New York Mets' Jay Bruce runs the bases after hitting a three-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies Saturday, July 15, 2017, in New York. (Frank Franklin II/AP)
New York Mets' Jay Bruce runs the bases after hitting a three-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies Saturday, July 15, 2017, in New York. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

In the three weeks since Jay Bruce inked a three-year, $39 million deal to return to the Mets, I've picked up a wide range of feedback in talks with MLB insiders.

For the most part, everyone I talk with agrees that this is fair value for Bruce. In fact, though Bruce may have been requesting a five-year deal at the start of the winter, no one I know ever expected he would get it and they all pegged him around the deal he eventually signed.

"He doesn't project great, but for him it's all about the fly ball," an R&D staffer from a rival team told me. "If Bruce gets back to hitting balls in the air the way he did before they traded him last summer, and if Cespedes is in the lineup, Bruce is capable of topping his production from last season."

And that's the big concern, which has less to do with Bruce's bat and more to do with the bats around him...

"The problem is that, if Yoenis Cespedes goes down, Bruce becomes the most prominent hitter on the team and that should never be the case," a rival talent evaluator recently told me. "Bruce is a terrific player to have, but he's a third or fourth guy, which is exactly how he's being paid. If he's ever their best hitter it means the Mets are struggling in the standings and bouncing around .500, guaranteed."

In the event everyone is healthy and hitting, I assume Michael Conforto and Cespedes would always rank higher than Bruce on the other team's scouting report. However, Conforto will need rest to keep his shoulder strong, Cespedes will need rest to keep his legs strong, and there's still a decent chance one or both will end up on the disabled list at some point. If that happens, Bruce is the lineup's centerpiece. 

This is one of the many arguments for signing Mike Moustakas, by the way.



The Mets are telling reporters there are too many reasons for not going after Moustakas, including draft pick compensation and price tag. However, from what I can tell, the road to get him is still wide open...

The fact is, only the Royals, Braves and Mets have a current need for Moustakas. And I don't see either of these three teams dishing out the five-year, roughly $90-million deal he hoped to get at the start of the winter. Instead, as a team executive recently told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, Moustakas will have to settle for less.

In Moustakas, the Mets would not only get an experienced, World Series Champion, tried-and-true third baseman at a discounted rate, they would also be taking pressure off Cespedes and Bruce, while restoring more order to the lineup -- especially if there's an injury to another prominent hitter.

That said, while there's a debate to be had about how Bruce's bat fits in to a team with postseason aspirations, there is zero debate about his leadership skills and ability to help his teammates thrive.

I talked to a half dozen former teammates, coaches and executives that worked with him in Queens, Cincinnati, and Cleveland and they all describe him with the same positive language. 



The fact every team he has left all praise him and speak well of his impact on teammates is great to hear. It's rare. In the day after his deal was announced, several players took to social media to celebrate Bruce's return, including Noah Syndergaard, Conforto, and Jose Reyes...

Along those lines, here is a noteworthy exchange about Bruce between me, Mets reporter Rich Coutinho, and panel host Mark Healey on stage during last month's Queens Baseball Convention...

Rich Coutinho: Bruce didn't just help hitters, he spent a ton of time with Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard in the year he was with them. He spent time with Jeurys Familia and tons of other players. Jay Bruce is as big of a leader in that clubhouse now as anybody that has been with the Mets in the last two or three years and I think you're really going to see that manifest itself this coming season.

Mark Healey: Unfairly, those of us that are lunatics, like myself, sometimes we'll focus on a player that was acquired and get upset about it because we wanted somebody else, or somebody better, because we had our focus on someone else. And, I think Bruce is a good example of a lot of fans getting upset even tough he's a good, solid player. He's certainly going to help and, at the end of the day, they need a leader in that clubhouse and he's the perfect guy for it because he understands that clubhouse. 

Rich Coutinho: The other thing to think about is in the time that Bruce has been on the Mets, how many games has he actually played with Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup? Here's a bold prediction: Jay Bruce and Cespedes will hit more combined home runs this season than Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge

Matthew Cerrone: Look, Bruce is a guy that, while he may not be the most exciting guy in the world, he plays a big role in the clubhouse and fabric of a successful team. He's an example of how a Front Office will say, 'We need this person. We don't just need this hitter, we need this person to fill this role,' which may be a role not many of us can even understand to the extent that he plays a factor in helping other players be better. Unfortunately, as hard as it might be to do it, there are certain moments as fans when we need to just trust that their decision is going to work out. Now, we've been burned before so many times it's understandable that we wouldn't believe them, but Bruce is a guy that has a track record. It's not like he doesn't hit. It's not like they brought some useless bat in to be a leader. Bruce hits and he has a reputation in the clubhouse and he's an important acquisition for that specific reason. Is he Stanton? No, but he plays an important role, especially given how he impacts the other players around him...



