Andy Martino

Andy Martino is SNY's MLB insider.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | The Yankees were genuine in their pursuit of Manny Machado, but never willing to sacrifice a top prospect to land the Baltimore shortstop, who is set to become a Dodger when play resumes Friday. Brian Cashman has preserved his farm system, but his team is still 4.5 games behind Boston in the American League East.

The Yankees face a real possibility of being a championship-caliber club, but facing elimination in a one-game wild card playoff. Cashman would like to avoid this, of course, and he will be active over the next days and weeks in an effort to improve.

The GM is surely engaged in talks with teams that have remained secret, but here's what we've been able to smoke out so far, through major league sources. Cashman could quickly pivot to any one of these options, now that he is done pursuing Machado...

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Aug 18, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) connects on a grand slam home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to win the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports (Mitch Stringer)
Aug 18, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) connects on a grand slam home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to win the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports (Mitch Stringer)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | The Yankees believed as of Tuesday morning that another team was close to a deal for Baltimore shortstop Manny Machado, according to a major league source. Had the Yanks included pitching prospect Justus Sheffield in their offer at any point, they would have landed Machado, the source said.

The source cautioned not to totally rule anyone out yet, even the Yankees. The Orioles are known to kill potential deals because of an uncommonly stringent medical review process, and could still pivot.

The Phillies, Dodgers and Brewers have been aggressive on Machado. The Yankees have too, but only to a point. GM Brian Cashman has so far been unwilling to move Sheffield, keeping him out of the lead.

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deGrom's agent issues ultimatum 00:01:04
Andy Martino and Jim Duquette discuss the ultimatum given by the agent of Jacob deGrom to the Mets, regarding a trade or an extension.

WASHINGTON -- If the Mets and Jacob deGrom do not agree on a contract extension before this winter, deGrom wants to be traded.

That's my takeaway from the situation that unfolded during All-Star workout day, after deGrom's agent Brodie Van Wagenen opened the availability for N.L. players with pointed comments to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal

So where will this ultimately lead? I asked one well-placed source to predict. "Trade in the offseason," the source said.
What follows is reported from conversations with sources on all sides...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Andy Martino
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Jun 10, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (36) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Jun 10, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (36) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

At the All-Star break of a lost season for the Mets, uncertainty about the future is everywhere. But at least one big question appears settled: Mickey Callaway is almost certain to return as manager next season, according to major league sources.

Mets officials are well aware that Callaway has struggled during games and at news conferences, but even most of his detractors say it is too soon in his tenure to rule out improvement.

The team plans to begin interviewing external candidates for the GM vacancy in September. There remains a chance, though not a likelihood, that longtime assistant John Ricco will get the job.

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 (Brad Mills)
(Brad Mills)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

With one day remaining until the All Star break, the Orioles continue to push for resolution on the Manny Machado sweepstakes as soon as possible.

The Phillies and Dodgers have moved ahead as strong suitors for the shortstop, but the Brewers and Yankees remain involved, according to major league sources.

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Aug 18, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) connects on a grand slam home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to win the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports (Mitch Stringer)
Aug 18, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) connects on a grand slam home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to win the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports (Mitch Stringer)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | The Yankees remain an aggressive suitor for Baltimore shortstop Manny Machado, but their unwillingness to offer pitching prospect Justus Sheffield could leave them behind the Dodgers and Phillies, according to major league sources. The Brewers are also involved, but are less aggressive than the other three teams. Arizona is said to be out for now.

The Orioles want young pitching and, ideally, an infielder. Brandon Drury would likely be part of any Machado deal.

With or without Machado, the Yankees could soon pivot to a pursuit of Detroit pitcher Michael Fulmer. So far, contact between the Tigers and Yankees has been minimal, according to sources. That may be because Brian Cashman is holding out hope of acquiring Jacob deGrom. Once he realizes how unlikely the Mets are to send deGrom to the Bronx, he could move quickly on Fulmer.

Tags: Justus Sheffield, Andy Martino
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Zack Wheeler (45) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Zack Wheeler (45) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Zack Wheeler has joined Jeurys Familia and Asdrubal Cabrera as the Mets most likely to be traded this month, although surprises remain possible, and no one is untouchable.

