Andy Martino

Andy Martino is SNY's MLB insider.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Sonny Gray pitches in the third inning against Minnesota Twins at Target Field. (Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Sonny Gray pitches in the third inning against Minnesota Twins at Target Field. (Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees have multiple offers on the table for RHP Sonny Gray and are in the process of weighing them, according to major league sources.

GM Brian Cashman has been open about Gray's need for a change of scenery, after the righty struggled in the Bronx. Despite selling low, the Yankees should bring back some legitimate talent in the trade, because of his upside, and the ever-present need for pitching.

Tags: Sonny Gray, Andy Martino
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Noah Syndergaard (34) Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Noah Syndergaard (34) Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

As the Mets prepare for contract extension talks with Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, they are receiving significant trade interest in Noah Syndergaard, according to major league sources. A Syndergaard trade could be their way to add high-end talent, while still trying to contend in 2019.

SNY reported last summer that the San Diego Padres and Mets talked about a Syndergaard trade, and could revisit the subject in the offseason. According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, that has indeed happened. Our sources add that while the Padres weren't aggressive enough in July for talks to become serious, they are expected to go harder after Syndergaard now.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Andy Martino
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Apr 22, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Patrick Corbin (46) throws in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Scuteri)
Apr 22, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Patrick Corbin (46) throws in the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Scuteri)

The Yankees plan to add two starting pitchers and multiple bullpen pieces this offseason, and we could see action sooner than later.

Several agents and executives have privately expressed a belief that the free agent pitching market will move much faster than it did last season.

Mutual interest remains between the Yankees and Patrick Corbin. Keep your eye on that one, though both sides have other options. Our impression is that Corbin could sign somewhere before long. The Yanks and J.A. Happ are also still interested in a reunion...

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Jacob deGrom (48) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jacob deGrom (48) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

You might recall that R.A. Dickey's Cy Young Award in 2012 resulted not in a celebration but a quarrel between player and team that ended in the Mets trading Dickey to the Blue Jays before the end of the year.

You might also recall that, last July, when Jacob deGrom's then-agent Brodie Van Wagenen called on the Mets to either extend or consider trading the ace, a well-placed source predicted to us that it would end in a "trade in the offseason."

DeGrom, it seemed at the time, was going the way of Dickey -- a top pitcher at first willing to stay in New York long-term, but ultimately used as a rebuilding chip.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Andy Martino
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Jul 1, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton (65) delivers against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Lindsey Wasson-USA TODAY Sports (Lindsey Wasson)
Jul 1, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton (65) delivers against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Lindsey Wasson-USA TODAY Sports (Lindsey Wasson)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Industry sources say that the Seattle Mariners are "highly motivated" to trade ace James Paxton. The Yankees are among the teams interested in the lefty.

Despite Seattle's apparent intention to move Paxton, the asking price is expected to be relatively high, if not astronomical -- comparable to what Houston received last winter for Gerrit Cole: pitchers Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz, top ten prospect Colin Moran and Top 20 prospect Jason Martin.

Roughly translated to the Yankees, that could mean retaining top young players like Miguel Andujar but having to further reduce high-end organizational depth. A free agent like Patrick Corbin or J.A. Happ, of course, will only cost money.

Tags: Miguel Andujar, Andy Martino
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Aug 17, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado (8) tosses his bat after hitting a home run against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports (Jennifer Buchanan)
Aug 17, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado (8) tosses his bat after hitting a home run against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports (Jennifer Buchanan)

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Spend any time this week around Brian Cashman or the Yankee contingent at the GM meetings, which includes his front office advisors Jean Afterman, Tim Naehring, Jim Hendry and Reggie Jackson, and it's clear that their minds are far from the Bryce Harper or Manny Machado sweepstakes.

Sure, they're monitoring the rumors like everyone else, but they haven't mounted a pursuit of either player. The Yanks are very clearly focused on improving their pitching staff, from signing CC Sabathia to pursuing J.A. Happ, Patrick Corbin, Andrew Miller, Corey Kluber and many others.

