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.

It seems every winter multiple teams are desperate to add a closer or 'back-end reliever.' The position is clearly valued by the industry, yet only six closers have ever been elected to the Hall of Fame. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera will became the seventh when results were announced last January and became the first player ever to receive 100 percent of the vote.

Wagner pitched four seasons with the Mets, with whom he signed a four-year, $42 million contract after the 2005 season. He appeared in 183 games and picked up 101 saves with a 2.37 ERA (2.87 FIP).

In September 2008, at 38 years old, Wagner learned he needed Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow, which would keep him off the mound for at least 12 months. He considered retiring, but instead had surgery so he could fulfill his contract with the Mets. In late August, 2009, the fourth-place Mets traded Wagner to the Wild Card leading Red Sox, for whom he made 15 relief appearances down the stretch.

"I really enjoyed being there, I loved all that New York gave to me," Wagner told the Daily News in 2009, speaking about his time with the Mets. "There's no animosity, there's no, 'You should have kept me.' I'm totally happy with the situation, and how they helped me."

As a free agent, Wagner signed a one-year deal with the Braves before retiring in 2010. He now lives with his wife and four children in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he's a high school baseball coach.

With all he accomplished, why does Wagner he keep getting overlooked for the Hall?

Did he get enough saves?

Sure, but who cares...

Wagner's totals, including his career 24.1 WAR are lower than all six current closers in the Hall of Fame, but they are similar to Padres legend Trevor Hoffman, who in 2018 was voted into the Hall.

Hoffman's all-time saves record of 601 likely got him in to the Hall of Fame without anyone having to even look at his other career totals, let alone his peripheral statistics. The reality, though, is that Hoffman's final ERA (2.87), FIP (3.08), WHIP (1.058 WHIP) and strikeouts per nine innings (9.4) are all worse than Wagner. Yet, despite finishing his career with 2 more WAR than Wagner, Hoffman received 290 more votes than him during last year's vote.

In the end, the gap in total saves clearly elevated Hoffman's status in a way it didn't impact Wagner. The thing is, as most people under 50 years old will tell you, saves are stupid. They are essentially meaningless when determining high-leverage situations and the stressful moments of the back half of a baseball game. 

Was he consistently dominant?

Yes.

More times than not I disagree with how the BBWAA votes during the Hall of Fame process. However, the one area I do agree is how they tend to judge players mostly on a candidate's prime seasons, as opposed to looking at the totality of his career.

Hoffman was most dominant from 1996 to 2002, during which he went to four All-Star games and received multiple votes for Cy Young and MVP. Wagner was also most dominant across eight seasons (1999-2006), before and after which he was more consistent than Hoffman.



In Hoffman's seven most-dominant years, he picked up 296 saves with a 2.49 ERA, 2.66 FIP and a 0.99 WHIP, all of which netted him 15.4 WAR. Much like their overall careers, Wagner's seven-season totals are all better than Hoffman outside of saves (262) and total WAR (14.1). 

How did he leave the game?

Admirably and brilliantly.

The prime of their careers is what is most important, but the way they each ended their careers is worth noting. In his final season, Hoffman left San Diego to join the Brewers, but he struggled, ending with a 5.89 ERA pitching in only 50 games and not always as a closer.

Meanwhile, Wagner returned from his career-threatening Tommy John surgery to pitch one final season, during which he had a career-best 1.43 ERA in 69 innings. He picked up his final 37 saves, made the All-Star team and struck out 13.5 batters per nine innings. He then passed up earning $6.5 million by declining his player option so he could end his career on a high note and finally spend time with family.

Did he get along with voters?

Sort of...

Wagner was soft spoken, emotional and brutally honest. He hated to lose and it impacted his mood after games. He was also rough around the edges, opinionated and sometimes surly. That said, he always delivered colorful, detailed quotes and unique insights about the clubhouse.

He also commanded a lot of respect from reporters, writers and storytellers because of his incredible backstory. Wagner was born in Marion, VA, a small town of 6,000 people in the Shenandoah Mountains. His parents divorced when he was a child, after which he moved in and out of homes, hunted for meals and lived on food stamps and welfare. He was right-handed, but -- while in a cast after breaking his arm twice -- he taught himself to throw lefty.