Familia and Cabrera are the obvious trade candidates, because both are free agents at the end of the season. Wheeler has one additional year of control, and teams are showing interest. If the Mets can get, say, a top ten prospect and another depth piece, they will likely move him. Wilmer Flores has less value, but could also go. The Yankees have checked in on Wheeler - but, as always, it's hard to imagine the teams actually working out a deal...

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Jeurys Familia, Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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Zack Wheeler (45) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Zack Wheeler (45) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Zack Wheeler has joined Jeurys Familia and Asdrubal Cabrera as the Mets most likely to be traded this month, although surprises remain possible, and no one is untouchable.

The Yankees have checked in on Wheeler - but, as always, it's hard to imagine the teams actually working out a deal.

Familia and Cabrera are the obvious trade candidates, because both are free agents at the end of the season. Wheeler has one additional year of control, and teams are showing interest. If the Mets can get, say, a top ten prospect and another depth piece, they will likely move him.

Tags: Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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Jul 7, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado (13) hits a sacrifice RBI ground ball in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)
Jul 7, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado (13) hits a sacrifice RBI ground ball in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees have made an offer to the Baltimore Orioles for shortstop Manny Machado, Major League sources confirmed.

Sources told SNY that the O's are pushing for resolution on Machado before the All Star break. Five or six other teams are serious about Machado as well.

Tags: Justus Sheffield, Andy Martino
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Feb 20, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) talks with general manager Brian Cashman and vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 20, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) talks with general manager Brian Cashman and vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | One name that is hot in baseball circles and could interest the Mets for their GM job does not seem ready to jump to Flushing.

Friends of Tim Naehring say that the highly respected Yankees vice president of baseball operations is unlikely to leave his current team. Though rival scouts believe that Naehring would be a fit for the Mets, folks who know him call a move unlikely.

Naehring, 50, has been asked to interview for several managerial jobs, and has had opportunities to join other front offices, but has opted to remain a trusted advisor to Brian Cashman. As our friend John Harper wrote last year, Naehring serves a Gene Michael-type role for the Yanks, and he is happy there.

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Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Starting in September, the Mets will meet with a wide range of outside candidates, both young and seasoned, for the general manager vacancy. 

Although longtime executive John Ricco will be considered -- and many current and former employees are rooting for him to earn the job -- his case does not appear particularly strong at the moment. If that changes, it will only be after the team conducts a thorough search.

In the meantime, one name that is hot in baseball circles does not seem ready to jump to Flushing. Friends of Tim Naehring say that the highly respected Yankees vice president of baseball operations is unlikely to leave his current team. Though rival scouts believe that Naehring would be a fit for the Mets, folks who know him call a move unlikely...

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Aug 18, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) connects on a grand slam home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to win the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports (Mitch Stringer)
Aug 18, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) connects on a grand slam home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to win the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports (Mitch Stringer)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | What should we make of reports that the Yankees are pursuing Baltimore shortstop Manny Machado

"Take it seriously," said one baseball source with direct knowledge of the situation.

Major league sources went on to say that Baltimore was looking for starting pitching that was close to major league-ready, and perhaps an infield piece if the Yanks won't give up Miguel Andujar. The Yanks might be able to build a package around pitcher Justus Sheffield and infielder Brandon Drury, those sources said...

Tags: Brandon Drury, Justus Sheffield, Andy Martino
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Aug 18, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) connects on a grand slam home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to win the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports (Mitch Stringer)
Aug 18, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) connects on a grand slam home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to win the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports (Mitch Stringer)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | What should we make of reports that the Yankees are pursuing Baltimore shortstop Manny Machado

"Take it seriously," said one baseball source with direct knowledge of the situation.

Major league sources went on to say that Baltimore was looking for starting pitching that was close to major league-ready, and perhaps an infield piece if the Yanks won't give up Miguel Andujar. The Yanks might be able to build a package around pitcher Justus Sheffield and infielder Brandon Drury, those sources said...

Tags: Brandon Drury, Justus Sheffield, Andy Martino
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May 4, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
May 4, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |  On Friday afternoon, Mets executive John Ricco said that Yoenis Cespedes has been dealing with a heel injury since he was about 13 years old, and termed the condition potentially "chronic."

That was initially surprising, because former GM Sandy Alderson spoke recently about Cespedes' "chronic" hip issues.

"My understanding is this hip flexor thing is somewhat chronic," Alderson said last month. "It's something that has to be managed."

So which is it? Frankly, a chronic hip issue seems more serious than a heel injury.