To return to the initial point in this post, though, Bruce could be the greatest guy in the world, but if he's forced to hit cleanup and drive the team's run production, it will not be pretty.

To be successful, he needs to get under the ball and lift it to center and left field. However, when he does this, it creates huge holes in his swing that are easily exploited if there are no other threats around him in the lineup. Cespedes is a threat. Conforto is a threat. But, they're only a threat when in uniform and not on the disabled list...


By the way, I love Coutinho, but the only way Bruce and Cespedes hit more home runs than Judge and Stanton is if Judge and Stanton are injured. Otherwise, if all four guys are healthy and each play 130 or so games, Bruce and Cespedes should combine for roughly 60 home runs, while Judge and Stanton should total at least 80.


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. He recently left his position as Executive Editor and Dir. of Digital Content for SNY.TV to help sports brands build their own digital content businesses...

Tags: Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone

New York Mets pitcher Seth Lugo throws during spring training baseball practice Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)  (Jeff Roberson/AP)
New York Mets pitcher Seth Lugo throws during spring training baseball practice Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (Jeff Roberson/AP)

The Mets lose to the Cardinals, who they'll face on Opening Day, 10-5 as Kevin McGowan surrenders five runs. 

To see the full box score, click here!

Three things you should know about today's game...

1. Quick work for Seth Lugo, who needed only ten pitches to complete two innings, allowing one hit and a strikeout.

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Smith apologizes for tardiness 00:02:19
Mets first baseman Dominic Smith was late for a team meeting Friday and was then scratched from the team's first Grapefruit League game.

After being pulled from the lineup in the Mets spring training opening game on Friday for being late to a team meeting, Dominic Smith said he and Mickey Callaway had a private conversation came to an understanding. 

Smith, who started in the Mets second game on Saturday where he went 1-1 with 2 R, is ready to move forward.

"We had a private conversation and we both came to a clear understanding," Smith said. "Like I said, stuff like that can't happen. But it was yesterday, it's in the past and today's a new day."

Tags: Dominic Smith
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Jul 30, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; Former Mets catcher and Hall of Fame member Mike Piazza addresses the crowd during a ceremony to retire his number (31) prior to the game between New York Mets and the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jul 30, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; Former Mets catcher and Hall of Fame member Mike Piazza addresses the crowd during a ceremony to retire his number (31) prior to the game between New York Mets and the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Mike Piazza has joined the Mets at Port St. Lucie hoping to impart some wisdom to the team and is impressed with what he's seeing from  Mickey Callaway. He also challenges Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki to improve and take the next step.

In the wide-ranging discussion, the affable Piazza spoke insightfully across many topics. He spoke about the Mets catchers, Callaway, the Italian soccer team he owns and more.

On Catchers

As a Hall of Fame catcher, Piazza was asked for his thoughts on the Mets current catching situation...

Tags: Kevin Plawecki, Travis d'Arnaud
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New York Mets' Jay Bruce runs the bases after hitting a three-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies Saturday, July 15, 2017, in New York. (Frank Franklin II/AP)
New York Mets' Jay Bruce runs the bases after hitting a three-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies Saturday, July 15, 2017, in New York. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Jay Bruce is being held out of spring training games due to a sore heel and won't play until at least Tuesday, according to Mike Puma of NY Post. Bruce was able to take batting practice on Saturday despite the ailment. 

Bruce was absent from the Mets first spring training game and wasn't on the lineup card on Saturday ahead of their game against the Cardinals, now it is known why. 

With the Mets and Indians, Bruce hit .254/.324/.508 with 36 HR and 101 RBI in 2017. The 30-year-old signed a three-year, $39 million deal with the Mets this offseason.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Juan Lagares
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Mar 4, 2017; Lagares (12) chooses a bat in the dugout during spring training. Credit: Mitchell-USA TODAY
Mar 4, 2017; Lagares (12) chooses a bat in the dugout during spring training. Credit: Mitchell-USA TODAY

For the second consecutive day, Juan Lagares isn't in the Mets' lineup. Lagares' absence is due to a tight leg but is hopeful to return to the lineup next week, according to Tim Britton of The Athletic.

