MetsBlog Executive Editor

Matthew Cerrone

Matthew Cerrone started MetsBlog.com as a project in college, generated 300,000,000 page views and 30,000 posts in 10 years, partnered with SportsNet New York and turned his hobby into a career. In 2011, SNY hired Matt to be Executive Editor and Director of Digital Content for their network of team sites, video content and podcasts.

Do the Mets need to acquire a first baseman this winter? Or, do they have enough internal options to make the position work in 2019?

Justin Smoak, Matt Adams, Marwin Gonzalez, and Logan Morrison are expected to be the top first basemen available on the free agent market this winter. It's too early to know if anyone better will be available and more affordable in trade.

That said, the Mets have at least five internal options worth considering, though no one candidate is perfect given the team's need to improve its fielding and power at the plate...

Tags: Dominic Smith, Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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1) Will Jake win dCy Young?

DeGrom has been the best pitcher in baseball up to this point in the season. He should have started for the NL All Star team, but the moment understandably went to Nationals ace Max Scherzer with the game being played in DC's Nationals Park.

That said, as is, deGrom beats Scherzer and Aaron Nola for hardware.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, David Wright, Jacob deGrom, Matthew Cerrone
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Will Cespedes play first base? 00:03:00
With Yoenis Cespedes working his way back from injury, the Baseball Night in New York panel wonders if first base could be his future spot.

Yoenis Cespedes recently told the Mets he'd be willing to learn to play first base, and he played nine innings at the position on Wednesday in his third rehab game (while hitting a three-run homer), keeping him on track for a potential return Friday against the Yankees in the Bronx. 

Cespedes had already been taking ground balls at first base, and the situation was addressed last week by Mickey Callaway, who said the expectation was that Cespedes would return as a left fielder. 

I've seen Cespedes often taking ground balls at third base and shortstop during spring training and before games. He's adept with the glove and we know he has a terrific arm. But, I have no idea how he'd handle the unique footwork, stretching and understanding of situational positioning that comes with playing first base...

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Jul 14, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) pitches during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Anthony Gruppuso)
Jul 14, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) pitches during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

SNY's Andy Martino recently said Zack Wheeler, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Jeurys Familia are the most likely players to be traded by the Mets before the end of this month.

Teams will almost certainly also have interest in acquiring Jerry Blevins, but that is more likely to happen through waivers during August.

Initially, I thought Todd Frazier and Anthony Swarzak would be attractive through waivers as well, but I'm starting to think they stay put because the Mets will seemingly attempt to contend in 2019...

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Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane during a media conference. (AP)
Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane during a media conference. (AP)

If they're going to play Moneyball in New York, why don't the Mets hire A's GM Billy Beane?

To be accurate, Beane is no longer Oakland's GM. Instead, he's their Executive Vice President and oversees David Forst, who has been his GM since 2016.

That said, according to people who know, covered and are friends with Beane, there isn't enough money or freedom a team could offer to get him to leave Oakland. They say he's a casual, laid back guy who comes and goes as he pleases, who loves wearing shorts to work and adores the Bay Area.

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It was five years ago tonight that Matt Harvey got the start for the National League as the All-Star Game was played at Citi Field.

The day before, then-prospect Noah Syndergaard represented the Mets and was the starting pitcher for Team USA during MLB's Futures Game. As expected, Syndergaard looked poised and aggressive on the mound, throwing one scoreless inning.

Brandon Nimmo, who started on the bench for Team USA, went hitless during two at-bats.

Tags: David Wright, Matt Harvey, Matthew Cerrone
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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

Kim Ng is currently the Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations for MLB and the highest ranking female executive in baseball. And she 100 percent should be considered by the Mets when they begin interviewing for a new GM.

In the wake of Sandy Alderson stepping down in June as GM due to health issues, his current assistants John Ricco and J.P. Ricciardi and advisor Omar Minaya were challenged by ownership to think creatively when it comes to improving the franchise.

It is expected that all three men will be considered to take over as Alderson's permanent replacement...