May 08, 2010; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Billy Wagner (13) delivers to the plate in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Braves defeated the Phillies 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports


By the time he was in high school, MLB scouts started hearing of his 85-mph fastball. However, at just 5' 3," 130 pounds, and pitching in a town in the far reaches of Virginia, no one would travel to see him in person. In 1990, he borrowed money from family, scrapped together financial aid and got himself in to Ferrum College, a Division III school with a baseball program. Wagner filed for the MLB draft after his junior year of college and selected by the Astros in the first round.

I don't get a vote for the Hall of Fame, despite writing professionally about the Mets for the past 16 years. So, whether Billy gets in or not is not my call. However, Hall or no Hall, I'll forever remember him as a self-made success story, a true underdog with incredible talent, and one of my favorite pitchers to ever watch in a Mets uniform. That said, he has made it clear it's important to him to be in Cooperstown, so I hope he makes it -- if for no other reason that it will make for the perfect end to an amazing 48-year-old story...


Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!

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Aug 5, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello (22) pitches during the third inning against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)
Aug 5, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello (22) pitches during the third inning against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)

With Zack Wheeler heading to the Phillies on a five-year deal, the Mets find themselves with a spot open in their starting rotation.

Could Rick Porcello be the answer?

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the Mets are talking to Porcello, who won the AL Cy Young Award in 2016.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler
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Jul 16, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Blake Treinen (39) pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the ninth inning at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)
Jul 16, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Blake Treinen (39) pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the ninth inning at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Sure, you're hyped for some Mets free agent or trade action at the upcoming Winter Meetings. But unless the club pulls off a surprise blockbuster move, the most newsworthy Mets stuff coming out of San Diego might be the first public appearance by a club bigwig since the announcement of sale negotiations with billionaire Steve Cohen.

When Brodie Van Wagenen steps in front of cameras and reporters, there will be lots to discuss, far beyond how to fix that horrid bullpen.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, Noah Syndergaard, Robinson Cano, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Yoenis Cespedes, Zack Wheeler, Anthony McCarron
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Anthony Rendon (Thomas B. Shea)
Anthony Rendon (Thomas B. Shea)

With baseball's Winter Meetings just a few days away, the MLB hot stove continues to burn, and one of the Mets' divisional foes is reportedly set to pursue some of the biggest names on the market.

The Phillies have already signed Zack Wheeler away from the Mets, agreeing to a five-year, $118 million deal with the right-hander, and now they're reportedly pursuing both Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg, perhaps the two biggest names on the market outside of Gerrit Cole

MLB.com's Jon Heyman has reported that the Phillies have shown interest in both Strasburg and Cole, though the team is "especially interested" in Strasburg.

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen will soon be in San Diego with his contingent and representatives from the 29 other clubs as the annual Winter Meetings begin.

The meetings officially start on Monday, Dec. 9 and conclude on Dec. 12. But things could start percolating as early as Sunday, when many of the most important movers and shakers start to arrive.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Brad Brach
Brad Brach

The Mets have agreed to sign reliever Brad Brach, SNY's Andy Martino confirmed. 

Brach's deal will be for one year and $850,000 and also contains a player option for 2021 that is worth $1.25 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Brach, Chris Flexen was designated for assignment.

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Danny Abriano
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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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Check out the view in the SNY Booth, with the camera on Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling for some big Mets moments of 2019!

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Aug 1, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) delivers the ball in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports (Quinn Harris)
Aug 1, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) delivers the ball in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports (Quinn Harris)

The Phillies have yet to officially announce the addition of Zack Wheeler, though multiple reports have confirmed that the 29-year-old will join the Phillies on a five-year, $118 million deal.

New Phillies skipper Joe Girardi was asked about Wheeler on Thursday in Philadelphia, and while Girardi was only willing to speak in generalities, he did touch on what Wheeler brings to a pitching staff.

