In signing Curtis Granderson to a $60 million contract over the next four seasons, the Mets made a sizable bet on improving the team in the short term. The slightly front-loaded deal covers Granderson's age 33-36 seasons, the years where players of his ilk -- outfielders who strike out regularly, but rely on power for their offensive value -- decline dramatically.

In this post, Toby Hyde will dig into the type of player Granderson has been, and the one he'll likely be going forward. Finally, he will construct an estimate of Granderson's value to the Mets...

Granderson clearly fills a need for the Mets: a big league outfielder. In 2013, Mets outfielders produced 7 fWAR, 20th in baseball. The since-traded Marlon Byrd was responsible for half (3.5 fWAR) of that production. Before Granderson agreed to terms with the Mets, Eric Young Jr. and his career 77 wRC+ (where 100 is league average) was the placeholder in the corner not occupied by Chris Young.

In some ways, Granderson is a similar player to C. Young: they both hit home runs, strike out regularly and have played centerfield in the past. With Juan Lagares in center, Granderson and Young should complete a very fine defensive outfield.

The Mets farm system was not prepared to offer a starting everyday outfielder for Opening Day 2014. Cesar Puello, the best option in the top three levels of the farm system in 2013, finished his year hitting .326/.403/.547 with a career-high 16 home runs in 91 games in double-A, but missed the final month of the season because of a Biogeneis-related suspension. An aggressive hitter, some time in triple-A will serve him well to work on his strike zone discipline. Perhaps, after a few months in Las Vegas, he will be ready to help the Mets by the heat of summer. Promising 2011 first round pick Brandon Nimmo ended the 2013 season in a-ball with Savannah. He's at least two years away from the big leagues.

In short, the Mets needed another outfielder.

The left-handed hitting outfielder hit free agency after an impressive four-year run with the Yankees, when he hit a combined .245/.335/.495 with 115 home runs. His 41 home runs in 2011 were, at the time, a new career high, one he surpassed a year later when he hit 43 in 2012.

Granderson's 2013 was marred by injury when he was plunked by a pair of pitches. The first, in spring training, broke his foream.  After he returned to action in May, eight games later, a broken pinkie sent him back to the disabled list.

When he did play, Granderson hit .229/.317/.407 in 61 games. By wRC+, again where 100 is league average, he earned a 97, making him slightly below league average. By bWAR, Granderson was worth 1.1 wins, while in Fangraphs' accounting he was worth 1.4. Prorating his time out to say, 140 games, we can estimate his bWAR at 2.53 and his fWAR at 3.22. Fangraphs assigns a positive number to his defensive contribution because he was playing centerfield in a below average way, and right field in an above average way. Defensive numbers over partial seasons bounce around, so those estimates on his defense are rough. (Note: I use both fWAR and bWAR in this piece. There are various comparative searches that I find easier at one site or the other. For most purposes, now that there is a unified replacement-level baseline, they're similar enough.)

Power Spike

Why did Curtis Granderson have back-to-back 40-home run seasons in 2011 and 2012, his age 30 and 31 seasons? Simple. He had a HR/FB spike. He hit line drives, ground balls and fly balls at rates that looked like his final seasons in Detroit (2007-2009) and his first with the Yankees (2010). However, in all of those seasons, his home run to flyball ratio hung between 10.9% and 14.5%. In 2011 and 2012 it climbed to 20.5% and 24.2% respectively. By 2013, it was back down to 11.3%, in line with his career norms.

Walks and Strikeouts

Granderson is a high-walk, high-strikeout hitter. He fanned in 28.5% of his plate appearances in 2012 and 28.2% in 2013, while walking 11% in both.

Platoon Splits

Over the course of his eight-plus professional seasons, Granderson has run a major platoon split, hitting righties much better than lefties. He's hit .274/.357/.519 against righties with a 21.8% strikeout rate and a 11.1% walk rate. Meanwhile, against lefties, he has hit  just .226/.295/.409 with a 26.7% strikeout rate and a 7.8% walk rate.

In 2013, his worst season by OPS+ or wRC+ since 2006, Granderson actually hit lefties (.242/.356/.435 in 73 PA) better than righties (.224/.300/.395 in 172 PA). Largely, this was a result of unusually good results on balls in play. He had a .371 BABIP against lefties and a .279 BABIP against righties. His underlying rate stats were better against righties (25.6% k rate/9.9% walk rate) compared to lefties (34.2% K/14% walk).

Lefties have given Granderson fits, over the course of his career, but he has improved against southpaws from his younger days through his Yankee peak in 2012. For example, take a look at his on-base percentage against lefties, by year, moving forward from 2007 through 2012: .225,  .310, .245, .292, .347, .304.

Defense

Once a strong center fielder, Granderson will play a corner outfield spot for the Mets, likely deferring to Juan Lagares' prowess in center. UZR rated Granderson as a combined 27 runs above average in 2006 and 2007, but that was a long time ago. In his four years as a Yankee, he was a combined 14.2 runs below average. That's a slightly controversial rating, as the other advanced systems do not rate him as poorly. Baseball Info Solutions' Defensive Runs Saved, puts Granderson at seven runs below average for his Yankees' tenure. Total Zone measures -8 for the same four-year span.

There's a line of thinking that playing next to a very strong defender, as Granderson did when playing alongside Brett Gardner, will hurt his defensive ratings. If Granderson was playing next to say, Lucas Duda, he would have caught more balls, both within his zone, that is the area a center fielder is expected to cover, and outside of it. Both types of catches, in and outside his area, would have helped his zone numbers.

Lets assume moving forward that Granderson's defense on the corners will help his value a little - say five-ish runs a year.