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes, Andy Martino
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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | TwitterAs the Mets explore potential trades, their focus has turned away from Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, and much more on moving Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler.

No moves are imminent, according to people involved in the process. But when other teams call, they are hearing that deGrom and even Syndergaard are not really available.

A few weeks ago, Mets people expressed an openness to trading deGrom and/or Syndergaard as a way to facilitate a quick rebuild. The vibe has since shifted considerably, and the team expects to hold onto both at least until the end of the season...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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Jun 3, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) pitches during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Anthony Gruppuso)
Jun 3, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) pitches during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Amid weeks of trade speculation about the Yankees and Mets, there is still very little action between the teams, regarding Jacob deGrom or anyone else.

As Brian Cashman said last Friday, he has spoken to Mets executive Omar Minaya, a longtime friend. But those talks were extremely general and preliminary, and Yankees people remain highly skeptical that they could agree on a deal with the Mets. There is lingering bad blood from deals for Jay Bruce and Neil Walker that fell through last summer -- and that's not the only disagreement between the sides over the past few years.

The Yanks could use deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and maybe Zack Wheeler or Steven Matz. The Mets are open to anything, but reluctant to move deGrom. They would deal any of the other three pitchers, though Syndergaard will likely have more value this winter.

Tags: Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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Zack Wheeler (45) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Zack Wheeler (45) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Amid weeks of trade speculation about the Yankees and Mets, there is still very little action between the teams, regarding Jacob deGrom or anyone else.

As Brian Cashman said last Friday, he has spoken to Mets executive Omar Minaya, a longtime friend. But those talks were extremely general and preliminary, and Yankees people remain highly skeptical that they could agree on a deal with the Mets. There is lingering bad blood from deals for Jay Bruce and Neil Walker that fell through last summer -- and that's not the only disagreement between the sides over the past few years.

The Yanks could use deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and maybe Zack Wheeler or Steven Matz. The Mets are open to anything, but reluctant to move deGrom. They would deal any of the other three pitchers, though Syndergaard will likely have more value this winter.

Tags: Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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Jun 3, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) pitches during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Anthony Gruppuso)
Jun 3, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) pitches during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Amid weeks of trade speculation about the Yankees and Mets, there is still very little action between the teams, regarding Jacob deGrom or anyone else.

As Brian Cashman said last Friday, he has spoken to Mets executive Omar Minaya, a longtime friend. But those talks were extremely general and preliminary, and Yankees people remain highly skeptical that they could agree on a deal with the Mets. There is lingering bad blood from deals for Jay Bruce and Neil Walker that fell through last summer -- and that's not the only disagreement between the sides over the past few years.

The Yanks could use deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and maybe Zack Wheeler or Steven Matz. The Mets are open to anything, but reluctant to move deGrom. They would deal any of the other three pitchers, though Syndergaard will likely have more value this winter.

Tags: Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher J.A. Happ delivers a pitch against Detroit Tigers in the second inning at Rogers Centre. (Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher J.A. Happ delivers a pitch against Detroit Tigers in the second inning at Rogers Centre. (Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees are intrigued by Toronto's J.A. Happ, but as they weigh potential rotation upgrades, the front office does have one question about the lefty, according to people familiar with their thinking: How much would help would he be in an October series against the Houston Astros?

Happ is AL East-tested and boasts a 7-3 career record against Boston, with a 3.09 ERA. With the division so tight, he would help the Yankees top the Red Sox and avoid a one-game wild-card game. That seems valuable enough to make a deal.

But it's fair to note -- and Yankees people have -- that the ultimate point is to get past the defending champs and advance to the World Series. The Astros are a tough task for any lefty, with a lineup that includes no fewer than six right-handed threats (Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Evan Gattis and George Springer) and a switch-hitter in Marwin Gonzalez.

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Tony La Russa Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Tony La Russa Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Tony La Russa's first question was about the prognosis for his old boss. "I don't want to pry, … " he said. "But …"

When I told him that Sandy Alderson had assured those close to him that his outlook was good -- despite the recurrence of cancer that forced him this week to step aside as Mets GM -- LaRussa exhaled and said, "You just made my day with that one. And all of his friends who are part of the family going back to the A's will be extremely happy to hear that."

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Hamels to be traded before ASG 00:01:31
Rangers starter Cole Hamels is set to be traded before the MLB All-Star break, is the Bronx a likely landing spot for the lanky left-hander?

