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.

New York Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores takes a curtain call after hitting a three-run home run against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning at Citi Field. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores takes a curtain call after hitting a three-run home run against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning at Citi Field. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

The bullpen and starting pitching will be the key to success in 2017 for the Mets, infielder Wilmer Flores told SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio early Friday.

"When we got to the World Series in 2015, it's no secret that our pitching took us to the World Series," he told the hosts at 7:30 AM on route to his morning workout. "We're built on pitching and it's going to be healthy. ... So, it's going to be an interesting year."

Flores said he's proud of how the team fought through injuries to get to the Wild Card game in 2016. However, this season, he expects them to get back to the Fall Classic.

Tags: Wilmer Flores, Matthew Cerrone
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Sep 24, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo (54) pitches during the tenth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)
Sep 24, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo (54) pitches during the tenth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)

The Oakland A's and free-agent reliever Santiago Casilla have agreed on a two-year, $11 million deal that contains $3 million in incentives, according to multiple reports.

This is a lot of money for a 36-year-old right-handed reliever. So, if reports are accurate and the Mets are pinching pennies, then it makes sense to pass on him. That said, Casilla is the type of experienced pitcher the Mets say they have been looking for, and given their window to win and the need for bullpen help, it's disappointing to see them hold back.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters in December he would prefer to acquire a pitcher that can handle "high-leverage situations" and has experience closing games, even though the pitcher might not be considered a closer.

Tags: Oakland Athletics, Matthew Cerrone
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Jul 27, 2016; NFamilia (27) reacts as he heads to the dugout at Citi Field. Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 27, 2016; NFamilia (27) reacts as he heads to the dugout at Citi Field. Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Latest Update...

Jan. 13 | 8:20AM

Sandy Alderson told reporters Thursday that he does not know when MLB will make a decision about whether to suspend Jeurys Familia, who he assumed will miss at least some period of time during the 2017 season (Rubin, Jan. 12).

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Matthew Cerrone
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Will Jay Bruce ever be traded? 00:05:17
The Baseball Night in New York panel discusses the trade market for Jay Bruce and which teams he would fit the best with.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson is operating under a mandate not to spend on new players until he removes money currently on the payroll, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman.

While Alderson is notorious for wanting to begin the season with budget space to make in-season deals, which he has done the past two years, I hope this is not accurate considering the organization is coming off back-to-back postseason appearances.

In either case, Alderson obviously wants to trade Jay Bruce and his $13 million salary for an established, high-leverage, right-handed relief pitcher, then use his remaining money to sign a left-handed reliever and any pitcher willing to accept a minor-league deal.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Baltimore Orioles, Matthew Cerrone
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Jay Bruce (19) has dominated the Mets news cycle during the Winter Meetings (USA TODAY Sports)
Jay Bruce (19) has dominated the Mets news cycle during the Winter Meetings (USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets have reportedly been trying to trade Jay Bruce for a relief pitcher or prospects, while freeing up salary to sign additional help for their bullpen.

In the last four months, the Orioles, Rangers, Blue Jays, Giants and other teams have all reportedly shown some level interest in trading for Bruce.

Here's how I would characterize each team as a possible trade partner...

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Jan. 7, 2017: Citi Field covered in snow (Credit: @Mets on Instagram)
Jan. 7, 2017: Citi Field covered in snow (Credit: @Mets on Instagram)

It's after Jan. 1 and freezing in New York. Thankfully, Spring Training is roughly a month away...

Mets pitchers and catchers are required to report to Tradition Field by Feb. 12, with their first full workout coming two days later. The team's position players are not required to report until Feb. 17, with the first full-squad workout scheduled for Feb. 19.

That said, just like in previous seasons, I'm sure dozens of players will begin descending on St. Lucie in the next couple of weeks. Thanks to having their strength and conditioning consultant, Mike Barwis, in St. Lucie running his facility at Tradition Field, the pre-spring meet up essentially turns in to an official-unofficial mini camp. In other words, the reporting dates are nothing but a formality...