Projection Moving ForwardAt this point, we should have a pretty good handle on what kind of player Granderson has been, but the question the Mets just spent $60 million to answer is what kind of player he will be in his next four years.

The Oliver projection system at Fangraphs sees Granderson as a 3.0 fWAR player in 2014, who experiences a slow, steady decline. Dan Szymborski's ZiPS system does not see as big a bounceback in 2014, and then a similar if slightly steeper decline. Analysis that rests on these two projection systems which have Granderson contributing something like eight or nine WAR over the life of the contract turn generally positive. This includes Eno Sarris' fine work here.

Many of the analyses of the contract assume a gentle aging curve for Granderson. However, most of his peers, once they started to go, went in a hurry.

I created my own specialized aging curve for Granderson. First, using Baseball Reference's play index to find players like Granderson, I selected outfielders who put up between 15 and 25 WAR in their age 28-32 seasons who struck out at least 596 times. These are good, solid, above-average everyday outfielders. The bWAR cap of 25 removes six players  - who are or approach Hall of Fame level  (Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Jim Thome, Reggie Jackson, Carlos Delgado and Bobby Abreu). The rest are comfortably Granderson's peers: he put up a 18.3 bWAR over his last five years. (Note: I would have preferred a rate-based search around strikeouts or production, but neither Baseball Reference nor Fangraphs offers that publicly. My original cutoff was 600 strikeouts. However, moving down four whiffs adds Jim Edmonds into the list and, much more on him later. Edmonds is a fairly good match for Granderson's peak by WAR value and strikeout rate.)

We're dealing with 19 players, found here.

I removed the following four players who moonlighted in the outfield, but were not primarily outfielders in any sense of the word: Dan Uggla, Mo Vaughn, Carlos Pena and Jorge Posada.

I removed the following guys whose careers ended before 1980, because hey, it was a different game 33 years ago and players follow different workout regimes now, and can be expected to age differently. Bye-bye: Willie Stargell, Bobby Bonds, Tony Perez.

Again, to make sure we're dealing with decent defensive outfielders, I mandated that all of the comps had played at least some center field. Goodbye, Frank Howard and Mikey Tettleton.

This left our final comparable list as: Alfonso Soriano, Dale Murphy, Gorman Thomas, Nick Swisher, Ray Lankford, Jayson Werth, Jeremy Burnitz, Mike Cameron and Jim Edmonds. Swisher, who is as old as Granderson, has not begun his age 33 season. His career offers no clue as to how Granderson will age in his 33+ years.

These are good offensive outfielders. Their combined age 28-32 seasons look like this.

[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]

Player;HR;WAR;SO;G;PA;BA;OBP;SLG;K%;CF

Alfonso Soriano;172;16;639;704;3188;.280;.333;.529;.20;12 games

Dale Murphy;170;23.9;677;799;3459;.275;.368;.512;.20;Yes

Gorman Thomas;165;16.3;721;731;3080;.238;.331;.477;.23;Yes

Curtis Granderson;145;18.3;690;673;2858;.246;.333;.484;.24;Yes

Nick Swisher;127;15.3;669;743;3135;.263;.362;.470;.21;Yes

Ray Lankford;123;23.9;629;690;2856;.288;.382;.523;.22;Yes

Jayson Werth;115;17.1;655;693;2763;.270;.368;.478;.24;108 games

Jeromy Burnitz;163;15.7;664;759;3185;.259;.363;.511;.21;yes

Mike Cameron;110;17.6;696;671;2790;.251;.340;.460;.25;yes

Jim Edmonds;130;24.3;596;655;2719;.299;.396;.540;.22;yes

[/sny-table]

How did this group age from 33-36? Not well. The following chart shows each player's production by bWAR, in their age-33 season and beyond.

[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]

Player;5 yr WAR avg 28-32;33;34;35;36;37+

Alfonso Soriano;3.2;-1.6;0.5;-0.2;2.0;2.4

Dale Murphy;4.78;1.6;0.9;0.8;-0.7;-0.9

Gorman Thomas;3.26;-0.8;1.7;-0.3;-0.5;

Curtis Granderson;3.66;;;;;

Jayson Werth;3.42;0.7;4.8;NA;NA;

Jeromy Burnitz;3.14;0.0;0.2;1.3;0.2;-0.6

Mike Cameron;3.52;4.3;3.2;3.1;3.0;-0.1

Jim Edmonds;4.86;6.0;7.1;4.4;1.3;2.2

Ray Lankford;4.78;0.9;1.1;-0.4;0;0.4

[/sny-table]

Graphically, their production looks like this: I normalized all of the players' age 28-32 peak to one. Each year thereafter the player's production by bWAR is illustrated as a single point as a fraction of their peak years.

After their age-32 seasons, only three players had a single season better than their average of their peak seasons of 28-32: Jayson Werth, Jim Edmonds and Mike Cameron. Edmonds was the only player to have as many as two seasons at age 33 and older that equalled his peak years.

What's remarkable to me is how essentially similar all of the aging patters are, outside of those three. Moving from age 28-32, every other player lost over half of his value. Expressed as percent of their age 28-32 value by age 33 this group was worth 40% of their peak, by age 34 - 65%, age 35 - 33% and age 36 - 20%.

Fangraphs author Eno Sarris suggested a slightly different list of comparable players who put up 10+ fWAR between age 30 and 32 and struck out at least 24% of the time. This list includes three outfielders, all of whom are in our original study: Ray Lankford, Jim Edmonds and Mike Cameron. Edmonds and Cameron are the two most successful agers in the group. Lankford's decline was steep from age 33 onward.

