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.

Brodie Van Wagenen
Brodie Van Wagenen

The Winter Meetings wrapped up on Thursday in San Diego, but lots of questions remain for the Mets. Among them...

Rounding out the rotation...

Rick Porcello could have signed a multiyear deal, according to people aware of his market.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Dellin Betances, Jeff McNeil, Noah Syndergaard, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Aug 3, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Mets won 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Aug 3, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Mets won 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

he Winter Meetings are in full swing in San Diego, and the Mets still have a lot they need to accomplish if they hope to be one of the top contenders for the NL East title in 2020.

As Brodie Van Wagenen hopes to check off some of the Mets' needs, MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone dipped into his mailbag...


Joyce Kanopka (via e-mail): I don't understand why the Mets aren't trading Edwin Diaz. What evidence is there that he can ever get back to pitching like he did for the Mariners?

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Jul 2, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder J.D. Davis (28) celebrates his solo home run against the New York Yankees with left fielder Dominic Smith (22) during the sixth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jul 2, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder J.D. Davis (28) celebrates his solo home run against the New York Yankees with left fielder Dominic Smith (22) during the sixth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Winter Meetings are in full swing in San Diego, and the Mets still have a lot they need to accomplish if they hope to be one of the top contenders for the NL East title in 2020.

As Brodie Van Wagenen hopes to check off some of the Mets' needs, MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone dipped into his mailbag...


Vincent Palma (via e-mail): If the Pirates have interest in Brandon Nimmo, it seems like there should be a lot of options to make a deal with them. Who do you think is Van Wagenen's target?

Tags: Andres Gimenez, Brandon Nimmo, David Peterson, Jeurys Familia, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Jun 24, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yasnkees pitcher Dellin Betances (68) looks on against the Toronto Blue Jays during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jun 24, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yasnkees pitcher Dellin Betances (68) looks on against the Toronto Blue Jays during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

During the course of the day, I often text and talk with a variety of MLB insiders to better understand what is happening in the hot stove.

The following are insights, ideas and notes gathered from recent conversations with team sources, rival executives, reporters, front office assistants and talent evaluators...

Adding to the bullpen...

My hunch is the Mets will sign at least one relief pitcher before the end of the Winter Meetings.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Jeurys Familia, Noah Syndergaard, Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

 (Treated Image by SNY)
(Treated Image by SNY)

The Winter Meetings are in full swing in San Diego, and the Mets still have a lot they need to accomplish if they hope to be one of the top contenders for the NL East title in 2020.

As Brodie Van Wagenen prepares to wheel and deal, MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone dipped into his mailbag...


1) Gorman (via Twitter): Seeing a lot of people including top prospect Andres Gimenez in trade scenarios. Is it because he's blocked by Amed Rosario? Who has more trade value, Rosario or Gimenez? Is Gimenez good enough to consider using Rosario to acquire a superstar?

If the people you are referring to are our fellow fans, I wouldn't worry about it because being an Armchair GM is what we are supposed to do this time of year. It's part of the fun.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Mookie Betts
Mookie Betts

The Winter Meetings are in full swing in San Diego, and the Mets still have a lot they need to accomplish if they hope to be one of the top contenders for the NL East title in 2020.

As Brodie Van Wagenen prepares to wheel and deal, MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone dipped into his mailbag...


Nicholas Giordano (via Twitter): Is there a realistic scenario where the Mets can dump Jed Lowrie's or Jeurys Familia's contracts and still improve the team? I don't want to attach J.D. Davis/Dominic Smith to a trade just so we can dump salary.

Sadly, I think the only way Van Wagenen can move Lowrie and/or Familia and their full contracts is to either bring back an equally risky and bad contract or do what you don't want and include Davis and/or Smith.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Jeurys Familia, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Aug 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman (7) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Aug 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman (7) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

The Mets need and are looking to add more starting pitching. However, the team's path to the postseason in 2020 may rest more on what they get from Steven Matz and Marcus Stroman than what the Mets get from the hot stove market this winter.