Without Lagares, Brandon Nimmo is again on the lineup card, leading off and playing centerfield as the Mets take on the Cardinals at 1:10 p.m. on Saturday.

Lagares will have to wait to show off his new hitting adjustments after going to Craig Wallenbrock during the off-season. Wallenbrock has worked with other players such as Chris Taylor of the Dodgers and JD Martinez, both of whom saw improvements in their swing. 

Tags: Juan Lagares
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 (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)
(Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets continue their Grapefruit League schedule against the Cardinals at First Data Field at 1:10 p.m.

Who is pitching today for the Mets? 

RHP Seth Lugo will start, with Kevin McGowanMarcos Molina, P.J. ConlonCorey Taylor, and Gerson Bautista also scheduled to pitch.

Next up

The Mets host the Marlins on Sunday at 1:10 p.m., on SNY.

Tags: Seth Lugo
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Cadillac Post Game Extra 00:03:37
Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez break down the Mets' 6-2 win over the Braves.

On the strength of a six-run eighth inning that featured a game-tying double by Zach Borenstein and three bases loaded walks, the Mets beat the Braves, 6-2, in their Grapefruit League opener on Friday afternoon at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie.

To see the full box score, click here!

Three things you should know about today's game...

Tags: Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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GEICO SportsNite: Matz, Callaway 00:02:00
Despite an injury-plagued 2017 season, Mets pitcher Steven Matz is finally healthy and ready to contribute to the team's success this year.

Mets LHP Steven Matz, who is scheduled to start Monday's game against the Astros, pitched through pain last season before undergoing elbow surgery in August that ended his season. And he's ready for a fresh start.

"I'm expecting to be back where I want to be as soon as I get in a game versus hitters," Matz said on Thursday. "I'm a feel guy, so I'm not the type of guy that can really ease into things. I'm gonna have to try to treat it like a game and kind of get that game speed going again so I can feel all my pitches and feel comfortable out on the mound."

And Matz has changed his delivery at the suggestion of new pitching coach Dave Eiland, with the hope that the adjustment will prevent further injury. Eiland has told Matz to be cleaner with his left arm during delivery, according to David Lennon of Newsday.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz
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Feb 19, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (right) during practice drills at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 19, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (right) during practice drills at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The Mets open their Grapefruit League schedule against the Braves at First Data Field at 1:10 p.m. on SNY.

Who is pitching today for the Mets? 

RHP Zack Wheeler gets the start, with Hansel RoblesChris FlexenPaul SewaldCorey OswaltJacob RhameTyler BashlorJamie Callahan, and Drew Smith also scheduled to pitch.

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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Spring training is here, and Mets fans are gearing up for 2018 at Citi Field! While this season will certainly bring some changes (new faces and a new manager, to start) we know one thing that will stay the same - the Mets pride we see from fans season after season. We can't wait to see Mets fans repping the latest orange and blue gear in the stands at Citi Field - and for the second year in a row, Citi and the Mets are hosting a fan vote to pick the new exclusive Citi Perk Patrol t-shirt designed by The 7 Line.

The Mets, Citi and The 7 Line are inviting fans to vote for their favorite design starting today through March 4th. Fans can check out and vote on the designs on the Mets Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. The winning t-shirt will be announced on March 22, and by Opening Day at Citi Field on March 29, the shirts will be loaded into Citi Perk Patrol cannons and ready to be launched into the hands of lucky Mets fans all season long at Citi Field.

To get in on the action, visits the Mets Facebook, Instagram  or Twitter page and place your vote!

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Sep 24, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) rounds second base after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Sep 24, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) rounds second base after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Brandon Nimmo saw success for the first time in his young career in 2017, despite an unusual profile and an inconsistent role on the team. The team's outfield alignment may not have an opening for him on a regular basis but can one plus-plus tool force their hand?

Nimmo arrived in the majors with the expectation that he would get on base and he has done exactly that. Over 215 plate appearances in 2017, he put up a .379 on base percentage, which would have ranked him in the top 20 of all hitters in baseball if he qualified. A high strikeout rate held him back from a high batting average, but his 15 percent walk rate was elite and anyone getting on base that often has significant value, regardless of his other qualities.