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Sep 24, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo (54) pitches during the tenth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)
Sep 24, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo (54) pitches during the tenth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)

The Mets have been exploring the free-agent market for low-cost relievers since December, as they try to add to their bullpen, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters at the time.

Alderson said he would prefer to acquire a pitcher that can handle "high-leverage situations" amd who has experience closing games, even though the pitcher might not be considered a closer.

"The key is having someone who can handle a tight situation," Alderson explained.

If this is still the goal, the Mets have to eventually sign RHP Santiago Casilla or RHP Sergio Romo, both of whom have the best high-leverage results out of the remaining crop of free-agent relief pitchers.

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 (Peter Aiken)
(Peter Aiken)

The Tigers are still trying to trade OF J.D. Martinez, but they've yet to find the right deal, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported this past weekend.

According to friends in Detroit, the Mets made early calls this winter about Martinez, but backed out when they signed Yoenis Cespedes. However, earlier this week on MLB Network Radio, host Steve Phillips said he heard the Mets may still be interested. I find this hard to believe, since the last thing the Mets need right now is a one-year, home-run hitting rental player in right field. But, maybe they were simply doing follow-up calls, and just checking on what Detroit has in the works.

In either case, as it pertains to the Tigers, I recall hearing in December that they had interest in Steven Matz and Michael Conforto, not just in preliminary talks about Martinez, but also 18 months ago when negotiating for Cespedes.

Tags: Michael Conforto, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets OF Jay Bruce and free-agent LH reliever Jerry Blevins (Credit: USA Today Sports)
Mets OF Jay Bruce and free-agent LH reliever Jerry Blevins (Credit: USA Today Sports)

The MLB hot stove is essentially ice cold, especially within the outfield and bullpen markets, which is where the Mets are most interested in spending their time and money.

"I've never seen it like this," a veteran agent recently told the NY Post's Ken Davidoff regarding the lack of activity across all of baseball, not just the Mets.

In an order to end the "gridlock," Davidoff says team officials need to first return to work from the holidays, which will happen today. Then, as spring training nears, hopefully a handful of owners will see bargains, open their wallets and to start to spend.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Jerry Blevins, Matthew Cerrone
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Terry Collins' legacy as manager 00:05:47
The BNNY crew discuss what Terry Collins' legacy will be after he's done managing the New York Mets.

This is an interesting discussion by the guys on SNY's Baseball Night in NY, and it's something I've also been thinking a lot about. In case you didn't know, I'm writing a book about being a Mets fan that is expected to publish next April. In it, I write several essays on key Mets personalities.

In regards to successful managers, I obviously wrote about Gil Hodges and Davey Johnson. But, I struggled with whether to include Terry, I think mostly because of the topic in the above video, which is his legacy, which - because he's still their active manager - is still playing itself out. I wasn't sure how to frame an essay about him, because I don't know how he'll end up being viewed by Mets fans when all is said and done.

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I expect Jeurys Familia will be suspended to start the season. If that's the case, Addison Reed will be the New York Mets' temporary closer. How the bullpen shakes out after that is still a bit of a mystery.

Will Jerry Blevins be back?

Blevins is reportedly seeking a three-year deal, probably worth $15-20 million. The Mets would love to have him back, and I'm sure he'd like to return, but there's no evidence that Sandy Alderson is interested in making this type of commitment to a relief pitcher, even Blevins.

Tags: Addison Reed, Hansel Robles, Jay Bruce, Jerry Blevins, Jeurys Familia, Josh Edgin, Josh Smoker, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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New York Mets' Jose Reyes (7) reacts after hitting a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
New York Mets' Jose Reyes (7) reacts after hitting a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)

Mets SS Jose Reyes told SNY that he's healthy, ready for spring training and looking forward to finally taking the field with his old friend David Wright.

"I look forward to playing with my big brother, D-Wright," he said. "It's been a while, and never thought that when I signed in Miami that I'd be in this situation one more time. Hopefully, he's going to be healthy and doing a lot for this ball club."

