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.

Dec 14, 2017; Sandy Alderson during the MLB winter meetings. Credit: Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 14, 2017; Sandy Alderson during the MLB winter meetings. Credit: Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets have roughly one month and -- I assume -- less than $30 million to spend on adding either a second or third baseman, a center fielder or right fielder that can also play first base, another reliever and -- hopefully -- another starting pitcher.

I have no idea how they're going to accomplish the above with other teams making moves, the clock ticking and not nearly enough prospects for trades or cash to fill every hole.

It appears Sandy Alderson intends to play on his heels, hoping prices drop to a point that he can spread money around to solve multiple problems with multiple players.

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Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler and RH reliever Shane Greene. Credit: USA Today
Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler and RH reliever Shane Greene. Credit: USA Today

I wonder if the Mets are trying to get reliever Shane Greene with 2B Ian Kinsler from the Tigers?

According to MLB.com's Jason Beck, the Tigers are close to trading Kinsler after reportedly holding substantive trade talks the last two weeks with at least the Mets and Angels.

Kinsler has the Mets and nine other teams on his no-trade list, but that's not seen as a deal-breaker if the Tigers agree to send Kinsler to the Mets, reports SNY contributor Andy Martino.

I wrote Tuesday night that the Mets were on the same page with the Tigers when it came to swapping players, but that the two sides were still not in agreement about how to deal with Kinsler's $11 million salary. The next day, Detroit's GM said he has exchanging names with teams interested in Kinsler, but they had yet to reach an agreement...

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Second base options Dee Gordon, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Nunez. Credit: USA Today
Second base options Dee Gordon, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Nunez. Credit: USA Today

The Mets entered this week already having held trade talks with the Indians about 2B Jason Kipnis, as well as with the Tigers about Ian Kinsler, Marc Carig reported Sunday for Newsday.

According to Carig, talks with Detroit are more advanced than the Indians, though a source with knowledge of the situation expressed skepticism that a deal could get done.

I've heard the A's are again open to dealing 34-year-old 2B Jed Lowrie, who they chose to retain a month ago by picking up his option. In an effort to take advantage of his amazing 2017, I bet Oakland pushes hard to move him sooner than later.

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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)

Sandy Alderson spoke Sunday in Orlando and said the Mets are unwilling to pay top dollar for a relief pitcher; acquiring a starting pitcher is fourth on their list of three priorities; and he is not likely to acquire a first baseman who would block Dominic Smith.

Similarly, while the Mets have reportedly expressed interest in trading for second basemen Josh Harrison (Pirates) and Ian Kinsler (Tigers), two New York beat reporters said Sunday they are skeptical the Mets have enough talent or financial flexibility to match up for either player in trade.

Is Alderson serious, or is he saying these things as a negotiating tactic? 

I suppose anything is possible. I mean, like most GMs, Alderson does have a history of saying one thing to reporters then doing something entirely different...

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Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton swings during the fourth inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Washington Nationals Wednesday, March 20, 2013, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (Jeff Roberson/AP)
Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton swings during the fourth inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Washington Nationals Wednesday, March 20, 2013, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (Jeff Roberson/AP)

As a Mets fan, this is VERY concerning to me...

It's not so much that I had to have Giancarlo Stanton on the Mets. Instead, it's what him going to the Yankees says about the Mets and how they are viewed in baseball...

Stanton initially told the Marlins he wanted to end up playing as close to Los Angeles as possible, but with a team that has a chance to win a World Series next season.

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Mets' Winter Meetings goals 00:06:21
The Mets Hot Stove crew discuss the Mets' needs heading into the Winter Meetings next week in Florida.

The Reds are having active trade discussions with teams interested in acquiring center fielder Billy Hamilton, TheAthletic.com's Ken Rosenthal said Wednesday on MLB Network.

In Rosenthal's opinion, the Mets, Giants, Rangers, amd Mariners are likely interested in Hamilton, who is generating a lot of interest because he is expected to earn roughly $5 million next season.

"The Reds don't have to move him, though," Rosenthal adds. "They can see what happens in the first half and them move him at the deadline when he'll still be available for two pennant races."