When a young player puts up an exceptional statistic like a 15 percent walk rate, it makes it difficult to project future seasons with accuracy. ZiPS, Steamer, and PECOTA all expect a big drop off, based on the assumption that his walk rate will fall back to earth and his power will regress...

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jay Bruce, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, Maggie Wiggin
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Blevins on Callaway's style 00:03:58
Mets relief pitcher Jerry Blevins joins Gary Apple to discuss how Spring Training has been different thus far under Mickey Callaway.

Mets LH reliever Jerry Blevins discussed what the dynamic will be like with former pitching coach Mickey Callaway as manager.

"We'll feel that out," Blevins said Wednesday night on Mets Hot Stove on SNY. "Your pitching coach is always your guy you go to. You kind of don't want to go over anyone's head. But Mickey is so approachable and he's such an easy guy to talk to -- I'm sure a casual conversation, we'll be able to talk about pitching. But for the most part, I talk to Ricky (Bones) in the bullpen, and then Dave is the top guy. And if we need to go anywhere else, we will."

Blevins, who reiterated his belief that the team's closer by committee philosophy will work, said that he wouldn't have to change his routine. However, he noted that AJ Ramos is adjusting his routine since it used to revolve around being ready for the ninth inning.

Tags: Jerry Blevins
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Todd Frazier poses at Citi Field following his official introduction by the Mets. (AP)
Todd Frazier poses at Citi Field following his official introduction by the Mets. (AP)

Michelle Ioannou, MetsBlog | TwitterIt's impossible for anyone to write a piece about Mets veterans and leadership without acknowledging David Wright. He's been the face of the franchise. He's been the guy in the clubhouse mentoring young players, both in on the field and off the field actions. He has been the guy who is great with the New York media. He has been our Captain.

But unfortunately, Wright isn't able to be the Wright we all want him to be right now. His presence is still extremely important. But his future is unknown -- he even admits this. And with the potential of Wright not being there (and having not physically been there these past couple of seasons) this is a huge void that needs to be filled.

It's been great seeing Wright in Port St. Lucie so far, training (as much as he can) with his team, and just being there with his teammates. But at the same time, it's been a bit bittersweet, as none of us know what to expect from him...

Tags: David Wright, Jay Bruce, Michelle Ioannou
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New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway stands near a batting cage during spring training baseball practice Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)  (Jeff Roberson/AP)
New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway stands near a batting cage during spring training baseball practice Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (Jeff Roberson/AP)

Mets manager Mickey Callaway announced the starting lineup for tomorrow's Grapefruit League opener against the Braves, which will air on SNY at 1:10 p.m.

The lineup is as follows:

1. Brandon Nimmo, CF

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Feb 14, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) warms up during a workout at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 14, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) warms up during a workout at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Mets RHP Jacob deGrom and his wife, Stacey, welcomed a baby girl -- Aniston Grace -- Wednesday morning.

DeGrom left Spring Training Tuesday to be with Stacey, who had been scheduled to give birth.

He plans to return to the team on Saturday, according to Mike Puma of the NY Post.

Jacob and Stacey welcomed their first child -- a boy named Jaxon -- in April of 2016.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Feb. 20. 2018: Michael Conforto goes back on a fly ball during workouts in PSL. Credit: Matthew Cerrone
Feb. 20. 2018: Michael Conforto goes back on a fly ball during workouts in PSL. Credit: Matthew Cerrone

Tune in to Mets Hot Stove tonight at 6 p.m., where Michael Conforto, Todd Frazier, Adrian Gonzalez, and AJ Ramos will be the guests.

Tags: Michael Conforto
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Vargas on why he joined the Mets 00:04:43
Pitcher Jason Vargas joins Gary Apple to discuss his mindset during the slow offseason and what led to his decision to join the Mets.

LHP Jason Vargas, who agreed last week to a two-year deal worth $16 million, cited the rest of the starting rotation as one of the reasons he signed with the Mets, and said pitching after Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard could have its benefits.

"I knew that they battled a few injuries last year," Vargas said Wednesday night on Mets Hot Stove on SNY. "But you take that chance and you bank on people being healthy when you look at those decisions."

"I sure hope guys are getting speeded up and then I get to slow them down," he added about slotting in behind Syndergaard and deGrom. "We're way different."