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | With just over a month remaining before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the Yankees and Dodgers are two teams who have checked in with Texas about trading for lefty Cole Hamels, according to major league sources.

To put that in context: Yanks GM Brian Cashman has called every team at this point, as he would do any year. That's his job. But Hamels and Toronto lefty J.A. Happ have emerged as two Yankee targets in a thin year for starting pitching, and now we know that he's engaged the Rangers on that specific player.

The surging Dodgers could also use a rotation upgrade, as could the surprising Mariners and Phillies, among others.

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New York Mets assistant general manager John Ricco looks on before facing the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of a baseball game in Denver on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)  (David Zalubowski/AP)
New York Mets assistant general manager John Ricco looks on before facing the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of a baseball game in Denver on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (David Zalubowski/AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Remember that talk a few weeks ago about the Mets were undecided about whether to be buyers or sellers this season?  

At the risk of reporting the obvious, that is no longer the case. The team is now ready to get serious about trading its free-agents-to-be, and I get the sense that closer Jeurys Familia in particular could go sooner than later. Asdrubal Cabrera is another candidate to be traded in the short term. 

No one around the Mets is talking about contending in 2018 anymore, and rightfully so. The team's three interim GMs, John Ricco, Omar Minaya, and J.P. Ricciardi, have been charged with thinking creatively and being aggressive. If they have ideas that Alderson wouldn't have endorsed, they'll be empowered to pursue those now.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, Andy Martino
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New York Mets assistant general manager John Ricco speakers to the media before a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. (Steve Mitchell)
New York Mets assistant general manager John Ricco speakers to the media before a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. (Steve Mitchell)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | In the wake of Sandy Alderson's devastating cancer news, the Mets organization was left with the shock of sudden change. Alderson left Citi Field before Tuesday's game, his time as GM over in an instant. This is a leave of absence in name only.

On Tuesday morning, Mets staffers reported to an office still haunted by the emotion of the previous day, and missing its leader of eight years. But baseball business had to go on, in this case under interim leaders John Ricco, Omar Minaya, and J.P. Ricciardi.

According to interviews with a half-dozen people with knowledge of the situation, here is how the dynamic will work, and how the team will move forward long-term...

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Nov 8, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson during the MLB general managers meeting at the Omni Scottsdale Resort. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports (Mark J. Rebilas)
Nov 8, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson during the MLB general managers meeting at the Omni Scottsdale Resort. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports (Mark J. Rebilas)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Sandy Alderson's 87-year-old father died on the eve of his first general managers' meetings with the Mets. Greeting a New York media that he barely knew, Alderson cleared his throat between words, blinked frequently, and did everything he could to remain stoic and professional. He nearly succeeded, but his humanity poked through.

The better part of a decade passed before we saw Alderson close to tears again. That came on Tuesday afternoon, when he announced that the cancer he'd beaten in 2016 had returned, and that his time running the Mets was likely over. The poignancy of the moment was almost unbearable, as Alderson was again forced to fight through private feelings while in the public glare.

There will be time to write about baseball, to ask questions about the Mets' struggle and Alderson's legacy, and analyze where the franchise is headed under its three interim GMs. Those topics matter to the people who spend so much of their lives caring about this team. But before that happens, it's worth stepping back for a moment to note that the current National League East standings do nothing to change the fact that Alderson's career in baseball was marked by a pioneering spirit, personal integrity, and more humor and emotion than he was typically willing to show in public...

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New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman speaks to reporters during a press conference in which he addressed the Yankees trades and acquisitionsat Yankee Stadium in New York, Monday, July 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman speaks to reporters during a press conference in which he addressed the Yankees trades and acquisitionsat Yankee Stadium in New York, Monday, July 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)

Yankees GM Brian Cashman is seeking a deal to upgrade his rotation, targeting Toronto's J.A. Happ and a few others. His team has also been linked in reports to San Diego lefty reliever Brad Hand -- but do the Yankees really need to add a bullpen piece?

Rival evaluators have opined that Cashman should acquire one more weapon, namely a lefty specialist. Indeed, the Yanks' only two lefty relievers are closer Aroldis Chapman and Chasen Shreve, who has a 4.91 ERA and a FIP of 5.27.