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Apr 14, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets third baseman J.D. Davis (28) reacts with center fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) after hitting a home run against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports (Dale Zanine)
Apr 14, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets third baseman J.D. Davis (28) reacts with center fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) after hitting a home run against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports (Dale Zanine)

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

With their trade for Jake Marisnick, the Mets have added an elite defensive center fielder who might not give them much in terms of offense. But the acquisition will likely have ripple effects throughout the roster.

GM Brodie Van Wagenen made it known earlier this offseason that he was seeking to improve the Mets' defense. He also made it clear he preferred to play Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo in the corner outfield spots.

With Wilson Ramos expected to return as the catcher and the infield defense up the middle set with Amed Rosario at shortstop and Robinson Cano at second base, center field seemed like the one spot where the Mets could seriously upgrade their defense. Now that they've done it, what will it mean for Conforto, Nimmo, and J.D. Davis? And what kind of impact will it have on Jeff McNeil?

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, Danny Abriano
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Aug 13, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Houston Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick (6) dives to catch Chicago White Sox left fielder Eloy Jimenez's fly ball during the ninth inning in game one of a baseball doubleheader at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports (Patrick Gorski)
Aug 13, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Houston Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick (6) dives to catch Chicago White Sox left fielder Eloy Jimenez's fly ball during the ninth inning in game one of a baseball doubleheader at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports (Patrick Gorski)

The Mets have acquired Astros CF Jake Marisnick in exchange for prospects Blake Taylor and Kenedy Corona.

Marisnick, who is known for his defense, hit .233/.289/.411 in 120 games for the Astros in 2019. He is a career .227/.280/.380 hitter in seven seasons with the Marlins and Astros.

The 28-year-old Marisnick is projected to make $3 million via arbitration in 2020, after which he is eligible for free agency.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto
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Mar 4, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Jarrett Parker (16) runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Camporeale)
Mar 4, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Jarrett Parker (16) runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Camporeale)

The Mets have signed outfielder Jarrett Parker and infielder Max Moroff to minor league deals that include invitations to big league spring training, the team announced Thursday.

Parker, 30, has played in parts of four major league seasons with the Angels and Giants, hitting.249/.330/.441 with 15 homers in 140 games.

He spent the majority of the 2019 season in Triple-A, where he hit.266/.394/.535 with 24 homers in 96 games. In eight minor league seasons, Parker has hit .261/.368/.464 with 127 homers.

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Jul 28, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitchers Steven Matz (32), Noah Syndergaard (34) and Zack Wheeler (45) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Jul 28, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitchers Steven Matz (32), Noah Syndergaard (34) and Zack Wheeler (45) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Whether the Phillies doling out $118 million for five years of Zack Wheeler turns out to be an overpay or not, one thing that is certain is that Wheeler fleeing the Mets for a division rival that is trying to leapfrog them is bad for New York.

Shortly after Wheeler agreed to sign in Philly, Noah Syndergaard weighed in -- happy for his friend but conflicted as he posted on Twitter:

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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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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Seth Lugo
Seth Lugo

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Phillies are buying into the same obvious potential in Zack Wheeler that convinced me last winter he'd turned a corner in 2018 and blossomed into an elite starter, so I can understand why they gave him $118 million to upgrade their starting rotation. 

But here's the thing: Wheeler didn't turn that corner, as it turned out, and while brilliant at times in 2019, he was plagued by inconsistent command and mistake-pitch home runs that negated his dominant stuff too often, especially early as he pitched to a 4.96 ERA over the first 15 starts of the season.

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler, John Harper
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J.D. Davis
J.D. Davis

J.D. Davis made his major league debut with the Houston Astros on August 5, 2017.

He hit eighth in the lineup that day, going 1-for-4 while playing third base.

Three spots ahead of him in the lineup that day was Carlos Beltran, the man who is now the Mets manager.

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After ending his 2019 season strong, Brandon Nimmo is optimistic about the Mets as the calendar flips to the new year.

Nimmo, who turns 27 on March 27, returned Sept. 1 from his lengthy neck-injury rehab throughout the summer in time for the Mets' second-half surge into the playoff conversation.

He slashed .261/.430/.565 with five home runs and 15 RBI in 26 games down the stretch, and although the Mets were ultimately left out of the postseason, Nimmo drew inspiration from an NL East rival's successful run.