But there is one clear pathway to Machado ultimately becoming a Yankee, and it flows through Philadelphia...

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Apr 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis (30) during batting practice prior to a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)
Apr 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis (30) during batting practice prior to a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | The Mets are planning to conduct bench coach interviews next week, before diving into their search to replace fired hitting coach Pat Roessler. But Chili Davis, recently axed by the Cubs, is on their early list for hitting coach, according to major league sources.

Following a 19-year MLB playing career, Davis has served as hitting coach for the A's, Red Sox and Cubs. Chicago fired him after the 2018 season.

Candidates for the bench coach position include former managers Jim Riggleman and Pete Mackanin.

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Oct 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller reacts after striking out Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross (not pictured) to end the top of the 7th inning in game one of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller reacts after striking out Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross (not pictured) to end the top of the 7th inning in game one of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | TwitterBoth the Mets and Yankees have expressed interest in free agent reliever Andrew Miller, but he is not close to a deal with either team.

Coming off a down year caused by patellar tendinitis in his left knee, Miller is seeking a multi-year deal, according to major league sources. Interested teams are waiting to see if the medicals give them pause, and hope that an offseason of rest will restore Miller's health.

The Yankees like Miller because they know him, and considered him an especially good clubhouse presence during his first go-around with the team. They are also looking to maintain a dominant pen despite the potential departures of Zach Britton and David Robertson...

Tags: Andrew Miller, Andy Martino
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Oct 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller reacts after striking out Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross (not pictured) to end the top of the 7th inning in game one of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller reacts after striking out Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross (not pictured) to end the top of the 7th inning in game one of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | TwitterBoth the Yankees and Mets have expressed interest in free agent reliever Andrew Miller, but he is not close to a deal with either team.

Coming off a down year caused by patellar tendinitis in his left knee, Miller is seeking a multi-year deal, according to major league sources. Interested teams are waiting to see if the medicals give them pause, and hope that an offseason of rest will restore Miller's health.

The Yankees like Miller because they know him, and considered him an especially good clubhouse presence during his first go-around with the team. They are also looking to maintain a dominant pen despite the potential departures of Zach Britton and David Robertson...

Tags: Andrew Miller, Andy Martino
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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | CARLSBAD, Calif. -- It's too early in both the offseason and Brodie Van Wagenen's tenure as GM to say definitively what the Mets' free agent strategy this winter will be, but the team is weighing high-profile bullpen acquisitions as a way to contend in 2019.

With a thin pen and no obvious closer on the roster, the Mets are considering pursuing impact relievers like Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton, David Robertson, Adam Ottavino and Andrew Miller, according to major league sources. After a down year, Miller could be available on a one-year deal.

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New York Yankees' J.A. Happ delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)
New York Yankees' J.A. Happ delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | CARLSBAD, Calif. -- The Yankees have already engaged in preliminary talks with free agent J.A. Happ's agent about a return, per major league sources, and there is definite mutual interest in a reunion. But it's early enough in the offseason that the sides are both weighing other options, too.

That is in keeping with the Yanks' primary goals this winter, which are to improve the starting rotation and make sure the bullpen remains strong. As SNY first reported, the team is not interested in Bryce Harper, and is lukewarm on Manny Machado. The latter is more likely to become a Yankee than the former, but both are less important to Brian Cashman than pitching.

In addition to Happ, who is 36 but in excellent shape and expecting to pitch for many more years, the Yankees are in the early stages of weighing several intriguing trade options. Both Cleveland and Seattle are prepared to deal high end pitchers like Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and James Paxton, and the Yankees are interested in all of them -- though the free agent market is a bit more appealing to them than a trade, because they have already traded away several top prospects...

Tags: CC Sabathia, Andy Martino
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Omar Minaya (2015, USA Today Images), Ricciardi (2011, Cerrone SNY) & Ricco (2016, USA Today Images)
Omar Minaya (2015, USA Today Images), Ricciardi (2011, Cerrone SNY) & Ricco (2016, USA Today Images)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Any time a new regime sweeps into power, personnel changes follow. The Mets will be no different, as they reset under general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.