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz
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Feb, 2018: Asdrubal Cabrera waits to take BP at FirstData Field. Credit: Matthew Cerrone, SNY
Feb, 2018: Asdrubal Cabrera waits to take BP at FirstData Field. Credit: Matthew Cerrone, SNY

Mes 1B prospect Peter Alonso is going to make a lot of noise this summer... 

I assume he'll begin his 2018 season in Double-A Binghamton, but he'll be with Triple-A Las Vegas sooner than later. And when he gets there, with his size and strength, and being already 23, he's going to hit a ton of home runs and rattle Dominic Smith's cage a bit...

Alonso hit a ball that sounded like he jumped on a case of empty tin cans as the ball sailed over the outfield fence. The sound caught Callaway's ear, he looked up and ducked, even though the ball was easily 100 feet over his head and cruising for distance...

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Syndergaard on his offseason 00:03:47
Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard joins Gary Apple to discuss his offseason preparation after his injury-shortened season in 2017.

Noah Syndergaard is impressed by the passion of new pitching coach Dave Eiland, specifically how he emphasizes owning the inside part of the plate.

"One of my attributes I use in pitching is being able to establish the inside part of the plate," Syndergaard said Tuesday night on Mets Hot Stove on SNY. "That's something he advocates quite a bit. Just listening to him talk about throwing inside kind of just fires him up, which fires me up on the inside as well."

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Matthew Cerrone
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Feb. 20. 2018: Michael Conforto goes back on a fly ball during workouts in PSL. Credit: Matthew Cerrone
Feb. 20. 2018: Michael Conforto goes back on a fly ball during workouts in PSL. Credit: Matthew Cerrone

Juan Lagares looks older and heavier, yet stronger and somehow quicker that I remember him being during previous spring trainings. The same can be said for Yoenis Cespedes, who at first glance doesn't appear in great shape, but is without question moving better and significantly more agile.

This was on display today during a drill run on the main field by Ruben Amaro Jr., whom the Mets hired over the winter to work with the team's outfielders and coach first base.

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Sights and Sounds: Syndergaard 00:01:01
SNY.tv captures the sights and sounds of Wednesday's workout at Mets Spring Training in Port St. Lucie.

SNY.tv captures the sights and sounds of Wednesday's workout at Mets Spring Training in Port St. Lucie.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard
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Feb. 15, 2018; Parkland, FL, USA; People mourn together during a candlelight vigil at Pine Trails Park after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday that took 17 lives. Mandatory Credit: Dorothy Edwards/Naples Daily News via USA TODAY NETWORK (Dorothy Edwards)
Feb. 15, 2018; Parkland, FL, USA; People mourn together during a candlelight vigil at Pine Trails Park after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday that took 17 lives. Mandatory Credit: Dorothy Edwards/Naples Daily News via USA TODAY NETWORK (Dorothy Edwards)

The Mets will wear the caps of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school baseball team during their Grapefruit League opener on Friday at First Data Field, the team announced.

Players and coaches will then sign the caps to be auctioned in support of those affected by the mass shooting at the school in Parkland, Florida last week that left 17 people (14 students and three faculty members) dead.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Tuesday that all teams would wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas caps prior to their Spring Training openers, and that teams would also have the option to wear the caps in-game.

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Feb 19, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes (right) throws over to second base as Mets second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera (left) reacts during practice drills at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 19, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes (right) throws over to second base as Mets second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera (left) reacts during practice drills at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone and David Lennon of Newsday wrap up the day on Spring Training Live.


Click below to watch

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Feb 19, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (right) during practice drills at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 19, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (right) during practice drills at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Mets manager Mickey Callaway announced the starting pitchers and relievers for the first three Grapefruit League games.

Zack Wheeler will start on Friday against the Braves at 1:10 p.m. on SNY, with Hansel Robles, Chris Flexen, Paul SewaldCorey Oswalt, Jacob Rhame, Tyler Bashlor, Jamie Callahan, and Drew Smith also scheduled to pitch.

Seth Lugo will start on Saturday against the Cardinals at 1:10 p.m. on WPIX, with Kevin McGowan, Marcos Molina, P.J. Conlon, Corey Taylor, and Gerson Bautista also scheduled to pitch.

