The New York Mets are still alive for the playoffs even if the odds of actually getting to the Wild Card game remain slim. Even if the Mets can’t finish the job and get to the postseason, it would be quite the story if they pulled off a miracle and got to October baseball. The Mets would almost certainly be hitting the road for a one game playoff, and that would require a 25 man roster of its own. Baseball’s rules allow teams to create a 25 man roster for just the Wild Card game and make changes if they were to advance into the Division Series, but for today’s exercise let’s attempt to construct the Mets’ ideal Wild Card roster.
Starting Lineup (8)
Wilson Ramos, Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, Amed Rosario, Todd Frazier, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis
This group of eight is the Mets’ best offensive lineup right now, and it has pretty good defensive ability as well, particularly on the infield. The Mets were shut out the last time they were in the Wild Card game, so expect them to prioritize offense if they get this far. Whether the opposing team starts a righty or a lefty could influence a player or two, but this should be the base eight.
Starting Pitchers (4)
Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Steven Matz
Since this is a one-game situation, the Mets don’t need to carry all five of their starters. That would mean leaving one starter off the roster, presumably to be ready to start Game 1 of the Division Series, and that would probably be Zack Wheeler. deGrom is the obvious choice to start, and he is lined up to start a potential Wild Card game, so that makes sense. Syndergaard has worked in relief before, memorably in Game 5 of the 2015 NLDS, so he could help bridge the gap from deGrom to the end of the game. Stroman offers value as a ground ball pitcher with postseason experience while Matz got bullpen work this year and would offer another lefty out of the pen.
Seth Lugo, Justin Wilson, Luis Avilan, Brad Brach, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Paul Sewald
Since this is one game, expect the Mets to carry an 11 man pitching staff for the day. The order they are listed is the most likely the Mets will go to them in the game, with Lugo and Wilson the most trusted options to get a call. If the Mets had their way, they would get a strong start from deGrom and have another starter get them to Lugo and Wilson at the end of the game. The last spot could go anywhere, but we’ll go with Paul Sewald since he is the most dependable among the young arms the Mets have out there.
Tomas Nido, Brandon Nimmo, Juan Lagares, Joe Panik, Rajai Davis, Dominic Smith (if healthy)
The bench pretty much fills itself out. With Ramos starting, the Mets will carry Tomas Nido as the backup catcher. Nimmo and Lagares are the reserve outfielders, with Lagares likely entering late for defense. Panik is a reserve infielder with playoff experience and is difficult to strike out, so he should easily make the roster. Davis should also be a lock given his previous postseason experience and speed, which could let Mickey Callaway use him as a pinch runner in a big spot. The last spot will come down to another left handed bat, with the options being Dominic Smith, Jed Lowrie, and Luis Guillorme. Smith is currently working his way back from injury, and if he returns next week he could be in the mix for that. Lowrie has the track record but has barely played this season while Guillorme has the weakest bat of the bunch. Guillorme is a plus defender, however, so that is a factor in his favor.