For months, friends of longtime assistant GM John Ricco have predicted that he will move on after a new hire is in place. That remains the feeling, although Ricco is welcome to stay if he chooses. Ricco has a strong relationship with Van Wagenen, and Mets staffers are hoping that he stays because of that.

Ricco has consistently declined to comment on his future, and did not respond to a message this week. If he does decide to move on, either now or in several months once Van Wagenen is settled, he might be able to return to the commissioner's office, where he once worked. Ricco is a versatile executive, and his loss would be a major one for the Mets...

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New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen poses for photographs at CitiField Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)
New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen poses for photographs at CitiField Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | The general manager position for a Major League Baseball team is not primarily about philosophy. It's not primarily about an openness to either analytics or scouting, because analytics and scouts are everywhere in the game, and no decent team ignores either.

A GM job is about leadership, listening skills, and action. The Mets made an inspired choice in Brodie Van Wagenen in part because he possesses the first two qualities, but the time to compliment them for that is over.

Now we need to move on from the GM search and Van Wagenen's introductory news conference, and drill down on specifics about how he is going to ensure that the 2019 Mets are, in his phrase, a "win-now team."

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Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper looks out from the dugout before a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sunday, May 20, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (Nick Wass/AP)
Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper looks out from the dugout before a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sunday, May 20, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (Nick Wass/AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | As the Yankees wrapped their pro scouting meetings last week and determined a preliminary offseason strategy, a pursuit of free agent outfielder Bryce Harper was not part of the plan, according to major league sources.

As with Manny Machado, who the Yankees will monitor but not likely pursue aggressively, ownership could step in and mandate a Harper signing. The Steinbrenner family just watched the Boston Red Sox win yet another World Series, and might be in the mood to load up on superstars.

But the Yankees' early feeling is that Harper simply doesn't fit. While they could use the lefthanded bat in a righty-heavy lineup, they feel that their outfield and DH spots are spoken for...

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Miguel Andujar, Andy Martino
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Aug 17, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado (8) tosses his bat after hitting a home run against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports (Jennifer Buchanan)
Aug 17, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado (8) tosses his bat after hitting a home run against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports (Jennifer Buchanan)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | We're not here, the morning after the Boston Red Sox won their fourth World Series championship since 2004, to tell you that the Yankees definitely will not sign Manny Machado. If you're a Yankee fan, you probably don't want to hear that today.

And they're the Yankees. They might end up with the superstar shortstop, after all.

But we are here to tell you that the baseball operations and scouting departments, which spent most of last week meeting to plot an offseason strategy, was not impressed by Machado's postseason antics, and are now "lukewarm" on pursuing the former Oriole and Dodger, according to major league sources...

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Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Agent Brodie Van Wagenen is headed for a job as the head of baseball operations for the Mets.

There are many details to work out, including what his offical title will be. A source said Van Wagenen will likely be named "GM," but either way the job is the same -- he'll be in charge of baseball ops and the deal won't be official until next week.

Expect the Mets to introduce Van Wagenen, who had his second-round interview Monday, at a news conference at Citi Field no sooner than Tuesday. The timing will depend on when the World Series ends.

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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

All signs point to Brodie Van Wagenen becoming a Met next week.

Earlier in the day, we reported that the CAA top agent had emerged as a frontrunner in the Mets' GM search. Now we can further upgrade his chances.

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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

As the Mets deliberate on who to hire to lead baseball operations, agent Brodie Van Wagenen is in very strong position to get the job, according to major league sources.

But Chaim Bloom remains in the mix, and has not been eliminated. Bloom interviewed very well, has a strong reputation in the game, and emerged as a legitimate candidate. The Mets have not ruled him out, as they have Doug Melvin.

The Mets don't play to hire both Bloom and Van Wagenen, according to a source.