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I don't care if the next GM of the Mets has or doesn't have an MBA. I don't care if he or she did or didn't go to an Ivy League school. I don't care if they're young or old, from the organization or not. I don't care if they did or didn't play baseball. He or she doesn't need to be an expert in statistical and evidence-based analysis and evaluations. And, they don't need to be from New York...

My only requirement is that he or she understands and is willing to meet the demands of the market and fans, that they are open to ideas and 100 percent down for making big moves.

Most important, they need to able to be creative and adaptable enough so he or she can do the above over and over and over again until the team is a perennial postseason team in position to win the World Series every season. To hear me explain this in more detail, as well as discuss why I'm all for Yoenis Cespedes trying to play 1B, how I was so wrong about Brandon Nimmo, and whether Jacob deGrom or Max Scherzer should start next week's All Star Game, click play below...

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler delivers against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning. (AP)
New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler delivers against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning. (AP)

There are 20 days until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, when the Mets are expected to trade multiple players.

Based on recent performance, demand and buzz from insiders, I still expect Zack Wheeler and Jeurys Familia will be traded this month. I still see no way Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman are dealt before this winter, if they're ever traded at all.

Asdrubal Cabrera, Devin Mesoraco, and Jerry Blevins could get dealt this July, though I expect all three will need to be moved through waivers in August. The same can be said for Todd Frazier and Anthony Swarzak, both of whom are under contract through next season (with Bruce under contract through 2020) and unlikely to be attractive unless a team gets desperate...

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Nimmo, Bruce, Frazier, McNeil and Alonso, Cespedes. Credit: USA Today Images
Nimmo, Bruce, Frazier, McNeil and Alonso, Cespedes. Credit: USA Today Images

The Mets have scored the fewest runs in the National League since May 1, which encompasses roughly 70 percent of the season. They also have the league's worst record during that time, 19-42, which is eight fewer wins than their NL East rival Marlins.

To make matters worse, they Mets have the fifth-worst run differential in all of baseball.

In case you missed it...

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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New York Mets' Steven Matz delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
New York Mets' Steven Matz delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

According to SNY's Andy Martino, the Mets have moved past the idea of trading Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard and are instead considering whether to move Zack Wheeler and/or Steven Matz.

However, in addition to Matz and Wheeler, teams looking for a mid-rotation starting pitcher can also consider acquiring Tyson Ross and Clayton Richard (Padres), Ivan Nova (Pirates), Marco Estrada (Blue Jays), Mike Minor (Rangers) and possibly Chris Archer and Blake Snell (Rays).

The most sought-after starting pitchers will be Cole Hamels and J.A.Happ. Teams will ask about Jacob deGrom and Madison Bumgarner, but no one I know in baseball thinks either of them will be dealt this season...

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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)

Here is a collection of relevant  trade rumors based on my recent conversations with rival team executives, MLB insiders, local reporters, and people connected to the Mets...

According to SNY's Andy Martino, the Mets have moved past the idea of trading Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard and are instead focusing on trading Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz.

However, in addition to Matz and Wheeler, teams looking for a mid-rotation starting pitcher are also looking at Tyson Ross (Padres), Marco Estrada (Blue Jays), Mike Minor (Rangers) and at least a handful of other more experienced and reliable arms...

Tags: Anthony Swarzak, David Wright, Jacob deGrom, Jerry Blevins, Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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Jun 18, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports (Ron Chenoy)
Jun 18, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports (Ron Chenoy)

I still can't find anyone in baseball that believes the Mets will deal Jacob deGrom this summer, even though the organization is currently seeing back-channel interest in him and Noah Syndergaard.

Why won't deGrom be traded? Here are the three most common reasons I heard from rival insiders..

1) Fill-in GMs J.P. Ricciardi and John Ricco are both expected to interview this October when ownership begins vetting candidates to be their new, permanent GM. In that case, it will be much more safe for Ricciardi and Ricco to keep their aces and, instead, pitch a more thoughtful plan to ownership this winter. Because, if they make a mistake now and botch a deal for deGrom today, they can kiss goodbye their chances of ever becoming the team's GM...