The Mets signed Reyes as a free agent last summer, after he was released by the Rockies. He will earn the league minimum in 2017, after which he's eligible to again be a free agent.

Tags: David Wright, Jose Reyes, Matthew Cerrone
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Free-agent sluggers Mark Trumbo, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista (Credit: USA Today Sports)
Free-agent sluggers Mark Trumbo, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista (Credit: USA Today Sports)

The Indians will sign free-agent 1B-DH Edwin Encarnacion to a three-year, $60 million deal, according to multiple reports, meaning the Orioles, Rangers and Blue Jays are likely still searching of a power-hitting corner outfielder.

There are multiple teams with at least some interest in trading for Mets OF Jay Bruce -- such as the Mariners, Cardinals and Giants. However, when all is said done, MLB insiders continue to tell me that Texas, Baltimore and Toronto will be Sandy Alderson's best trade target.

The return in a deal for Bruce is not going to be exciting, they say. Instead, I'm told to still expect a low-cost, low-ceiling reliever or one or two minor leaguers, with the acquiring team picking up the bulk of Bruce's $13 million salary.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Jul 24, 2016; Bruce hits a three-run home run at Great American Ball Park (Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports)
Jul 24, 2016; Bruce hits a three-run home run at Great American Ball Park (Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports)

In the last few days, I've seen several unsourced rumors by non-traditional reporters and outlets indicating the Mets have been including Jay Bruce in potential trades for a center fielder.

For instance, FanSided's Blog Red Machine believes Bruce has been offered back to the Reds in a deal that would send Billy Hamilton to the Mets, which has created quite a stir in Cincinnati because the story was picked up and published on FoxSports.com.

For the record, I haven't heard any such chatter from people I know in baseball. That said, I wanted to post this because the idea has popped up in enough places that it seemed worth mentioning, and it also makes a certain amount of sense for both teams.

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Sep 28, 2016; Blackmon (19) singles to right field at AT&T Park (Guard-USA TODAY Sports)
Sep 28, 2016; Blackmon (19) singles to right field at AT&T Park (Guard-USA TODAY Sports)

I've had more than one MLB insider tell me this week that -- after brainstorming with the Mets, White Sox and Rockies -- they see the chance for a three-way deal that has probably not been discussed.

In their view, the Rockies and Mets should figure out how to send a collection of big-league players and prospects to Chicago, after which Jose Quintana and Steven Matz end up in Colorado and Charlie Blackmon lands in Queens.

Again, there's no evidence anything like this has been discussed, but it's interesting to think about and I do see the potential fit, especially if the Mets could figure out how to include David Robertson.

Tags: Michael Conforto, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets looking for CF help? 00:06:04
Baseball Night in New York examines the Mets' center field situation and whether or not the team should make a trade.

The Mets have had trade talks to acquire a center fielder, but prices are high and Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson need to be traded first, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal wrote Dec. 19.

Sandy Alderson has repeatedly said on record that he doesn't see himself trading both outfielders this winter. However, last month, a Mets official told the NY Post's Kevin Kernan that it's possible...

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto, Steven Matz, Matthew Cerrone
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Jose of all trades 00:04:58
Steve Gelbs goes 1-on-1 with Jose Reyes to talk about how happy he is to have returned to the Mets this past season.

 

Jose Reyes should take note of how Joe Maddon used Ben Zorbist in 2016, because it's very much how Terry Collins will be using him next season...

Mets GM Sandy Alderson reportedly pushed hard for Zobrist last winter. However, Zobrist turned down more money from the Mets to sign with the Cubs, with whom he played 20 games at all three outfield positions last season, started more than 100 times at second base, hit from seven different spots in the batting order, played some first base and shortstop and picked up four at-bats as a pinch hitter.

Tags: Jose Reyes, TJ Rivera, Wilmer Flores, Matthew Cerrone
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Sep 25, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) hits a single during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
		  (Anthony Gruppuso)
Sep 25, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) hits a single during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

The Orioles, Rangers, and Blue Jays continue to be talked about as the most likely destination for Jay Bruce, according to several MLB insiders.