Yankees people indicate that, while Cashman is always agile about pivoting and multi-tasking, starting pitching is a higher priority. On Thursday, manager Aaron Boone hinted at why a lefty reliever might not be needed as much as those on the outside believe...

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Brad Hand (52) Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Brad Hand (52) Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

San Diego Padres reliever Brad Hand would be a perfect fit for the Yankees, lengthening a bullpen that is already dominant as well as helping to cover for a thin rotation. And if he were to become a member of the Houston Astros or Boston Red Sox, the Yanks' path to the World Series would be much more difficult.

But despite all that, signs point to the Yankees acquiring a starter like Cole Hamels or J.A. Happ instead.

Tags: CC Sabathia, Clint Frazier, Domingo German, Jordan Montgomery, Justus Sheffield, Masahiro Tanaka, Andy Martino
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Jun 13, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) looks on from the dugout in the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports (Jason Getz)
Jun 13, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) looks on from the dugout in the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports (Jason Getz)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | It's all too easy to manufacture drama in a baseball season, to claim for the sake of a storyline that a particular stretch of games carries meaning.

But in the case of the Mets, these next few weeks are truly pivotal, and could determine the direction of the franchise for years to come.

My understanding is that the team is currently engaged in internal discussions about whether to take offers for Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. I've been on record calling two friends of mine crazy for suggesting that this is a good idea, and calling on the team to add Manny Machado -- but the purpose of today's column is to provide information, not my opinion...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Andy Martino
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Sep 10, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) and umpire Jerry Layne (24) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Sep 10, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) and umpire Jerry Layne (24) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | TwitterI called Terry Collins this morning, curious if he knew that a video of him fuming at an umpire in 2016 had gone viral overnight. He did not. "You know when Syndergaard was thrown out of a game in 2016 for throwing at Utley?"

"Yeah."

"The ump was mic'ed."

There was a pause of three of four seconds, followed by a lighthearted, "Oh no."

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Potential rule changes for MLB 00:01:30
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred held a meeting Tuesday to discuss possible MLB rule changes, including a robotic strike zone and pitch clock.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Major League Baseball's Competition Committee met on Tuesday in Manhattan to discuss strategies for proposing changes to the sport, according to league sources.

The discussions, scheduled as part of the owners' meetings this week, came at a time when many dramatic proposals regarding pace of play are in the news (commissioner Rob Manfred addressed some of them in a recent Q and A with The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal). 

Two sources familiar with the committee's work indicated that some members were in favor of banning or limiting defensive shifts -- but other sources strongly cautioned that it was far too early to characterize any one issue as front-burner. Essentially, the committee is in discussion mode, batting around various proposals and ideas, and not ready to list which are most important. 

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Potential rule changes for MLB 00:01:30
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred held a meeting Tuesday to discuss possible MLB rule changes, including a robotic strike zone and pitch clock.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Major League Baseball's Competition Committee met on Tuesday in Manhattan to discuss strategies for proposing changes to the sport, according to league sources.

The discussions, scheduled as part of the owners' meetings this week, came at a time when many dramatic proposals regarding pace of play are in the news (commissioner Rob Manfred addressed some of them in a recent Q and A with The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal). 

Two sources familiar with the committee's work indicated that some members were in favor of banning or limiting defensive shifts -- but other sources strongly cautioned that it was far too early to characterize any one issue as front-burner. Essentially, the committee is in discussion mode, batting around various proposals and ideas, and not ready to list which are most important...

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Toronto's J.A. Happ shut down the Yankees Thursday at Yankee Stadium. (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto's J.A. Happ shut down the Yankees Thursday at Yankee Stadium. (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Not only should the Yankees trade for Toronto starter J.A. Happ, but they should be aggressive in doing it as soon as possible.

With the divisional race likely to be tight all season, the Yanks must do everything they can to avoid a one-and-done wild card game. Every week matters. As such, they cannot afford to tread water while waiting for Masahiro Tanaka and his two sore hamstrings to heal.

Happ, 35, does not have no-trade protection, and would likely embrace the challenge of pitching in a New York pennant race anyway...

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May 11, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes (7) against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
May 11, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes (7) against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

We've reported that the Mets are discussing the timing of a Jose Reyes release. What does that mean exactly?

Here's the deal: Given what they see as Reyes stature with the organization and in the clubhouse, the Mets would love to work with Reyes' camp on a stage-managed exit -- perhaps in the form of a retirement news conference.