Tags: Anthony Swarzak, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Todd Frazier, Wilmer Flores, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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Los Angeles Dodgers assistant general manager Kim Ng walks through the hotel lobby during the first day of Major League Baseball annual general managers meetings in Orlando, Fla., Monday, Nov. 5, 2007.(AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux/AP)
Los Angeles Dodgers assistant general manager Kim Ng walks through the hotel lobby during the first day of Major League Baseball annual general managers meetings in Orlando, Fla., Monday, Nov. 5, 2007.(AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux/AP)

The Mets are in transition, which also means they have the opportunity to reimagine their franchise and get in line with how the most successful teams in baseball are currently operating. And there are five rising executives they should consider when they begin their GM search in the coming months -- Doug Harris, Jared Porter, Kim Ng, Jason McLeod, and J.J. Piccolo.

The current CBA has resulted in teams either cutting payroll and restocking their farm system or going all in, right now, for a World Series title. The teams that try to play in between, like the Mets, are only killing time before needing to choose between one of the above two options.

There is nothing in the team's history to suggest they will increase payroll by $100 million to land Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. And, even if they did, this would not solve their biggest problem, which is the desperate need of more, better, younger talent ready to produce in Citi Field....

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The Rusty Staub Foundation 00:00:23
The Rusty Staub Foundation, which has raised over $140 million since 1985, held its annual barbecue Wednesday before the Mets game.

To keep out of last place, the Mets need to win at least one of their upcoming three games against the Marlins. The series begins night in Miami. However, if Miami wins all three, the Mets will be dead last.

In case you missed it...

Finally, Mets manager Mickey Callaway is going to start using Michael Conforto as only a corner outfielder, while letting Brandon Nimmo get more time up the middle.

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There will be enough relief pitching available on the trade market this summer that every contending team will be able to acquire multiple arms, according to MLB insiders.

This is why the Nationals moved quickly to acquire Kelvin Herrera instead of waiting to the last minute. The thing is, supply is so high, that even when jumping the gun, people around baseball still believe the Royals didn't get nearly enough in return for what will likely be the best relief pitcher to switch teams.

The point is, don't expect the Mets to get much in return for Jeurys Familia and Jerry Blevins, both of whom are expected to be dealt before the end of July.

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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)

It took me a while to get here, but yesterday's news about Sandy Alderson has me finally wanting new GM John Ricco to only keep players under contract after 2020, which means trading everyone else, including Jacob deGrom.

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John Ricco, who is assuming decision-making duties along with J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya due to Sandy Alderson's leave of absence, is ready to be the GM of the Mets.

Prior to joining the Mets when Minaya replaced Steve Phillips in 2004, Ricco worked in the Commissioner's office and also served as interim GM before the team hired Sandy Alderson. In addition to spending close to 15 years with the organization, he grew up in New Jersey and continues to be a local guy that knows the market, fans and ownership.

"John is super organized, always prepared, he's affable and patient and he listens more than he talks," a rival team executive that has dealt with Ricco recently told me. "He understands all sides of the game, on field and in the front office. He also loves that franchise, I can tell you that. He has a lot of respect for the team's fans and his colleagues. He's going to be fine."

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Sep 26, 2014; Alderson in the dugout before a game at Citi Field. Credit: Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2014; Alderson in the dugout before a game at Citi Field. Credit: Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Following their loud, private, postgame party beneath Wrigley Field after winning the NLCS to advance to the 2015 World Series, Mets players, Terry Collins and his coaching staff all took to the field to celebrate with their fans. 

Roughly 30 rows back of the dugout, in the dark beneath an overhand, by himself, the team's GM Sandy Alderson watched the team it took him five years to build spraying their fans with champagne, taking pictures, smiling and high-fiving anyone in reach.

It was a perfect, beautiful image of a wise and elegant man, content and watching from above, like a proud parent, who knew his job was not to take credit for their success, but to simply step back and let his children shine.

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John Ricco, who is assuming decision-making duties along with J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya due to Sandy Alderson's leave of absence, is ready to be the GM of the Mets.

Prior to joining the Mets when Minaya replaced Steve Phillips in 2004, Ricco worked in the Commissioner's office and also served as interim GM before the team hired Sandy Alderson. In addition to spending close to 15 years with the organization, he grew up in New Jersey and continues to be a local guy that knows the market, fans and ownership.