Zack Wheeler is officially gone, having signed a five-year deal to join the Phillies. The pitcher replacing him will either be Seth Lugo or someone specifically acquired to be their fifth starter. In all likelihood, whomever it is will almost certainly not translate into 15-16 team wins like Wheeler did the past two seasons.

Sure, the Mets could score more and/or not allow as many runs late in games so they're more successful when Jacob deGrom is regularly brilliant. For instance, despite winning his second straight Cy Young Award with a 2.53 ERA, the Mets were 14-18 in games that he started in 2019. That stat is painful every time I see it.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Mets' Jeff McNeil
Mets' Jeff McNeil

Earlier this week, SNY's Andy Martino reported that Jeff McNeil, J.D. Davis or Dominic Smith could be required in order to trade for Brewers closer Josh Hader.

This makes sense, but McNeil isn't going to be traded.

"He has significant value to the Mets, not just on field, but as it pertains to their budget," an NL East executive told me this past weekend. "I see no reason when push comes to shove that they'd deal him."

Tags: Dominic Smith, JD Davis, Jeff McNeil, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Rick Porcello (Treated Image by SNY)
Rick Porcello (Treated Image by SNY)

There is mutual interest between the Mets and free-agent Rick Porcello, according to insiders aware of his offseason goals. This is good news because he's a perfect fit for the Mets.

As I wrote two weeks ago, the Phillies and Braves are among several teams that have been more aggressive than the Mets when it comes to signing Zack Wheeler. Insiders predicted to me weeks ago that Wheeler will get five years and $100 million, which at this point appears to be a foregone conclusion.

The same people also keep saying the Mets are more likely to let Wheeler walk in favor of a less expensive, more reliable, consistent, veteran starting pitcher to join the back of their rotation.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Blake Treinen/Kevin Pillar
Blake Treinen/Kevin Pillar

There were dozens of players across baseball who were non tendered on Monday and instanty became free agents. The following five should all come at a reasonable price and I hope will be under consideration by Brodie Van Wagenen and the Mets...

Kevin Pillar, OF

The Mets are reportedly looking to add a center fielder. Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo can both play center field and their bats are needed in the lineup, so a defense-first option could make for a strong fit on the roster.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Edwin Diaz, Michael Conforto, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

When it comes to prospects, I talk to a lot of people in and around baseball. I listen to people within the Mets organization. I read every list published online, and I talk to a variety of minor-league reporters, experts and scouts. As a result, I end every season with a notebook full of names that are most mentioned when talking about the team's farm system.

Interestingly, unlike previous seasons, the combination of question marks and potential seemed to result in me being asked about the same three to four names.

Based on those questions and what wound up in my notebook, here is my list of comments about the three most asked about prospects in the Mets' farm system...

Tags: Andres Gimenez, Pete Alonso, Steven Matz, Thomas Szapucki, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Brett Gardner (Treated Image by SNY)
Brett Gardner (Treated Image by SNY)

The Mets need an experienced, everyday center fielder, specifically Brett Gardner.

The Yankees, though, again have a hole in center filed now that Aaron Hicks is expected to miss a large chunk of the 2020 season due to Tommy John surgery.

This is why earlier this month, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that he's been in contact with Gardner's agent, despite reports late in the season that their time together had likely come to an end.

"I want to continue playing," Gardner said in October, according to the New York Post. "Physically and mentally I feel great. My family wants me to keep playing. Hopefully, that's here (with the Yankees)."

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brandon Nimmo, Brett Gardner, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

May 7, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets catcher Wilson Ramos (40) reacts after striking out in the fifth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)
May 7, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets catcher Wilson Ramos (40) reacts after striking out in the fifth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)

Despite a rocky start in 2019, Mets C Wilson Ramos hit .350 with 15 extra-base hits during the team's final 45 games and legit push for the final Wild Card spot.

