The New York Mets entered Spring Training with several young positions players vying for a starting role in the infield during this upcoming season. After the latest round of roster cuts, it appears like none of those players will be given that chance anytime soon.
The second base position was an enigma entering the offseason, with the Mets trading away starting second baseman Neil Walker at the trade deadline and no other players able to prove down the stretch that they deserve to be the starter at that position. The Mets used a rotation of second basemen to close out the 2017 season, but the belief was that the team would target a middle infielder via free agency or a trade to assume a starting role at second.
However, as the Mets continued to make roster moves, it became evident that second base was one of the positions of least importance this offseason. The team signed veterans like Adrian Gonzalez, Todd Frazier, and Jason Vargas to provide leadership and guidance to younger players, but none of the proposed trades involving second basemen came to fruition.
As a result, it became increasingly likely that the Mets would operate with a platoon at second base in the hopes that one player would establish themselves as a starting-caliber infielder. As such, inexperienced players like Gavin Cecchini and Luis Guillorme suddenly found themselves in contention for much more playing time than they could have imagined just one season ago.
Cecchini and Guillorme both impressed in the limited playing time they were given this Spring Training, with Cecchini posting an .833 OPS and Guillorme hitting .306 with an .863 OPS. Guillorme has never appeared in a major league game and Cecchini has just 83 at-bats in the majors, but the Mets would have been happy if either player was able to provide anything close to this productivity during the regular season.
Instead, the Mets cut both Cecchini and Guillorme from the active roster, optioning both to minor league camps. The team retained one younger position player on the active roster in utility man Phillip Evans, but as of now, the Mets seem likely to rotate Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Wilmer Flores at second base, with T.J. Rivera potentially seeing time there when he returns from injury.
Reyes provides elite speed only rivaled by Amed Rosario on what is a very slow roster, and Cabrera, Flores, and Rivera are all proven major league hitters who played well enough in 2017 to deserve more playing time this season. Still, with how well Cecchini and Guillorme played, it is disappointing that the Mets are not giving either of them the chance to potentially prove that they belong on the major league roster.
Given the aspirations the Mets have regarding contending this season, it makes sense that the team would turn to reliable veterans to help establish an offense which will be tasked with supporting what could be one of the best pitching staffs in the majors. If the Mets fall out of contention like they did last season, though, Cecchini or Guillorme might finally get the chance they likely deserved after Spring Training to prove their worth.
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