Now, we create specialized aging curves for Granderson using his comparable players. I simply took an average of each group's production (bWAR) relative to their peak for their age 33 through 36 season. Then, we apply this set of parameters to Granderson's starting level.

The following chart compares these aging curves with publicly available projections: ZiPS and Oliver.

[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]

Granderson Projections;33;34;35;36;Total

Full Set;1.3;2.0;1.0;0.6;5.0

Sarris Comps;3.1;3.2;2.0;1.2;9.5

Oliver;3.0;2.6;2.1;1.5;9.2

ZiPS;2.4;2.2;2.0;1.3;7.9

[/sny-table]

Graphically, Granderson's projections for the next four years look like this.

What's remarkable here is not the difference between the systems, but the convergence. All four estimators suggest that if Granderson ages like his peers, he will be a 2.0 bWAR player and below for both of the final two years of his contract with the New York Mets. It's also notable that comparing Granderson to the broader range of outfield candidates my "Full Set" pushes his expected aging path down.

Is there a reason to think Granderson will age unusually well? This is your time commenters. Suggest it, and I will investigate it.

The Decline/The GrandyMan's Strikeout ProblemIn fact, there is reason to think Granderson will not age particularly well as is already showing signs of decline. Remember, his strikeout rates in his four years as a Yankee have been in order: 22, 24.5, 28.5, 28.2. There are three reasons Granderson struck out more in the last two years:

1. He swung at more pitches outside of the strike zone, he made contact with fewer pitches both

2. Outside the strike zone and 3. inside the strike zone.

If that 28% strikeout rate sounds high, you're right. Since 1980, there have only been 21 outfielder seasons in which a player qualified for a batting title with a strikeout rate as high as Granderson's 28.5% in 2012, (when he was healthy!). For these seasons, the average wRC+ was 110, while the mean fWAR for those seasons was 1.62 and the median was 1.5. There's certainly some selection bias here: this group of hitters averaged 27.5 homeruns per year. Put another way, teams do not tolerate that many strikeouts unless a batter is putting the ball over the wall regularly.

Because their high strikeout rates keep these players batting averages down, they must contribute offensive value through secondary skills. Among this high-strikeout group of 21 seasons, there are two above three fWAR: Adam Dunn's 2004 (4.9) and Drew Stubbs' 2010 (3.6). Dunn hit 46 homeruns with a 16% walk rate while Stubbs supplemented his offensive and defensive value by being worth 10 runs, or roughly one win, on the bases. Granderson has never had a 46 homer season, a walk rate above 12.3% or a season worth more than 6.3 runs on the bases since 2009.

Lets go back to those four seasons by our full outfield group age age 33+ that matched or exceeded their production from their peak years: Jayson Werth's 2013, Jim Edmonds' 2003 & 2004 and Mike Cameron's 2006. If those guys could do it, could Granderson?

All four had strikeout rates significantly below Granderson's in both 2012 and 2013.

Last year, Jayson Werth hit .318/.398/.532 in 129 games for the Nationals with 25 home runs. The 25 homers seems like a reasonable enough estimate for Granderson's production if he can stay healthy in 2014. Werth walked in 11.3% of his plate appearances, a rate nearly identical to Granderson's recent seasons. However, Werth struck out in only 19% of his plate appearances. That's over 9% less than Granderson's recent seasons. Granderson has one full big league season with a strikeout rate at 19% or lower -- 2008 -- when he hit .280/.365/.494 with 22 home runs for Detroit.

Jim Edmonds was great in 2003 and 2004. In '03, he hit .275/.385/.617 with 39 homers, a 14.5% walk rate and a 23.9% strikeout rate and was worth nearly a full win on defense. In '04, he poked .301/.418/.643 (!) with 42 homers, a 16.5% walk rate and a 24.5% strikeout rate. Those strikeout and walk rate numbers are just not close to Granderson's 2012 and 2013.

Mike Cameron's story is the same in 2006, when he hit .268/.355/.482 with 22 homers, an 11% walk rate and a 22.4% strikeout rate for the Padres.

Note that all of these seasons came with strikerate rates well below Granderson's 2012 but similar to his 2010-2011 period. Can he return to that form?

Conclusion

Even with a strikeout rate in the upper 20s, if Granderson can stay healthy, bop 20+ home runs in the next two years and play average- to plus-defense on the corner -- all extremely reasonable expectations -- he will be roughly a 2-to-2.5 win player, and help the Mets in the next two years. If Granderson can cut his strikeout rate back to 22-24%, his batting average and on-base percentage will rise, and he could be a 3+ win player.

However, my expectation, is that by the third year of this contract, Granderson will be a sub-two-win player - a below average regular. The concern here is not strictly a dollar/win calculation. It's simply the likelihood that Granderson just should not be starting everyday for a winning team.

Perhaps, Granderson, who has long struggled with lefties, will become the long half of platoon for the Mets with a right-handed hitter. The Mets actually have a pair of right-handed hitting outfielders in the upper minors, Puello and Cory Vaughn, who have hit lefties hard in their minor league tenure. Both Puello and Vaughn would start at the Major League minimum.

Granderson's contract potentially says something important about future Mets' payrolls. The Mets now have $36 and $35 million committed to David Wright and Granderson combined in 2016 and 2017. This is inconsistent with running a payroll below $100 million, as the Mets have done the last two seasons. They will need 23 other active players on the roster. Some of them, ideally, will be good. Some very good. Some of them will be expensive or at least, not earning the Major League minimum. In order for the Granderson contract to not hamstring the Mets' roster construction past even 2014, the team's payroll will have to rise comfortably above $100 million again so the team can continue to address other areas of weakness. This signing suggests, or even demands, that once again, the Mets will be willing to spend at a level well above their recent seasons. 

