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Being On The Mets Opening Day Roster Means Less Than It Used To

Opening Day at Citi Field scheduled for today at 1:10PM was called off on Wednesday which was a good thing to know for fans who had tickets. All MLB teams schedule an off-day after Opening Day just in case weather is a factor. So now the Mets will be one of the showcases with the Phillies and Braves being the other as of this morning. That leaves one more day to talk about the Mets Opening Day roster!

Baseball-Reference.com has a nice feature in which Opening Day starting lineups are listed for each MLB team for every year since 1901. Visit any team’s page on BR and scroll down to Opening Day Starters in the More Pages area under People.

That data while cool, does not list players that are injured or for whatever other reason were not able to play for the team on Opening Day, even if that player was later the regular performer at a position. In 2010, All-Star Jose Reyes was not the Mets opening day shortstop. He had been the prior five seasons. Did he lose his job to Joey Cora? Not at all. Reyes missed the start of the season first playing on April 10th, then regained his Opening Day status the next year in 2011. But Joey Cora will be listed as the 2010 Opening Day Mets starter at shortstop for eternity.

 Making the roster out of spring training is not like it was since players (those with minor league options) are shuttled more readily between the big leagues and minors. There were limitations on the amount times a player could be sent down to the minors in 2023. The maximum is now five times for a player. This means the roster on Opening Day will be ever-changing and the team the Mets run out there in May and June will have some different players than the team we see on Opening Day.

Newest Met J.D. Martinez will not be in the lineup for the Amazin’s today, (or tomorrow), for Opening Day. Given that Martinez is not yet on the active roster, it was a bit surprising that Mark Vientos was sent down to Triple A since he could have been penciled in at DH for the first week or two of the 2024 season. From this vantage point it appears the Mets are finished with Mark Vientos. Instead D.J. Stewart will most likely get the call vs. the Brewers starter Freddy Peralta.

Backup infielder Zach Short made the Opening Day roster and was thrilled about it. Relievers Michael Tonkin and either Yohan Ramirez or Sean Reid-Foley will ‘make’ the roster. Hard-throwing Shintaro Fujinami did not make the roster and was sent to AAA Syracuse for more work. There’s an excellent chance Fujinami will pitch for the Mets in the very near future. The Mets cut Phil Bickford since he was not going to be on the Opening Day roster and has fallen behind some of the other relievers in the organization.

Later this season, after the trading deadline of July 30, the Mets might again look very different. Some of the biggest differences in the way MLB is played today versus 50 years ago is the way that rosters are constructed and maintained. Rosters are much more fluid. Bench players and relievers must acclimate themselves to being here and there and to take it all in stride. Teammates have a much more active job of maintaining relationships with players who’ve been going up to the big club and down to the farm throughout the season.

Will Vientos be back in Queens this season at some point? Yes, if he’s not traded. Which of the talented young pitchers might fans see at some point this season – Cristian Scott, Dominic Hamel, or Blake Tidwell? Jose Butto had a nice spring on the mound for the Mets and pitched effectively for the team last season. Joey Lucchesi is another starter with whom Met fans are familiar. Neither Butto nor Lucchesi made the Opening Day roster. That’s not a bad thing since it indicates more depth in the system than was the case last season. Lefty David Peterson, recovering from hip surgery, is slated to be back by June. What role might he play this year?

The Mets were fortunate in that that they did not suffer any significant injuries to position players this spring. Ronny Mauricio who was to compete for the 3B job with Brett Baty, injured himself during winter ball and will miss the 2024 season.

It still must be a thrill for every player to be announced on Opening Day in front of the big crowd.

Here’s the Met’s Opening Day Roster for 2024 but be sure to check again around May 1st because you can bet it will not look exactly like this one!

Projected starting lineup Opening Day although the batting order may be different.

Brandon Nimmo LF

Francisco Lindor SS

Pete Alonso 1B

Jeff McNeil 2B

Starling Marte RF

DJ Stewart DH

Francisco Alvarez C

Brett Baty 3B

Harrison Bader CF

Jose Quintana will get the Opening day start.


Joey Wendle INF

Zach Short INF (when JD Martinez joins the team, Short is probably the first to go)

Tyrone Taylor OF

Omar Narvaez C

Other Starting Pitchers besides Quintana: Kodai Senga will hopefully pitch for the Mets in May

Luis Severino

Sean Manaea

Adrian Houser

Tylor Megill


Edwin Diaz

Brooks Raley

Adam Ottovino

Jorge Lopez

Jake Diekman

Drew Smith

Michael Tonkin

Sean Reid-Foley or Yohan Ramirez

It would not be surprising to see some of the young talent appear for the Mets this season. Position players Luisangel Acuna, Drew Gilbert, and Jett Williams are waiting in the wings. Injuries often play a key role in determining how fast young players get promoted to the big leagues. The Mets would prefer to wait a little longer for the debut of what they hope are their future stars, but baseball seasons rarely work out exactly as they are planned.

But for better or for worse, the 2024 New York Mets are here and ready to go.

Mark Kolier
Mark Kolierhttps://mlbreport.com/
Mark Kolier along with his son Gordon co-hosts a baseball podcast called ‘Almost Cooperstown’. He also has written baseball-related articles that can be accessed on Medium.com, Substack.com and now MLBReport.com.


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