Yesterday, I put up a link to Baseball America, who had ranking Mets SS Gavin Cecchini #12 the #12 prospect in the Appalachian League.  The comment section was largely, but not exclusively, negative about Cecchini. Maybe it's because the Mets are 71-84, and headed for their fourth straight losing season and sixth straight out of the playoffs and therefore, everything the Mets do is wrong.  Apparently, there is no escaping that climate of complaining.

CecchiniCecchini is a gifted defensive shortstop, who, as an 18-year old, hit .246/.311/.330 in 53 games in the Appalachian League which as a whole averaged .254/.329/.382.  He showed some strike zone control, with a 2.4 K/BB ratio (43 K/18 BB) and a strikeout rate of 19% and a walk rate of 8%. Oh, and he played August while recovering from a broken finger. He was young for his league.

I liked Cecchini's swing more than I was expecting too, but he will need to add strength to his wiry frame. Defensively, his hands were fine for short. However, I left concerned about his range. The game I saw, he did not produce an average running time to first. It's hard to play an average shortstop without average to plus speed. In my opinion, it is nearly impossible to be a plus shortstop without plus speed. In Cecchini's defense, he was running on a wet track, and I saw him for one game and one BP/infield session only.

If he can play an average Major League shortstop, he will have value, as I discussed in June:

Using data from the last three complete seasons (2009-2011), there are exactly 14 players who have a positive UZR/150, that is, by the metric, are average or better shortstops. Of those, only nine are better than five runs above average per 150 games. That’s it. There are literally, fewer than 10 guys in baseball who are five runs above average annually at shortstop.

Of this group, of average or better defensive SS, exactly three are average or better offensively as measured by wRC+ (where 100 is league average).

Emphasis added this time.

Multiple scouts from other teams, for whom Cecchini was not an option, either because they picked too high in the first round, or too low, told me they like Cecchini as a player and he represented fine value for the Mets at #12.

 

Draft StrategyMajor League teams should not draft for need in the first round. Read it, repeat it and then process it. Major League teams should not draft for need in the first round. Major League teams should not draft for need in the first round.

Why not?

1. The failure rate on prospects outside the top few picks is too high. There is no guarantee that selecting a player in the 2012 draft for an organizational need in 2012 will ever be able to fill that organizational need.

2. Draft picks need time to develop.

3. Organization needs change. Organizational needs in 2016/2017, when a high school player from the 2012 draft could reasonably be expected to be fitting into the big leagues will be different from 2012. Four years is a long time in baseball. 

Teams, including the Mets should draft the best player available in the first round. Now, to some degree, this strategy has been altered by the new collective bargaining agreement with its move towards a draft spending cap for each team. A team must balance taking and paying for the best player at any given point, versus maximizing the number of good prospects to be acquired later against the cap.

 

The Fan Complaint

Yesterday's arguments in the comments section produced three main types of complaints about Cecchini.

There were: he arguments included:

  • He was a bad pick because the 2012 Mets needed power.
  • He was a bad pick because he has no upside and the Mets have a shortstop now - Ruben Tejada
  • The Mets should have drafted OF Courtney Hawkins
The first two are simply wrong. Say it with me again: Major League teams should not draft for need in the first round.

Again, Cecchini will not be a big leaguer for four more years. By that time, Tejada will be arbitration eligible. He might be a star, he might be a solid contributor, he might be injured. The advantage of drafting up the middle players is that they can move down the defensive spectrum to "easier" positions.

Hawkins is a big, strong outfielder destined for a corner spot, who the White Sox picked at #13, right behind the Mets.  The White Sox were aggressive with Hawkins this year, starting him off in the Appalachian League before promoting him to Kannapolis in the South Atlantic League for two weeks and then up to Winston-Salem for the playoffs. Overall, as an 18-year old, he hit .284/.324/.480 with eight homers, and 56 K/11 BB for a K/BB of 5.1. In his 249 PA, he walked in 4.4% of his plate appearances, and fanned in 22%.