Tags: Jose Reyes, Andy Martino
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May 18, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto (30) hits an rbi single during the first inning of the game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
May 18, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto (30) hits an rbi single during the first inning of the game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

A demotion to Triple-A for Michael Conforto is "on the table," according to one team source, with no decision made but Mets brass currently discussing it.

According to the source, manager Mickey Callaway has been disappointed in Conforto, and has been involved in these internal discussions.The possibility of a demotion was first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Tags: Michael Conforto, Andy Martino
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GEICO SportsNite: Mets injuries 00:02:21
Andy Martino joins the show to discuss the Mets' injury woes this season and the hamstring injury Masahiro Tanaka suffered Friday night.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | : Opening night of the 2018 Subway Series began in Metsian fashion, with injury announcements regarding two key pitchers -- Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia.

By the middle of the evening, the plague had spread to the other team, when Masahiro Tanaka left after five innings with soreness in two hamstrings. Yes, you read that correctly. The hamstrings in both legs.

Before the night was over, the Yankees' trainer would visit Aroldis Chapman, and Jacob deGrom would have his heart broken yet again. It was not a good night to be a pitcher in New York.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, Noah Syndergaard, Andy Martino
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GEICO SportsNite: Mets injuries 00:02:21
Andy Martino joins the show to discuss the Mets' injury woes this season and the hamstring injury Masahiro Tanaka suffered Friday night.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | : Opening night of the 2018 Subway Series began in Metsian fashion, with injury announcements regarding two key pitchers -- Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia.

By the middle of the evening, the plague had spread to the other team, when Masahiro Tanaka left after five innings with soreness in two hamstrings. Yes, you read that correctly. The hamstrings in both legs.

Before the night was over, the Yankees' trainer would visit Aroldis Chapman, and Jacob deGrom would have his heart broken yet again. It was not a good night to be a pitcher in New York.

Tags: Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton, Masahiro Tanaka, Andy Martino
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Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado (13) (Kim Klement)
Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado (13) (Kim Klement)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | The potential marriage between Manny Machado and the Yankees has been a topic in baseball at least since last winter, when the Yanks made several quiet inquiries about trading for the all-world shortstop. He has also been linked to the Cubs, Dodgers and others.

But ask yourself this: Why shouldn't Machado be a prime free agent target for the Mets this winter, too?

In the aftermath of a stunning two-game sweep at the hands of the last-place Orioles - Machado drove in the only run in a 1-0 loss on Wednesday -- the need for a long-term upgrade to the offense has never been more obvious.

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Stanton's standoff with Fiers 00:02:36
The Baseball Night in New York panel joins SportsNite to discuss the tense moment between Giancarlo Stanton and Tigers pitcher Mike Fiers.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

You could see it the first time Giancarlo Stanton buttoned his pinstriped jersey at a remarkable news conference at the winter meetings last December in Orlando, Fla. The slugger, appearing relaxed and relieved, smiled while roasting Derek Jeter's Miami Marlins.

As Stanton said that the Marlins' front office had "no direction," and recommended that fans watch the team "from afar," he announced himself as a charismatic fit for New York. This was a superstar unafraid to speak his mind, mix it up, and lean into the brighter lights...

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton, Andy Martino
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Mike Baxter preserved Santana's no-no in the seventh inning, crashing into the left field wall to rob Yadier Molina of a hit. Baxter was injured on the play and left the game. (AP)
Mike Baxter preserved Santana's no-no in the seventh inning, crashing into the left field wall to rob Yadier Molina of a hit. Baxter was injured on the play and left the game. (AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

It's June 1, 2012, top of the seventh inning, and a Mets fan from Whitestone is in left field. Mike Baxter is hoping to be part of something that he never saw as a kid: A no-hitter by the home team.

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina comes up with one out, and hits a 3-1 pitch from Johan Santana in Baxter's direction. Baxter follows the flight of the ball, and knows it will be a tough play.

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Feb 26, 2018; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets third baseman Jose Reyes (7) walks back to the dugout in the spring training game against the Houston Astros at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 26, 2018; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets third baseman Jose Reyes (7) walks back to the dugout in the spring training game against the Houston Astros at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

For more than a week, folks both inside and outside the Mets organization have speculated as to whether Anthony Swarzak's return from the disabled list will cost Jose Reyes his roster spot.

