You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Mets.
Between Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto, who is more likely to be extended in the relative near future? — @MillManner
Both players can head to free agency after the 2021 season, but the fact Syndergaard underwent Tommy John surgery and likely won’t resume pitching until at least next June leaves him in limbo. The Mets could always offer him a one-year extension to minimize their risk on his elbow, but Syndergaard might want to bet on himself returning strong next year, showing he’s worthy of a free-agent deal in Zack Wheeler’s stratosphere. Conforto has repeatedly indicated he would like to remain with the Mets long term, but his agent Scott Boras is also known to push his clients to free agency. The time to extend Conforto would be soon — provided baseball resumes this season — but given the financial uncertainties facing the game, where do you even begin in trying to establish value for a player?
With Syndergaard unable to pitch in 2020 due to TJ surgery will David Peterson be given an opportunity in the starting rotation this year? —Keith W
If there is a season it will likely be a compact one — with few off days and possibly doubleheaders, perhaps in the Arizona summer heat for an extended stretch. It means expanded rosters will become a must and teams will need more than five healthy starters. Peterson could become an option, along with names such as Walker Lockett, Corey Oswalt and Franklyn Kilome. Ideally, the Mets would have liked the lefty Peterson — their first-round pick in 2017 — to gain experience this year at Triple-A Syracuse. But without a minor league season that won’t happen.
Will general manager Brodie Van Wagenen get a year added to his current contract if the 2020 season is not played? — @Double_Great44
Van Wagenen’s four-year contract with the team runs through 2022. If the season is scrapped, the Mets would be under no obligation to extend that deal. The footing under Van Wagenen isn’t terrific given the team’s mediocre performance last season and the fact the Wilpons are looking to sell, and any new owner might want to put his or her stamp on the organization by overhauling the front office. With the “win now” mantra established by Van Wagenen, a canceled season would hurt the Mets more than most teams.
Do you see manager Luis Rojas splitting the DH role between Yoenis Cespedes and Robinson Cano? — @lmastrota
The hypotheticals here beyond the season starting are an implementation of the DH in the National League and Cespedes demonstrating his legs are strong enough to resume playing. The DH would help the Mets, who have square pieces in round holes (think J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith playing the outfield) in addition to Cano and Cespedes. Ideally, Rojas would divide the DH among several players, with Cespedes probably the likeliest to receive the most at-bats in that spot. The DH would also allow Wilson Ramos to get out from behind the plate on occasion without losing his bat in the lineup.
I think Amed Rosario will be most successful hitting near the top of the order with Michael Conforto and/or Pete Alonso behind him. What do you think? — @timlynch76
Left unanswered from the shortened spring training was whether Rosario, Jeff McNeil or Brandon Nimmo would become the Mets’ leadoff hitter. There is certainly a case for Rosario, who succeeded in that spot last season, particularly leading off the game. But putting a left-handed hitter such as McNeil or Nimmo in the leadoff spot would make it easier to keep Pete Alonso in the No. 2 hole, a spot in which he felt comfortable last season. The idea is to alternate lefty/righty throughout the lineup as much as possible. Rojas certainly has the option of fluctuating the leadoff spot depending on the pitcher and opponent.
With the Mets scheduled to retire Jerry Koosman’s number this year, will they continue to honor their past and retire more numbers, such as Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and David Wright? — @FantasyJudgment
The Mets have become much more aware of their history in recent seasons. Former media relations director Jay Horwitz has thrived in his role organizing alumni appearances and heading the historical committee that considers retired numbers. Koosman’s No. 36 retirement is next — although it’s appearing unlikely that ceremony will occur in June as scheduled — and Wright’s No. 5 seems like a slam dunk to be retired at some point. Carter and Hernandez, from the 1986 World Series title team, are both worthy. Hernandez’s popularity from his work in the broadcast booth should bolster his case.