In some ways this is an odd deal for the Mets. It makes the team better in 2014 by putting a league average player, who can provide insurance for centerfield, out in a corner. It could make them better in 2015. It is extremely unlikely to add a league average player to a corner in 2016 and 2017.  There is downside risk all over.

The Mets identified a need in the outfield. They spent to fix it. However, the patch they chose looks like a short-term repair, and one that is already showing signs of ripping.

Tags: avsny, matthewcerrone, MetsBlog, tobyhyde, Toby Hyde

Mets Video Recap: Feb. 21 00:02:35
MetsBlog's Matt Cerrone and SNY Mets analyst Nelson Figueroa discuss the day's events at Spring Training in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

The Mets continued workouts at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie on Tuesday...


The dynamic between David Wright and Jose Reyes has changed, as has their role on the Mets >> Read more

Reyes, Yoenis Cespedes, and Asdrubal Cabrera have been spending lots of time together at camp >> Read more...

Tags: Addison Reed, Asdrubal Cabrera, David Wright, Jeurys Familia, Jose Reyes, Travis d'Arnaud, Yoenis Cespedes
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Feb., 2017: David Wright and Jose Reyes taking infield at Tradition Field (Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)
Feb., 2017: David Wright and Jose Reyes taking infield at Tradition Field (Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)

The dynamic I see between David Wright and Jose Reyes is not what I remember from the old days. It has changed, just as I am sure they have changed as men.

In the early days of their relationship, they were the two young guys called up to Shea Stadium at roughly the same time. The team was built around them. They were always paired together in photo shoots, on magazine covers and on the same side of the field...

Tags: David Wright, Jose Reyes, Matthew Cerrone
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Feb. 20, 2017: Yoenis Cespedes, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes talk between batting practice sessions during Spring Training (Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)
Feb. 20, 2017: Yoenis Cespedes, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes talk between batting practice sessions during Spring Training (Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)

The big-name players on the Mets are all spending way more time together on and off field than I recall seeing here in previous spring trainings. That said, Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes are close to inseparable.

They stretch together, they hit in the same groups, they eat together before and after practice, and they joke around in the field and at the cage. They're clearly doubling down on the friendship they began building last summer.

Hopefully, that escalation doesn't end in St. Lucie, but continues to grow and fuel the team's run production like it did during the second half in 2016...

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Reyes, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets manager Terry Collins spoke with the media on Tuesday in Port St. Lucie. Here's what we learned...

  • 3B David Wright will likely serve as a designated hitter initially during Grapefruit League games.
  • If RHP Jeurys Familia is suspended for his domestic violence incident, Collins is not worried about him keeping himself in shape during the time away from the team.
  • OF Jay Bruce will not take fly balls in center field during Spring Training.
  • The Mets have seen the potential of C Travis d'Arnaud, who is "extremely dangerous" when he's swigning well. "Everybody is allowed to have a bad year," Collins said about d'Arnaud's performance in 2016...
Tags: David Wright, Jay Bruce, Jeurys Familia, Jose Reyes, Rafael Montero, Travis d'Arnaud
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 (Matthew Cerrone)
(Matthew Cerrone)

Mets 3B David Wright took grounders at third base and threw the baseball on Tuesday, two days after throwing for the first time since having season-ending neck surgery last June.

On Sunday, Wright made 30 throws from 60-70 feel on a back field at Tradition Field.

Based on the rehab plan put in place by his physical therapy team, Wright will throw every other day and increase the distance each time.

Wright said he believes he'll be ready for Opening Day...

Tags: David Wright
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 (Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports)
(Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports)

Free agent C Matt Wieters is close to signing what will likely be a two-year deal with the Nationals that contains an opt-out after the first year, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

The deal will be worth $21 million, with $10 million paid in 2017, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Wieters, 30, hit .243 with a .302 OBP and .409 SLG with 17 HR and 66 RBI in 124 games last season for the Orioles.

Tags: Kevin Plawecki, Rene Rivera, Travis d'Arnaud
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Reed on becoming Mets closer 00:04:28
Reliever Addison Reed joins Mets Hot Stove to discuss his outlook for the 2017 season.

In the event Jeurys Familia begins the season under suspension, Addison Reed will be the team's closer and Fernando Salas will be his set-up man, Terry Collins said Monday.

"As of today, he would be that guy, because he has done it before and he's been successful at it," Collins said of Reed, who had a 1.97 ERA and identical 1.97 FIP in 80 games last season.

He and the Mets avoided salary arbitration in December, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $7.75 million, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Tags: Addison Reed, Jeurys Familia
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Feb. 21, 2017: The sun rises over Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie (Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)
Feb. 21, 2017: The sun rises over Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie (Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)

It was not photo day Tuesday morning. I wish I knew that, because I thought it was and got to Tradition Field at 6:55 am ET. No worries, though, since it was a great opportunity to watch the sunrise and catch the ballpark get started for the day...

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Mets Video Recap: Feb. 20 00:02:48
SNY's Steve Gelbs and Marc Carig of Newsday cover Monday at Mets camp, including Neil Walker rumors and a close look at Amed Rosario

The New York Mets seem comfortable together in spring training as they prepare for their first game on Friday. Team morale also seems high.

Contract discussions between second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets are "probably dead."

Shortstop Amed Rosario, one of the top prospects in baseball, said he has learned a great deal from Jose Reyes.

Manager Terry Collins said he sees upside in what Rosario and outfielder Michael Conforto, and also said Fernando Salas would step into the set-up role should Addison Reed become interim closer in the event Jeurys Familia is suspended under the MLB's domestic violence policy.