But with Swarzak's activation expected Tuesday, Reyes appears safe for now...

Tags: Jose Reyes, Andy Martino
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Apr 28, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) pitches during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)
Apr 28, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) pitches during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Mickey Callaway's bullpen usage has been a topic of fascination all season, and that didn't stop on Wednesday night, when the manager called on Jeurys Familia to pitch the eighth inning, and Robert Gsellman to close.

This was in part a fulfilment of Callaway's offseason promise to be flexible with bullpen roles according to situations and matchups -- but it was also a hint about Gsellman's ascension and possible future as the team's closer. 

Remember, Familia is a free agent after this season. And his four blown saves this year have hardly inspired faith; even on Tuesday, Familia needed a spectacular play from shortstop Amed Rosario to escape a jam...

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Andy Martino
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May 29, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (36) makes a pitching change against the Atlanta Braves in the seventh inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)
May 29, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (36) makes a pitching change against the Atlanta Braves in the seventh inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Mickey Callaway said two things on Tuesday that seemed incompatible with one another:

1. He used Seth Lugo for two innings in Monday's Mets loss because he knew that Lugo would have to start later in the week in place of the injured Noah Syndergaard, and he wanted to stretch out Lugo.

2. There was not enough time to get an extra reliever from Las Vegas to Atlanta...

 

Tags: Anthony Swarzak, Jerry Blevins, Noah Syndergaard, Seth Lugo, Andy Martino
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Martino on Syndergaard injury 00:01:35
SNY MLB Insider Andy Martino chats with Jonas Schwartz about the ligament injury to Noah Syndergaard's right index finger.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | At one of his postgame news conferences in April, Mickey Callaway surveyed his roster and said, "We're a really good team" -- and he was right. The Mets who opened the season had a top-heavy rotation, talented bullpen, and veteran lineup that was able to score enough to support the pitching.

Many bad losses and injuries later, the Mets are much weaker, but still a playoff contender for two reasons: Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Most flawed teams with two aces can at least push toward playing meaningful games in September.

That's why, as with deGrom's recent elbow scare, the news that Syndergaard is headed to the 10-day disabled list with a strained ligament in his right index finger represents a genuinely anxious moment for the 2018 Mets and their fans. Put simply, the team can't lose either pitcher for an extended period...

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Andy Martino
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Ramirez a fit for the Mets? 00:02:06
The BNNY panel discusses the recent DFA of Hanley Ramirez and if the Mets should be interested in him or not in 2018.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Word this afternoon is that the Mets are unlikely to pursue Hanley Ramirez, once the Boston Red Sox release him. The Sox designated Ramirez for assignment earlier today, and are not expected to find a trade partner, meaning that Ramirez will be a free agent after seven days.

Why not the Mets, you ask?

Well, a few hours ago I was preparing to write a column arguing for this configuration: Yoenis Cespedes in left field, Michael Conforto in center, Jay Bruce and Brandon Nimmo in right, and Bruce and Ramirez platooning at first.

Tags: Wilmer Flores, Andy Martino
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LM: Should the Mets DFA Reyes? 00:05:17
Marc Malusis and Jon Hein discuss the Mets' slumping offense and whether veteran infielder Jose Reyes is in serious danger of being DFA'd.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Word this afternoon is that Jose Reyes' roster spot remains safe, at least over the next several days. The Mets do not plan to cut him as a reaction to last night's two error performance.

That equation could change before long, though -- especially when Todd Frazier returns from the disabled list. At that point, the team could buy time on a Reyes decision by optioning Luis Guillorme or a reliever. Or they could decide that Reyes' long Mets career is over.

Reading between the lines, if Reyes doesn't show value soon, the end could be drawing near. It just won't come today.

Tags: Jose Reyes, Andy Martino
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May 4, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves third baseman Jose Bautista (23) hits a double against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)
May 4, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves third baseman Jose Bautista (23) hits a double against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Jose Bautista signing is not a big enough deal to get worked up about, but that's the best thing I can think to say about it.

Okay, that's not totally fair. The move makes logical sense, in that Bautista is a righthanded hitter, and the Mets need outfielders.

The only problem is that, in the eyes of multiple talent evaluators, Bautista does not seem to have much left. He was 5 for 35 in a brief stint with Atlanta this year, and posted a .674 OPS in 157 games in 2017. There is little indication that, at 37, he can still be productive.