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Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Sterling Partners and Cohen Private ventures released a statement on Wednesday regarding the future of the Mets:

"The Sterling Partners and Steve Cohen are negotiating an agreement in which Steve Cohen would increase his investment in the New York Mets, the statement reads. As part of that agreement, Fred Wilpon will remain in the role of the Control Person and CEO for five years and Jeff Wilpon will remain in his role of Chief Operating Officer for the 5 year period as well.Steve Cohen will continue as CEO and President of Point72 Asset Management and his stake in the Mets will continue to be managed by his family office, Cohen Private Ventures."

Cohen bought a four percent stake in the Mets in 2012 for $20 million. He was also part of a bid to purchase the Dodgers around the same time. 

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In a nightmare outcome for the Mets, free agent Zack Wheeler has agreed to a five-year deal with the Phillies worth $118 million, SNY's Andy Martino confirmed.

Wheeler's camp circled back with the Mets before he agreed to sign with the Phillies, but the Mets did not make an offer, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post.

While Wheeler got paid handsomely, he actually turned down more money from the White Sox due in part to his desire to remain in close proximity to New Jersey -- where his wife is from -- reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Tags: Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Aug 10, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder J.D. Davis (28) flips his bat after hitting 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 left fielder J.D. Davis (28) flips his bat after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Before he started the second chapter of his MLB career with the Mets for the 2019 season, LF/3B J.D. Davis spent the previous two years in the Houston organization. 

With the Astros' sign-stealing scandal, which surfaced after the season and triggered an ongoing MLB investigation, questions remain about who knew what and when.

Asked about whether or not he knew of the Astros' alleged sign-stealing philosophy while with the team from 2017-18, Davis pointed directly to his numbers over those two seasons.

Tags: JD Davis
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Brodie Van Wagenen has expressed a desire to add a true center fielder this offseason, shift Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto to corner outfield spots, and use Jeff McNeil primarily at third base. All of that could impact J.D. Davis in a big way.

Davis spent 585.1 innings in left field in 2019 and 220 innings at third base. He was below average in left field and close to unplayable at third base, where he was worth -9 DRS

Speaking at Citi Field on Wednesday during the Mets' kids holiday party, Davis said his preference was to play third base -- where McNeil is expected to be most of the time -- but that he would play anywhere the team needs him.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Danny Abriano
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Aug 13, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) throws against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)
Aug 13, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) throws against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)

The Mets are open to a reunion with Zack Wheeler, who is an unrestricted free agent. Here's the latest...


Dec. 4, 2:21 PM:

SNY's Andy Martino has reported that Wheeler has reached an agreement with the Phillies. Many were getting the feeling that Wheeler's market was heating up to the highest degree before Winter Meetings, and that's exactly what happened as he joins the Mets' NL East rival. 

According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, Wheeler's deal is five years and worth more than $100 million. 

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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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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Doug Williams and Andy Martino are back with an all-new episode of the Shea Anything podcast! The guys dive into the upcoming Winter Meetings and what the Mets might target to bolster their roster. They also discuss why some "January guys" are being signed so early this offseason.

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN

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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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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)

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

With the Mets having multiple needs to fill this offseason and potentially not much wiggle room in the budget to do so, they are reportedly exploring creative ways to clear money from the payroll.

One thing they're considering is trading Jed Lowrie and/or Jeurys Familia and enticing potentially interested teams to take on the money owed to either player by attaching a "low-cost, zero-to-three" player to the deal, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic

Tags: Dominic Smith, Jeurys Familia, Danny Abriano
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May 27, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Blake Treinen (39) throws a pitch during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports (Darren Yamashita)
May 27, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Blake Treinen (39) throws a pitch during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports (Darren Yamashita)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets are already banking on a big bounce-back season from Edwin Diaz, arguably baseball's best closer in 2018. Why not double down on that approach for 2020, now that Blake Treinen is a free agent?

That way they only need to go 1-for-2 on the reliever volatility theory to fix their bullpen in spectacular fashion.