The most recent scouting report on Hawkins comes from Baseball Prospectus' Jason Parks who saw him recently at instructional league in Arizona:

Thicker body than I expected; Kevin Mitchell thighs; obvious athlete; multiple 4.25 times to first; strength is just as obvious as athleticism; ball screams off bat when contact is made; top-heavy swing; bat speed generated by tremendous raw strength; lacks impressive bat control; fooled by off-speed stuff; front foot contact; left field profile for me; ...  power is only loud tool, but it has the potential to be very loud; doesn’t have star-level projection; if power translates, has first-division potential, but role 5 player more realistic; how long does present athleticism keep profile from being worse?; how big does the body get?; major league strength, but does he have a major league swing?; I need to see a lot more, but I was expecting to see a more electric profile and a little less body.
Parks' current projection on Courtney Hawkins, the apple of some commenter's eye, is as an average left-fielder. Which do you think has more value, an average shortstop or average corner outfielder?

I was on record before the draft suggesting that the Mets should take the risk on Harvard-Westlake RHP Lucas Giolito. He was a risky pick, because he was looking at likely Tommy John surgery, and was asking for a big bonus. Sure enough, in August, the Nationals, who paid him nearly $3 million and built their entire draft around meeting his bonus demands as eight of the team's next nine picks signed below allocation so the team could afford Giolito's bonus. I understand the Mets' hesitation here.

 

FinallyOpinions are good. I am glad that fans have read enough about the minors here and elsewhere that they have developed strong opinions about players they have never seen (although a little humility would seem sensible). However, the only thing I am certain about when it comes to writing about baseball is uncertainty, especially when writing about prospects.

If Hawkins or Cecchini or Giolito become All-Stars, well great for them and their team. The fact that one does and one does not, would not make any an awful or a terrible pick three months after the draft.*

(*Note, I added the final six words in an afternoon revision for clarity.)

Tags: Gavin Cecchini, Toby Hyde

May 6, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher Craig Breslow (17) throws against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning at Marlins Park. The Marlins won 6-4. (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)
May 6, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher Craig Breslow (17) throws against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning at Marlins Park. The Marlins won 6-4. (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets and Yankees are among 12-20 teams that will watch lefty reliever Craig Breslow throw a showcase on Jan. 23, reports Peter Gammons. 

According to Gammons, Breslow, who was released by the Marlins last July, has worked on lowering his arm angle and improving his breaking pitch. 

Read More

Latest on Jay Bruce 00:05:04
Mets Hot Stove analyzes the Mets decision to either trade Jay Bruce or keep him on the roster.

Latest Update...

Jan. 15 | 4:15 PM

The Mets are looking to acquire two prospects in exchange for Jay Bruce, reports CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury. 

According to Salisbury, the Phillies are interested in Bruce but are wary of dealing their prospects as they rebuild.

Tags: Jay Bruce
Read More

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

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

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

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

Tags: Wilmer Flores, Matthew Cerrone
Read More

Jul 7, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores (4) watches his three run home run against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jul 7, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores (4) watches his three run home run against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Wilmer Flores and the Mets did not agree to a deal before Friday's arbitration deadline and the two sides will go to a hearing to determine his 2017 salary, the team announced.

Flores has filed at $2.2 million, while the Mets have offered $1.8 million, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

The Mets changed their stance this offseason in regard to arbitration-eligilble players, and GM Sandy Alderson said Thursday that he had no issue going to a hearing to determine a new contract if an agreement could not be reached by the Jan. 13 deadline.

Tags: Wilmer Flores
Read More

 (Kathy Willen/AP)
(Kathy Willen/AP)

The Mets will avoid arbitration with RHP Matt Harvey, agreeing to a deal worth $5.125 million that contains $100,000 in performance bonuses, reports James Wagner of the NY Times.

Harvey made $4.325 million last season.

He had a 4.86 ERA (3.47 FIP) and 1.46 WHIP with 76 strikeouts in 92 2/3 innings (17 starts) in 2016 before Thoracic outlet syndrome that resulted in surgery ended his season after his start on July 4.

Tags: Matt Harvey
Read More

 (Frank Franklin II/AP)
(Frank Franklin II/AP)

The Mets will avoid arbitration with RHP Jacob deGrom, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal worth $4.05 million that includes performance bonuses, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN.