There are other teams with interest, and other teams that make sense for Bruce -- such as the Mariners, Indians, Cardinals and Giants. However, the current buzz points to Texas, Baltimore and Toronto ending up as the best fit when all is said and done.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets SS prospect Amed Rosario, Rays closer Alex Colome, Mets OF Michael Conforto (Credit: USA Today Images)
Mets SS prospect Amed Rosario, Rays closer Alex Colome, Mets OF Michael Conforto (Credit: USA Today Images)

The Mets contacted the Rays about trading for closer Alex Colome, but the team refused to move OF Michael Conforto or top SS prospect Amed Rosario, according to MLB reporter Peter Gammons.

Colome, 27, had 37 saves and a 1.91 ERA, while striking out 71 batters in 56.2 innings of an All-Star season for the Rays last year.

The Marlins, Nationals and Dodgers have also reportedly tried to trade for Colome this winter, according to reports posted to MLB Trade Rumors.

Tags: Michael Conforto, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets outfielders Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares and Michael Conforto (Credit: USA Today Sports Images)
Mets outfielders Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares and Michael Conforto (Credit: USA Today Sports Images)

In an article for ESPN.com, David Schoenfield lists the Mets as one of six big-league teams in need of a better, everyday center fielder.

Obviously, I agree, having written about it over and over and over again during the Baseball Winter Meetings, while wishing the Mets might trade both Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson and acquire Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), Charlie Blackmon (Rockies) or sign Dexter Fowler (who eventually reached a four-year agreement with the Cardinals).

Sadly, none of these things happened. What's worse, multiple reports continue to indicate they will never happen. And, while that's disappointing, the asking price on these players has started to give even me pause, since they're ridiculously high...

For instance, "the Pirates recently turned down a nice offer of prospects," for McCutchen, according to MLB reporter Jon Heyman, who says Pittsburgh is seeking major-league ready players in any deal they discuss.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, Steven Matz, Matthew Cerrone
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Aug 15, 2016; Bruce hits at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 15, 2016; Bruce hits at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In early November, the Mets could have paid $1 million to cut ties with outfielder Jay Bruce, making him a free agent, and adding $12 million to their offseason budget.

Instead, it's December, Bruce and his $13 million are still on the Mets, who are in a budget crunch, there's no need for him on their roster and he's being largely ignored by the trade market.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets Santa Clause Curse 00:01:57
On the day when Noah Syndergaard plays Santa Clause, the BNNY panel overreacts to the alleged Mets Santa Clause Curse.

Have you heard of the Curse of the Santa Suit? It began in 2004, when Mike Cameron played Santa Claus at the team's Kids Holiday Party after joining the Mets. 

The next season, an outfield collision with Carlos Beltran gave him a concussion and broke his nose and cheekbones.

This was only the beginning... 

Tags: David Wright, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Matthew Cerrone
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DNL Sound Off: Mets 00:05:49
Daily News Live breaks down Sandy Alderson's comments on David Wright and Zack Wheeler and discusses Jose Reyes' offseason preparations.

David Wright has still not swung a bat this winter, though he has started simulating baseball activity indoors, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters at the team's Holiday Party at Citi Field on Tuesday.

Wright, who turns 34 this month, had season-ending neck surgery in June after playing just 37 games. He was already managing his chronic lumbar spinal stenosis, which limited him to just 38 games in 2015. The two conditions are unrelated, Wright and team doctors have repeatedly said.

According to Alderson, Wright is expected to begin full baseball activity in January.

Tags: David Wright, Matthew Cerrone
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Sep 18, 2015; Holland (56) pitches at Comerica Park (Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Sep 18, 2015; Holland (56) pitches at Comerica Park (Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

I'm 90 percent certain free-agent RHP Gregg Holland met with the Mets last week during the Baseball Winter Meetings, but he was adamant on getting a chance to be the team's full-time closer and not a set-up man.