Tags: Addison Reed, Jeurys Familia, Michael Conforto, Neil Walker
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Reed on becoming Mets closer 00:04:28
Reliever Addison Reed joins Mets Hot Stove to discuss his outlook for the 2017 season.

New York Mets manager Terry Collins spoke to the media on Monday in Port St. Lucie, Florida, as the team readies for its first spring training game this Friday. 

  • He said Fernando Salas would become the Mets' eighth-inning set-up man "because he has done it before, because he has been successful at it" in the event closer Jeurys Familia is suspended under the MLB's domestic violence policy. 
  • He said he was looking forward to seeing how shortstop Amed Rosario, considered one of the top prospects in baseball, will play this spring.
Tags: Michael Conforto
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In the 10 years I've been coming to Tradition Field, I don't recall seeing so much smiling and laughing going on between the team's star players and the coaching staff.

It's nice to see. It's one of those things that - if the Mets go on to have a poor season and miss the playoffs - people will look back on and blame, saying they were too loose and not taking things seriously enough. Of course, if they steamroll the NL East and get back to the World Series, we'll look back and believe their success started in St. Lucie...

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Photo: Chris McShane
Photo: Chris McShane

Mets prospect Amed Rosario is thankful to have Jose Reyes guiding him as a mentor, the shortstop told reporters through an interpretar on Monday.

"Well I'm so thankful to God first, and then I'm so thankful that I have people like Jose," Rosario said from Tradition Field. "Jose doesn't just give me advice on the field. He really tells me how to carry myself as a person off the field. To always make the right choices, do the right thing. So that's a really great thing to have."

Rosario and Reyes spent time together in Binghamton last year as Reyes was making his way towards the majors. While Reyes appeared in only nine games for the Mets' Double-A affiliate, Rosario played in 54, hitting an impressive .341 with two home runs, 31 RBIs, and 14 doubles.

Tags: Jose Reyes
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Walker (20) watches Yoenis Cespedes in the batting cage at Tradition Field. Credit: Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Walker (20) watches Yoenis Cespedes in the batting cage at Tradition Field. Credit: Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Latest Update (Feb. 20)

1:25PM: The feeling from the Mets side is the Neil Walker contract extension discussions are probably dead, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Tags: Neil Walker
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Jose Reyes, David Wright, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes take batting practice at Tradition Field in 2017 (Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)
Jose Reyes, David Wright, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes take batting practice at Tradition Field in 2017 (Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)

In his talk with the team before stretching on Sunday, Terry Collins essentially told the team that last year was an anomaly because of the injuries. He said he's proud of how they fought through adversity, but this year will be different...

In short, because I was down wind and roughly 40 feet away from where he was standing, I heard him say they will be healthy and strong and continue what they started in 2015.


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Mets Video Recap: Feb. 19 00:02:12
MetsBlog's Matt Cerrone and SNY Mets analyst Nelson Figueroa discuss the day's events at camp in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

The Mets and Neil Walker are close to agreeing to a contract extension that could pay him roughly $40 million over three years >> Read more

David Wright threw a baseball on Sunday for the first time since having season-ending neck surgery last June >> Read more

Zack Wheeler, who dealt with elbow tenderness last week, returned to the mound on Sunday >> Read more

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Finally on Sunday, during the team's first official full-team workout of Spring Training, David Wright and Jose Reyes were in the same place at the same time. Of course, it took a while before they stood close enough to one another to exchange words and be photographed together...

Actually, at one point, Reyes literally jobbed to a different field as Wright emerged.

"Uh oh, David's here, I need to go," he said laughing...

Reyes returned, photographers and reporters gathered, but they continued to stand apart...

Tags: David Wright, Jose Reyes, Matthew Cerrone
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Sandy Alderson: Mets are all in 00:01:28
New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson says that the team is "all in" to win a World Series in 2017, and is willing to add payroll to do so.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson spoke with the media in Port St. Lucie on Sunday and credited ownership for the current payroll being as high as it is now and said the team can raise the payroll, if necessary, despite still having OF Jay Bruce on the roster.

There are currently no ongoing trade discussions at the moment, Alderson said, and that the team is preparing to enter the season with current players and make adjustments from there. He said the best possibilty is to have six outfielders hitting .400 in Spring Training

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Feb 14, 2017; Matt Harvey (33) talks with Collins (10) during workouts at Tradition Field. Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 14, 2017; Matt Harvey (33) talks with Collins (10) during workouts at Tradition Field. Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Terry Collins said in his speech to the team before Sunday's first official full-team workout of the season he told the players that they better have "swagger" and need to act like they will win in 2017, adding that he is confident the Mets will be playing in October.

Collins told reporters that players are entering camp knowing what they were still able to accomplish last year by rising up when many of the starting pitchers suffered injuries.

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Zack Wheeler joins Hot Stove 00:02:39
Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler talks injuries and rehab as he eyes a return to the Mets starting staff in 2017.

Mets RHP Zack Wheeler threw about 20 pitches off a mound on Sunday for the first time since he felt some tenderness in his right elbow during a recent bullpen session, reports Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News.

Prior to Sunday, Wheeler most recently threw for about 10 minutes on Thursday, but only played catch.

Pitching coach Dan Warthen said Wednesday that the tenderness Wheeler felt during his recent bullpen session was likely due to scar tissue, which remains from his Tommy John surgery...

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper reacts after a called third strike in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game four of the 2016 NLDS at Dodger Stadium. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper reacts after a called third strike in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game four of the 2016 NLDS at Dodger Stadium. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

In January, Nationals OF Bryce Harper posted a video of himself and his brother, Bryan, singing in excitement for Ohio State's College Football Playoff game against Clemson.