DeGrom, who made $607,000 last season, received a base salary that's the largest ever for a first-time abirtration-eligible starting pitcher who didn't qualify for the ERA title. 

He had a 3.04 ERA and 1.20 WHIP with 143 strikeouts in 148 innings (24 starts) last season before a pinched ulnar nerve in his right elbow resulted in season-ending surgery on Sept. 20.

DeGrom told reporters in early December that he planned to soon begin his offseason throwing program and be 100 percent healthy for spring training.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
Read More

 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

The Mets will avoid arbitration with closer Jeurys Familia, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal worth $7.425 million, reports James Wagner of the NY Times.

Familia, 27, made $4.1 million last season.

He had a 2.55 ERA (2.39 FIP) and 1.21 WHIP with 84 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings (78 appearances) while saving a team-record 51 games.

Tags: Jeurys Familia
Read More

 (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)
(Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)

The Mets will avoid arbitration with RH reliever Addison Reed, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal worth $7.75 million, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Reed, 28, made $5.3 million last season.

He had a 1.97 ERA and identical 1.97 FIP with a 0.94 WHIP while striking out 91 in 77 2/3 innings (80 games) in 2016. 

Tags: Addison Reed, Jeurys Familia
Read More

 (Brad Barr/USA Today Sports Images)
(Brad Barr/USA Today Sports Images)

The Mets will avoid arbitration with LH reliever Josh Edgin, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN.

The terms of the deal are not yet known.

Edgin, 30, made $625,000 last season, which was his first year back from Tommy John surgery.

Tags: Josh Edgin
Read More

A general view of Tradition Field during the game between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees. (Scott Rovak)
A general view of Tradition Field during the game between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees. (Scott Rovak)

Mets minor league pitcher Gary Cornish, who last pitched for the Single-A Brooklyn Cyclones, has been suspended 50 games for a positive test of an amphetamine, MLB announced Friday. 

Cornish, 22, was selected by the Mets in 19th round of the 2016 draft out of the University of San Diego. 

In 14 relief appearances with the Cyclones, Cornish had a 2.16 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 25 innings. 

 


Mets pitchers Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. (Jeff Curry/USATSI)
Mets pitchers Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. (Jeff Curry/USATSI)

The Mets have not yet talked with their young starting pitchers about about multiyear-contract-extensions beyond their current deals, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters during a lunch Thursday at Citi Field.

"I don't see it as a pressing issue," Alderson said, according to ESPN's Adam Rubin.

In late-December, Alderson made a similar statement, saying he had no plans to talk contract extensions prior to spring training.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz
Read More

Sep 18, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud (18) steps up to single to left during the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports 
		 (Anthony Gruppuso)
Sep 18, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud (18) steps up to single to left during the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

The Mets will avoid arbitration with C Travis d'Arnaud, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal, according to FanRag's MLB reporter Jon Heyman.

D'Arnaud, who earned the $524,000 league minimum in 2016, will earn $1.8 million next season.

He is eligible for arbitration in 2018 and 2019, after which he can be a free agent

Tags: Travis d'Arnaud
Read More

 (Anthony Gruppuso)
(Anthony Gruppuso)

The Mets have avoided arbitration with 1B Lucas Duda, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal, the team announced Thursday.

The deal is worth $7.25 million, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag.

Duda, 30, hit .229 with a .302 OBP and .412 SLG with seven HR last season while being limited to just 47 games due to a back injury.

He hit .244 with a .352 OBP and .486 SLG with 27 HR in 135 games in 2015.

Tags: Lucas Duda, Zack Wheeler
Read More

Aug 28, 2016; Flores (4) singles against the Phillies at Citi Field. Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Aug 28, 2016; Flores (4) singles against the Phillies at Citi Field. Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Mets infielder Wilmer Flores's favorite position to play is second base, he told SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio early Friday morning.

"I enjoyed playing first base too last season, it was a lot of fun," he added. "But, I'll do the job wherever they put me."

In 2016, Flores played 51 games at third base, 27 games at first base, 18 games at second base, and eight games at first base, while hitting .267 with 30 extra base hits and 49 RBI in just 307 at-bats.

Tags: Wilmer Flores
Read More

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

Latest Update...