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Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton, owner Derek Jeter and 2B Dee Gordon. Credit: USA Today Sports
Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton, owner Derek Jeter and 2B Dee Gordon. Credit: USA Today Sports

The Marlins traded 2B Dee Gordon, the full $37 million remaining in his contract and $1 million in international bonus pool money to the Mariners for prospects Nick Neidert, Christopher Torres and Robert Dugger.

Meanwhile, according to two reports, the Yankees -- and not the Mets -- are on Giancarlo Stanton's list of four teams he would be prefer to be traded to instead of the Giants and Cardinals.

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Sandy's Shopping List: Ian Happ 00:00:37
Chicago Cubs second baseman and outfielder Ian Happ is the latest name on Mets general manager Sandy Alderson's shopping list.

I have not heard any definitive trade rumors connecting the Mets and Cubs. But, I feel like there's the potential for a match between these two teams...

According to local reports, the Cubs are aiming to acquire one ace and one back-of-the-rotation starting pitcher this winter, be it both by trade, both through free agency or one through each...

The Cubs are intrigued by Mets RHP Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, according to Chicago sources.

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Sandy's Shopping List: Kintzler 00:00:37
Right-handed relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler is the latest name on Mets general manager Sandy Alderson's shopping list

The Mets have reportedly prioritized adding a late-game reliever. Unfortunately, it's an all-time seller's market right now -- especially for the high-end guys.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson has said he is comfortable giving a multi-year deal to upgrade his bullpen. This is good news, because that price is seemingly unavoidable at this point. 

The buzz among insiders is that Wade Davis and Addison Reed will easily see offers of at least four years, which will lift up the market for set-up men, such as Bryan Shaw and Brandon Kintzler, to at least three to four years.

For now, though, things appear to be at a standstill...

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Sandy's Shopping List: Longoria 00:00:37
Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is the latest name on Mets general manager Sandy Alderson's shopping list.

The MLB Winter Meetings begin next Monday in Orlando, and the Hot Stove is getting warmer...

"It's been remarkably quiet, and I don't just think you can blame Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani," an AL team executive told me Tuesday. "I think the two weeks between the middle of next week and Christmas are going to be the extreme opposite."

In regards to the Mets, it doesn't sound to me like much has changed...

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Oct 31, 2015; In game four of the World Series at Citi Field. Credit: Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 31, 2015; In game four of the World Series at Citi Field. Credit: Curry-USA TODAY Sports

According to MLB.com reporter Anthony DiComo, Mets C Kevin Plawecki may soon be asked to play Santa Claus during the team's annual Holiday Party at Citi Field this month.

Uh, oh. Look out, Kevin...

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Sep 29, 2017; Phillies 2B Cesar Hernandez (16) hits a home run against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 29, 2017; Phillies 2B Cesar Hernandez (16) hits a home run against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Phillies infielders Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis are both available for trade, according to a Monday report from Jim Salisbury at NBC Sports Philadelphia.

However, sources told Salisbury, "none of the offers have been to their liking."

The Mets have expressed interest in several trade options at second base, including Hernandez, Brian Dozier (Twins), Ian Kinsler (Tigers), Dee Gordon (Marlins) and Jason Kipnis (Indians), according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports.

The Phillies are comfortable keeping Galvis and Hernandez, though, despite both players being eligible for salary arbitration on a team with an already crowded infield.

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May 9, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitchers Noah Syndergaard (left) and Jacob deGrom (middle) and Matt Harvey (right) walk to the dugout before start of a game against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 9, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitchers Noah Syndergaard (left) and Jacob deGrom (middle) and Matt Harvey (right) walk to the dugout before start of a game against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

In early-September, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters he will look to add a reliable, veteran, starting pitcher to his rotation for next season...

"I think if we were able to find a Bartolo Colon-type, who fits in the three-four spot and semi-guarantees 180-200 innings, that would probably be something that would stabilize our rotation," he explained. "So, yes, I think it's something we'll look at."

It was reported that free-agent Mike Minor has agreed to a deal with the Rangers to be a starting pitcher. Terms have not been reported, but the buzz in baseball has it around $20-25 million for three years.

This is important because the Mets had interest in Minor, according to reports. However, they wanted to him to be a reliever, which is a role he succeeded in last season with the Royals...

