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.

In his latest Mets mailbag, Matthew Cerrone weighs in on non-roster invitees, Luis Guillorme and youngsters around the NL East.


The calendar has turned from Hot Stove to sunshine and palm trees.

Not surprisingly, so have questions being sent to me for my weekly mailbag post.

Here are answers to the most common questions to come in, all of which focus on the farm system, prospects and guys that can help the big-league team.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets' Edwin Diaz, Pete Alonso and Yoenis Cespedes (Treated Image by SNY)
Mets' Edwin Diaz, Pete Alonso and Yoenis Cespedes (Treated Image by SNY)

MetsBlog's Matt Cerrone makes some over/under predictions for the upcoming Mets season...


86.5 - Total wins

Over.

The roster is strong on paper, which is seconded by fan polls, expert commentary and reflected in countless prediction systems. My view is the same.

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In his latest Mets mailbag, Matthew Cerrone weighs in on the outfield situation, Yoenis Cespedes, what Edwin Diaz' role should be, and more...


What's the opening day outfield? ~ @JoeBacci

Barring a blockbuster trade, which for an outfielder at this point is improbable, the outfield is set up to be J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto.

Yoenis Cespedes is the wild card. If Cespedes is jacking the ball, running well and showing strength, I think he and Davis platoon from the start of the season, with Davis also backing up Jeff McNeil at third base.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Dellin Betances, Edwin Diaz, JD Davis, Jeff McNeil, Jeurys Familia, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Rene Rivera, Robinson Cano, Seth Lugo, Tomas Nido, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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Francisco Lindor, Mookie Betts, and Starling Marte
Francisco Lindor, Mookie Betts, and Starling Marte

It's tempting during the rumor frenzy of the Hot Stove to become desperate for a blockbuster trade. The avalanche of news that a deal is getting done, seeing it announced, realizing the rumors were true and watching an elite player put on your favorite team's uniform is inspiring.

However, as is often said, sometimes the best deal is the one you don't make. And this certainly applies to situations recently presented to Brodie Van Wagenen.

In the end, in each instance, he erred on the side of caution. And, while this may not be as exciting as a realized trade rumor, he made the right decision.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, JD Davis, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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For the most part, Brodie Van Wagenen's roster is set. However, within it, he'll need to make some decisions.

Third Base and Left Field

Jeff McNeil recently told the Daily News that he expects to play third base this season. I suspect this in large part is depended on what is happening this spring training in left field and if Jed Lowrie is healthy and productive.

In a world where J.D. Davis stumbles and Yoenis Cespedes isn't ready for action, McNeil may be needed back in left field, at which point Lowrie will need to take the hot corner. Ideally, Cespedes is bathing in the Fountain of Youth and Davis is crushing home runs. In that scenario, McNeil gets third and all of a sudden Luis Rojas has too may outfielders.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, JD Davis, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Wilson Ramos, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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In his latest mailbag, Matthew Cerrone answers questions about Amed Rosario, Jeff McNeil, Kris Bryant, and more...


Is there any hope Brodie Van Wagenen can trade for Kris Bryant?

The only way the Mets acquire Bryant is if they're willing to exceed the luxury tax threshold. I see zero evidence that will happen. It's a shame, because in talking with people aware of Chicago's goal, there is a deal to be made with the Mets, but it would require Van Wagenen taking on all of Bryant's $16 million in 2020, as well as taking on a similarly expensive contract, such as Tyler Chatwood, who will make $13 million this season.

To read more on what a deal for Bryant could look like, read my Notebook from earlier this week.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Jacob deGrom, JD Davis, Jeff McNeil, Luis Guillorme, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard
Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard

Noah Syndergaard is three seasons removed from his peak, Cy Young-worthy season in 2016.

His 2017 season was derailed by multiple injuries.

In 2018 and 2019, Syndergaard returned to being a mostly-dominant, top-of-the-rotation pitcher producing the sixth-most WAR in the NL. However, I can't stop seeing those results from 2016.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Jeff McNeil, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Rene Rivera, Robinson Cano, Steven Matz, Matthew Cerrone
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Map of Port St. Lucie, Fla. (Treated Image by SNY)
Map of Port St. Lucie, Fla. (Treated Image by SNY)

Mets pitchers and catchers will host their first official workout of spring training on the back fields of Clover Park starting Feb. 12.

