Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
At this point, it sounds to me like Colin Cowgill and Marlon Byrd are the most likely outfielders to make the Opening Day roster. However, it’s still an open competition. Every position… up for grabs.
For instance, according to team insiders, Matt den Dekker is in better position than I ever thought he’d be, while Lucas Duda is far from a sure thing to make the cut. They’re saying Sandy Alderson intends to go with the group of outfielders who give his team the best chance to win, regardless of contract, options, potential, status, etc. Den Dekker is getting high marks for his defense, and could have a role on the roster, despite continued concerns over his plate discipline.
At the same time, I keep hearing from other teams that the Mets are still open to trading for an outfielder. Similar sources have said to keep an eye on the A’s and Mariners, since they’re interested in moving extra outfielders to free up spots on their roster.
For what it’s worth, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman speculated this past weekend that the Mariners could make OF Casper Wells available in trade, since he’s out of options. Wells had a .891 OPS in 131 at-bats against left-handed pitching last season. Sherman also feels the Nationals could look to move OF Roger Bernadina, who also hit well against lefties last year.
It’s always a long shot, but I do think a trade is possible. That said, given the options, right now I’d still bet Duda, Cowgill, Byrd, Mike Baxter and Valdespin or Kirk Nieuwenhuis end up on the Opening Day roster. However, keep an eye on den Dekker, because they really love his glove and hustle…