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Aug 14, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario (1) celebrates with first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr (20) after hitting a rbi single in the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Aug 14, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario (1) celebrates with first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr (20) after hitting a rbi single in the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | After the Phillies moved on from longtime GM Ruben Amaro Jr. in 2015, he could have traveled the traditional path of becoming another team's special assistant or senior advisor. That's the typical soft landing for a free agent baseball exec.

But Amaro pursued a more interesting second act, donning a uniform again and taking a job as first base coach for the Boston Red Sox. After the Sox fired manager John Farrell a year ago, Amaro moved to the Mets, where he holds the same position, in addition to coaching baserunning and outfield.

Amaro emphasizes that he is happy in New York, and hopes to return under a new administration. But as a former GM, he is naturally interested in one day being a leader in the game again, whether in a front office or as a manager...

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Chaim Bloom (left) and Doug Melvin (right) are two of the three remaining candidates for the Mets' GM job. (AP, USA TODAY)
Chaim Bloom (left) and Doug Melvin (right) are two of the three remaining candidates for the Mets' GM job. (AP, USA TODAY)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | TwitterChaim Bloom began his baseball career in player development. Doug Melvin pioneered some of the concepts behind the now cutting-edge art of bullpenning. But listening to much of the chatter around the Mets' GM search, you'd think that Melvin has only scouted games and that Bloom has never left the computer lab.

According to people in rival front offices who know both men, the "old school/new school" labels are not only demeaning to both Bloom, 35, and Melvin, 66, but are inaccurate. In reality, both men occupy a different space in the vast middle ground where most successful executives reside.

Bloom interviews on Wednesday, a day after Melvin. The Mets' third finalist, agent Brodie Van Wagenen, avoids being typecast in this particular discussion because he does not have a front-office background. The other two are victims of myopic, reductive, and in Melvin's case, elitist thinking.

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Feb 19, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon (left) talks with manager Mickey Callaway (right) during practice drills at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports  (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 19, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon (left) talks with manager Mickey Callaway (right) during practice drills at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | With Fred Wilpon now involved in the GM interview process, it is now becoming more clear how the Mets will proceed in choosing a new leader for their baseball operations department. According to major league sources, the team is likely to make a hire before the GM meetings in early November -- and could zero in on its selection as soon as this week.

The Mets have not authorized anyone to discuss this search on any level, but the following information is gathered from sources with direct knowledge of their process, granted anonymity to speak freely.

"This could move pretty fast," said one person involved. "I think they would like to have clarity on which direction to go by the end of the week."

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Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

As the Mets complied their initial list of possible candidates to lead baseball operations, prominent agent Casey Close was among the wide range of people they considered.

But, as it turns out, the team never ended up interviewing Close. And according to a person familiar with Close's thinking, he did not seek the job and was not interested in leaving his behind his career as an agent.

Close has been friends with Mets COO Jeff Wilpon for years, and most recently worked with him on Michael Cuddyer's contract and retirement agreement. But the two have not spoken since the end of the season.

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May 26, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Mets Chairman Fred Wilpon looks on during batting practice before the Mets play the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
May 26, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Mets Chairman Fred Wilpon looks on during batting practice before the Mets play the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Mets owner Fred Wilpon began the process Monday of interviewing finalists for the Mets' head of baseball operations job by speaking with agent Brodie Van Wagenen.

Wilpon, along with his son and COO Jeff Wilpon and a few other Mets executives, spoke to Van Wagenen about the position. Van Wagenen and his group at CAA represents prominent Mets Jacob deGrom, Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, Todd Frazier and Tim Tebow.

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Dec 14, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays senior vice president, baseball operations Chaim Bloom during the MLB winter meetings at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Dec 14, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays senior vice president, baseball operations Chaim Bloom during the MLB winter meetings at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets spent Monday morning huddling over their first-round GM interviews, and in the afternoon decided that Brodie Van Wagenen, Doug Melvin and Chaim Bloom would advance to second round interviews with Fred and Jeff Wilpon.