There is no charge to enter the back fields and attend workouts. Parking for just workouts is usually free, but I keep hearing that may change at some point.

The games, which start Feb. 22, are fun to watch. It's a sunny, upbeat, breezy environment as you're surrounded by true Mets fans and local old-timers that have been going to games here for over 30 years.

For me, though, if I had to choose, I prefer to attend the workouts.

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Sep 15, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (17) rounds the bases after hitting a home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Trevor Williams (not pictured) during the third inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports  (Daniel Bartel)
Sep 15, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (17) rounds the bases after hitting a home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Trevor Williams (not pictured) during the third inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports (Daniel Bartel)

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


Instead of Citi Field, call it Bryant Park...

Now that suitors know Kris Bryant will be under team control through 2021, as opposed to becoming a free agent after this season, the Cubs have engaged teams that once expressed interest in their third baseman.

If they move Bryant, the Cubs want a center fielder, your top pitching prospect, and at least one or two position prospects considered to be among the league's top 100. In addition taking on all of Bryant's 2020 salary, they're also pushing the acquiring team to take on another contract, such as reliever Tyler Chatwood, who is due $13 million this season before becoming a free agent.

This is a lot to give up, I think.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Miguel Andujar, Noah Syndergaard, Ronny Mauricio, Matthew Cerrone
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Apr 28, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs number 10 pick Patrick Mahomes II poses for a photo with his mother Randi and father Pat during the press conference at Stram Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)
Apr 28, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs number 10 pick Patrick Mahomes II poses for a photo with his mother Randi and father Pat during the press conference at Stram Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)

A version of this story was originally published on Jan. 16, 2019. Here's a look back as we approach the Super Bowl with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes facing off against the Niners.


One of the most-talked about quarterbacks in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs, is the son of former Mets pitcher Pat Mahomes, who you may remember from Bobby Valentine's postseason teams in 1999 and 2000.

In 2018, the young Mahomes arrived at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City wearing his father's No. 23 Mets jersey

"Pat Mahomes was honestly one of the best guys I ever managed," Valentine told me about the elder Mahomes. "He was a pitcher, but also one of the best athletes I ever had. He could hit and run the bases, so much so I considered occasionally using him in the outfield."

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Luis Rojas (Lizzy Barrett/Getty Images)
Luis Rojas (Lizzy Barrett/Getty Images)

In his latest mailbag, Matthew Cerrone answers questions about Luis Rojas, Yoenis Cespedes, Mets fans marrying Yankees fans, and more...


Questions from Instagram...

What do you think of Luis Rojas? ~ @BritMets

To be fair, I don't know enough about Rojas to know how I feel about him. Based on his background, skills, interests, ability to speak multiple languages and his popularity among the players, I think he's a good fit for what most teams view as qualifications for manager these days. He may actually have a better toolbox than Carlos Beltran.

Tags: Carlos Torres, David Wright, Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, JD Davis, Steven Matz, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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Pete Alonso and Marcus Stroman (SNY)
Pete Alonso and Marcus Stroman (SNY)

Mets 1B Pete Alonso and RHP Marcus Stroman have the production, voice, age, and confidence to be on- and off-field leaders for their team in 2020.

Both players are capable of motivating teammates. Both are capable of intentionally and unintentionally antagonizing opponents and members of the media. And both have, and will continue to, fire up fans.

Respectively, for all of the above reasons, both have become appointment viewing -- not just because they might say something colorful or act in bold way, but because their talent and work ethic outweigh their words and personality.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, David Wright, Pete Alonso, Steven Matz, Matthew Cerrone
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Brandon Nimmo
Brandon Nimmo

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


Is Mookie Betts ever going to get traded?

According to a variety of reports, it seems the Dodgers and Padres are the teams involved in talks with the Sox.

My quick survey of insiders points to Betts being on the Red Sox come Opening Day.

The Dodgers are viewed as a better fit because they have more attractive big league talent to deal and Boston still wants to contend in 2020. The Padres, on the other hand, prefer to put the emphasis on prospects in exchange for moving salary and that is not necessarily Boston's goal.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Clint Frazier, Steven Matz, Matthew Cerrone
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Mookie Betts
Mookie Betts

In his latest mailbag, Matthew Cerrone answers questions about a potential Mookie Betts trade, Luis Rojas, and more...