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Sandy's Shopping List: RP Hughes 00:00:37
Right-handed relief pitcher Jared Hughes is the latest name on Mets general manager Sandy Alderson's shopping list.

This past Friday, the Mets tendered contracts to all nine of their arbitration eligible players, including Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Jeurys Familia.

However, 26 players across baseball were not tendered deals and are now officially free agents.

To see the full list of players, check out this post from MLB Trade Rumors.

The four players that got my attention, given Sandy Alderson's needs include relievers Jared Hughes and Hector Rondon, starting pitcher Mike Fiers and 1B Matt Adams.

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Free agent and trade targets Wade Miley, Ian Kinsler, Bryan Shaw, Neil Walker and Logan Morrison. Credit: USA Today Images
Free agent and trade targets Wade Miley, Ian Kinsler, Bryan Shaw, Neil Walker and Logan Morrison. Credit: USA Today Images

There is one week left before the official start of the four-day MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando. At this point, teams know what they're working on, what they need, who's available and how much players will cost to trade for or sign.

I expect we start seeing smaller deals get done this week as teams look to free up roster space, move money and get a jump on next week's conference. 

In regards to the Mets, I think they'd love to acquire at least one established reliever before next Monday, such as free agents Bryan Shaw or a Mike Minor, Brandon Kintzler type. Ideally, I believe they'd like to focus next week on figuring how to sort out first base, second base and right field.

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Sandy's Shopping List: Ohtani 00:00:36
Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani is the latest name on Mets general manager Sandy Alderson's shopping list.

The Mets have filled out the questionnaire sent to teams by 23-year-old two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani and expect to meet with his representatives to make a pitch, reports SNY contributor Andy Martino.

Ohtani, who was officially posted on Friday, has until Dec. 22 to sign with an MLB team. Since he can only receive a relatively small signing bonus from any team who signs him, he is expected to base his decision on factors other than money.

Ohtani's free agency and negotiation with MLB teams will be captivating. He is a unique talent, given his ability to be both an ace and an every day position player.

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Second base options Dee Gordon, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Nunez. Credit: USA Today
Second base options Dee Gordon, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Nunez. Credit: USA Today

The Mets have expressed interest in several trade options at second base, including Cesar Hernandez (Phillies), Brian Dozier (Twins), Ian Kinsler (Tigers), Dee Gordon (Marlins) and Jason Kipnis (Indians), according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports.

I wrote an in-depth post earlier this week about Sandy Alderson's quest for a new second baseman, which you can read here. However, based on what I've heard this week...

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Free agent and trade targets Wade Miley, Ian Kinsler, Bryan Shaw, Neil Walker and Logan Morrison. Credit: USA Today Images
Free agent and trade targets Wade Miley, Ian Kinsler, Bryan Shaw, Neil Walker and Logan Morrison. Credit: USA Today Images

The Hot Stove is quiet. I blame the natural lull that comes from Thanksgiving, but also agents and teams waiting on the Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton and Japanese free-agent Shohei Ohtani, both of whom present incredibly unique situations.

I expect free-agent set-up relievers and most starting pitchers are going to jump the line very soon and start locking in contracts. The only pitcher likely to hang out and wait is Yu Darvish, since there are a number of teams hoping to pitch him and Ohtani together.

For instance, it's easier to justify spending $100 million on Darvish when spending almost nothing on Ohtani, especially knowing people believe Ohtani is more likely to join the same team as Darvish. I mean, it's almost like getting two aces and a designated hitter for the cost of one player. Sandy Alderson, you should be all over this, by the way!

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Sandy's Shopping List: Kinsler 00:00:37
Veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler is the latest name on Mets general manager Sandy Alderson?s shopping list.

The Mets had preliminary trade talks with the Detroit Tigers regarding second baseman Ian Kinsler, MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported last Monday.

According to the NY Post's Mike Puma, while the Mets have discussed acquiring Kinsler, they are also considering other options in their effort to acquire a second baseman.

The Tigers have reportedly also been in talks to send Kinsler to the Angels.