Treinen, every bit as dominant for the A's in 2018 as Diaz was for the Mariners, and nearly as dreadful in 2019, was set free on Monday night when Oakland chose to non-tender him a contract rather than pay him some $8 million next season via arbitration.

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Robinson Cano, John Harper
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In an effort to bolster their bullpen, could the answer for the Mets be lefty Josh Hader

According to SNY's Andy Martino, the Mets are interested in adding the Brewers reliever via trade.  

Of course, a trade come with a price.  

 

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Sep 24, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches against the Miami Marlins during the second inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches against the Miami Marlins during the second inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets had nine arbitration-eligible players entering the offseason and trimmed that number to eight when they DFA'd Joe Panik.

On Monday, the team announced that they had officially tendered contracts to Marcus StromanNoah Syndergaard, Michael ConfortoEdwin Diaz , Steven MatzSeth Lugo, Brandon Nimmo, and Robert Gsellman

Once a player is offered arbitration, the team and that player's agent have until a set date -- usually at some point in February -- to come to terms on a new contract. If that doesn't happen, both sides submit salary proposals and the player's salary is determined at a hearing by independent arbitrators. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Edwin Diaz, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Danny Abriano
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Feb 24, 2016; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros staff member Tony DeFrancesco during media day for the Houston Astros at Osceola Heritage Park. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Feb 24, 2016; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros staff member Tony DeFrancesco during media day for the Houston Astros at Osceola Heritage Park. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

Tony DeFrancesco is a possibility to become the Mets' first base coach, reports SNY's Andy Martino.

The 56-year-old DeFrancesco has been the Mets' Triple-A manager since 2018 -- in Las Vegas in 2018 and in Syracuse in 2019 after the team relocated.

DeFrancesco interviewed for the Mets' managerial opening before it went to Carlos Beltran.

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Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

With the Mets interested in trading for Brewers closer Josh Hader, one question is how much the Mets would have to give up in order to land him. Another question is how much they should be willing to give up.

Arguably the best reliever in baseball, the 25-year-old Hader has immense value. He is entering his first of four arbitration years, and will likely get more expensive each season from 2020 to 2023.

It can be argued that with their farm system still in the midst of being rebuilt that the Mets should be focused on the free agent market when it comes to improving the bullpen. But if they are serious about going for Hader, it could make sense to also take back Ryan Braun (and a sizable portion of what he's owed) in order to provide the Brewers even more salary relief and make what they send to Milwaukee hurt less.

Tags: Andres Gimenez, David Peterson, Edwin Diaz, Franklyn Kilome, Jeff McNeil, Mark Vientos, Thomas Szapucki, Danny Abriano
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Jackie Bradley Jr. (Kevin Jairaj)
Jackie Bradley Jr. (Kevin Jairaj)

If the Mets want Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to be their center field fix, they're now going to have to trade for him. 

According to the Boston Globe's Alex Speier, the Red Sox have tendered a 2020 contract to Bradley. If Boston had not hit Bradley with a tender, then he would've become a free agent, where things would've have been much simpler for GM Brodie Van Wagenen & Co. 

Now Bradley and the Sox have until a set date (usually in February) to come to terms on an agreement. If that doesn't happen, then arbitration will begin with both sides submitting salary proposals that independent arbitrators will use to determine a salary for the 2020 season. 

 

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Brewers LHP Josh Hader (Jeff Curry)
Brewers LHP Josh Hader (Jeff Curry)

The Mets are one of many teams interested in trading for Brewers reliever Josh Hader, reports SNY's Andy Martino, who says it's not yet clear if the Brewers will deal him.

Martino adds that the price for the Mets would be high -- in the J.D. Davis, Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil category. 

Hader "is indeed available," according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, who reported late Sunday night that the Mets are "one team to watch" when it comes to Milwaukee potentially dealing arguably the best reliever in baseball.

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Danny Abriano
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Do you remember the first cell phone you've ever used? These Mets certainly do. 

From Brandon Nimmo to Noah Syndergaard, we're "Going Deep" to hear about their first cell phone experience...