Are we getting Mookie Betts or not? The Padres seem to want him more. ~ Anthony Rosato

Boston's goal in trading Betts has been to significantly reduce payroll and get below the luxury tax threshold. The rumored deal between the Padres and Sox would send Wil Myers to Boston, which wouldn't cut enough money. Therefore, the sticking point between the two sides is likely David Price, who Boston has been trying to package with Betts because it's the biggest cost saving possible.

For the Mets, though, sending just Jed Lowrie to Boston could work for both sides.

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Amed Rosario
Amed Rosario

During the past two weeks, I reached out to current and former players, coaches, scouts and league executives to learn who on the Mets is most likely to take a big step forward in 2020 compared to 2019.

The following three players were mentioned most...

1) Amed Rosario

Rosario hit .287 with a .323 OBP, 15 home runs, 30 doubles and 19 stolen bases, while producing 2.7 WAR in 2019, according to FanGraphs.

As soon as he started to get himself stable and performing well in the field, he also began swinging at fewer pitches out of the strike zone, while swinging at more pitches in it. Not surprisingly, he also started making more and better contact overall, while also reducing how often he struck out.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Edwin Diaz, JD Davis, Jeff McNeil, Noah Syndergaard, Rene Rivera, Matthew Cerrone
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Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado
Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado

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


Nolan Arenado isn't happy

Arenado was set to become a free agent after 2019, but signed a long-term contract that he can opt out of after 2021. During negotiations, he was assured the Rockies would make additions and increase payroll to push for a deeper postseason run. So far, that hasn't happened. In fact, they took a step back -- finishing 71-91 in 2019 -- and are on pace to reduce payroll from last season to this season.

The buzz from Colorado is that Arenado is frustrated because the Rockies are not following through on their promise. At this point, it seems likely he'll opt out unless dealt to another team. The thing is, the acquiring team almost certainly has questions about how the opt out will be handled.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Curtis Granderson, Edwin Diaz, Giancarlo Stanton, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Matthew Cerrone
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The Mets are in upheaval roughly three weeks before spring training starts as they search for a new manager to replace Carlos Beltran.

In his latest mailbag, Matthew Cerrone answers questions about the Beltran situation and more...


The elephant in the room -- and the overwhelming question asked of me -- has been about who I want the Mets to hire to replace Carlos Beltran.

In the wake of the Phillies hiring Joe Girardi, who was my top choice at the start of the offseason, I advocated for Eduardo Perez -- not Beltran. I still like Perez, who I think has a unique mix of relatable player experience, knowledge of stats and feel for the game, media savvy, professionalism, in-game management skills and a commanding presence on and off the field. He signed a new deal with ESPN that can be broken if he is offered a gig to run a team or dugout.

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Dellin Betances, Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen

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

Adding a reliever...

There seems to be a decent market for less-exciting, affordable relievers Pedro Strop and Collin McHugh. Other than that, no one I know seems to think there's much urgency in the market to sign relievers at any level until later in the month.

I still think the Mets need one more arm, even if just for depth.

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 (Wendell Cruz)
(Wendell Cruz)

How do you top winning Rookie of the Year, setting the rookie record for home runs, winning the Home Run Derby, and becoming one of the most popular players in the league and doing it all in New York?

This is the question facing Pete Alonso as he prepares for his second big-league season.

In what was a historic season for him in 2019, Alonso hit .260 with a .358 OBP, 53 home runs and 120 RBI. He also exceeded expectations in the field, which was the main concern hanging over him in the minor leagues.

Tags: Pete Alonso, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen

Spring Training is just around the corner, but there are still lots of questions when it comes to the 2020 Mets...


The Mets bullpen is still riddled with 'what ifs.' Any chance they sign another major league reliever to fortify it a bit? ~ Vas Drimalitis on Twitter)

It's difficult to answer this not knowing their available budget. That said, if looking to spend as little money possible for the most experience, I can see them targeting someone like Alex Wood, Pedro Strop or Brandon Kintzler, all of whom can be had for one year and less than $8 million. Strop is the definition of the up-and-down reliever.