The Brewers, who do not have an established closer, also met with Holland, their GM David Stearns confirmed during an interview with MLB.com.

The Mets and Brewers, as well as the Nationals, Yankees and Phillies, were among roughly 18 teams who reportedly had a scout on hand in Arizona during Holland's showcase in November.

Holland, 31, had Tommy John surgery in October of 2015. He was non-tendered by the Royals and became a free agent last winter.

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Granderson (3) catches a fly ball in the fourth inning (Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)
Granderson (3) catches a fly ball in the fourth inning (Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)

Curtis Granderson will likely begin next season in center field, Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters earlier this week at the MLB Winter Meetings.

As a result, Collins said Michael Conforto will likely spend most of his time in right field, while occasionally filling in for Granderson in center, where Juan Lagares will also get time.

In late November, general manager Sandy Alderson told WOR 710 AM radio that he wants Conforto to be an every-day player in 2017, including possibly getting time as a back-up first baseman.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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Alderson on Mets moving forward 00:03:03
Sandy Alderson chats with Steve Gelbs from the last day of the Winter Meetings and where the team stands on a number of areas.

It was a newsless Winter Meetings for the Mets, as it was for most teams, but it certainly wasn't quiet. In the end, the Mets held a lot of meetings where they talked with agents and team representatives for a variety of relief pitchers open to accepting major- and minor-league deals.

In an effort to free up a roster spot, raise money and have fewer left-handed hitting outfielders, the Mets spent time talking with teams about Jay Bruce, though they reportedly saw more interest in Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto, which is understandable.

In the end, I expect the Mets will eventually trade Bruce and one of two things will happen, 1) They'll get back a big-league reliever making a decent salary, after which they'll use the difference to sign one or two more low-cost relievers, or 2) They'll trade Bruce for nothing, and use his entire $13 million to sign someone like Brad Ziegler, as well as one or two more low-cost relievers.

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The Mets did not add or lose any players during the Major-League phase of this Thursday's annual Rule 5 Draft, which is the final event each year the Winter Meetings.

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McCutchen (22) at bat at PNC Park (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
McCutchen (22) at bat at PNC Park (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

The Nationals, who had reportedly shown interest in Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen, will acquire White Sox OF Adam Eaton for prospects Lucas Giolito, Dane Dunning and Reynaldo Lopezaccording to multiple reports.

In this case, I really, really hope the Mets use this opportunity to get in on McCutchen.

The Rangers, Dodgers, Mariners and a "mystery team" have all recently asked about McCutchen, according to reports on MLB Trade Rumors. The Nationals had been reportedly pursuing him since last summer.

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Aug 4, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher David Robertson (30) pitches against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Osentoski)
Aug 4, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher David Robertson (30) pitches against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Osentoski)

In the wake of trading Chris Sale to the Red Sox, multiple reports indicate the White Sox have started shopping several of their high-priced players.

So far, I have yet to read or hear of any rumors connecting the Mets to the White Sox. However, Chicago clearly has players that should be of interest to Sandy Alderson, specifically closer David Robertson and 1B Jose Abreu. 

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Free-agent OF Dexter Fowler, Royals OF Lorenzo Cain and Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen (USA Today Images)
Free-agent OF Dexter Fowler, Royals OF Lorenzo Cain and Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen (USA Today Images)

The price on position players -- especially outfielders -- is going down by the minute, according to multiple MLB market markers.

The top-tier, free-agent market includes outfielders Dexter Fowler, Jose Bautista and Ian Desmond, while the trade market reportedly includes Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), Charlie Blackmon (Rockies), Adam Eaton (White Sox), Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson (Royals), Odubel Herrera (Phillies) and Jay Bruce (Mets), among others.

"If I'm Fowler, I give up making $18-20 million a season and quickly grab one of those four-year, $60 million offers, because it might not be there if he waits," a team executive told me.