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New York Mets starting pitcher Robert Gsellman pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the fifth inning at SunTrust Park. (Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Robert Gsellman pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the fifth inning at SunTrust Park. (Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets appear most willing to deal Wilmer Flores, Brandon Nimmo, Kevin Plawecki, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Rafael MonteroDominic Smith, and most of their top prospects, according to what MLB insiders told me at the end of the GM Meetings.

However, though they may all have "value," SNY contributor Andy Martino wrote earlier this week that the Mets remain reluctant to move most of the above names.

According to multiple reports, Sandy Alderson is aiming to add a new second baseman, back-end reliever, a first baseman that can play outfield, and possibly, a reliable veteran starting pitcher. However, he may have only $30-40 million to spend on acquisitions, which would mean possibly dealing big-league talent to fill a need and/or free up money to spend on free agents.

"There is an assumption on the part of most clubs that we are not going to trade Jacob deGrom or a Noah Syndergaard," Alderson added during a talk with reporters this week at the GM Meetings.

Tags: Robert Gsellman, Matthew Cerrone
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Mar 2, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets second baseman Neil Walker (20) throws the ball to first base for an out against the Miami Marlins at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Mar 2, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets second baseman Neil Walker (20) throws the ball to first base for an out against the Miami Marlins at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

I sampled three friends in player development and all said they would prefer free-agent second baseman Eduardo Nunez over Neil Walker, who may be forced to again take a one-year deal.

Similarly, they all prefer to trade for Indians 2B-OF Jason Kipnis over Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler, though they all believe Kinsler will cost significantly less in trade.

"Walker is a professional second baseman, I just wish he'd provide a bit more power," one NL insider told me, after noting that Walker has missed roughly 30 percent of the last two seasons due to injury.

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Second base options Dee Gordon, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Nunez. Credit: USA Today
Second base options Dee Gordon, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Nunez. Credit: USA Today

Based on my own conversations, published reports, and reading between the lines, I'm convinced the Mets intend to have a new, everyday second baseman on the team next season.

The Mets held back channel talks this week with a number of teams open to trading a second baseman, including Marlins 2B Dee Gordon and Indians 2B-OF Jason Kipnis, according to MLB insiders.

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Apr 27, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) reacts after an injury in the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 27, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) reacts after an injury in the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Baseball fans are understandably focused on free agency, player acquisitions, payroll, and trade rumors during the offseason. However, in the case of the Mets, it may be the following off field changes that have the biggest impact on the team's success in 2018...

Mets pitchers, get ready to be prepared

Mets manager Mickey Callaway repeatedly said this past week that it is vital that the team's pitching staff be healthy and mentally strong when taking the mound. In his view, this includes conditioning between starts and proper advanced scouting, but it also includes things like visualization techniques and being properly hydrated...

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John Ricco joins Mets Hot Stove 00:05:52
Mets Assistant General Manager John Ricco joins Mets Hot Stove to discuss the team's offseason plan and their expectations for 2018.

In a report for the NY Post, columnist Ken Davidoff argues in favor of the Mets making a push for free-agent Eric Hosmer by offering at least a seven-year, $150 million contract.

"While he has not presented a picture of consistency, with underwhelming 2014 and 2016 campaigns, Hosmer has displayed his ceiling with very strong performances in 2013, 2015 and 2017," explains Davidoff, who predicted earlier this month that Hosmer would eventually sign with the Red Sox.

I totally understand that signing Hosmer would 'make a splash,' as people say. It would plant a bold, new flag at the start of the Callaway Era, much like Omar Minaya did with Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran when he and Willie Randolph took over the franchise...

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May 9, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitchers Noah Syndergaard (left) and Jacob deGrom (middle) and Matt Harvey (right) walk to the dugout before start of a game against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 9, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitchers Noah Syndergaard (left) and Jacob deGrom (middle) and Matt Harvey (right) walk to the dugout before start of a game against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

It was reported last week that -- like the Dodgers and Indians -- the Mets intend to keep their starting pitchers from facing a lineup more than two times during a game, hoping it will reduce injuries and maximize their effectiveness.

However, Mets manager Mickey Callaway told WOR and NBC New York this past week that, while it's important to be aware of how his starting pitcher is performing, each situation is different and there will be no one rule dictating when a pitcher will be removed in favor of the bullpen...