According to a person with direct knowledge of the process, a fourth candidate could still emerge.

The team did significant legwork on MLB exec Kim Ng and agent Casey Close, because both were serious, qualified candidates. But ultimately, they decided that the other three held more appeal to them.

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Kim Ng on field before a game in Los Angeles. Credit: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
Kim Ng on field before a game in Los Angeles. Credit: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets are currently working to pare down their current list of candidates to lead baseball operations from five to two or three, and will begin second round interviews this week.

As we reported Friday, Doug Melvin, Chaim Bloom, Kim Ng, Brodie Van Wagenen and Casey Close are in the running. Two or three of those will soon be voted off the island, and the survivors will meet with Fred and Jeff Wilpon.

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Feb 14, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view of a New York Mets hat and glove on the grass during a workout at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 14, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view of a New York Mets hat and glove on the grass during a workout at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets have not yet made a final determination of which candidates will advance to the second round of interviews for the GM/head of baseball operations job, but as they deliberate, several people both inside and outside the organization are advocating for longtime Texas and Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin.

Melvin, 66, carries a reputation vastly different from controversial Cardinals farm director Gary LaRocque. 

Melvin is known as a consensus-builder, and is "open-minded," in the words of one significantly younger baseball official who is more analytically inclined.

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Feb 15, 2018; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals director player development Gary LaRocque uses his cell phone during workout drill at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 15, 2018; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals director player development Gary LaRocque uses his cell phone during workout drill at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets are just about done speaking to new candidates to lead baseball operations at a crucial time for the franchise. The time for brainstorming is over, and the team is now scrutinizing individuals, and what kind of leader each person would be.

Each of the six known interviewees brings questions, as anyone would. Kim Ng, Chaim Bloom, De Jon Watson are impressive in different ways, but have never done the job. Dave Littlefield's record in Pittsburgh was uninspiring at best. Doug Melvin is not exactly new school, though his reputation as a "great guy, and open minded," in the words of one baseball official makes him intriguing in this field.

I've been asking executives around the league for opinions on these people for weeks, and Cardinals director of player development Gary LaRocque has easily raised the most questions among those who have worked with or around him.

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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)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees will hold their annual pro scouting meetings next week, during which Brian Cashman and his staff will determine an offseason strategy, including which players to pursue, and which of their own free agents to retain.

Cashman, along with top lieutenants Michael Fishman, Tim Naehring, Jean Afterman and others on the staff will huddle, as they do annually, and hash through the many issues facing the roster. Hal Steinbrenner is also expected to participate to some degree.

According to major league sources, and basic common sense, here are some of the key topics...

Tags: Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, David Robertson, Didi Gregorius, Andy Martino
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Jun 23, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; A general view of the field prior to the game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jun 23, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; A general view of the field prior to the game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets have interviewed more than the five candidates known in the first round of their search for a new head of baseball operations, and plan to speak to one or two more before determining finalists, according to major league sources.

The team is being extremely secretive about this initial phase of the process, refusing to confirm or deny that they spoke with any individuals. But according to other league sources, the known list of Kim Ng, Gary LaRocque, Chaim Bloom, De Jon Watson and Doug Melvin is incomplete.

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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 |

A week into the Mets' process of interviewing for Sandy Alderson's replacement as the head of baseball operations, there truly seems to be no frontrunner. The Mets are considering candidates with backgrounds as disparate as Gary LaRocque and Chaim Bloom, and are still weighing which direction to go.

You can find people in the organization advocating for a more traditional approach, and those who are more enthusiastic about analytics. Others are moderates on this issue. Therefore, the only credible answer to the question of what the team is going to do is "not sure yet, because they're not, either."

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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The first blush of reaction, after Yankees PR man Jason Zillo dropped the stunning news on reporters assembled for the team's post-mortem news conference that Didi Gregorius needed Tommy John surgery, was the most obvious: The team needed to pursue Manny Machado in free agency.