Jan. 13 | 8:20AM

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

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Matthew Cerrone
Read More

Latest on Jay Bruce 00:05:04
Mets Hot Stove analyzes the Mets decision to either trade Jay Bruce or keep him on the roster.

During his lunch with reporters at Citi Field on Thursday, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said it's possible he begins spring training with all of his current outfielders, including Jay Bruce.

"Obviously the market for certain players, certain free agents and therefore trade candidates has been slow at best, nonexistent at worst," Alderson said, according to NJ.com. "What we continue to do is reassess where we are and what our options are going forward, and those options range from doing something soon, which is possible or was possible, is possible, or doing nothing."

Tags: Jay Bruce
Read More

Mets 1B Lucas Duda, RHP Matt Harvey, C Travis d'Arnaud and RHP Jacob deGrom (Credit: USA Today Images)
Mets 1B Lucas Duda, RHP Matt Harvey, C Travis d'Arnaud and RHP Jacob deGrom (Credit: USA Today Images)

The deadline for teams and unsigned arbitration-eligible players to file salary figures is January 13, after which the final salary will be determined during an arbitration hearing.

The Mets intend to take a more strict position on their potential arbitration cases than they have in past, Newsday's Marc Carig reported Thursday.

According to Carig, if the two sides cannot agree by Friday's deadline, the Mets have no issue letting the situation play out in arbitration.

This year's remaining, unsigned arbitration-eligible players for the Mets are...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Lucas Duda, Matt Harvey, Travis d'Arnaud
Read More

 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

The Mets have signed LH reliever Adam Wilk to a minor league deal that includes an invite to major league Spring Training, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN.

Wilk, 29, last pitched in the majors in 2015, allowing one run in 2.0 innings for the Angels.

He has also pitched for the Tigers, appearing in five games in 2011 and three games in 2012.

Tags: Jerry Blevins
Read More

Wally Backman speaks out 00:06:32
Baseball Night in New York looks into Wally Backman's recent negative comments about Mets general manager Sandy Alderson.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he hasn't been contacted by other teams about former Mets minor league manager Wally Backman, who recently told the Bergen Record's Bob Klapisch that he's being blackballed across Major League Baseball by Alderson.

Alderson, who said Backman is a "good baseball man," added that "Wally did a good job for us at Las Vegas. ...Nobody has called about Wally," according to Adam Rubin of ESPN.

Backman, 57, had been coaching within the Mets minor league system since 2009, most recently serving as manager for their Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas from 2013-16. However, resigned from his role after last season in order to pursue other opportunities.

"It's not Sandy's nature" to be this vindictive, a non-Mets baseball executive told Klapisch...

Read More

Yanks and Mets share Series odds 00:03:31
Baseball Night in New York wonders whether Las Vegas made the right call by giving the Yankees and Mets the exact same World Series odds.

The Mets currently sit at 13-to-1 odds to win the World Series in 2017, the same odds as the Yankees, according to information provided by the Venetian Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas...

The Yankees finished 84-78 during 2016, but missed the playoffs by five games. The Mets, on the other hand, went 87-75 last season to win the top Wild Card spot.

Tags: Michael Conforto, Travis d'Arnaud
Read More

 (Steve Mitchell)
(Steve Mitchell)

The Mets will conclude their Spring Training game schedule on March 31 against Army at West Point, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN.

Mets pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training in Port St. Lucie, FL on Feb. 12, with position players required to report by Feb. 17.

Their Grapefruit League schedule begins Friday, February 24 against the Red Sox in Fort Myers, FL.

Read More

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

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

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

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

Tags: Oakland Athletics, Matthew Cerrone
Read More

New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) throws in the spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Tradition Field. (Brad Barr)
New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) throws in the spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Tradition Field. (Brad Barr)

Zack Wheeler and the Mets avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $800,000 deal on Wednesday, the team announced. 

Wheeler underwent Tommy John surgery in March of 2015 and missed each of the past two years. The 26-year-old last pitched in 2014 when he had a 3.54 ERA and 1.32 WHIP while striking out 187 batters in 185 1/3 innings.