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May 9, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitchers Noah Syndergaard (left) and Jacob deGrom (middle) and Matt Harvey (right) walk to the dugout before start of a game against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 9, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitchers Noah Syndergaard (left) and Jacob deGrom (middle) and Matt Harvey (right) walk to the dugout before start of a game against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

It was reported last week that -- like the Dodgers and Indians -- the Mets intend to keep their starting pitchers from facing a lineup more than two times during a game, hoping it will reduce injuries and maximize their effectiveness.

However, Mets manager Mickey Callaway told WOR and NBC New York this past week that, while it's important to be aware of how his starting pitcher is performing, each situation is different and there will be no one rule dictating when a pitcher will be removed in favor of the bullpen...

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Loud Mouths: Jim Duquette 00:05:49
Jim Duquette joins Loud Mouths to discuss the Mets' pitching staff, their offseason plans, and Sandy Alderson's comments on Dominic Smith.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson on Monday indicated that 1B Dominic Smith has not yet secured a starting job on the team for the 2018 season.

"He didn't win it in September, let's put it that way," Alderson said, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

In a post here Wednesday afternoon, I wrote that the Mets prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith are only penciled in as the team's starting shortstop and first baseman next season.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Matthew Cerrone
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Oct 9, 2017; Indians OF Jay Bruce and 1B Carlos Santana celebrate at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY
Oct 9, 2017; Indians OF Jay Bruce and 1B Carlos Santana celebrate at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY

MLB teams are again hesitant to commit dollars and years to free agent first basemen, corner outfielders, and designated hitters, suggesting it may be the first group to experience a feeding frenzy this winter, baseball insiders attending this week's GM Meetings told me Tuesday.

According to multiple reports, including my own intel, the Mets are trying to acquire a player that can start at first base, but also play corner outfield and hit for power.

In reports last week, it was said that Sandy Alderson would be targeting free agents Jay Bruce, Logan Morrison and Adam Lind. However, reports Tuesday indicate the Mets are also showing interest in Carlos Santana, who insiders believe very much wants to return to the Indians.

However, according to friends in Cleveland, the Indians and Santana never got far on a contract extension because they were not interested in giving him more than a three-year contract. Obviously, Santana felt (and probably still feels) he will get more on this winter's open market...

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GEICO SportsNite: GM Meetings 00:01:45
Andy Martino reports on the state of the Mets' offseason after speaking with Sandy Alderson at the meeting of MLB GMs in Orlando.

According to MLB insiders at the GM Meetings in Orlando, Sandy Alderson clearly intends to sign a free-agent relief pitcher and either sign or trade for a second baseman.

If possible, he'd like to also ink a reliable, veteran starting pitcher, as well as someone who can start at corner outfield, first base and hit for power. There are a lot of options to fill this shopping list.

For instance, there are at least a dozen relief pitchers to consider; there are three free agent second baseman and four or five also available in trade; I see a half dozen starting pitchers that qualify as old and reliable; and there are multiple free-agent first baseman capable of playing the outfield, not to mention guys available in trade.

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Second base options Dee Gordon, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Nunez. Credit: USA Today
Second base options Dee Gordon, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Nunez. Credit: USA Today

In a post earlier today on MetsBlog, SNY contributor Andy Martino said it will be difficult for the Mets to top competing offer for Marlins 2B Dee Gordon or Indians 2B-CF Jason Kipnis.

According to Martino, even if Alderson is to offer RHP Robert Gsellman, OF Brandon Nimmo, 1B prospect Dominic Smith and a second minor leaguer, such as infield prospect Luis Guillorme, it still might not be enough to get a deal done with the Marlins or Twins.

I think Martino is right, at least for now...

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Sep 8, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder J.D. Martinez (28) (Jennifer Stewart)
Sep 8, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder J.D. Martinez (28) (Jennifer Stewart)

According to multiple reports, Mets GM Sandy Alderson may be able to spend between $30-40 million in new talent for 2018. In October, he told reporters he'd like to add to the bullpen and acquire a reliable, veteran starting pitcher.