Barstool Sports shared it on their Instagram account, where Syndergaard responded in the comment section, calling Harper a "douche."

When Harper was asked about comment over the weekend at Nationals camp, the outfielder didn't exactly laugh off the incident. 

"I don't know, Syndergaard does what he does and the Mets do what they do," Harper told reporters, according to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. "So we are going to worry about what we do in our clubhouse and do everything we can do win ballgames and hopefully have a better record than any team in Major League Baseball." 

Tags: Noah Syndergaard
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Less than a year and a half ago, MLB.com considered then 19-year-old Mets RHP Marcos Molina to be the organization's top pitching prospect. He then had Tommy John surgery, missed an entire season and dropped to fourth on MLB.com's 2016 list last summer.

Molina, now 21, tossed a bullpen session Saturday a few feet away from Dan Warthen, Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson and his staff...

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Feb 17, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view of the catchers gear of New York Mets catcher Rene Rivera (not pictured) on the field during spring training workouts at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 17, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view of the catchers gear of New York Mets catcher Rene Rivera (not pictured) on the field during spring training workouts at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Yoenis Cespedes told reporters that the Mets have a "great chance" to win the World Series in 2017 if the team stays healthy. He also said he feels calmer knowing that he landed a four-year contract extension with the Mets. Read more here

Metsblog's Matthew Cerrone captured photos of Matt HarveyNoah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, and Terry Collins signing autographs at the end of Saturday's practice. Harvey seemed to draw a larger crowd than Syndergaard, but all of them drew fans. See pictures and read more here

 

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Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Terry Collins spent a good chunk of time at the end of today's practice signing autographs for Mets fans...

It was quite a frenzy, especially considering Harvey and Syndergaard were signing at the same time. And, I have to say, though people were going pretty crazy to get to Syndergaard, I actually think Harvey created a bigger buzz...

Tags: Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler
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Mets manager Terry Collins spoke to reporters Saturday in Port St. Lucie. Here is what we learned... 

  • Yoenis Cespedes is "driven" and "determined" to perform up to expectations this season. 
  • Cespedes is also relaxed and in great shape this year. 
  • David Wright is on schedule to throw either on Sunday or Monday, though he is not at camp Saturday. 
  • While he is not at camp Saturday and won't be there Sunday, Jeurys Familia is expected to return Monday
  • The team has not had this much depth since Collins has been manager of the team. 
  • Collins is excited and has nervous energy for Sunday's first official full team practice. 

Tags: David Wright, Jeurys Familia, Yoenis Cespedes
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Mar 30, 2016; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) connects for a double in the first inning during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 30, 2016; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) connects for a double in the first inning during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Yoenis Cespedes told reporters on Saturday that he is more comfortable heading into this season because of his contract extension and that he believes the Mets have "a great chance" to win the World Series as long as the team stays healthy.

"Having [the extension] really gives me a sense of calm knowing that I am no longer year to year and that my home is here with the Mets for the next four years," he said, adding that it gives him tranquility and he can prepare and focus better. 

 

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes
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I love watching the pitchers throw their bullpen sessions on the 10-pack on the back side of Tradition Field's training complex. There are a lot of people hanging around, from media, to coaches, to front office executives, multiple pitchers throwing at one time, multiple catchers, teammates tracking pitches and side conversations about mechanics and pitch section...

In the case of right-handed, side-arm reliever Ben Rowen, who signed a free-agent, minor-league contract, it was an opportunity for Dan Warthen to talk with him about his repertoire and how he approaches right-handed batters compared to left-handed batters...

Tags: Steven Matz, Matthew Cerrone
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Feb 14, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) fields ground balls during spring training workouts at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 14, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) fields ground balls during spring training workouts at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Mets closer Jeurys Familia left Tradition Field before Friday's workout and returned on Saturday morning, only to leave again, according to Marc Carig of Newsday.

Familia was originally expected to return on Saturday, but he will miss workouts for a second consecutive day due to MLB's investigation into his domestic violence arrest, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post

Tags: Jeurys Familia
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Mets Video Recap: Feb. 17 00:02:24
SNY's Steve Gelbs and John Harper of the NY Daily News cover Mets camp, including close looks at Travis d'Arnaud and Jose Reyes.

David Wright is tentatively scheduled to play catch on Sunday for the first time since having season-ending neck surgery last June, manager Terry Collins said >> Read more!

Jeurys Familia left camp on Friday to deal with a personal matter and is expected back Saturday.

Mets SS prospect Amed Rosario and 1B prospect Dominic Smith took batting practice together >> See pictures and read more here!

MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone followed Jose Reyes, who looks like he never left the Mets for Miami >> See pictures and read more here!

Tags: Jose Reyes, Travis d'Arnaud
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Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches during the first inning: USA TODAY Tommy Gilligan
Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches during the first inning: USA TODAY Tommy Gilligan

Former major league pitcher and pitching coach Tom House believes that Noah Syndergaard could suffer an arm injury as soon as this summer, he told Bob Klapisch of The Record

House, who pitched seven years in the major leagues, said Syndergaard's adding of 17 pounds of muscle only hurts his development. 

"Unfortunately, this is an injury waiting to happen by the second week of June," House told Klapisch. "Unless you're picking up a ball while you're getting stronger, you're just adding muscle that doesn't know how to throw. It's unskilled muscle."

Tags: Noah Syndergaard
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. (Steve Mitchell)
. (Steve Mitchell)

Bartolo Colon, who signed a one year deal worth $12.5 million with the Braves this offseason, initially thought he was going to return to the Mets for 2017.

