The lineup reality Mets would like to avoid


PORT ST. LUICE — The hard numbers largely go unspoken in the Mets’ clubhouse so as not to jinx the situation.

Robinson Cano is 36 years old. Jed Lowrie turns 35 in April. Todd Frazier turned 32 on the reporting date for pitchers and catchers to spring training and Wilson Ramos is six months behind him, giving the Mets four significant lineup pieces who already have celebrated their 30th birthdays. That doesn’t include Yoenis Cespedes, who is 33 and will begin the season on the injured list as he rehabs from separate surgeries to remove calcifications from both heels. Another outfielder in the mix for playing time, Juan Lagares, turns 30 in March. Backup catcher Travis d’Arnaud turned 30 earlier this month.

Lowrie’s absence from workouts in recent days because of left knee discomfort offered the first reminder the Mets are an older team that will be susceptible to the grind of a baseball season.

It’s a truth the Mets would like to avoid.

“I think we are taking a new approach this year and trying to be as positive as possible,” Frazier said Friday. “The more negative thoughts you put in your head, like that kind of stuff, I think most of the time it does happen, so for us we don’t want to worry about age or what we’re going through, but at the same time we are just being ourselves, so for us it’s figuring what positive thought we want to work on today and we will cross that bridge once we get there.”

Frazier played just 115 games last season because of hamstring and rib cage injuries that forced him to the disabled list. Ramos has battled knee and hamstring issues, and last season played 111 games. A year earlier, he appeared in just 64 games.

Cano has been a rock physically, with 11 straight years of appearing in at least 150 games before a PED suspension in 2018 sliced his season in half. Lowrie appeared in 150 games in each of the past two seasons.

“I’m not that concerned about [injuries] because who we have that are in their 30s out there and how they prepare,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “But if something unfortunate happens you feel covered because [general manager] Brodie [Van Wagenen] did a good job of going out and getting us the depth that we needed.”

Positional depth beyond the veteran players includes J.D. Davis, Adeiny Hechavarria, Dominic Smith, Devin Mesoraco and Keon Broxton.

“One thing I would say about the guys that we have that are in their 30s, those guys have played a lot of games in their 30s,” Callaway said. “Frazier never missed games until last year. Lowrie has played [150] plus the last two seasons. He understands that if he has something that is not that serious, he needs to bring it to the forefront so he doesn’t do something that keeps him out for a long period of time. Robbie Cano, he is going to play in a lot of games. He’s able to do that. He’s able to take care of himself.”

Cano reported to camp last week saying he felt like he was only 25. Even so, the Mets’ plan for now is to draw a cutoff line on the number of games in which the veteran players will participate in order to keep them fresh.

Van Wagenen and Callaway expect the number to be around 130 games.

“Of course I don’t like to sit on the bench, but [Callaway] is the boss,” Cano said. “Whatever they decide here I am going to go with that and this is a team. This isn’t just about one guy. If they think other guys need playing time, that is cool with me.”

Frazier has a simple motto for camp.

“Let’s get healthy, get your at-bats and away we go,” he said.