"John is super organized, always prepared, he's affable and patient and he listens more than he talks," a rival team executive that has dealt with Ricco recently told me. "He understands all sides of the game, on field and in the front office. He also loves that franchise, I can tell you that. He has a lot of respect for the team's fans and his colleagues. He's going to be fine."

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Feb. 2018: Mets prospect Tyler Bashlor throws batting practice in St. Lucie. Credit: Cerrone, MetsBlog.com
Feb. 2018: Mets prospect Tyler Bashlor throws batting practice in St. Lucie. Credit: Cerrone, MetsBlog.com

The Mets have promoted 25-year-old RHP Tyler Bashlor from Double-A Binghamton for Monday's game against the Pirates, with Chris Flexen being sent down. 

Bashlor, or, "Bash," as they call him, has a 2.63 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with 30 strikeouts in 24 innings across 20 outings this season. Since the Mets drafted him during the 11th round in 2013, he has a 3.29 lifetime ERA in 117 career minor-league games. He last pitched on Friday.

During this past spring training in St. Lucie, Bashlor quietly emerged as a young reliever worth keeping an eye on this summer. The kid works hard and is aggressive on the mound....

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New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

People that talk with and cover the Mets all say there is zero percent chance the team deals Jacob deGrom. It's talk radio hosts and people outside New York that keep perpetuating the trade rumor. 

In the end, while I firmly believe Sandy Alderson will listen to any trade offer for deGrom, I just don't think the deal exists that could get signed off on by him and Fred Wilpon, who adores pitching. 

According to insiders familiar with the trade market, there are only four contending teams capable of putting together a fair trade for deGrom and three of them - the Phillies, Yankees and Braves - are considered to be among their top rivals. The other team is the Dodgers.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matthew Cerrone
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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)

I'm totally befuddled by what is going on with the Mets. I sit here to write each day and often just stare at the screen, feeling disoriented, as if under water, not sure where the surface is located, where to get air, or where is up or where is down...

I have no idea how or why things changed so much since 2015, but the last two seasons have been among the most bizarre and confusing I have written about since starting MetsBlog in 2003.

For instance, Sunday's scheduled starting pitcher, Jason Vargas, hurt himself running before last Wednesday's game in Colorado. The Mets put him on the disabled list three days later and 24 hours before needing to replace him in the rotation for Sunday. Nevertheless, his teammates reportedly arrived Sunday to Citi Field with zero idea who would be taking his place in the rotation...

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 (Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)
(Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)

Drew Smith looked terrific early in spring training right through his 21 appearances with Triple-A Las Vegas. Now, he will be promoted and join the Mets before Friday's game.

Smith, who was acquired last summer from the Rays for Lucas Duda, is known for throwing a quick and slippery fastball. At first glance, I was concerned with how far down he dips his throwing shoulder, seemingly scraping the ball against his calf muscle, but it works for him and appears to be all part of his ability to look like he's throwing a lot harder than he is.

In 30 innings this season, Smith, 24, has a 3.00 ERA and 1.20 WHIP with 28 strikeouts pitching in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He had a 1.80 ERA and 0.87 WHIP last season in Double-A.

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The Mets will be pitched by teams looking to acquire Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. However, despite all the buzz, I expect both pitchers will continue being Mets at least through the next two seasons.

Frankly, the only way I see either of these two pitchers being traded is if a new GM and front office takes the wheel. Otherwise, it's ride or die with deGrom and Syndergaard for Sandy Alderson. 

Similarly, while there will be interest in (and it's worth listening to offers for) Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman, my hunch is Alderson would prefer to keep them as well -- especially given the delicate state of his rotation.

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Todd Frazier, Matthew Cerrone
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Ken Rosenthal's report Monday for The Athletic, which stated the Mets are essentially listening to trade offers for all of their players, is important.

It's not important because it means every player on the team is about to be traded. However, it signals to us and the market with one shot that GM Sandy Alderson is thinking long-term and not just about 2018.