"I had the idea that I was probably going to stay with the Mets at the end of the season," Colon told the NY Post through an interpreter. "My family is up there, but it's a business, and I had to do what was right for me and my family. This was a business decision.''

"The Mets did a lot for me,'' Colon added. "It's just one of those things.''

Colon, who turns 44 years old in May, had a 3.43 ERA (3.99 FIP) and 1.21 WHIP in 191 2/3 innings (33 starts, one relief apperance) last season for the Mets...

Tags: Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler
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Mets 1B prospect Dominic Smith (74) watches top SS prospect Amed Rosario (61) during big-league batting practice at Tradition Field (Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)
Mets 1B prospect Dominic Smith (74) watches top SS prospect Amed Rosario (61) during big-league batting practice at Tradition Field (Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)

Mets SS prospect Amed Rosario and 1B prospect Dominic Smith took batting practice together during Friday's big-league workout at Tradition Field in St. Lucie.

It was pretty cool seeing them in the same place, crushing baseballs together and talking hitting with the big-league team's assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler.

It's also worth noting they spent time intensely working on their high-five routine...

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Mets infielder Jose Reyes looks off field during batting practice in Tradition Field (Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)
Mets infielder Jose Reyes looks off field during batting practice in Tradition Field (Credit: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)

It feels like Jose Reyes never left. He looks at home here in St. Lucie.

And, despite a successful team having been built after he left for Miami, he carries himself and interacts with his current teammates as if he had been here the entire time.

In the old days, I marveled at watching Reyes field ground balls and throw to first base. It's such a routine, simple act, but he was so much more smooth -- yet also explosive -- in his movements it made the players around him look they were playing a different game...

Tags: Jose Reyes, Matthew Cerrone
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Terry Collins (10) in the dugout before the start of a game. Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Terry Collins (10) in the dugout before the start of a game. Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

 

Mets manager Terry Collins spoke with the media in Port St. Lucie on Friday. Here's what we learned...

Tags: David Wright, Jeurys Familia, Jose Reyes, Travis d'Arnaud, Zack Wheeler
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Yesterday was my first day in Mets camp, and -- despite this being my 10th season covering spring training -- I had a really difficult time getting my bearings on field. At first, I thought it was me. But, I quickly realized the Mets are doing things slightly different than they have in the past.

Interestingly, they are adjustments every team probably should have implemented years ago -- especially in a world where every person is holding a camera capable of live streaming information to thousands of people.

For instance, the day's workout schedule is no longer posted in public. And, whereas media had long been able to walk up and down the dirt surrounding the grass (from left field to right field to behind the backstop), we are now only allowed to be in a designated 15-20 foot area marked by yellow lines in front of the dugouts...

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 (Derik Hamilton)
(Derik Hamilton)

Mets INF Jose Reyes has been told he'll take some fly balls in center field during Spring Training in addition to getting work at third base, shortstop, and second base.

"I don't see any problem," Reyes said about transitioning to the outfield at this stage of his career. "I feel like I'm a good athlete," he concluded.

Reyes added that he's excited to potentially play next to David Wright this season.

"I can't wait for that to happen," he said. "He's my big brother, we've got a lot of love for eachother."

Tags: David Wright, Jeurys Familia, Jose Reyes
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Mets Video Recap: Feb. 16 00:03:51
MetsBlog's Matt Cerrone and Ted Berg of USA Today discuss the day's events at Mets Spring Training in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Mets RHP Zack Wheeler played catch Thursday, "felt good," and is aiming to throw off a mound on Saturday or Sunday, Mets manager Terry Collins said >> Read more.

Collins announced that Noah Syndergaard will start Opening Day, April 3, against the Braves at Citi Field, which the pitcher said was a huge honor >> Read more.

"I'm here until I'm not," Jay Bruce told reporters with a dry tone when asked about rumors of Sandy Alderson attempting to trade him before Spring Training >> Read more.

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New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) watches batting practice before action against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. (Bill Streicher)
New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) watches batting practice before action against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. (Bill Streicher)

Mets manager Terry Collins spoke with the media in Port St. Lucie on Thursday. Here's what we learned...

  • RHP Zack Wheeler, who has been dealing with elbow tenderness, felt good Thursday after playing catch and will hopefully throw from the mound on Friday.
  • RHP Noah Syndergaard will start on Opening Day, which is April 3 against the Braves at Citi Field.
  • Collins does not yet have the starting rotation mapped out for the entire first week of the regular season.

 

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes, Zack Wheeler
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Aug 16, 2016; Syndergaard against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 16, 2016; Syndergaard against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Terry Collins has named Noah Syndergaard the Mets' Opening Day starter.

According to Collins, Syndergaard earned the honor with the way he pitched last season.

Syndergaard said it's a "huge honor" and that he's thrilled about how much confidence Collins has in him.

The Mets begin their 2017 season on April 3 at Citi Field against the Braves...

Tags: Noah Syndergaard
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Mets OF Jay Bruce speaks to the media in St. Lucie for the first time in 2017 (Photo: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)
Mets OF Jay Bruce speaks to the media in St. Lucie for the first time in 2017 (Photo: Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)

Mets OF Jay Bruce walked in to the team's media room, sat down at the microphone, answered every question, said all the right things, smiled once or twice, got up and walked back in to the clubhouse. The end...

He was professional and courteous, complimented the roster and hyped the team's potential. But, he also spoke like someone dragged to a party he was not invited to attend.

"I'm here until I'm not," he said with a dry tone when asked about rumors of Sandy Alderson attempting to trade him before Spring Training.

It's a perfect response, because it's true for all of us. But the context of Bruce's short seven months in New York, it has a different meaning. It reads and sounded like someone biding his time...