That said, GM Brodie Van Wagenen last winter clearly preferred Yasmani Grandal, who just signed a four-year deal with the White Sox. Instead, he ended up with Ramos, who will be paid $10 million this season, after which he can be a free agent.

There was reported friction between Ramos and Noah Syndergaard. Ramos also struggled to begin the season, he'll turn 33 years old next season and -- between repeated injuries -- his production has been very inconsistent the past five seasons. 

Tags: Travis d'Arnaud, Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Didi Gregorius/Todd Frazier/Josh Donaldson
Didi Gregorius/Todd Frazier/Josh Donaldson

The Mets have plenty of internal options when it comes to finding a starting third baseman.

Jeff McNeil, J.D. Davis and Jed Lowrie are all capable of handling the position, so it's quite possible Brodie Van Wagenen looks to add an outfielder instead, knowing McNeil can play in either spot.

The other play this offseason is to go heavy at third base options and put McNeil in the outfield, who looked comfortable and played well in left field this past season. I still think he's a second baseman, but that's a different subject for a different day...

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Todd Frazier, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Cubs LHP Cole Hamels (Jake Roth)
Cubs LHP Cole Hamels (Jake Roth)

To date, sources aware of the situation say the Braves have so far been more aggressive than the Mets when it comes to signing free-agent RHP Zack Wheeler. 

It's their contention the Mets are more likely to let Wheeler walk and instead sign a reliable, consistent, veteran starting pitcher to join their rotation.

MLB people I know all expect Wheeler to field multiple offers of five years and $100 million.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

April 29, 2007; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets pitcher (13) Billy Wagner pitches against the Washington Nationals in the ninth inning at RFK stadium in Washington, DC. The New York Mets defeated the Washington Nationals 1-0. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports Copyright © James Lang (James Lang-USA TODAY Sports)
April 29, 2007; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets pitcher (13) Billy Wagner pitches against the Washington Nationals in the ninth inning at RFK stadium in Washington, DC. The New York Mets defeated the Washington Nationals 1-0. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports Copyright © James Lang (James Lang-USA TODAY Sports)

This article was first published in its original form on Dec. 16, 2018

Former Mets closer Billy Wagner received just 17.9 percent of 425 possible votes one year ago when he again missed out on being elected to the Hall of Fame, and his name is back on the ballot again this year.

Sadly, Wagner has consistently fallen short of the 75-percent threshold needed for an induction. He received just 10.7 percent in 2017.

In 16 seasons, Wagner pitched for the Astros, Mets, Phillies, Red Sox, and Braves, for whom he collected 422 saves with a 2.31 ERA and 0.99 WHIP with 1,196 strikeouts in 903 innings. The opposition hit just .187 against him, while striking out 33 percent of the time, both of which are the most all-time among pitchers who have thrown at least 800 innings during their careers.

Read More
Comments

Mets RHP Jacob deGrom (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
Mets RHP Jacob deGrom (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

One amazing thing to keep in mind about Jacob deGrom winning his second Cy Young award is that at no time during his four-year minor-league career did MLB.com rank him higher than 12 on the Mets' annual top prospect list. Similarly, at no time did he ever appear among the league's Top 100 prospects. 

Crazier, he was drafted in 2010 by then-GM Omar Minaya and the Mets with the 272nd overall pick. He missed all of 2011 recovering from Tommy John surgery and made his big league debut in 2014 as a spot starter, after which then-manager Terry Collins said the organization still viewed him as a future reliever.

"Any time you draft a player, you think he's going to become a big-leaguer," Minaya once told me. "At first they all have upside, otherwise you wouldn't draft him. That being said, it doesn't always go the way you want it to go each time."