But it wasn't Gregorius' injury that made Machado an important item for the Yankees. The 26-year-old superstar was already a target, and rightfully so. The Yankees tried to trade for Machado twice -- last offseason and this July...

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Greg Bird, Miguel Andujar, Andy Martino
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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | There are plenty of reasons to worry about and criticize the Yankees, not least of which is that they just dropped an ALDS to a Boston team that they could easily have beaten. Their manager and star offseason acquisition failed in the clutch. They need more pitching than is probably available this winter.

But one criticism that is neither fair nor rational is that the Yankees took a step backwards this year, because they did not reach the American League Championship Series. Last season, of course, they came within one game of the World Series.

A front office's goal is to create a team that can win enough in the regular season to reach the postseason. Then, you see where the randomness of October takes you. This season, Brian Cashman constructed a club that won 100 games, and Aaron Boone led it capably until the final two games. From the standpoint of roster building and management, the season was a success...

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Cleveland Indians General Manager Mike Chernoff answers a question at an Indians end of season news conference in Cleveland, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Phil Long) (Phil Long/AP)
Cleveland Indians General Manager Mike Chernoff answers a question at an Indians end of season news conference in Cleveland, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Phil Long) (Phil Long/AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | As the Mets continue to speak with people about replacing Sandy Alderson as head of baseball operations -- some in person this week in New York, and some less formally -- multiple major league sources said that Cleveland GM Mike Chernoff is among the candidates.

Chernoff, 37, has worked in Cleveland with former team president, and current Toronto Blue Jays president, Mark Shapiro, and current Indians president Chris Antonetti. Both are close with Omar Minaya. Chernoff is the son of Mark Chernoff, VP of programming for WFAN.

This first round of "interviews" has taken many forms, from sit-downs in New York to informal telephone conversations. Mets brass has been very active in pursuing conversations with many people in the game, soliciting thoughts about their direction.

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Oct 3, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman (right) before the 2018 American League wild card playoff baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY Sports (Danielle Parhizkaran)
Oct 3, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman (right) before the 2018 American League wild card playoff baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY Sports (Danielle Parhizkaran)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | The Yankees are now two seasons into a new era defined by Aaron Judge and a young core. In each of those seasons, they have made the playoffs, but stalled before reaching the World Series. And while they might still be a team on the ascent, GM Brian Cashman faces a tricky offseason, at a time when American League powerhouses like Houston and Boston are ahead of the Yanks.

Here are the major questions the Yankees must confront:

How do they maintain the dominant bullpen?

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Greg Bird, Luis Severino, Miguel Andujar, Andy Martino
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Aaron Boone (17) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Aaron Boone (17) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

 All through the fall and winter, it will be as if Aaron Boone didn't help a team win 100 games during his rookie season as a manager, didn't synthesize complex analytics, didn't win over the clubhouse, and didn't handle his media responsibilities with ease and class.

Many Yankee fans will only want to talk about his bullpen management in the division series. And in a sense, that's the deal in New York. When you work for the championship-or-bust Yankees (however silly and dated that mentality may be), you will only win over the public with a World Series win. Or two or three or four.

Tags: Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Andy Martino
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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 | As the Mets interview candidates to lead their baseball operations department, they remain secretive about the early stages of their process. The view from here is that the situation will yet contain surprises, and what the team has called "outside the box" candidates -- and that a top agent like Brodie Van Wagenen or Casey Close is uniquely positioned to provide what the organization needs.

When Sandy Alderson stepped aside in June, the team lost a leader who brought together different departments, and served as a credible, articulate face of the team. That's why it would be wise to replace him with a person who has gravitas, a strong reputation in the game, and the ability to balance analytics with traditional scouting, rather than acting as a partisan to either side.

Both Van Wagenen and Close bring those qualities. The former is not only respected within the industry, but also enjoys a strong relationship with Mets hierarchy. A leading CAA agent, he represents Jacob deGrom, Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, Tim Tebow and Todd Frazier, and knows the organization well. He has been able to navigate negotiations without conflict or grudge, and communicate with the public smoothly, when appropriate...

