Mets pitchers and catchers reported to spring training on Sunday. On Monday morning, Terry Collins spoke to the media for the first time and talked about a number of topics, including the fifth spot in the starting rotation, which he called an “open competition.”
Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler, and Seth Lugo are all options for that spot, Collins said. Earlier this offseason, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson mentioned that using Wheeler out of the bullpen was a possibility, which would open up the rotation spot to either Lugo or Gsellman. Wheeler, who has not pitched since 2014, recently said he still sees himself as a starter, although he is open to the bullpen role as a way to limit his innings coming off Tommy John surgery.
Gsellman had an impressive 2.42 ERA and 2.63 FIP in 44.2 innings for the Mets down the stretch last season after injuries marred the rotation. Baseball Propectus just ranked him as the 17th-best prospect in baseball going into the season. Lugo had a solid 2.67 ERA and 4.33 FIP in 64 innings last season, as well, but many view him more as a bullpen piece.
Collins also mentioned in the presser that the team will handle pitchers more carefully this year. He also said he wants to leave Michael Conforto in the outfield and that the young outfielder could see some reps in center field. Additionally, the skipper wants to formulate a plan for David Wright to manage his workload in spring training while also getting him into games earlier than last year.