Opening Night roster coming into focus

Opening Night roster coming into focus

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Less than a week remains before a jet whisks the Mets off to Las Vegas for a quick pit stop en route to Opening Night. While the Mets still have plenty of decisions to make between now and then, their roster is finally coming into shape.

That does not, however, mean constructing an Opening Night roster was, is or will be a straightforward procedure for the defending National League champions. To the contrary, here's a look at what Mets are thinking heading into the final stretch of Grapefruit League games.

Starting lineup
OF Curtis Granderson
3B David Wright
OF Yoenis Cespedes
1B Lucas Duda
2B Neil Walker
LF Michael Conforto
C Travis d'Arnaud
SS Asdrubal Cabrera

Every indication is Cabrera will be healed enough from his left knee injury to play on Opening Night, which means the Mets will be able to proceed with their optimal lineup. Manager Terry Collins has said he would like to use an outfielder as his designated hitter in Kansas City, allowing him also to start Juan Lagares in an improved defensive formation. That means the Mets are counting on Wright to be ready for nine defensive innings -- or at least something close to it -- each night at third base.

Bench
C Kevin Plawecki
OF Lagares
OF Alejandro De Aza
INF Wilmer Flores
INF Matt Reynolds
INF Eric Campbell

That's a six-man bench, made possible by the Mets' odd schedule -- just two games in five calendar days -- to start the season. Should the club decide to carry only five bench players instead, Reynolds would be the likely casualty unless Cabrera suffers a setback. Otherwise, everyone in this group should make the team.

Rotation
RHP Matt Harvey
RHP Noah Syndergaard
RHP Jacob deGrom
LHP Steven Matz
RHP Bartolo Colon

The Mets remain coy regarding their rotation order after Harvey, the Opening Night starter. But Collins has hinted at the likelihood of multiple starting pitchers coming out of the bullpen during the Mets' opening series, creating all sorts of possibilities elsewhere on the roster.

Bullpen
RHP Jeurys Familia
RHP Addison Reed
LHP Antonio Bastardo
LHP Jerry Blevins
RHP Hansel Robles
LHP Sean Gilmartin

Despite the six names above, this is effectively a five-man bullpen, because Robles will be suspended for both games in Kansas City; the Mets feel they can proceed that way given their plan to use starters out of the bullpen. Other relief candidates include right-handers Erik Goeddel and Jim Henderson, both of whom should play significant roles for the Mets this summer. But neither is likely to take the spot of Gilmartin, who is most capable of delivering long-man style innings in a pinch.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.