The Mets could spend several days connecting by phone or messaging with every front office to inform them of their willingness to deal, but launching a bomb through Rosenthal is more efficient...

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Jun 2, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jun 2, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

I've never been more impressed and wowed by Mets RHP Jacob deGrom than I was watching his start Monday against the Rockies at Coors Field.

He did not have good control of his slider or change up as early as his first opponent of the game. In this situation, like most every pitcher in baseball, the deGrom of a few years ago would have tried to push through and keep searching for his command -- at least through the first inning.

If lucky, this foolish approach will work. If not, the pitcher can expect to throw a lot of pitches, give up multiple runs, and end up needing his bullpen to enter the game earlier rather than later...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matthew Cerrone
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Aug 3, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; St. Lucie Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil (5) scores before the tag of Tampa Yankees catcher Wes Wilson (69) in the eight inning at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Aug 3, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; St. Lucie Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil (5) scores before the tag of Tampa Yankees catcher Wes Wilson (69) in the eight inning at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

The Mets last week promoted Triple-A infielder Jeff McNeil, who has become a popular, in-demand minor-leaguer among online fans and the prospect media.

The public interest in McNeil, 26, has been sparked by his late-blooming, left-handed power numbers, which has him looking like a totally different hitter than he was in 2015.

Back then, two years after being drafted with the organization's 12th-round pick, he has been presenting as an off-the-bench, slap-hitter. Then, in 2016, he missed time with a hernia, quad injury and needed surgery on his labrum. He entered this season having never had a true, full year to focus on his game and establish his toolbox. And so, three months ago, at 26, he had simply been looking destine to be a career minor-leaguer. 

It turns out that McNeil added muscle during his rehab from surgery, worked to add lift in his swing this past off season, and exploded in Double-A where he had a league-leading 14 home runs in Double-A before a recent promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas. 

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Sep 19, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) rounds the bases after hitting a walk off solo home run in the tenth inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Sep 19, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) rounds the bases after hitting a walk off solo home run in the tenth inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

The Mets are in dire need of a long-term, everyday catcher that can hit, deal with the pressure of New York and handle the team's pitching staff. This is why, if Sandy Alderson intends to change the complexion of the team via trade this summer, I'd like for him to find a way to get Marlins C J.T. Realmuto.

Unfortunately, to make that happen, multiple team insiders say four things need to happen...

Tags: Amed Rosario, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matthew Cerrone
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New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Chase Field. (Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Chase Field. (Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

Zack Wheeler again looked terrific on Sunday, providing further evidence he has clearly turned a physical and psychological corner in his career.

In Sunday's game, he retired 10 straight batters before the D-backs started forcing him to change his gameplan. And he did, which is what has been most impressive about his time on the mound this year. In the end, Wheeler tossed 97 pitches, went six innings, allowed two earned runs and three hits, walked two and struck out eight.

He has a 1.93 ERA in his past three starts. And, in a situation that could make only Jacob deGrom jealous, the Mets are 1-5 during Wheeler's previous five starts, despite his 3.68 ERA.

Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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Apr 27, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson looks on before a game 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 general manager Sandy Alderson looks on before a game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)

In RHP David Peterson, 3B Mark Vientos, SS Andres Gimenez and 1B Peter Alonso, the Mets have four prospects that are getting the attention of rival scouts and top prospect lists.

Unfortunatley, insiders repeatedly tell me Sandy Alderson's farm system is lacking depth, despite adding six hard-throwing relievers during last summer's sell off of veterans.

"They have projectable talent to lean on and at positions they're going to need," a friend with an NL East player development department recently told me. "If those guys don't pan out, they'll be thin. But, they have a few guys that can be everyday players, no doubt."

So, what has happened to the pitching prospects Alderson acquired last summer?

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Matthew Cerrone
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New York City, NY, USA; General view of Citi Field between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
New York City, NY, USA; General view of Citi Field between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Mets are 4-16 since May 22, during which they've become the first team in modern history to score fewer than 15 runs during an 11-game stretch, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Interestingly, the Nationals, Marlins, and Phillies immediately follow the Mets on the list of worst-scoring teams during the last three weeks...