Tags: Amed Rosario, Anthony Kay, Brandon Nimmo, Daniel Murphy, Dominic Smith, Gavin Cecchini, Jacob deGrom, Kevin Plawecki, Lucas Duda, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Aug 10, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets catcher Wilson Ramos (40) hits a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Aug 10, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets catcher Wilson Ramos (40) hits a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

As the Mets embark on the 2020 offseason, there are lots of burning questions, including which free agents they should pursue, which 2019 performances were sustainable, and which players in the farm system (if any) should be untouchable...


Should the Mets sign Josh Donaldson, trade J.D. Davis and make Jeff McNeil a full-time LF?

McNeil, Davis and Jed Lowrie are capable of starting at third base. So, it's difficult to see Van Wagenen shelling out what is likely to be a three-year, $70-80 million deal to get Donaldson.

However, for all of the talk about adding a center fielder or corner outfielder, adding Donaldson would probably be the biggest bang for Van Wagenen's buck.

The fact is, Brandon Nimmo in most comparisons will likely end up being the better option in the field. At the same time, in addition to providing a major upgrade and credibility at the plate, Donaldson will likely be the best option in the field at third base.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez, Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Ronny Mauricio, Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Red Sox OF Mookie Betts
Red Sox OF Mookie Betts

MLB executives believe at least one of Mookie Betts, Francisco Lindor or Kris Bryant will be traded this offseason, according to MLB.com's Jon Morosi.

The way I see it, of the three, Betts is most likely to find a new home. And he's a good fit for the Mets.

Bryant fits the Mets, too. I'm not convinced Chicago will end up trading him, though. Like with Lindor, while it's worth it for each team to listen to offers, the Cubs and Indians have these players under contract for more than just next season.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Robinson Cano, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

In the last decade, fewer and fewer players are entering the free agent market when in their prime.

Instead, they tend to sign contract extensions in their younger years, swapping guaranteed money earlier in their career for more money during their prime seasons.

The following two position players, starting pitcher, and reliever are worthy of considering signing to a similar contract extension...

Tags: Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Seth Lugo, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler
Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler

GM Brodie Van Wagenen said Monday that he considers Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman possible options next year to join the team's starting rotation.

Technically, this is true. Van Wagenen is simply stating reality. However, I find it hard to believe this is the preferred outcome given how well Lugo pitched in relief this past season.

Similarly, because of his limited repertoire, Gsellman has long proven he's much more effective pitching in relief than in the starting rotation. In either case, as Van Wagenen said, they are options.

Here are four potential scenarios for how things could shake out with the starting rotation in 2020...

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Mets' Carlos Beltran (Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Mets' Carlos Beltran (Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

Carlos Beltran wasn't my first choice to replace Mickey Callaway, but he was my second. 

Here are 5 reasons why I'm excited to have him back in the mix...

1) He's Carlos Beltran

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Jun 6, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Dominic Smith (22) and New York Mets third baseman J.D. Davis (28) look at the scoreboard during game against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jun 6, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Dominic Smith (22) and New York Mets third baseman J.D. Davis (28) look at the scoreboard during game against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The following six players (and four others) all have value to the Mets, but may also have value to other teams via trade.

I asked two rival team executives and two people in player development if the Mets should keep or push to trade each player.

Here are the results along with my reaction...

Tags: Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

For the Mets to build on their 86 wins in 2019, second-year GM Brodie Van Wagenen has some serious work to do. First, the Mets need to figure out how much they're going to spend on player payroll for 2020. 

According to work done earlier this week by SNY.tv's Danny Abriano, if the Mets acquire no one and simply dish out raises eight of their arbitration-eligible players, they'll begin next season with a payroll of roughly $174 million.

In other words, unless the Mets are willing to increase their budget, which could bring them close to the $208 million Collective Bargaining Tax (CBT), Van Wagenen might have to get creative when looking to bring in new talent.