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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees took advantage of a favorable matchup and cashed in with a 6-2 win to tie the ALDS at one apiece in Boston Saturday night...

Gardner the grinder

Aaron Hicks is obviously a much more productive player than Brett Gardner in 2018, but Gardner's entry into the lineup Saturday, courtesy of Hicks' hamstring injury, was at least well-timed. For one, Gardner has better career numbers (.269 to .212 batting average) versus starter David Price. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Andy Martino
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Oct 5, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) strikes out during the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox in game one of the 2018 NLDS playoff baseball series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)
Oct 5, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) strikes out during the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox in game one of the 2018 NLDS playoff baseball series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees' comeback fell short as they lost to the Red Sox, 5-4, in Game 1 of the ALDS on Friday night in Boston...

The game turned on what seemed like a questionable decision

This Red Sox took their lead in the first inning, when the Yankees appeared to decide they would rather have J.A. Happ pitch to J.D. Martinez than Steve Pearce.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Andy Martino
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Oct 8, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone addresses the media prior to game three of the 2018 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin R. Wexler/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Kevin R. Wexler)
Oct 8, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone addresses the media prior to game three of the 2018 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin R. Wexler/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Kevin R. Wexler)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Boston was a tougher matchup for Luis Severino than Oakland

The Yankees chose Severino to start the wild card game over J.A. Happ and Masahiro Tanaka in part because his specific stuff played best against the Oakland lineup. As strong an offense as the A's had this year, they were the worst team in baseball in wOBA (weighted on-base average, a metric valued by many front offices) against fastballs 97 mph and above.

The Red Sox were 10th in MLB in that metric, far more suited to handle Severino's heat. And handle it they did, from the first pitch. 

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino, Andy Martino
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Feb 14, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view of a New York Mets hat and glove on the grass during a workout at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 14, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view of a New York Mets hat and glove on the grass during a workout at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets will begin interviewing candidates to succeed Sandy Alderson as head of baseball operations early next week, according to a major league source. The team has received permission to speak to enough candidates to begin the process.

COO Jeff Wilpon and assistant GM John Ricco will conduct the first round of interviews.

As of late Thursday, the only interview scheduled was with Cardinals executive Gary LaRocque. Former Brewers GM Doug Melvin will also get an interview.

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Yankees beat A?s, move to ALDS 00:01:55
The Yankees beat the A?s 7-2 in the Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium, and now advance to the ALDS against the Red Sox.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Analytics worked for Yanks in choosing Luis Severino

Considering how well J.A. Happ pitched since becoming a Yankee in late July -- and how shaky Luis Severino was until recently -- it seemed risky to give Severino the wild card start. But the Yankees were actually following analytics, as they so often do.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Dellin Betances, Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino, Miguel Andujar, Andy Martino
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Oct 10, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington watches the team during a workout at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)
Oct 10, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington watches the team during a workout at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Almost immediately after Sandy Alderson stepped aside as Mets GM in June, speculation began that former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington would become a leading candidate. But as the Mets begin their interview process, Cherington is not expected to be a part of it, according to major league sources.

Cherington did not respond to a request for comment, and the Mets are not confirming or denying any names. People in the game who know Cherington say that he is happy in his job in the Toronto Blue Jays front office, and not eager to leave it.

The Mets have already scheduled several interviews. Their first round of candidates could include as many as a dozen people.

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino throws a pitch to the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino throws a pitch to the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | On Sept. 19, I asked Aaron Boone if he would consider matchups for a potential division series against Boston when choosing a starter to face the Oakland A's in the wild card game, and he gave what seemed like a surprisingly candid answer.

Listen to what he said then, and you would assume that Luis Severino had the edge for the wild card start, saving J.A. Happ to open the Boston series. Happ has been highly effective against the Red Sox throughout his career.

"I think you have to strike a little bit of a balance there, but I think the biggest thing that does come about is that one game," Boone said then. "You are going to do obviously everything you can that you think is right to win that game...