Tags: Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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Aug 1, 2016; Sandy Alderson speaks to reporters. Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 1, 2016; Sandy Alderson speaks to reporters. Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In a thoughtful post for Baseball Prospectus, Rich MacLeod contemplated whether the Mets have already squandered their best shot to win with what was once believed to be MLB's next great rotation, which was a universal opinion during 2015.

David Roth wrote a similar article the next day for Deadspin, the topic of which has been debated all morning and afternoon on local talk radio.

Whether you agree with Roth, MacLeod, or the city's talking heads is irrelevant, because we will know the outcome sooner than later, either because the team manages to turn things around and win a ring during the next two years or because they don't, switch out management and start a rebuild. In other words, the proof will be in the pudding...

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New York City, NY, USA; General view of Citi Field between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
New York City, NY, USA; General view of Citi Field between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Mets as an organization need to be having an honest, serious conversation about how they're going to compete and where they see their franchise in five years.

This conversation can only begin by first being honest about the remaining potential for their 2018 roster, which is set to cost them close to $170 million (and the fifth-most in baseball this season)

I enjoyed the team's 11-1 start. I also believe injuries again punched these guys in the face and have beaten them down in the standings. Nevertheless, what's done is done and none of the above changes the current reality facing this roster and franchise...

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New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports)

According to Mets manager Mickey Callaway, his players are 'pissed,' at least as it pertains to losing and scoring just seven runs during their so-far 0-6 home stand. Nevertheless, he expects their frustation and the team's struggles will end soon...

"The way we've been pitching I feel we can match up with anybody,'' Callaway said after lamenting more sloppy baseball, botched bunting, errant throws from the outfield, not moving runners over and giving away outs by hitting in to the shift.

He's right -- the team's starting pitchers and bullpen have been much better during the past week. However, pressed for answers about his struggling lineup, Callaway could not explain why they have just 18 hits in their last 41 innings, during which they have struck out 37 times, are 1-for-24 with runners in scoring position, and have scored just two runs...

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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)

Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler are getting lost in the chaos and drama associated with their team's current losing streak. It was only a few weeks ago that most Mets fans and media, myself included, were freaking out over how these two pitchers were progressing...

However, during the past month, Wheeler has a 2.52 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. Meanwhile, in his last six starts, Matz has a 2.32 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. Unfortunately, because of a lack of offense and relief pitching, the team is just 3-7 during those 10 starts.

In Wednesday's start against the O's, Wheeler tossed 93 pitches, seven scoreless innings, allowed three hits, struck out five and walked one batter before his bullpen stumbled.

Tags: Jose Reyes, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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Apr 27, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson looks on before a game 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 general manager Sandy Alderson looks on before a game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)

Sandy Alderson and the Mets are not considering or even talking about the possibility of rebuilding their roster, he recently told USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

"Can circumstances change that, yes, but I think that would be very, very remote," he said.

In the last week, I have talked with multiple MLB insiders with other organizations, all of whom think the Mets are in dire need of 'retooling,' 'restructuring,' or 'restocking,' or one of the other terms people say when trying to avoid saying, 'rebuild.'

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May 27, 2018; Milwaukee, WI, USA; New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) drives in a run with a base hit in the fifth inning during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports  (Benny Sieu)
May 27, 2018; Milwaukee, WI, USA; New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) drives in a run with a base hit in the fifth inning during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports (Benny Sieu)

I believe outfielder Jay Bruce is struggling on all sides of the baseball because he's playing through painful plantar fasciitis under his left foot.

In addition, because Todd Frazier and Yoenis Cespedes have been on the disabled list, Bruce is often being protected in the lineup by Kevin Plawecki, Devon Mesoraca and Jose Bautista.

To be fair, it's not like Bruce was hitting well prior to Frazier and Cespedes leaving the lineup, though he had been showing signs of life in late April, early May hitting .320 during a 10-game stretch. That said, since Cespedes last played on May 13, a week after Frazier disappeared, Bruce has been batting just .200 with no home runs and only one RBI.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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St. Lucie Mets first baseman Peter Alonso connects for a two-run double in the second inning against the Florida Fire Frogs at First Data Field. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
St. Lucie Mets first baseman Peter Alonso connects for a two-run double in the second inning against the Florida Fire Frogs at First Data Field. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

It's common for fans and media to goof on Sandy Alderson's farm system, but that is not the tone I hear when talking to other team scouts and executives around baseball.