Tags: Zack Wheeler
Read More

 (Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports Images)
(Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports Images)

The Mets have invited 13 minor leaguers to big league Spring Training, the team announced Wednesday.

Top 1B prospect Dominic Smith highlights the list.

The other invites are RHPs Chase BradfordKevin McGowanPaul SewaldCorey Taylor, and Logan Taylor, LHPs P.J. Conlon and David Roseboom, C Xorge Carrilllo, infielders Phillip Evans and Luis Guillorme, and outfielders Champ Stuart and Travis Taijeron.

Absent from the list is OF Tim Tebow, who signed with the Mets over the summer and played in the Arizona Fall League.

Read More

Nov 3, 2016; Tebow with the Mets against the Glendale Desert Dogs during an Arizona Fall League game. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Nov 3, 2016; Tebow with the Mets against the Glendale Desert Dogs during an Arizona Fall League game. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Mets minor leaguer Tim Tebow considered sticking with football, but instead chose baseball to take on a new challenge, he told ESPN's 'First Take" on Tuesday.

"I wanted to do something I wanted to do, that would be fun for me, a challenge for me," Tebow told host Max Kellerman. "That's why I chose to pick up a baseball bat."

Tebow, who signed a $100,000 contract to join the Mets this past summer, hit .194 with a .296 OBP, no home runs, three doubles and 20 strikeouts in 19 games during October's Arizona Fall League.

"At a certain point, it's not about what other people want you to do it's about what you want to do," he reitterated to Kellerman, parroting a line he frequently used during his book tour last November. "It's your life, not everybody else's life. I could go play football at another position, but why settle. Life isn't about settling, life is about striving."

Tags: Tim Tebow
Read More

New York Mets relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia (58) throws against the Miami Marlins during the spring training baseball game at Tradition Field in 2015. (Brad Barr)
New York Mets relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia (58) throws against the Miami Marlins during the spring training baseball game at Tradition Field in 2015. (Brad Barr)

Suspended relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia and the Mets went through the formality Tuesday of agreeing to a one-year contract worth $1,976,000, money he will not ever receive. 

Mejia was given a lifetime ban from baseball last Feb. 12 after his third positive test under the major league drug program. He remains on the Mets roster on the restricted list, and because he has four years of major league service he was eligible for salary arbitration. However, players serving drug suspensions do not get paid. 

Mejia's salary was cut the maximum 20 percent from his $2.47 million salary last year - money he also did not receive. 

Tags: Jenrry Mejia
Read More

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

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

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

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

Tags: Jay Bruce, Baltimore Orioles, Matthew Cerrone
Read More

Mets infielder Jose Reyes received advice on hitting today from his friend, former Mets OF and current Astros DH Carlos Beltran.

"You're never too old to take advice," Reyes wrote on Instagram after working out with Beltran at the Bomberville Indoor Baseball Facility in the Bronx...

Tags: Jose Reyes
Read More

Jay Bruce (19) has dominated the Mets news cycle during the Winter Meetings (USA TODAY Sports)
Jay Bruce (19) has dominated the Mets news cycle during the Winter Meetings (USA TODAY Sports)

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

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

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

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
Read More

Sep 9, 2016; Kelly Johnson (55) hits a RBI double at Turner Field. Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 9, 2016; Kelly Johnson (55) hits a RBI double at Turner Field. Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves are interested in signing free-agent infielder Kelly Johnsonaccording to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Johnson signed with the Braves as a free agent prior to each of the past two seasons and was traded to the Mets both years.

In 2015, the Mets acquired Johnson and Juan Uribe for minor leaguers John Gant and Robert Whalen. Last season, they acquired Johnson in return for RHP prospect Akeel Morris.

In 131 games with the Mets during that time, Johnson, 34, hit .260 with a .319 OBP, 14 home runs, 14 doubles, 25 stolen bases and 37 RBIs, while playing all four infield positions and left field.

Tags: Atlanta Braves, Kelly Johnson
Read More

Jan. 7, 2017: Citi Field covered in snow (Credit: @Mets on Instagram)
Jan. 7, 2017: Citi Field covered in snow (Credit: @Mets on Instagram)

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

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

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

Read More
Login with Facebook Login with Twitter Login with SNY.tv