Tags: Jerry Blevins, Jeurys Familia, Paul Sewald, Rafael Montero, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler
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Feb., 2018: Mickey Callaway glares back at a bullpen session at FirstData Field (Matthew Cerrone, SNY)
Feb., 2018: Mickey Callaway glares back at a bullpen session at FirstData Field (Matthew Cerrone, SNY)

After announcing the pitching schedule for the first three Grapefruit League games, Mets manager Mickey Callaway discussed the shape Dominic Smith is in, why Juan Lagares will lead off a lot during Spring Training games, and more while speaking on Wednesday in Port St. Lucie.

"Lagares is going through some swing changes, so you might see him leading off a lot in Spring Training," Callaway said. "Just to make sure he gets as many at-bats as possible."

\Watch Callaway's full talk with reporters below

Tags: Dominic Smith, Juan Lagares
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Is Wheeler a starting pitcher? 00:03:38
Mets manager Mickey Callaway believes that Zack Wheeler is a starting pitcher, and the panel debates whether they agree with the skipper.

In the wake of a NY Daily News report that the Mets planned to open the season with RHP Zack Wheeler in the bullpen, manager Mickey Callaway said Wednesday that Wheeler is "definitely a starting pitcher."

"For us to be the best possible team we can be, we have to have him be a starter," Callaway added. "And he's gonna go out there and do everything he can to win this competition that we have going on."

Wheeler will start the Mets' Grapefruit League opener on Friday.

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter | Wheeler has spent the better part of three years working his way back from Tommy John surgery, so his frustration last week was somewhat understandable -- even though the optics were bad. And regardless of what Callaway said on Wednesday, Wheeler is simply the most logical choice to move to the bullpen...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Jerry Blevins, Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler
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New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway stands near a batting cage during spring training baseball practice Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)  (Jeff Roberson/AP)
New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway stands near a batting cage during spring training baseball practice Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (Jeff Roberson/AP)

Today's sights and sounds from Port St. Lucie. We'll be updating throughout the day, with the most recent updates at the top...

Click below to see

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Reyes, Juan Lagares, Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes
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Feb. 19. 2018: Adrian Gonzalez takes a breather during infield drills. Credit: Matthew Cerrone
Feb. 19. 2018: Adrian Gonzalez takes a breather during infield drills. Credit: Matthew Cerrone

Adrian Gonzalez is the boss of the infield -- there is no getting around it. Dominic Smith has been nowhere to be found on field around first base this week during infield drills.

Instead, Monday it was just Gonzalez and Tuesday it was Gonzalez and Wilmer Flores.

Smith handled first base, but both days it was with the minor league players invited to camp...

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Alderson on free-agent market 00:04:33
General manager Sandy Alderson joins the show to discuss the approach to the offseason and how the slow free-agent market helped the Mets.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson told SNY on Tuesday that he's "very happy" with the way the team's offseason turned out.

"I think that we benefited from the slow market," Alderson said. "It allowed us to make a deal, absorb it, think about it, move on to the next thing. And it gave us plenty of time to get through six or seven acquisitions."

The Mets signed RH reliever Anthony Swarzak, OF Jay Bruce, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, 3B Todd Frazier, and LHP Jason Vargas, and re-signed INF Jose Reyes.

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Feb. 19. 2018: David Wright & Tim Teufel during stretching at FirstData Field. Credit: Matthew Cerrone
Feb. 19. 2018: David Wright & Tim Teufel during stretching at FirstData Field. Credit: Matthew Cerrone

It was nice to see David Wright on field stretching with his teammates Tuesday, but he's clearly pushing himself just to be out there.

He did some stretches, but avoided others. In one instance, it looked like he needed to create leverage on a teammates shoulder to push himself up after doing squats. This is all to be expected, but an indicator of where he's at in his rehab.

That said, right now, he's a pair of sunglasses and a one fungo bat away from looking more like a coach than a player...

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Billy Bean joins BNNY 00:06:13
VP and Special Assistant to the Commissioner Billy Bean joins Baseball Night in New York to discuss some hot topics in the Major Leagues.

Former MLB player Billy Bean, who now works as the league's Ambassador for Inclusion, joined BNNY on Wednesday night to talk about his role and experiences.

Bean, who is the only openly gay major league baseball player (current or former), also discussed his relationship with former-Met Daniel Murphy, who said a few years ago that he disagreed with Bean's lifestyle -- shortly after Mets GM Sandy Alderson had invited Bean to Mets camp.