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard
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Former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine talks with the media Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009, in Cleveland. Valentine, the most experienced of the finalists for Cleveland's manager's job, got his second interview with the Indians. Valentine's managerial resume includes more than 2,000 games, six seasons in Japan and a trip to the World Series. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) (Tony Dejak/AP)
Former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine talks with the media Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009, in Cleveland. Valentine, the most experienced of the finalists for Cleveland's manager's job, got his second interview with the Indians. Valentine's managerial resume includes more than 2,000 games, six seasons in Japan and a trip to the World Series. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) (Tony Dejak/AP)

As Carlos Beltran takes on his first season as manager of the Mets, a former skipper has some advice for his squad. 

Bobby Valentine spoke to TMZ Sports at Mariano Rivera's charity event on Saturday night, and said as long as Beltran can help fix the team's bullpen struggles, the Mets will definitely find success in 2020. 

"I hope he can get the end of the bullpen together and maybe even get (Yoenis) Cespedes to play a little, and put that group together offensively, so they can be consistent to go with that pitching," Valentine explained. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso, Scott Thompson
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Hall of Famer and former Mets catcher Mike Piazza had his introductory press conference as the new head coach of Italy's national team early Friday morning, and discussed a number of different topics as he prepares for his new role.

Piazza, who spent 16 seasons in the MLB playing for the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Padres and Athletics, plans to take what he used as a player and convert it into teaching his new players the game as they prepare for the 2020 European Baseball Championship and 2021 World Baseball Championship.

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Pete Alonso
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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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Asdrubal Cabrera, Cameron Maybin and Howie Kendrick. (Treated Image by SNY)
Asdrubal Cabrera, Cameron Maybin and Howie Kendrick. (Treated Image by SNY)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

In honor of Black Friday, where the lure of bargains convinces otherwise rational people to navigate the madness of overcrowded shopping, here's a list of free agents on which you won't find Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, or Anthony Rendon.
 
No, this isn't the big-ticket aisle but more of a discount store for players who could provide the best bang for the buck. 

In some cases that means gambling on bounce-back seasons for players who were dealing with injuries, in others it means settling for an under-the-radar level of performance and certainty.

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Cameron Maybin, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, John Harper
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Aug 20, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Starling Marte (6) circles the bases on a three run home run against the Washington Nationals during the eighth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Aug 20, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Starling Marte (6) circles the bases on a three run home run against the Washington Nationals during the eighth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

One of the Mets' top priorities this offseason is acquiring a new starting outfielder, and Pirates All-Star Starling Marte has been rumored to be traded to New York.

On Thursday, MLB Insider Hector Gomez tweeted out a video of Marte speaking about a potential trade to the Mets.

"They (Pirates) have the power to decide," Marte said. "If I had it in me, I left now because the caliber of players we have is not to compete in a World Series. The Mets have it all, it would be a great opportunity to play with them."

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A look at some Black Friday deals for New York sports fans. (SNY)
A look at some Black Friday deals for New York sports fans. (SNY)

With Thanksgiving almost here and the holiday season around the corner, New York sports fans can capitalize on some great Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Whether it be apparel or electronics, here are some considerations on what you can buy...


For the Mets fan who misses the black jerseys

Marcus Stroman took to social media to say the Mets "need to" bring back the black jerseys and hats every so often (Pete Alonso agrees). Well, fans who agree can buy this black Mike Piazza jersey with itmes up to 65% off at the Mets Official Online Shop.

Mike Piazza Mitchell & Ness Cooperstown Collection Mesh Batting Practice Jersey$82.49 ... $27.50 off with code SINGLE

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Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Gerrit Cole (SNY)
Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Gerrit Cole (SNY)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Chew on this while you chew on a turkey leg. 

We know you're not supposed to bring up politics or religion at Thanksgiving Dinner. But what about predictions for Major League Baseball free agency? 

Even your eccentric uncle likes those tasty morsels.

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, Zack Wheeler, Anthony McCarron
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Drew Pomeranz
Drew Pomeranz

Brodie Van Wagenen has prioritized relief help this offseason along with adding a true center fielder and potentially a starting pitcher to replace Zack Wheeler. Now, roughly one month into the offseason, two of the best relievers are off the board.