Read More
Comments

Sep 25, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Carlos Beltran (15) smiles after the benches clear during the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports (Andrew Dieb)
Sep 25, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Carlos Beltran (15) smiles after the benches clear during the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports (Andrew Dieb)

In the wake of Joe Girardi joining the Phillies, the Mets are continuing their interview process with five known candidates to replace Mickey Callaway as their manager.

Here is what I like and dislike about each candidate...

My Top Choices...

Eduardo Perez (Former 1B, OF, 50 years old)

Why I like him: I hear Perez and I think MLB Network Radio. However, inside baseball, he's known for his outstanding work managing Columbia in the World Baseball Classic, as well as in Puerto Rico, where he won two Manager of the Year awards and multiple championships.

He also has experience as a big-league hitting coach and bench coach.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

J.D. Davis
J.D. Davis

To get back impact value in trade, it requires giving up impact value in trade.

And that's where the Mets' breakout hitter J.D. Davis comes into play.

Davis, 26, exceeded expectations in 2019, which marked his first full big-league season despite making his debut with the Astros in 2017. At the time of his first promotion, Davis had been Houston's ninth-best prospect.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil, Todd Frazier, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Edwin Diaz
Edwin Diaz

It's easy to scapegoat Edwin Diaz for the Mets missing the postseason by just four games in 2019.

However, high-leverage relievers not named Mariano Rivera have a long history of up-and-down seasons, which is exactly why Diaz should be on next year's roster.

Things change and so can Diaz -- and he doesn't have to go far to get there...

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Dominic Smith
Dominic Smith

Mets 1B Dominic Smith has gone from top prospect to major-league question in less than 18 months.

Entering 2017, the then-21-year-old Smith was ranked the organization's second-best prospect and the top first base prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com.

However, the emergence of Pete Alonso in Triple-A in 2018 pushed aside Smith, who ended that season hitting just .224/.255/.420 while striking out in 23 percent of his at-bats. With Smith having struggled and Alonso having surged, Smith was asked to learn left field before the 2019 season. 

Tags: Dominic Smith, Pete Alonso, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Aug 4, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano (24) hits an RBI double against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Aug 4, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano (24) hits an RBI double against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

These three Mets didn't have strong seasons in 2019, but there's reason to believe that the trio could turn things around in 2020 and beyond ... 

Robinson Cano

It was a tale of two seasons for Cano, who is 36 years old, under contract the next four years and due just under $80 million. The problem is, given his 2018 suspension for PEDs, his age and his up-and-down 2019, it's almost impossible to know what to expect of him in 2020. 

He started well, hitting .270 with three home runs through the end of April, and then everything fell apart. He looked out of sync at the plate and totally out of gas during May and June. Then came random injuries, issues with Mickey Callaway about running out ground balls and what seemed like a a trip to the injured list caused partially by spite.

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen during the MLB annual spring training media day at Hilton in West Palm Beach. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen during the MLB annual spring training media day at Hilton in West Palm Beach. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets and Brodie Van Wagenen are knee-deep in their search for a new manager after recently firing Mickey Callaway. However, they're not the only team looking for a new leader and coaching staff for next season.

In the last few weeks, seven other teams began the same process, including the Phillies, who fired Gabe Kapler on Thursday.

I recently surveyed my usual group of insiders, which includes a handful of front office executives, talent evaluators, agents and former players, to learn how each opening should be viewed by potential managerial candidates.

Here is the final collective rankings, including who each team is rumored to be reportedly interviewing and if they overlap with the Mets. I then give my predictions for how this game of managerial musical chairs will end...

Read More
Comments

Sep 4, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) and left fielder Jeff McNeil (6) celebrate after the game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Sep 4, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) and left fielder Jeff McNeil (6) celebrate after the game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

The Mets and their fans were taken on an emotional roller coaster this past season, going from hopeful to hopeless, back to hopeful, then landing in a cold bucket of September reality.

"We're definitely not satisfied with where we're at," Michael Conforto told reporters after the team was eliminated from playoff contention on Sept. 25. "We want to play in October. That's the goal. I think we have the guys in here to do it. We have to put six months of baseball together and we didn't do that this year."