"We all know conflict is more interesting than harmony and acceptance, and I think the person that asked Daniel that question knew the type of person he is -- the type of family man, what his value system is," Bean said about Murphy's comments at the time, adding that he and Murphy have maintained a dialogue.

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New York Mets pinch hitter Dominic Smith (22) is congratulated by left fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) after hitting a three run home run against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets pinch hitter Dominic Smith (22) is congratulated by left fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) after hitting a three run home run against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

Mets 1B Dominic Smith is confident that his new, slimmed-down frame could help him hit more home runs this season.

"I know I have more power than I had last year," Smith said, per the New York Post. "I worked on my swing, too, so I actually improved my mechanics and that is going to help me elevate the ball easier."

Smith lost roughly 30 pounds during the off-season following his first stint in the major leagues. The 22-year-old hit just .198 but had nine home runs and 26 RBIs in 49 big-league games last season.

Tags: Dominic Smith
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 (Steve Mitchell)
(Steve Mitchell)

Family is everything, and for Mets 3B Todd Frazier, baseball what his family is all about. 

Todd's father, Charlie, was present to watch his son practice with the Mets on Tuesday as he was staying at his vacation home. The home is shared with two other families that grew up playing Little League ball with Todd, which is why it is fitting he now plays for the Mets. 

Signing a two-year deal to stay around his Toms River, NJ hometown, and conveniently having a vacation home just minutes from the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie makes this new journey for Todd feel right. 

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New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, left, talks with pitching coach Dave Eiland during spring training baseball practice Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)  (Jeff Roberson/AP)
New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, left, talks with pitching coach Dave Eiland during spring training baseball practice Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (Jeff Roberson/AP)

Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland is concerned that new rules regarding mound visit limitations could impact the way players determine signs on the field.

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Familia talks 2018 Mets bullpen 00:05:53
New York Mets reliever Jeurys Familia talks to SNY's Steve Gelbs about the 2018 season, and manager Mickey Callaway's plans for the bullpen.

Mets reliever Jeurys Familia talked to SNY's Steve Gelbs about the upcoming 2018 season.

Tags: Jeurys Familia
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May 6, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)
May 6, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)

Tune in to Mets Hot Stove tonight at 6:30 on SNY, where GM Sandy Alderson, RHP Noah Syndergaard, 1B Dominic Smith, and catchers Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki will be among the guests.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Kevin Plawecki, Noah Syndergaard, Travis d'Arnaud
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Courtesy: Oregon Live: The Oregon Ducks take on the Stanford Cardinal at PK Park in Eugene, Oregon on April 21, 2017 (Eric Evans Photography)
Courtesy: Oregon Live: The Oregon Ducks take on the Stanford Cardinal at PK Park in Eugene, Oregon on April 21, 2017 (Eric Evans Photography)

SS Andres Gimenez and LHP David Peterson are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on MLB.com's Top 30 Mets Prospects list.

They are followed by RHP Justin Dunn, 1B Peter Alonso, LHP Thomas Szapucki, SS Mark Vientos, OF Desmond Lindsay, RHP Marcos Molina, RHP Chris Flexen, and INF Luis Guillorme.

"Longer-term, the Mets do have some possible impact talent coming, largely via the international market," writes MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. "Top prospect Andres Gimenez is a future Top 100 candidate as he matures, even if he has to slide over to second in deference to (Amed) Rosario."

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Sights and Sounds: Tuesday 00:01:00
SNY.tv delivers the sights and sounds of Tuesday's Mets workout in Port St. Lucie, with up close looks at Wheeler, Ramos, Reyes and more.

SNY.tv delivers the sights and sounds of Tuesday's Mets workout in Port St. Lucie, with up close looks at Zack Wheeler, AJ Ramos, Jose Reyes and more.

Tags: Jose Reyes, Zack Wheeler
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Feb 27, 2017; P.J. Conlon (80) throws a pitch during a spring training game at First Data Field. Credit: Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2017; P.J. Conlon (80) throws a pitch during a spring training game at First Data Field. Credit: Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Mets minor league LHP P.J. Conlon, who is transitioning to the bullpen full-time, could be an option as a second left-hander to complement Jerry Blevins.

Conlon, 24, had a 3.38 ERA and 1.24 WHIP with 108 strikeouts in 136 innings (22 starts, six relief appearances) for Double-A Binghamton last season. That included a 2.53 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with 36 strikeouts in 42.2 innings against lefties, who he has been working on refining his changeup against.