Alderson will also reportedly try to add at least one consistent, everyday hitter. I suspect he'll first try to put a bat at second or third base. If he can't, he'll have no choice but to turn to the outfield. If the big hitter is a center fielder, Alderson can use Michael Conforto in right field. If the Mets end up pursuing a power hitting right fielder, they can use Conforto in center. 

The thing is, there are only three or four proven, everyday outfielders available on the open market. At the same time, the Giants, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Indians, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Mariners, D-backs, Red Sox, and Phillies are all reportedly looking to acquire the same caliber outfielder as Alderson...

Tags: Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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Yes, if they include Amed Rosario or Dominic Smith. Otherwise, I don't think they do...

The way I hear it, Sandy Alderson's farm system is seen as weak at the top, which is understandable due to trading and promoting several prospects during the last few years. The Mets only started replenishing their upper levels last summer, but they still have a lot of work to do. Alderson does have attractive players in the lower levels, but they're not advanced enough to have real value in a deal for a big-league player.

At the same time, their ability to trade less-valuable talent for a salary dump is restricted because they reportedly have just $30-40 million available to fill multiple holes on next year's 25-man roster...

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Sep 16, 2017; Asdrubal Cabrera (13) throws to second. Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 16, 2017; Asdrubal Cabrera (13) throws to second. Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

In the end, I still think Asdrubal Cabrera or free agents Eduardo Nunez or Todd Frazier will be starting at third base for the Mets next season... assuming David Wright is again not able to play.

It also helps that Frazier can play first base, while Nunez can play second base, which would allow Sandy Alderson options when filling other positions.

The other multi-position player I keep hearing would be a good fit for the Mets, who are wanting to acquire a first base-outfielder that can left-handed pitching, is Cardinals 1B-OF Stephen Piscotty, who is also capable of playing third base.

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Sep 30, 2017; Asdrubal Cabrera and Dominic Smith celebrate a win at Citizens Bank Park. Credit: Hartline-USA TODAY
Sep 30, 2017; Asdrubal Cabrera and Dominic Smith celebrate a win at Citizens Bank Park. Credit: Hartline-USA TODAY

Technically, Sandy Alderson can cover all four infield positions by using veterans Asdrubal Cabrera and Wilmer Flores and rookies Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith. Unfortunately, when all playing at the same time, they make for a below-average group...

As a result, I expect Alderson to acquire at least one - and possibly three - new infielders before the start of next season. It's not going to be easy, though. From what I can gather, this winter's trade and free-agent market for infielders is going to be slow, complicated and contingent on blockbuster trade options, how teams value defense and whether Zack Cozart wants to play second base.

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May 27, 2014; Sandy Alderson talks to the media at Citi Field. Credit: Penner-USA TODAY Sports
May 27, 2014; Sandy Alderson talks to the media at Citi Field. Credit: Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Newsday's Marc Carig estimates that Mets GM Sandy Alderson will be able to add approximately $30 million to next year's payroll.

By retaining Asdrubal Cabrera and Jerry Blevins, the Mets enter 2018 with roughly $70 million in payroll commitments. They also will likely add another $40-50 million to retain arbitration-eligible players, such as Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, AJ Ramos and Jeurys Familia.

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Oct 22, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) hits an RBI single against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning of game six of the 2016 NLCS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports (Jerry Lai)
Oct 22, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) hits an RBI single against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning of game six of the 2016 NLCS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports (Jerry Lai)

The Cardinals may look to deal an outfielder for an impact bat, such as Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton, according to a combination of reports on MLB Trade Rumors.

In a report for Baseball America, Kyle Glaser looks in to the likelihood of St. Louis trading away Dexter Fowler, Tommy Pham, Randal Grichuk,and Jose Martinez.

Grichuk and Martinez are light-hitting corner outfielders, so they'll be of little interest to the Mets.

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 New York Mets third baseman David Wright at the baseball winter meetings on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. Wright signed a contract extension with the New York Mets through 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) (Mark Humphrey/AP)
New York Mets third baseman David Wright at the baseball winter meetings on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. Wright signed a contract extension with the New York Mets through 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) (Mark Humphrey/AP)

In an article for the Daily News, columnist John Harper makes projections on where the top free agents will sign and how much they will be paid.