Tags: Luis Severino, Andy Martino
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Jun 23, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; A general view of the field prior to the game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jun 23, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; A general view of the field prior to the game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

As the early rounds of the baseball postseason occupy most of our attention, the Mets will quietly begin meeting with candidates for their next head of baseball operations. As we've previously reported, they are not necessarily looking for a general manager, but possibly for a president or executive vice president of baseball ops.

Here's how the process will work, according to sources: The team will soon begin interviewing candidates, but does not plan to announce names or publicize this round of interviews, which could grow to include nearly a dozen people.

A second round of interviews is expected to follow, as it did in 2010, when the Mets narrowed their search to Sandy Alderson and Josh Byrnes. By then, the process will be more public.

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Sep 29, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) waves to the crowd after a game against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 29, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) waves to the crowd after a game against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The only time I've cried about baseball as an adult was on a Saturday night earlier this month. A few days before, David Wright had sobbed through a news conference announcing that he was medically unable to play baseball. After a busy week, I finally had a few minutes to tell my wife about it.

She remembered me coming home from Shea Stadium in May of 2008, after my first assignment as an intern in the sports department at the New York Daily News. There were some tough old veterans on that Mets team, from Pedro Martinez to Carlos Delgado, and my stomach churned through the whole experience.

After the game, Adam Rubin, the beat writer for the News, introduced me to Wright. I was 27, Wright was 25, and he reminded me of a friend's amiable little brother. "Oh you're at the Daily News! Congratulations!" he said. He had an excitable manner that made him sound at times like he was chirping.

Tags: David Wright, Andy Martino
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | With David Wright's return as an active player upon us, the Mets' plan for his use this weekend is coming into focus.

As Mickey Callaway said on Thursday, there is a decent chance Wright will pinch-hit on Friday, which would be his first major league game action since May 27, 2016.

Here's our understanding of the rest of the plan:

Tags: David Wright, Andy Martino
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Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) reacts after the top of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) reacts after the top of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Jacob deGrom just completed the most compelling season for a Mets pitcher since R.A. Dickey's surprise Cy Young campaign in 2012 … and we know how that one ended. The Mets proved six years ago that they are not averse to trading an award winner, if it sets them up for the future.

So where does that leave the team with deGrom, heading into a pivotal offseason for the franchise?

Remember, at the All-Star game, deGrom's agent Brodie Van Wagenen made news by nudging the Mets to either offer a contract extension or consider a trade. That statement did not provoke either outcome, at least not immediately...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Andy Martino
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May 1, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) pitches during the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)
May 1, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) pitches during the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | On Wednesday afternoon, I asked Brian Cashman if the Yankees were open to bullpenning the wild card game against Oakland next Wednesday by using a reliever as a starting pitcher. Here was his interesting answer:

Q: "Will you consider using a reliever as an opener for the wild card game, or are you 100% committed to a starting pitcher?"

Cashman: "We are open to all options at this point since we haven't concluded that process. Still trying to win home field."

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Andy Martino
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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | TwitterHere's a piece of unsolicited advice for whoever ends up running baseball operations for the Mets: As your first move, make David Wright a significant voice in the front office. He's a bright baseball mind, beloved by the fans, and willing to serve.

On Tuesday evening, I asked Wright if he would like to be a part of the front office next year as a special assistant or advisor to a GM or president of baseball operations. He nodded.

"I'd love to stay involved," Wright said. "I love being around the game. I obviously love the organization. So I think I could provide value."

Tags: David Wright, Andy Martino
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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | The Yankees have finalized details of several elements of their commemoration of the Stonewall riots, sources told SNY. Prior to Friday night's game against Baltimore, city council speaker Corey Johnson, NYC DOE chancellor Richard Carranza and two founders of the Stonewall Inn will be on hand to announce plans.

The Yankees will partner with the department of education on several initiatives, and hold an event at a game next June.

SNY reported last month that the Yankees planned to hold events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a seminal event in the history of LGBTQ rights...

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