In regards to the Mets, this doesn't bode well for wanting to trade Bruce. And, it probably explains why reports now indicate Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto are off the table. Because, if prices are dropping, it's not worth moving them.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Jay Bruce (19) has dominated the Mets news cycle during the Winter Meetings (USA TODAY Sports)
Jay Bruce (19) has dominated the Mets news cycle during the Winter Meetings (USA TODAY Sports)

Mets GM Sandy Alderson should have at least one or two reasonable trades on the table for OF Jay Bruce, according to teams that have talked with the Mets.

However, because he's comfortable with slow-playing the free-agent market for relief pitchers, Alderson appears totally fine holding off on dealing Bruce for an arm, while letting the outfield market play out and revisiting his options during December.

"Things are generally slow," Alderson explained Tuesday, talking to reporters. "Hopefully things start to loosen up a little bit. ...Clubs are still trying to figure out exactly what they think is exactly the best way to go. The contours of the market are still a little bit vague, so you don't see a lot of movement."

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) talks during the World Series victory rally in Grant Park. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)
Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) talks during the World Series victory rally in Grant Park. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)

The Mets are not trading both Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce so they can sign free-agent OF Dexter Fowlera high-ranking team official told SNY's Steve Gelbs.

This is disappointing, if true. I'm sure it is, but I also know Mets GM Sandy Alderson and his front office tend to make statements based on what's happening at that specific moment, and it does not necessarily recognize where things are headed.

Remember, Alderson and his staff repeatedly told reporters that the Mets wouldn't release Jason Bay, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez, nor would they be trading Carlos Beltran and RA Dickey, and they eventually did all of the above. I'm not saying the Mets will sign Fowler, or trade both Bruce or Granderson, I'm simply suggesting that we all take what they say with a grain of salt... because things have a way of changing as the environment changes around them...

That said, this is exactly the move I want to see the Mets make.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)
Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets are not yet willing to pay some of Curtis Granderson's $15 million salary or Jay Bruce's $13 million salary to help trade them during this week's Winter Meetings.

"Not at this point," Alderson said Monday, when specifically asked about the scenario.

Alderson is not usually this vague, though, which makes me think he'll eventually give in. However, right now, it's early enough in the off season that he isn't feeling desperate. Instead, I'm hearing they're more likely to give up a prospect or two in the deal, so the acquiring team is incentivized to absorb Bruce's $13 million.

Remember, the goal here is to a acquire as many relief pitchers as possible before the start of spring training, and I see Alderson eventually getting his men one of the following ways...

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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While the Mets have reportedly been trying to shop one of their outfielders for a relief pitcher, here's what the rest of the NL East has been doing at MLB's Winter Meetings...

Washington Nationals

The Nationals could be looking to make two blockbuster trades -- targeting White Sox ace Chris Sale and Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchenfor whom they might be willing to part with several top prospects, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

However, Washington could end up passing on a trade and, instead, go after free-agent outfielders Dexter FowlerIan DesmondCarlos Gomez and closer Mark Melancon...

Tags: Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, Matthew Cerrone
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Tonight, Rob Brender and I will be recording a MetsBlog Winter Meetings Podcast, which will post to the site later in the night.

To leave us a voicemail with a question or comment call 1 (860) 245-9851 or use the following recorder (please remember to leave your name and city)...

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Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)
Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)

MLB's 2016 Winter Meetings will begin Monday, Dec. 5, from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C.

The Meetings conclude Thursday morning after the Rule 5 Draft.

In short, the MLB Winter Meetings is a three-and-a-half day conference at a large hotel, where MLB executives, their staffs and managers meet with agents, players and other team's executives, staffs and managers in hopes of working on or completing ways to improve their team. There is also a trade expo and job fair for people looking to work in baseball.

The buzz around the game points to more trades next week than free-agent signings...

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Mets Hot Stove: Matt Harvey 00:04:12
The Mets Hot Stove panel discusses Matt Harvey's injury rehab and their expectations from the right-handed hurler in 2017.

In July, 2016, Mets RHP Matt Harvey had season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, which was done to restore feeling in his pitching arm and fingers.