Admittedly, I hear insiders criticize the system for lacking depth, but they say Alderson does have a handful of prospects that are intriguing to other organizations.

"They have projectable talent to lean on and at positions they're going to need," a friend with an NL East player development department recently told me. "If those guys don't pan out, they'll be thin. But, they have a few guys that can be everyday players, no doubt."

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Apr 27, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson looks on before a game 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 general manager Sandy Alderson looks on before a game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)

I'm totally confused about the current state and potential direction of the Mets. 

My hunch is that Sandy Alderson was kept on because he contended that Terry Collins, his coaching staff and the organization's medical protocols were more to blame than the roster. And, if the on-field decisions and leadership changed, because he believed in the talent, better results would follow. However, despite significant changes in the management of the roster and the composition of the training staff, the talent is still struggling and ending up on the disabled list.

Meanwhile, other teams that made similar changes in leadership, specifically the Braves, Phillies, Nationals, Red Sox and Yankees, are winning and also have emerging young talent to lean on this season and in the future...

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Apr 26, 2018; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Seth Lugo (67) pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during the ninth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Puetz)
Apr 26, 2018; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Seth Lugo (67) pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during the ninth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Puetz)

Seth Lugo pitched well for the Mets Thursday night and certainly gave Mickey Callaway something to think about after tossing 60 pitches, four scoreless innings and giving up just three hits against the Cubs at Citi Field.

Lugo filled in for Jason Vargas, who pitched on short rest Wednesday filling in for the injured Noah Syndergaard.

"I think he can definitely start," Callaway said, clearly forgetting that Lugo has a 3.98 ERA across 27 career starts. "For us, in an ideal world, he's still in the bullpen and some of the other guys are in the rotation."

Tags: David Wright, Seth Lugo, Matthew Cerrone
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May 30, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario (1) and center fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) celebrate their win against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports (Jason Getz)
May 30, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario (1) and center fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) celebrate their win against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports (Jason Getz)

It's amazing what 24 hours and a win can do for the general vibe around a baseball team, which is evident in observing the Mets after Wednesday night's win against the Braves.

The Mets could have won all four games in this series had their relievers done their job. But, so be it. At this point, given how things had been going, including three walk-off losses and five bullpen implosions on the road trip, I'm happy to see them come away with a split in Atlanta.

Specifically, winning the final game the way they did should help reinforce Mickey Callaway's pre-game comments and hopefully spark more success...

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May 28, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports (Dale Zanine)
May 28, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports (Dale Zanine)

In a camouflage hat, slight stubble and a glare in his eye, Jacob deGrom pitched and looked like a total badass Monday against the Braves.

He always pitches like an ace, but he also looked like an ace, complete with giving some attitude to his manager, Mickey Callaway, who he waved off when thinking he might be taken out of the game.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matthew Cerrone
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May 24, 2018; Milwaukee, WI, USA; New York Mets left fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) is greeted by manager Mickey Callaway (36) after scoring a run in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports (Benny Sieu)
May 24, 2018; Milwaukee, WI, USA; New York Mets left fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) is greeted by manager Mickey Callaway (36) after scoring a run in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports (Benny Sieu)

The Mets have played 51 games. There are still 111 games to go in 2018, yet I feel we've already experienced the highs and lows of an entire season. I'm mentally fried and it's not even summer.

This past Memorial Day weekend may have been the most exhausting point of the season, during which the Mets lost four of five games, gave up 38 runs, wasted a gem by Jacob deGrom, put two key players on the DL, added three players from Triple-A and activated Kevin Plawecki.

However, despite the drama, despite the injuries, bullpen explosions and walk-off losses, despite going 15-23 since mid April, somehow the Mets are just four games out of first place in the NL East, three back of the Wild Card and still over .500 at 26-25.