The bullpen has been the default answer when media and fans debate what the Mets need to improve when building a better team for 2020. However, for me, it's third on the list...

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, Tyler Bashlor, Walker Lockett, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Jul 20, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) celebrates with shortstop Amed Rosario (1) after hitting a three-run home run against the San Francisco Giants in the sixth inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports (John Hefti)
Jul 20, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) celebrates with shortstop Amed Rosario (1) after hitting a three-run home run against the San Francisco Giants in the sixth inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports (John Hefti)

It didn't end the way we hoped, but the Mets' 2019 was nevertheless a year to remember...

MVP and Rookie of the Year

Pete Alonso

It can be argued that Jacob deGrom is the MVP. However, Alonso's impact was undeniable.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso, Todd Frazier, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Jul 2, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; General view of sunset behind Citi Field during the fifth inning between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jul 2, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; General view of sunset behind Citi Field during the fifth inning between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Mets had a roller coaster season -- again. They took us from optimism to the morgue, back to the peak of hope and then to a slow stop before the end of September.

It wasn't all for nothing, though. If Brodie Van Wagenen, his staff and players can learn from the following five lessons from this past season, they stand a better chance of success in 2020.

Don't panic, the Wild Card is wild

The no-name Brewers finished with the 10th-worst ERA and FIP and were the sixth-lowest scoring team in the National League. However, because they caught fire at the right time, they ran past the Mets and four other teams during September to win the second Wild Card spot.

Read More
Comments

Oct 16, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (28) before game three of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)
Oct 16, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (28) before game three of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)

Being a manager in New York is a unique animal. It's a totally different gig than can be found in another market and certainly isn't for the faint of heart.

To be successful and survive in this town, which has two baseball teams -- one of which is the most successful in sports history -- it's my contention that the manager must have had previous success in front of New York fans and/or experience as a big-league manager.

It also helps if the person is battle-tested in front of dozens of local reporters, enters with a strong relationship with members of the media or has experience working on-air, such as Aaron Boone.

Read More
Comments

Oct 23, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Carlos Beltran (15) takes batting practice one day prior to game one of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)
Oct 23, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Carlos Beltran (15) takes batting practice one day prior to game one of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

Carlos Beltran has support throughout Brodie Van Wagenen's front office, and is one of the many names on their current list of potential managers, according to people close to both player and GM.

Beltran, 42, interviewed to manage the Yankees in 2017 just two weeks after winning a World Championship with the Astros and officially retiring as a player. He was later named a special adviser to Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

I loved Beltran as a player. He's largely misunderstood and under-appreciated, which is why he'll always be one of my favorites to ever wear a Mets uniform. However, this is also why I'm both leery and intrigued.

Read More
Comments

Mookie Betts
Mookie Betts

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen told reporters at the Winter Meetings last offseason that he wanted to acquire a tried-and-true, everyday center fielder. He went so far as to mention then-free agent A.J. Pollock by name when indicating the type of player he felt the team needed.

In the end, Pollock inked a five-year deal to join the Dodgers, while the Mets mostly used Juan Lagares in center field this season (where he was worth -2 DRS) while also giving time to Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, and others.

If the Mets are again in the market for a center fielder this offseason, the Red Sox could come into play...

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Steven Matz, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Jun 28, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jun 28, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

In his final start of the season, Jacob deGrom allowed just two hits while striking out seven during 7.0 scoreless innings against the Marlins. 

As a result, it seems like a lock that he will win his second consecutive Cy Young Award.

DeGrom leads all NL pitchers in WAR, regardless of the system being used to calculate the stat. He has 6.9 WAR, according to Baseball Reference and 6.7 WAR according to FanGraphs.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

In addition to the Mets needing to finish hot in hopes of snatching the final Wild Card spot, it would help GM Brodie Van Wagenen's off-season strategy if the following four players finished strong as well:

Edwin Diaz

The difference between Diaz being a bust or being the closer he was for Seattle in 2018 will determine whether Van Wagenen feels the need to spend big this winter on another reliever.