"The Mets do figure to be plenty active in this free-agent market, with holes to fill and more than $60 million in expiring contracts coming off last season's payroll," Harper notes. However, he continues, "indications are they won't be in on the big-ticket items," such as JD Martinez, Wade Davis and other elite free agents.

Instead, Harper projects that the Mets end up signing outfielder Jay Bruce, infielder Eduardo Nunez and relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler.

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Jacob deGrom, Jay Bruce, Jerry Blevins, Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey, 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 way I see it, this is a critical winter for the Mets. Historically, the franchise has given us 18-24 months of success followed by more than a decade of losing and rebuilding.

It felt like we were set up for something more sustainable under Sandy Alderson. However, yet again, following 18 months of success that included a World Series appearance and a Wild Card game, the Mets ended 2017 with 92 losses, the need for a new manager, coaching staff, and with multiple holes to fill in the field and bullpen.

According to Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, the Mets are currently 20-to-1 odds to win next year's World Series, which puts them behind the Nationals, but ahead of the Marlins, Phillies and Braves.

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Mar 12, 2017; Todd Frazier (with the White Sox) looks on at Camelback Ranch. Credit: Camporeale-USA TODAY
Mar 12, 2017; Todd Frazier (with the White Sox) looks on at Camelback Ranch. Credit: Camporeale-USA TODAY

In a post for MLB Trade Rumors, Tim Dierkes projects that free-agent infielder Todd Frazier will eventually sign a three-year, $33 million deal this winter. Frazier is the only free agent ranked in MLBTR's Top 50 that Dierkes has the Mets signing.

"He's the cheaper alternative to Mike Moustakas and could fit with the Mets, Royals, Angels, Braves, Cardinals or Yankees," Dierkes concludes about Frazier.

In 66 regular season games after being acquired by the Yankees this past season, Frazier hit just .222, but had a .365 OBP with 11 HR and 32 RBI. He had 16 home runs with the White Sox before the trade, prior to which he hit just .207. In 13 postseason games, he hit just .186 with one home run...

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Here's what we know...

The team's new manager is Mickey Callaway.

His coaching staff will reportedly include Dave Eiland as pitching coach, Pat Roessler as head hitting coach, Ruben Amaro as infield and first base coach, Glenn Sherlock as catching instructor and third base coach and Ricky Bones back again as bullpen coach.

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Since their season officially ended, the Mets have dismissed Terry Collins, Dan Warthen and several of the team's coaches, after which they hired Mickey Callaway to replace Collins and will reportedly...

  • Hire former Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland to replace Warthen...
  • Not re-sign Kevin Long, but instead promote his long-time assistant Pat Roessler...
  • Keep Ricky Bones as their bullpen coach...

This is shaking out in a way that is consistent with what I keep hearing about how Alderson wants to see his new manager supported in the dugout, before and after games. Basically, I've heard he wants certain creative personality types in specific roles, while having other positions filled by people that are more like operators than innovators.

It remains to be seen how it will play out, but it reads and sounds like a good approach, especially if Callaway is as strong of a leader as Alderson thinks he is.

Here are my thoughts on each situation...

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Mets LHP Steven Matz said he was excited to hear from the team's new manager, Mickey Callaway, who last week began contacting players to introduce himself.

"He's a real enthusiastic guy and seems to know pitching really well," Matz told Newsday's Kenny DeJean this past weekend. "He did a great job with Cleveland."

Matz also told DeJean that he feels good and plans to soon pick up a baseball for the first time since having season-ending elbow surgery in August.

Tags: Steven Matz, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets manager Mickey Callaway talked extensively at Citi Field earlier this week about how his pitchers will be charged with throwing more curve balls next season.

He said it with confidence and just kept talking, as though it was inherently obvious to everyone why this statement would benefit the Mets. It wasn't obvious to me. However, after reading this article by MLB.com's Jordan Bastian about Callaway and Cleveland's pitching staff, I get it.

The Dodgers, Astros, Red Sox, and Callaway's Indians have consistently ranked as the top four teams in curve rate during the last three years, Bastian explains.