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May 23, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) reacts after allowing two runs to the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
May 23, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) reacts after allowing two runs to the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Jeurys Familia entered the ninth inning Wednesday night with 1-0 lead. However, four hits and one intentional walk later put Mets behind and on their way to a 2-1 loss to the Marlins.

"Everything went good in the bullpen," Familia said after the game. "It's just one of those days." 

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Michael Conforto, Matthew Cerrone
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Michael Conforto celebrates with Wilmer Flores and Brandon Nimmo after the Mets beat the D-backs in walk-off fashion at Citi Field on Saturday. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
Michael Conforto celebrates with Wilmer Flores and Brandon Nimmo after the Mets beat the D-backs in walk-off fashion at Citi Field on Saturday. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets may have young pitching to gamble on, but it's become painfully obvious that they're significantly lacking in young hitters. What's worse, the young hitters they do have in Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and Amed Rosario are not yet consistently living up to their potential.

As a result, and because the team is without Yoenis Cespedes, Todd Frazier, and Juan Lagares -- the Mets signed free-agent OF-3B Jose Bautista on Tuesday.

To the tune of no more than $545,000, the Mets can simply release Bautista if he is unproductive. Thankfully, they pay the same price if he exceeds expectations and discovers the Fountain of Youth. Therefore, the decision to sign Bautista, start him in left field and have him bat fifth was a no brainer given their available internal options....

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Piazza breaks his bat at the plate at Shea Stadium in 1999. Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports
Piazza breaks his bat at the plate at Shea Stadium in 1999. Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

During a lunch break when working customer service at Home Depot on May 22, 1998, I answered a persistent phone call from my mother.

"Did you hear," she started, sounding overly excited. "The Mets traded for that pizza guy!"

I laughed, because I knew exactly who she was referring to…

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New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler winds up. (AP)
New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler winds up. (AP)

Tuesday was an important night for Zack Wheeler, who I hope understands how and why he was so effective after a difficult first inning. Instead of just pounding the bottom of the strike zone, Wheeler was wild, but effective.

It all changed for Wheeler in the second inning, down three runs with two outs and runners on second and third base. If Marlins 1B Justin Bour gets the fifth hit of the inning, the game is blown wide open, Wheeler is demoralized and out of the game sooner than later, the Mets easily lose and the bullpen gets taxed again.

However, after a quick mound visit from Tomas Nido and Dave Eiland, and with a 2-2 count, Wheeler set up Bour with an unhittable 97-mph fastball inside. Then, with what was his most important pitch of the night, Wheeler dropped a perfectly-placed 91-mph splitter down and inside for a swing-and-miss strikeout to end the inning.

Tags: Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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May 15, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario (1) hits an RBI double against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fourth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
May 15, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario (1) hits an RBI double against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fourth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Mets SS Amed Rosario hit two home runs Sunday and provided a glimmer in to the dynamic, smooth and powerful player he projected to be when making his debut last summer.

It would be a godsend if Rosario emerged this season as the player we all hope he can be and helped lead the Mets to a long winning streak. The thing is, he's still 22 years old. So, instead of an immediate All Star, he's been a typical young player, showing signs of amazing talent in a sea of pressure and learning curves.

I realize we live in a league where it seems every day a new phenom emerges to step in to the spotlight. But, there are far more young players who are making their debuts in line with Rosario, who has produced a career OPS well below average...

Tags: Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Jay Bruce, Jose Reyes, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, Wilmer Flores, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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May 8, 2018; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (36) against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)
May 8, 2018; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (36) against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)

The Mets entered their series with the Diamondbacks having lost seven of their previous eight games. Meanwhile, the Mets are 11-7 in starts made by Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard and 17-3 when the team scores four or more runs in a game.

In other words, with deGrom and Syndergaard pitching two of three games, during which the Mets scored 12 runs, sweeping the D-backs this past weekend should be what is expected from a team that entered this season hoping to make the postseason.

"That was a huge sweep," Syndergaard said after getting Sunday's win. "We'd kind of been struggling a little bit. But just as easily as we were struggling, it's that easy to turn it around."

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Jason Vargas, Noah Syndergaard, Paul Sewald, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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