"It's kind of been my pitch for the last two seasons," Conlon recently told the AP. "When I started to come out of the `pen last year, I made it a goal of mine to start throwing it against lefties more."

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Feb. 19, 2018: Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson watch and talk at Mets camp (Credit: Matthew Cerrone, SNY)
Feb. 19, 2018: Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson watch and talk at Mets camp (Credit: Matthew Cerrone, SNY)

Terry Collins spent part of Tuesday afternoon perched up high with Sandy Alderson and John Ricco in the organization's viewing tower, which is located in the middle of the complex's training fields.

First off, Collins looks fantastic. He looked 80 after the last game of last season. He's 68, but now looks at most like he's 60. It's interesting what a peaceful winter home with family not worrying about the roster and lineup will do for a man...

Obviously, he isn't and shouldn't be down on field. This is Mickey Callaway's first camp and no new manager needs his immediate predecessor kibitzing with players from the previous season. Collins is a stand-up, old-school guy and I'm sure he knows he should be exactly where he was today, which is up high, watching over, available for input when needed...

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Mets Hot Stove: A.J. Ramos 00:01:49
A.J. Ramos prepares for his career after baseball as he takes the opportunity to try his hand at being a member of the media for a day.

AJ Ramos puts on an SNY shirt to crash a Michael Conforto presser, and asks some interesting questions.

Tags: Michael Conforto
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GEICO SportsNite: Conforto 00:01:58
Mets outfielder Michael Conforto updates the media on how his rehab has been progressing so far this year.

Mets OF Michael Conforto recently began hitting off a tee and said he's "actually ahead of schedule" as he returns from shoulder surgery.

Conforto said he was cleared by doctors at the end of January to start a swinging progression, and that his return could be earlier or later than the May 1 date that was projected by GM Sandy Alderson during the offseason.

"Timetable is fluid," Conforto said on Tuesday in Port St. Lucie. "As of right now, I'm swinging, I'm hitting off the tee. So that's good. I've been waiting forever to be able to do that, and it feels great. Really makes you understand how much you love it."

Tags: Michael Conforto, Danny Abriano
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New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway stands near a batting cage during spring training baseball practice Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)  (Jeff Roberson/AP)
New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway stands near a batting cage during spring training baseball practice Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (Jeff Roberson/AP)

Mets manager Mickey Callaway discussed Michael Conforto's recovery, the schedule for the starting pitchers, and more while speaking with reporters on Tuesday in Port St. Lucie.

Watch Callaway's full Tuesday press conference below...

Tags: Michael Conforto
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Feb 19, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) during practice drills at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 19, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) during practice drills at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Today's sights and sounds from Port St. Lucie. We'll be updating throughout the day, with the most recent updates at the top...

Click below to see

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Yoenis Cespedes
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Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Mets have 12/1 odds to win the National League pennant, according to Bovada Sportsbook in Las Vegas.

The Dodgers have the best odds, at 9/4, followed by the Nationals (7/2), Cubs (15/4), Cardinals (9/1), Giants (10/1), and Diamondbacks -- who have the same 12/1 odds as the Mets.

As far as the rest of the Mets' NL East competitors, the Phillies have 50/1 odds, the Braves are at 75/1, and the Marlins are at 250/1 -- the worst odds in baseball.

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Alderson reveals future plans 00:03:55
Sandy Alderson talks about why he took the Mets' general manager job and what his plans are for the future.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson, who is in his eighth year with the club, discussed his future plans and potential successor with SNY contributor Andy Martino. Regarding how much longer he wants to hold the position of GM, Alderson said it's something he thinks about "from time to time."

"Throughout my career, I've never really focused on the next thing," he said. "I've always kind of said to myself -- I tell people this, too -- focus on the job you have right now because it's the most important job you'll ever have."

Matthew Cerrone (Twitter | Instagram | About): If the Mets are winning and in a good spot when Alderson retires, Ricco will almost certainly get the job. He's qualified, perfect for being a modern day GM, and he's earned the gig. If the Mets are struggling and thinking they may be due for another rebuild, I'm not sure how ownership will handle the transition. It could certainly be entrusted to John, but it would also be understandable (given his connection to Alderson, Omar Minaya, and Jim Duquette) that the Wilpons would want a new perspective and voice when carving a new path...

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