Left-handed reliever Drew Pomeranz has agreed to sign with the Padres, per multiple reports, with Robert Murray reporting the deal will be for four years.

One scout predicted earlier this month to SNY contributor John Harper that Pomeranz could get a three-year deal worth $8-9 million a year.

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As the Winter Meetings creep closer and closer by the day, speculation continues to swirl around about what Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has planned this offseason.

One rumor that came about via MLB Network's Jon Heyman was the Mets showing interest in a trade for Starling Marte. Though it has not been indicated that Marte is on the trade block, Van Wagenen may talk to Pirates GM Ben Cherington to propose some trade packages. 

SNY's Jim Duquette put together his own trade package of some Mets top prospects in INF Andres Gimenez, RHP Franklyn Kilome, and either INF Mark Vientos or LHP David Peterson in exchange for Marte. And, well, it caused a little stir. 

Duquette sat down with "The Thread" crew to explain why he made his package this way, and why he believes if anyone has a shot to land Marte this offseason, it would be Van Wagenen and the Mets...

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Apr 22, 2018; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Minnesota Twins bench coach Derek Shelton (9) at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Apr 22, 2018; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Minnesota Twins bench coach Derek Shelton (9) at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Pirates have hired Derek Shelton as their next manager, the team announced on Wednesday.

Shelton, 49, was a finalist for Mets manager along with Carlos Beltran and Eduardo Perez before the job went to Beltran.

During the Mets' interview process, one Mets person was "dazzled" by Shelton and called him a "future star," according to SNY's Andy Martino.

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Danny Abriano
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Blake Treinen (David Richard)
Blake Treinen (David Richard)

As they look to cut payroll for the 2020 season, the Athletics are discussing trades of reliever Blake Treinen, infielder Jurickson Profar, and catcher Josh Phegley, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, adding that all three players are non-tender candidates.

For the Mets, who already have a potentially overcrowded infield and a starting catcher, the only player of interest here should be Treinen.

The 31-year-old Treinen was one of the best relievers in baseball in 2018 and one of the worst in 2019, and is projected to earn $7.8 million via arbitration in 2020 -- a potentially steep price for any interested team to pay in addition to giving literally anything up via trade.

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Danny Abriano
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When it comes to mashing a no doubter over the fence, a bat flip normally ensues. 

And the Mets had some memorable ones this season. 

From Pete Alonso to Todd Frazier, here are the best bat flips from the Mets this season...

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Jeremy Hefner took the mound for the first game of the four-game series against the Marlins. Hefner exited after 5 1/3 innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on four hits. (AP)
Jeremy Hefner took the mound for the first game of the four-game series against the Marlins. Hefner exited after 5 1/3 innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on four hits. (AP)

The Mets and Jeremy Hefner are in agreement on terms for him to become pitching coach, reports SNY's Andy Martino.

Jon Heyman of the MLB Network reported on Tuesday that Hefner was the choice. 

Hefner, who worked this past season as the assistant pitching coach for the Twins, was hired by Minnesota as a scout after the 2017 season shortly after his pitching career ended.

Martino reported on Monday night that Hefner was a "very strong candidate" to land the Mets' gig while also reporting that Gil Patterson was out of the running.

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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 25, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Josh Harrison (1) hits a double during the eighth inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
May 25, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Josh Harrison (1) hits a double during the eighth inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

Two-time All-Star Josh Harrison signed with the Phillies on a minor-league deal on Tuesday, as announced by the team.

But according to a report from MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the Phillies weren't the only NL East team in contention for the veteran.

Heyman reports that Harrison's second choice was the Mets, but the 32-year-old utility man elected instead to sign with the Phillies, who will invite him to spring training as part of the deal.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil
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Sep 17, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (7) pitches in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)
Sep 17, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (7) pitches in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)

Coming on as the Mets new manager, Carlos Beltran will be sure to reach out to his players throughout the offseason to touch base before Spring Training gets underway. 

Well, his call to RHP Marcus Stroman was on Tuesday, and Stroman definitely liked what he heard. 

Stroman went to his Twitter to explain how his conversation with Beltran showed him how much "insight and knowledge" he has. 

Tags: Marcus Stroman
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