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Daily News Live: Hamels' future 00:02:36
The Daily News Live panel breaks down whether Cole Hamels' start against the New York Yankees tonight is an audition for his next team.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees continue to roll, but it remains clear that a rotation upgrade could be the difference between dominating the regular season and passing the Houston Astros to win the American League pennant. Two of the their most appealing options, Texas' Cole Hamels and Detroit's Michael Fulmer, bring very different pros and cons. Here's a look:

Fulmer

At 25 years old and with five years of team control remaining, Fulmer will likely be a prize at this year's trade deadline. That means that the Tigers can demand a high price, and play suitors against one another. Even teams like the Braves and Phillies, who might not be quite ready to win, could see value in bidding for Fulmer...

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May 20, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Tyler Austin (26) and center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) celebrate at home plate after Austin's two run home run in the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)
May 20, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Tyler Austin (26) and center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) celebrate at home plate after Austin's two run home run in the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | It hasn't been easy to find ways to write about the Yankees lately, at least without looking ridiculous. There's only so many holes an analyst can poke in a 30-13 team. Yeah, they need rotation help, but we've said that already.

What's left to write? "The Yankees continue to be awesome" is hardly news. So we were pleased to find, following the team's weekend romp in Kansas City, an actual problem. Are you ready for it? The Yankees have … way too many good players. They are facing a roster crunch that almost never happens in baseball.

This is not an issue relatable to the Mets, who somehow scratched out a win Sunday with a lineup that felt more appropriate for a spring training road game. And while the Yankees are pleased that their problems are of the first-world variety, they face difficult decisions on talented players...

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brandon Drury, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Didi Gregorius, Greg Bird, Miguel Andujar, Neil Walker, Tyler Austin, Andy Martino
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Trading deGrom, Syndergaard? 00:05:30
NY Daily News columnist John Harper and SNY MLB Insider Andy Martino debate whether the Mets should trade Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Chris Carlin and John Harper. Two wonderful men. Mentors even, at different stages of my career. That's why it is painful for me to report this morning that both -- who, as recently as yesterday, were New York's best baseball columnist, and its top sports radio voice -- have lost their damn minds.

Here's the backstory. After writing yesterday that the Mets need Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard to save their season, I was surprised by the volume of tweets I received from Mets fans arguing that the team should start a rebuild by trading both. But I thought, whatever. Those are the Twitter crazies. Reasonable people wouldn't think this. Then, I got in the car and turned on my radio. My first stop is often WFAN's CMB, featuring Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott. That show keeps getting better and better, by the way.

Or so I thought. Yesterday, the trio shocked me by actually dignifying the idea that it was time for the Mets to consider trading their top two pitchers. They took calls on it. They debated it. Then this morning, a source with close ties to Carlin confirmed that he would advocate for dealing at least deGrom...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Andy Martino
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Apr 27, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)
Apr 27, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | So much has gone wrong for the Mets since their 11-1 start, some of it fixable and some of it deeply worrisome. The front office remains hopeful that veterans like Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier will ultimately put up their usual numbers, and that Michael Conforto will remember how talented he is.

On the negative side, outside evaluators wonder if Yoenis Cespedes will ever resemble the superstar he was for a few months in 2015, now that he he can't seem to shake persistent leg injuries. Or if Amed Rosario will produce enough to be a major league regular. Or if the bullpen is deep enough. Or if Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, and Jason Vargas can ever be reliable.

With so much uncertainty -- particularly around Cespedes, who is crucial to the offense -- the diminished Mets face a revised calculus: They need Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard to pitch well enough to cover the team's flaws, and they need to win the vast majority of games that those two start...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Andy Martino
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New York Mets' Yoenis Cespedes hits a solo home run off Philadelphia Phillies' Aaron Nola during the sixth inning. (AP)
New York Mets' Yoenis Cespedes hits a solo home run off Philadelphia Phillies' Aaron Nola during the sixth inning. (AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Anyone who saw Yoenis Cespedes hobbling around the field last week could see that he needed to rest his legs. As the diagnosis changed from quad to hip, a central truth remained: A key player was clearly in pain.

So why didn't the Mets send him to the disabled list sooner?

Both in public and private, team officials pushed back on the idea that they were being reckless with Cespedes, and noted the caution they showed this season in DL'ing Todd Frazier and Jacob deGrom.

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes, Andy Martino
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