so they'll continue to watch his buildup and progression.
"He feels he's going to be there when the season starts and we feel that he's going to be there when the season starts," Rojas said. "So we'll just follow through his progression. Next step is to throw a live in a couple of days and then we'll see if we can include him in games."
If Carrasco is ready to go for the first week of the season, that leaves many wondering what the final pitching rotation may look like.
Assuming Marcus Stroman, Taijuan Walker, Jacob deGrom and Carrasco make the list that begs the question: who's in the lead for fifth spot?
"That's a tough one," Rojas said. "We know that (David) Peterson's earned a right to be there. He pitched the other day, he let some pitches out over the middle of plate, but the stuff is there, he's trying mid-90s, he's got the slider, and now the changeup touch has gotten a lot better and he's flipping the curveball every now and then as well. So he's expanding his repertoire a little more and probably going to increase the percentages of some pitches just to have some more in the opposing hitter's head. But you gotta say that he's the top guy for that fifth spot but the race is tight cause you have a guy like (Jordan) Yamamoto, who's been pitching consistently too, and you also have a guy like (Joey) Lucchesi who threw the other day and he cruised through two innings. So we're looking at it to develop more in the next week and then we'll be closer for that decision."