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In late-2013 and most of 2014, the Mets and the Mariners reportedly talked about potential deals that could have swapped shortstops Nick Franklin, Chris Taylor, or Brad Miller for Jon Niese and a prospect.

However, according to Seattle beat reporter Bob Dutton, the Mariners shut down talks with the Mets after they acquired J.A. Happ from the Blue Jays for outfielder Michael Saunders.

Miller had been a serviceable player until struggling last season in Tampa. Niese, who didn't pitch last year, hasn't been successful since being traded by the Mets.

Tags: David Wright, Matthew Cerrone
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The Mets are more than capable of contending again in 2018, their new manager Mickey Callaway told reporters Monday at Citi Field.

In 2015 and 2016, Terry Collins and the Mets won 177 games and made the postseason each year, including a trip to the World Series. However, due in large part to rampant injuries, they lost 90 games in 2017, finished in fourth place and fired their manager.

"In our situation, short-term, pitching is everything," Sandy Alderson declared Monday, reiterating a theme he has put forth the last few seasons.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Matthew Cerrone
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February 24, 2012; Wilpon and Alderson chat with coaches in St. Lucie. Credit: Barr-US PRESSWIRE (Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE)
February 24, 2012; Wilpon and Alderson chat with coaches in St. Lucie. Credit: Barr-US PRESSWIRE (Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE)

Mets GM Sandy Alderson declined to comment on his contract status when talking to reporters Monday afternoon at Citi Field.

Alderson's contract was set to expire at the end of this past season, but neither he nor the team has made a formal announcement about his current role with the organization.

In response to a question about his future, Alderson would only say that he did not expect a change in the organization's leadership and hierarchy.

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February 24, 2012; Wilpon and Alderson chat with coaches in St. Lucie. Credit: Barr-US PRESSWIRE (Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE)
February 24, 2012; Wilpon and Alderson chat with coaches in St. Lucie. Credit: Barr-US PRESSWIRE (Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE)

Mets GM Sandy Alderson declined to comment on his contract status when talking to reporters Monday afternoon at Citi Field.

Alderson's contract was set to expire at the end of this past season, but neither he nor the team has made a formal announcement about his current role with the organization.

In response to a question about his future, Alderson would only say that he did not expect a change in the organization's leadership and hierarchy.

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Sandy Alderson, his staff and new manager Mickey Callaway will work together on constructing the team's coaching staff for next season, the GM told reporters Monday at Citi Field.

"There are some coaches we would like to have back and there are some we are wide open about considering," Alderson explained. "It's a little bit of jigsaw puzzle, but it only has seven pieces."

Based on what I was hearing yesterday, their first order of business will be to lock in a pitching coach. Bench coach is a top priority, as well, but will likely need to wait until the Nationals and Phillies get closer to making their managerial selections.

Hitting coach is also a wild card, given Kevin Long's status, but it is lower on the front office's totem poll. Again, due to the team's reliance on pitching, plus Callaway's background, my sense is that pitching coach (and bullpen coach) are going to be the most important hires.

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Alderson on Callaway's interview 00:09:04
Sandy Alderson talks about Mickey Callaway's impressive interview, and how the whole front office couldn't wait to offer him the job.

The Mets introduced Mickey Callaway as their new manager on Monday at Citi Field.

What did you think of Callaway?

As a Mets fan who believes it is necessary to inject new life in to this team, I entered the building today excited about Sandy Alderson's announcement. And after listening to Callaway and being in his presence, not only am I excited, but I'm extremely confident in his ability to connect with his players, refocus them and put the franchise in position to return to the postseason.

Callaway said all the right things. He looked nervous, but let's be honest, he should be nervous. At the same time, he kept in command of himself. He isn't fidgety. He's wide-eyed, but focused. I like that he stands tall no matter the situation, be it at the podium or in a casual conversation. He talked to the room the same way he spoke to me, which was the same way he talked to Fred Wilpon, which was the same way he talked to the camera.

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Jul 9, 2013; Terry Francona, Mickey Callaway and bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. against the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 9, 2013; Terry Francona, Mickey Callaway and bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. against the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets will introduce Mickey Callaway as their new manager at a press conference later today.

In the next few weeks, Callaway and GM Sandy Alderson will be tasked with rounding out the team's coaching staff...

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