Read More
Comments

Mark Vientos (Tom Priddy, Four Seam Images)
Mark Vientos (Tom Priddy, Four Seam Images)

On Thursday, MLB.com named Mark Vientos as the Mets' Hitting Prospect of the Year.

Vientos' stats from this past season are not overly impressive as he hit .255 with a .300 OBP, 12 home runs and 27 doubles in 111 games in Single A. However, at just 19 years old and two years removed from being a senior in high school, because he made improvements and completed his first 100-game season, he is finally getting the recognition he deserves as a potential big-league third baseman.

"He's as close to a professional hitter as you'll find in the minors," a team insider told me during spring training. "He's got raw power, but needs to start going the other way more and reduce the hitch in his swing, which is something coaches will work on with him this spring."

Read More
Comments

New York Mets' David Wright watches his two-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first inning of a baseball game in New York, Sunday, April 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill)
New York Mets' David Wright watches his two-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first inning of a baseball game in New York, Sunday, April 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill)

Pete Alonso is having one of the best seasons by a position player in Mets history.

He's already set numerous records, and since he should get another 40 at-bats or so this season, he will likely hit his 50th home run (and possibly more) before all is said and done.

He better win Rookie of the Year.

Tags: Pete Alonso, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

May 2, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) shakes hands with catcher Wilson Ramos (40) after throwing a complete game shutout against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field. Syndergaard allowed four hits and a walk while striking out ten. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
May 2, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) shakes hands with catcher Wilson Ramos (40) after throwing a complete game shutout against the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field. Syndergaard allowed four hits and a walk while striking out ten. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Instead of catering to Noah Syndergaard's request to pitch to Tomas Nido or Rene Rivera -- which they are reportedly doing on Wednesday -- they should be fixing the issue in order to make Wilson Ramos Syndergaard's top choice.

Bobby Valentine says it will take more than the just two players to resolve the issue.

"It's not just a player situation. It's a situation that involves the whole team," Valentine told me when recording the former Mets manager's new podcast, The Bobby V Experience. "I would involve the pitching coach, the catching coach, the catchers, and maybe a pitcher or two that understand where Syndergaard is coming from and figure out the true problem because sometimes it's only a make-shift problem."

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

 (Wendell Cruz)
(Wendell Cruz)

The Mets are one of nine teams to never have a player hit 50 home runs in single season.

Pete Alonso is three home runs short of removing the Mets from the list. He also has a good chance to break Yankees OF Aaron Judge's single-season rookie home run record of 52.

The above two records are nice. However, if Alonso remains healthy and strong as he gets older, 2019 will prove to be the beginning of what has the potential to be an incredible career.

Tags: Pete Alonso, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Sep 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) and New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto (30) hi five to celebrate the victory after the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
Sep 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) and New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto (30) hi five to celebrate the victory after the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

In addition to picking up 3.0 games in the standings, the Mets also need to leapfrog four teams -- Cubs, Phillies, Brewers and Diamondbacks -- in order to land in the Wild Card game.

The Mets' remaining schedule includes two games against the Diamondbacks, followed by playing the Dodgers, Rockies, Reds, Marlins and Braves. Unfortunately, out of the above teams, the Mets have only beaten up on Miami, have struggled against the Dodgers and Braves, and have played mostly even with the Rockies and Reds.

To be fair, the Mets have been performing much better than earlier in the season. Plus, 12 of their final 18 games are at Citi Field (including their final seven of the season). They are 40-29 at home, 34-41 on the road.

Read More
Comments

Jun 26, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil (6) is congratulated by first baseman Pete Alonso (20) after hitting a home run during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Jun 26, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil (6) is congratulated by first baseman Pete Alonso (20) after hitting a home run during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

Though still possible, the likelihood of the Mets reaching the postseason is dwindling by the day.