According to former Mets GM and SNY analyst Jim Duquette, Harvey is not yet throwing off a mound, but he's feeling strong, on schedule with his post-surgery, off-season throwing program and will be 100% ready for spring training.

"He's had a great deal of time to work out and focus on his body and strength. We expect him to come back and be the Matt Harvey of old," his agent, Scott Boras, told reporters in early November at MLB's GM Meetings. "He's throwing free and easy and he's strong."

Tags: Matt Harvey, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets relievers Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed (Credit: USA Today Sports Images)
Mets relievers Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed (Credit: USA Today Sports Images)

Sandy Alderson has repeatedly said this offseason that he'd like to add at least one reliever to his bullpen before the start of spring training.

"There are some questions in the bullpen that we are going to have to answer, either internally or from external sources," he reiterated during Wednesday's press conference to announce the signing of Yoenis Cespedes.

Alderson said in early November that he has no interest in signing free-agent closers Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon or Kenley Jansen, who similarly have little interest in the Mets because Jeurys Familia is already the team's closer.

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Aug 1, 2016; Alderson speaks to reporters after the trade deadline (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Aug 1, 2016; Alderson speaks to reporters after the trade deadline (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets are expected to turn their attention to "reconfiguring the outfield," and, "adding to the bullpen," as a source recently told me, now that Yoenis Cespedes is back in the fold.

Also, though it's far from a top priority, I expect the Mets to explore finding a new every-day catcher, "specifically a veteran to handle their pitching staff," as a rival team described it.

How do the Mets reconfigure the outfield?

According to multiple reports since early November, the Mets are open to dealing Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson to eliminate a left-handed bat, open a spot in the outfield and save money on payroll. Alderson has been asked a lot about Michael Conforto, but the Mets are unlikely to deal him because he's got a ton of potential as a hitter, plus he's athletic enough to center field and first base.

The Mets will use next week's MLB Winter Meetings to pin down a deal for Bruce or Granderson. However, because there are several teams in the market for a corner outfielder, I think Alderson could find himself in a situation where he may be able to trade both of these guys, add speed and a reliever and either upgrade at catcher or save money.

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Sandy Alderson (left) talks with Wilpon at Citi Field (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Sandy Alderson (left) talks with Wilpon at Citi Field (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

According to multiple sources and reports, the Mets want to keep their Opening Day payroll around $140 million, which would leave money in reserve for mid-season acquisitions.

However, their current projected payroll already sits around $145 million when including upcoming raises, players under contract and after bringing back Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker.

At the same time, the Mets will likely save on part of Jeurys Familia's estimated $8.5 million salary, because they don't have to pay him during a potential suspension. Also, trading away Jay Bruce's $13 million would free up additional money.

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With the current collective barganinig agreement set to expire on Dec. 1, MLB Owners and the MLB Players Association are negotiating a new CBA in Dallas, according to multiple reports.

The MLBPA has said it is willing to temporarily continue under the old agreement while a new one is worked out. However, team owners want something new finalized so they can properly negotiate new contracts and trades this winter. As such, owners are reportedly threatening a lockout, which would essentially pause the offseason (and potentially delay spring training and Opening Day day if it takes too long to work out a new deal).

Similarly, sources told ESPN.com's Buster Olney that a lockout could mean teams won't participate MLB's Winter Meetings, which are set to begin in Washington D.C. on Dec. 5.

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With the current collective barganinig agreement set to expire on Dec. 1, MLB Owners and the MLB Players Association are negotiating a new CBA in Dallas, according to multiple reports.

The MLBPA has said it is willing to temporarily continue under the old agreement while a new one is worked out. However, team owners want something new finalized so they can properly negotiate new contracts and trades this winter. As such, owners are reportedly threatening a lockout, which would essentially pause the offseason (and potentially delay spring training and Opening Day day if it takes too long to work out a new deal).

Similarly, sources have told ESPN.com's Buster Olney that a lockout could mean teams won't participate in next week's MLB Winter Meetings, which is scheduled to begin in Washington D.C. on Dec. 5.