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets RHPs Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard threw side-by-side bullpen sessions on Thursday in Port St. Lucie.

Click below to watch

Tags: Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard
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 (Brad Penner (USA Today))
(Brad Penner (USA Today))

Mets OF Jay Bruce had a "pretty easy time" with the trade rumors during the offseason, he said Thursday in Port St. Lucie.

"I'm here until I'm not," Bruce explained, adding that he's been going through trade rumors for two years and didn't concern himself with them.

The Mets picked up Bruce's option after the season, but efforts to trade him failed. He was then told last month that the plan was for him to be the team's everyday right fielder.

Regarding the possibility of getting time at first base, Bruce said he hasn't been told anything yet but that if the Mets want him to, he'll "bust his ass" to make sure he does what he can at first base...

Tags: Jay Bruce
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Mets video recap: Feb. 15 00:02:43
SNY's Steve Gelbs and Anthony DiComo of MLB.com discuss the day at Mets camp, including news about Jeurys Familia and Neil Walker.

SNY's Steve Gelbs and Anthony DiComo of MLB.com discuss the day at Mets camp, including news about Jeurys Familia and Neil Walker.

Earlier today, Steve and Anthony answered fan questions on Facebook during Spring Training Live, which you can watch here.

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Neil Walker
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Mets manager Terry Collins spoke with the media in Port St. Lucie on Wednesday. Here's what we learned...

  • If closer Jeurys Familia is suspended for the beginning of the season, the Mets will "have to go outside the box" at times -- including potentially using LHP Jerry Blevins -- when it comes to closing games.
  • OF Michael Conforto is "too good a player" to continue to struggle.
  • If everyone is healthy, there will likely be two spots open in the bullpen, and the team could "very easily" take three left-handers...
Tags: Jerry Blevins, Jeurys Familia, Neil Walker, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo
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 (Andrew Fielding-US PRESSWIRE)
(Andrew Fielding-US PRESSWIRE)

The Mets will play an exhibition game against the Army baseball team at West Point on March 31, it was announced Wednesday.

It will be the ninth time the Mets have played at West Point, with the last meeting coming in 1984.

The game will be the Mets' final one before Opening Day at Citi Field on April 3 against the Braves.

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Sep 27, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Erik Goeddel throws against the Cincinnati Reds in the seventh inning at Great American Ball Park. The Mets won 8-1. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sport (David Kohl)
Sep 27, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Erik Goeddel throws against the Cincinnati Reds in the seventh inning at Great American Ball Park. The Mets won 8-1. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sport (David Kohl)

Mets reliever Erik Goeddel had off-season surgery to remove a bone spur in his pitching elbow, he told MLB.com's Anthony DiComo on Tuesday in St. Lucie.

According to Goeddel, the bone spur caused him periodic pain throughout last season.

In 36 appearances (35 2/3 innings) for the Mets last season, Goeddel, 28, was 2-2 with a 4.54 ERA (4.21 FIP) and 1.31 WHIP while striking out 36 batters.

Tags: Erik Goeddel
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Mets Video Recap: Feb. 14 00:02:22
SNY's Steve Gelbs and Dave Lennon of Newsday discuss the day's events at Mets Spring Training in Port St. Lucie.

Terry Collins talked to reporters and said Travis d'Arnaud has a lot of work to do, and it's business as usual for Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed >> Listen and Read more!

Familia reported to Tradition Field after briefly being delayed at his home in the Dominican Republic due to a visa issue >> Read and See More!

David Wright is hitting and fielding, but he won't start throwing until later this week >> Read more!

Jay Bruce will get some work at first base this spring >> Read more!

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Feb 14, 2017; Matt Harvey (33) talks with Collins (10) during workouts at Tradition Field. Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 14, 2017; Matt Harvey (33) talks with Collins (10) during workouts at Tradition Field. Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

1) Travis d'Arnaud has a lot on shoulders as he works to improve his health, swing and throwing from behind the plate. "But, he's up for it," he knows he had a bad year in 2016 and he believes he can be better than that...

2) Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed have been told to approach spring training the same way they did last year, with Familia slotted as the closer and Reed as the team's set-up man, despite reports that Familia could be suspended to start the season...

3) David Wright is expected to start throwing a baseball later this week. There will be some activities this spring that Wright takes part in and some that he will not >> Read more.

4) Jay Bruce will get some time practicing at first base, mostly as a hedge against the potential of losing Lucas Duda's power to an injury during the season >> Read more

Tags: David Wright, Jay Bruce, Jeurys Familia, Travis d'Arnaud, Willie Reed
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 (Brad Penner (USA Today))
(Brad Penner (USA Today))

Mets OF Jay Bruce will get at least "some" time fielding ground balls at first base, Terry Collins told reporters Tuesday at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie.

According to Collins, because Lucas Duda is coming off an injury-shortened season, he'd like to see Bruce get exposure to first base, in the event Duda ends up injured again.

That said, Collins noted, "We're not pushing it on him."

Tags: Jay Bruce
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Mets pitchers Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman (USA TODAY Images)
Mets pitchers Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman (USA TODAY Images)

Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo and Zack Wheeler will compete in Spring Training to determine who will be the team's fifth starting pitcher, Terry Collins told reporters Monday.

Gsellman and Lugo were a combined 8-3 with a 2.65 ERA in 15 starts last season filling in for Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz.

Wheeler hasn't pitched in the majors since having Tommy John surgery in 2014.

"We aren't sure how many innings he's going to be able to pitch," Collins said of Wheeler, who was 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA in 2014. "So, do you burn those innings early, or do you burn those innings late? And that is certainly a discussion we will have as we go through Spring Training."

Tags: Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler
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