However, through it all, he's always had a good strikeout- and ground-ball rate. He'll be 34 and there's no reason based on his numbers and history to think he can't rebound in 2020 and become one helluva bargain. The same can essentially be said about Kintzler.

Tags: Pete Alonso, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen

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


It's not just hot air, it seems there really are a lot of trades being discussed across the league. In many cases, several teams are involved on many of the same players, some of which could be passed on in favor of comparable free agents, which explains the gridlock and lack of action.

"It will open up eventually, I'd guess no later than next week," one rival NL East source told me Monday. "Take third base, at some point, someone is going to overbid (either for Josh Donaldson or in trade) and that will be that, the gates will open."

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Dellin Betances, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Matthew Cerrone
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Brodie Van Wagenen, Dellin Betances, and Jeff Wilpon
Brodie Van Wagenen, Dellin Betances, and Jeff Wilpon

The Mets report to Spring Training in just over a month. What have they accomplished with their offseason moves and could Brodie Van Wagenen have another move up his sleeve? Plus, what is the best Mets moment of the last decade?


Diane M (Twitter) >> What's one more thing you would like to see Brodie Van Wagenen add to the team before spring training starts?

I want a big move, which will likely also mean making a few more smaller moves. For instance, to pull off a trade for and afford Nolan Arenado, Brodie may first need to find a taker for Jed Lowrie and/or Jeurys Familia. If that sort of thing can happen -- something bold that excites the team, players and fans -- I'm for it.

Tags: David Wright, Dellin Betances, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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 (Treated Image by SNY)
(Treated Image by SNY)

The Mets continue to discuss the possibility of trading for high-profile players, which suggests Brodie Van Wagenen may still be trying to make a "big trade," one MLB insider from each NL division told me last week.

The Mets have been connected in rumor and reports to Cubs 3B Kris Bryant, Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado, Pirates OF Starling Marte and SP Chris Archer, Red Sox OF Mookie Betts and Indians SS Franciso Lindor.

I'm intrigued by all of the above. Here's how I rank them given the cost and upside in production...

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jeff McNeil, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Steven Matz, Matthew Cerrone
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 (Treated Image by SNY)
(Treated Image by SNY)

The Mets finished 86-76 in 2019 while the Braves won the NL East and the Nationals secured a Wild Card spot and went on to win the World Series. 

As the Mets have been largely silent this offseason, the Braves, Nats, and Phillies -- who finished in fourth place in 2019 -- have all made big moves to strengthen their positions for 2020.

Here's where things stand in the NL East...

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, Edwin Diaz, Jeff McNeil, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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The offseason is about to enter its final month and the Mets still have work to do. What can they do between now and spring training to improve? And what about that Jacob deGrom vs. Gerrit Cole debate?


Dino (via Twitter): Why isn't Brodie Van Wagenen pushing harder to get Starling Marte from the Pirates? He's a perfect fit. It makes no sense.

Just a guess here, and I assume you will disagree with him, but I suspect Van Wagenen doesn't want Marte enough -- or doesn't think he's enough of an upgrade -- to meet Pittsburgh's demands. It's usually that simple...

It's clear the two sides were deeply engaged in talks about Marte. However, those rumors have become less frequent and now the Athletic's Ken Rosenthal is reporting they've made minimal progress on a deal.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Noah Syndergaard, Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
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Feb 18, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) throws to first base during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports (Butch Dill)
Feb 18, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) throws to first base during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports (Butch Dill)

During this MLB offseason there have been a flurry of moves in the league, but lots of questions remain for the Mets. Here's the latest...

Adding to the bullpen...

The Mets had Dellin Betances on the hook during the middle of November, but he started seeking other offers for leverage when the Yankees dropped out.

The Mets certainly still want him, but seem to have a fixed offer in place based on their budget. I assume he can take it or find something better, which is probably why we're seeing so many conflicting reports about who is and isn't interested.

The Phillies would certainly be the best team to bring in to a negotiation if wanting the Mets to up their offer. But who knows, if that never happens, maybe Philadelphia ends up being the best remaining option. Or, perhaps the Yankees jump back in...

Tags: Dellin Betances, Jeff McNeil, Steven Matz, Matthew Cerrone
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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
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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
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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
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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
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 (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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

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