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New York Mets left fielder Michael Cuddyer warms up before a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. (Bill Streicher/USATSI)
New York Mets left fielder Michael Cuddyer warms up before a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. (Bill Streicher/USATSI)

The Twins announced on Monday that they've hired Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins as special assistants in the team's baseball operations department.

The trio will work with Twins executives and coaches to ensure development in player understanding of culture, talent evaluation and organizational vision, as well as be available as a resource for players and coaches in the mental and fundamental aspects of the game, the team said in a press release.

Cuddyer played for the Mets in 2015, after which he officially retired from baseball with one year left on his contract.

Tags: Michael Cuddyer, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets Hot Stove: CBA changes 00:01:56
Mets Hot Stove talks about the potential changes to Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement.

In case you haven't noticed, Yoenis Cespedes is a free agent and the rumor mill is silent. It's quiet. I'll get to Yo in a second. However, in regards to the overall hot stove, know that what I've been saying for a few weeks is very much in effect, which is that big-spending teams are essentially in a freeze until owners and the player's union settle on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The two sides must agree on a new deal by Dec. 1, or risk a potential work stoppage, which was hinted in multiple reports last week >> Read more here.

For instance, there's a chance the new CBA eliminates the qualifying offer/free-agent compensation system, and that the luxury tax threshold increases, both of which make a big difference in the type of deal a team might hand out to a possible player. So, we wait...

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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Why do MLB insiders believe Yoenis Cespedes can get a five-year deal this winter, when he couldn't get one last year when he was a year younger? What changed?

Baseball operations people tell me he is now being viewed as far more of a reliable right-handed power hitter than he was a year ago (and at previous trade deadlines), mostly because of what he's been able to do under the bright lights of New York for 18 months during two playoff races...

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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Four more years for Cespedes? 00:03:05
The DNL panel discusses the recent report that the Mets would be willing to pay Yoenis Cespedes between $100 and $110 million.

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The Mets are unwilling to offer more than a four-year deal to Yoenis Cespedes, who wants at least a five-year contract, according to multiple reports.

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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April 1990: Mets LHP Frank Viola starts at Shea Stadium (Associated Press via MLB.com)
April 1990: Mets LHP Frank Viola starts at Shea Stadium (Associated Press via MLB.com)

The Orioles, who had interest in Frank Viola for their pitching coach vacancy, have hired Roger McDowell for the position, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN.

Viola has been the pitching coach for Triple-A Las Vegas since 2014. He interviewed for, but did not get, the Twins' pitching coach job after the 2014 season.

McDowell, who pitched for the Mets from 1985 to 1989, had spent the last 11 seasons as the pitching coach for the Braves.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Matthew Cerrone
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It's a weak market for free-agent relievers. So, free-agent LH reliever Jerry Blevins must have smiled earlier this week when the Cardinals gave LH reliever Brett Cecil a four-year, $30.5 million deal. Because, if that's the high mark for a left-handed reliever, Blevins will be justified asking for at least two years... maybe even three years guarenteed...

Tags: Jerry Blevins, Josh Edgin, Josh Smoker, Matthew Cerrone
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The Mets have talked to multiple teams about trading for an established reliever, under team control, with experience pitching late in games, according to MLB insiders.

The same people say the Rays, White Sox and Padres have been the most aggressive teams offering up relievers that fit this mold, specifically Dave Robertson and Alex Colome.

Why do the Mets want a late-game reliever?

The Mets anticipate their closer, Jeurys Familia, will eventually miss time next season serving a suspension by MLB for domestic violence, despite it looking like those charges may be dropped. If you recall, similar charges against Jose Reyes were dropped a year ago, yet MLB still found enough evidence to suspend him 51 games. The Mets must believe the same could happen to Familia...

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The Mets and free-agent Yoenis Cespedes have both said they want a deal done before the MLB Winter Meetings, which begin in 14 days. So, if the two sides are going to reach an agreement, it's going to have to happen soon.

Here are my answers to three most common questions being sent to me, with regards to Cespedes and his future with the Mets...

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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