As a result of losing six straight games to the Braves and Cubs, they now have just a 9.6 percent chance of reaching the playoffs down from a 51 percent just two weeks ago, according to FanGraphs.

Nevertheless, whether the Mets make the postseason or not, they will benefit this winter and next season thanks to what I consider five important positive developments during the past few months.

Read More
Comments

Mets' Jeff McNeil
Mets' Jeff McNeil

In case you haven't noticed, Jeff McNeil has fallen in the race for the National League batting title. However, as his batting average has dropped, his power is up.

On July 30, McNeil led the batting title race with a .335 average. Dodgers OF Cody Bellinger was second, trailing by just one percentage point.

However, on Wednesday, McNeil is hitting .324, with Anthony Rendon of the Nationals now leading the league with a .338 average.

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Jul 19, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)
Jul 19, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)

Home runs are nice, but I'll always prefer watching the elite pitching matchup, which is exactly what we're going to see tonight in Washington, D.C when the Mets face the Nationals.

Jacob deGrom (2.66 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 214 strikeouts in 169.0 innings) will start for the Mets.

Max Scherzer (2.46 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 200 strikeouts in 142.2 innings) will start for the Nationals.

Two aces. Face to face. And both again competing for the National League Cy Young Award.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Brodie Van Wagenen
Brodie Van Wagenen

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen was right to handle the trade deadline the way he did, and that won't change no matter how the season ends. 

I would have done the opposite, which I explained in this article from July, during which point the Mets were nine games under .500 and six games out of a Wild Card spot. But four weeks removed, I can see and understand why Van Wagenen was a buyer not a seller.

Instead of acquiring prospects in exchange for Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Justin Wilson, Todd Frazier and others, Van Wagenen held on to his top players and used his own farm system to add Marcus Stroman.

Read More
Comments

Aug 24, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) is congratulated after hitting a a three run home run against the Atlanta Braves during the fifth inning of an MLB Players' Weekend game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Aug 24, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) is congratulated after hitting a a three run home run against the Atlanta Braves during the fifth inning of an MLB Players' Weekend game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The Mets went on an incredible, near-unbelievable run, but it had to end at some point. And the fact that they hit a wall this past weekend against the Braves is not a surprise, according to an NL talent evaluator.  

"They looked to be out of gas, which had to happen eventually," he told me.

About a month and a half ago, the Mets were 40-51 and just five losses away from having a worse record than the Marlins. The team then went 27-9 to bring themselves within 1.5 games of the final NL Wild Card spot.

Read More
Comments

J.D. Davis (Adam Hunger)
J.D. Davis (Adam Hunger)

Jacob deGrom and the Mets start a huge three-game series against the Braves at Citi Field on Friday night.

It's nice to have the best pitcher in baseball taking the mound the day after completing a sweep of the Indians, who are just a half game back of the second American League Wild Card, isn't it?

The Mets have been hot, but so has Atlanta. Exactly like the Mets, the Braves have won 11 of their past 15 games. Unfortunately, two of those 11 wins came at New York's expense when the two teams met in Atlanta last week.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Steven Matz, Todd Frazier, Wilson Ramos, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis celebrate as Mets face Indians (Adam Hunger)
Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis celebrate as Mets face Indians (Adam Hunger)

The Mets are entering the second game of a nine-game homestand against the Indians, Braves, and Cubs that could go a long way toward determining their fate when it comes to playing in October.

Here are five storylines to keep an eye on...

Will this homestand help or hurt?

At the end of the homestand, the Mets hit the road for six games against the Phillies and Nationals, both of whom are competing with New York for the NL Wild Card. This is all the more reason why it's important for the Mets to take advantage while they're home. 

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Steven Matz, Todd Frazier, Wilson Ramos, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments