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

Matz throws a bullpen session during spring training workouts in St. Lucie. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Matz throws a bullpen session during spring training workouts in St. Lucie. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Steven Matz has irritation in his left elbow and will skip his next start, Sandy Alderson said Sunday.

However, Matz will resume throwing on Monday and said he is not worried, according to Marc Carig of Newsday.

Matz, who had surgery to remove a bone spur in September and has dealt with elbow and shoulder issues among others since underdoing Tommy John surgery in 2010, was to start against the Marlins Monday. Zack Wheeler will get that start.

Tags: Steven Matz
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Mar 10, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) warms up before a spring training game against the Houston Astros at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 10, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) warms up before a spring training game against the Houston Astros at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

RHP Matt Harvey (12.1 IP, 7.30 ERA) will start for the fifth time this spring as the Mets welcome the Braves to Port St. Lucie for a Grapefruit League matchup slated for 1:10 p.m.

In his most recent start, Harvey gave up three runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings Harvey gave up three runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.

RHP Matt Wisler (12.1 IP, 5.84 ERA) will start for Atlanta.

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New York Mets center fielder Juan Lagares (12) connects for a base hit during the fourth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. (Steve Mitchell)
New York Mets center fielder Juan Lagares (12) connects for a base hit during the fourth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. (Steve Mitchell)

Michael Conforto would replace Juan Lagares on the Mets roster if Lagares is further hampered by a left oblique strain, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Lagares, who left Saturday's game with the injury, will get an MRI on Monday, according to Puma. 

Lagares is hitting .190 with 1 home run and 2 RBI in 42 at-bats this spring. Meanwhile, Conforto is hitting .346 with 3 home runs in 52 at-bats this spring. His most recent home run came on Saturday against Atlanta.

Tags: Juan Lagares
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Mar 5, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) throws against the St. Louis Cardinals during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 5, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) throws against the St. Louis Cardinals during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The Mets (13-16-1) will host the Atlanta Braves (7-20-1) at First Data Field at 1:10 p.m. on PIX11.

RHP Matt Harvey (12.1 IP, 7.30 ERA) will make his fifth start of the spring. Harvey gave up three runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings on Monday against the Detroit Tigers.

RHP Matt Wisler (12.1 IP, 5.84 ERA) will start for Atlanta.

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Feb 17, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) leaves the practice 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; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) leaves the practice field during spring training workouts at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

RHP Jacob deGrom is hoping to pitch 200 innings and make 35 starts this season, he said to reporters on Saturday after making a start against Mets minor leaguers.

"It's not easy to go out there and throw 200 innings -- I don't think anybody here has, not including playoffs," deGrom said. "So that's kind of the next thing for us, to get out there and make the 35 starts and get to that 200 mark." 

DeGrom's heaviest workload was in 2015, when he pitched 191 innings in the regular season before pitching 25 more innings during the postseason. He pitched 148 innings in 2016, posting a 3.04 ERA in 24 starts before his season was cut short due to ulnar nerve surgery.

So far this spring, deGrom has a 2.93 ERA and 17 strikeouts in four Grapefruit League starts.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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GEICO SportsNite: Mets vs Braves 00:02:38
Terry Collins reflects on Saturday's game against the Braves, Juan Lagares' injury and what it could mean for the team moving forward.

Rafael Montero went five scoreless innings in his first Grapefruit League start, but Juan Lagares had to leave in the third with an oblique strain as the Mets defeated Atlanta 3-0 in Kissimmee, Fla., Saturday.

For a full box score, click here.

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

Tags: Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, Rafael Montero
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Mar 14, 2017; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Mar 14, 2017; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Jacob deGrom did not allow an earned run and struck out five in a minor league outing Saturday morning in Port St. Lucie.

 "Honestly, I think I feel better than I felt at any point last year," deGrom, who threw 77 pitches, told reporters afterward. 

DeGrom, who allowed three hits, was 7-8 with a 3.04 ERA last season before ending his season Sept. 1. He had surgery to reposition the ulnar nerve in his right elbow on Sept 21.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Rafael Montero makes his first start of the spring today against the Braves. (David Kohl)
Rafael Montero makes his first start of the spring today against the Braves. (David Kohl)

Rafael Montero will make his first Grapefruit League start today against the Braves. Montero has made eight relief appearances and is 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA (four earned runs in 13.1 innings).

Former Met R.A. Dickey will start for Atlanta. He's 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA in four starts in 15 innings, having given up three homers and eight walks with eight strikeouts.

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First baseman's view of practice 00:02:14
SNY.tv hooked up Mets prospect Dominic Smith with a camera to see infield practice through the first baseman's eyes.

SNY.tv hooked up Mets prospect Dominic Smith with a camera to see a live infield practice session through the first baseman's eyes.

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 (Orlin Wagne/AP)
(Orlin Wagne/AP)

The Astros stole four bases Friday with Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard on the mound and Travis d'Arnaud behind the plate.

Astros center fielder Derek Fisher, who averaged a stolen base every three games during his minor-league career, swiped three bags against Syndergaard and d'Arnaud...

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Rene Rivera, Travis d'Arnaud
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Post Game Extra: Mets lose 00:02:45
Gary Apple and Ron Darling break down the Mets' 2-0 loss to the Houston Astros.

Noah Syndergaard allowed one run in six innings as the Mets lost to the Astros, 2-0, on Friday afternoon at First Data Field in St. Lucie.

For a full box score of the game, click here.

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

1) Syndergaard was largely dominant, striking out five batters while allowing four hits and walking none. His ERA for the spring is 2.63. 

Tags: Addison Reed, Noah Syndergaard, Travis d'Arnaud
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Lennon and McAnaney on Reyes 00:01:11
David Lennon and Eamon McAnaney talk about the expectations for Jose Reyes heading into the 2017 season.

Mets infielder Jose Reyes is confident he can steal 30 bases this season, he told Newsday's David Lennon after returning from the World Baseball Classic.

"Terry [Collins] knows that I'm not going to be running out there crazy like I used to," Reyes explained. "I know the kind of lineup that we have. When I go, I need to make sure that I'm going to make it. My body feels good. I've got the green light, but I don't want to be giving away outs. It's not going to happen that way."

Reyes is expected to hit leadoff and start at third base in David Wright's absence. The last time he stole 30 bases was in 2014 when playing for the Blue Jays...

Tags: Jose Reyes
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Noah Syndergaard will be making his fourth Grapefruit League start. In 7.2 innings this spring, Syndergaard has allowed three runs and seven hits with four walks and six strikeouts.

It's possible today is his final start of the spring depending on how the Mets handle his last week of preperation for Opening Day.

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Mar 13, 2017; Asdrubal Cabrera (left) celebrates with Jay Bruce (right) after hitting a home run at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2017; Asdrubal Cabrera (left) celebrates with Jay Bruce (right) after hitting a home run at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Despite using the same lineup Wednesday and Thursday, save for Kevin Plawecki being in for Travis d'Arnaud on Thursday, Terry Collins said he has not yet committed to a set order, though he hopes to by Opening Day...

"I don't know what it's going to be right now, I really don't," he insisted after Thursday's game. "We'll decide night to night, who we are facing and who fits where. ... Right now, I have no idea what the lineup is going to be."

The lineup he used earlier this week, which drew praise from fans and media, looked as follows, with the catcher hitting eighth in front of the pitcher...

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Lugo on WBC Experience 00:01:30
Seth Lugo describes his experience in the World Baseball Classic and how it helped prepare him for the 2017 season.

Where will Zack Wheeler start 2017?

Mets GM Sandy Alderson suggested Thursday that Zack Wheeler could still make the Opening Day roster as a relief pitcher, though he will not be used in a traditional bullpen role.

"You have to put bullpen in quotes," Alderson said, qualifying his statement, according to Newsday. "Is it a traditional bullpen role? Or, a less traditional bullpen role?"

Alderson said earlier this spring that Wheeler will not be allowed to throw more than 125 innings this season since it will be the pitcher's first full year back after having Tommy John surgery in 2015.

This past off-season, I heard the team had been considering having Wheeler piggyback starts made by - I assume - Matt Harvey and Steven Matz, who are most likely to throw the fewest innings per start.

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First baseman's view of practice 00:02:14
SNY.tv hooked up Mets prospect Dominic Smith with a camera to see infield practice through the first baseman's eyes.

Mets 1B prospect Dominic Smith spent four weeks in big-league camp this spring, during which he hit .194 with a .324 OBP and four RBI in 31 at-bats in 18 Grapefruit League games.

He is widely considered the organization's second-best prospect.

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Gsellman vs. Lugo for final spot 00:08:09
The Mets Talk Live panel discusses Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo as the competition picks up to be named the Mets' fifth starter.

SNY's Mets Talk Live panel discusses Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo as the competition picks up to be named the Mets' fifth starter.

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GEICO SportsNite: Citi Field 00:01:39
GEICO SportsNite takes a look at the new amenities at Citi Field for the upcoming 2017 season.

The Mets (12-15) face the Astros (11-12) today from First Data Field at 1 p.m. ET.

The game can be seen live on SNY and heard on 710AM WOR radio. 

RHP Noah Syndergaard (7 2/3 IP, 3.52 ERA) will make his fourth Grapefruit League start. It could be his final start of the spring depending on how the team intends to handle his last week of preperation for Opening Day, April 3, when he's slated to start against the Braves at Citi Field.

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Cabrera on game ejection 00:01:08
Asdrubal Cabrera explains his argument with umpire Angel Hernandez that resulted in an ejection from Thursday's game.

Mets SS Asdrubal Cabrera was ejected by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez during Thursday's 1-0 loss to the Nationals in West Palm Beach, FL.

Cabrera was irritated after asking for a time out during his at-bat, which was not being granted by Hernandez. On the next pitch, Cabrera lined a single to center field. Running to first base, he glanced back at Hernandez, who ejected him after Cabrera arrived to first base.

"I've never seen that before," Cabrera said when asked about that kind of confrontation with an umpire during Spring Training...

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera
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GEICO SportsNite: Mets lose 00:00:52
Robert Gsellman and manager Terry Collins speak to reporters following the Mets' 1-0 loss to Washington on Thursday.

Robert Gsellman allowed one run (unearned) in 5 1/3 innings as the Mets lost to the Nationals, 1-0, on Thursday afternoon in West Palm Beach, FL.

For a full box score of the game, click here.

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

1) Gsellman allowed four hits while striking out two and walking two. He has a 1.56 ERA this spring.

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Hansel Robles, Robert Gsellman
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Remember when Citi invited Mets fans to vote for their favorite The7Line t-shirt design?

Well, after a close vote on Facebook, Mets fans have chosen their favorite new t-shirt!

At the team's "What's New at Citi Field" event, Mr. Met and the Citi Perk Patrol unveiled this new t-shirt designed by The 7 Line. However, this shirt will not be for sale - you can ONLY get one by catching it from the Citi Perk Patrol during the in-game t-shirt launch this season at Citi Field.
 
We can't wait to try to catch one! Can you?

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Granderson's second home run 00:00:50
Curtis Granderson ties the game at nine with a two-run homer to right field, his second long ball of the game.

Curtis Granderson started in center field and hit two home runs batting cleanup Wednesday against the Marlins at First Data Field in St. Lucie, Fla.

"We're a power hitting team," Terry Collins said after the game, during which he hit Neil Walker fifth, followed by Jay Bruce and by Lucas Duda. "You are looking at guys in the six, seven and eight (spots in the lineup) (who) have a chance to hit the ball out of the ballpark."

In 100 plate appearances batting fourth in 2016, Granderson hit .351 with six home runs and 18 RBI, but hit just .218 batting leadoff.

Tags: Curtis Granderson
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Robert Gsellman will make his fifth appearance of the spring as he continues to make his case for being the team's fifth starter in 2017. In 12 innings this spring, Gsellman has allowed three runs and 11 hits, while striking out seven batters and walking two. 



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Takeaways from Wheeler and Matz 00:07:37
Mets Talk Live reflects on the recent spring outings of Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz.

Zack Wheeler threw 66 pitches in three innings Wednesday against the Marlins, during which he allowed four runs and four hits and walked three batters.

In his previous outing he allowed two runs, three hits and hit 97 mph with his fastball.

"We won't make any decisions until we get down to the last week," Terry Collins said after the game, when asked if Wheeler will be on the Opening Day roster. "His arm strength is there, he feels good, it's a matter of getting him out there."

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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Mets Talk Live talks deep bench 00:04:23
The Mets Talk Live crew examines the team's depth and the competition for a number of roles this spring.

Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo is still not running, according to Matt Ehalt of The Record.

Nimmo's recovery was set back a few more days after bothering his hamstring again Friday during running drills, he told reporters on Saturday.

The young outfielder was running at 90 percent last Thursday, and there was a belief that he could potentially play the field on Saturday before he re-aggravated the injury, reported Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News.

Nimmo originally injured the hamstring two weekends ago playing for Italy in the World Baseball Classic. The team's manager, Marco Mazzieri, initially told the NY Times that it was believed to be a Grade 1 strain, which would likely force Nimmo to be sidelined for at least a few weeks. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo
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What's on tap for Thursday

The Mets travel to face the Nationals at 1:05 p.m. RHP Robert Gsellman (12 IP, 2.25 ERA) is slated to face off against RHP Erick Fedde (8.2 IP, 5.19 ERA).

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Post Game Extra: Mets lose 00:03:31
Gary Apple, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez break down the Mets' loss to the Miami Marlins on Wednesday.

Curtis Granderson homered twice and drove in five runs, but the Mets fell to the Marlins, 15-9, on Wednesday at First Data Field.

For a full box score of the game, click here.

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

1) Steven Matz allowed five runs on eight hits and a walk with one strikeout in four innings.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler
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Mar 22, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports (Gary A. Vasquez)
Mar 22, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports (Gary A. Vasquez)

Mets RHP Seth Lugo gave up four runs and five hits, while striking out seven, in four innings Wednesday for Puerto Rico, who lost, 8-0, to the United States in the World Baseball Classic finals.

Tags: Seth Lugo
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June 05, 2011; Flushing, NY, USA; The New York Mets logo behind home plate before a game against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. The Mets defeated the Braves 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Andrew B. Fielding-USA TODAY Sports (Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports)
June 05, 2011; Flushing, NY, USA; The New York Mets logo behind home plate before a game against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. The Mets defeated the Braves 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Andrew B. Fielding-USA TODAY Sports (Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Mets player and manager Dallas Green passed away Wednesday at the age of 82.

Green made five appearances for the Mets in 1966. He managed the club from 1993-1996, taking over for Jeff Torborg during the season. He was fired and replaced by Bobby Valentine late in the 1996 season. 

He also managed the Yankees in 1989 and the Phillies from 1979-1981, leading the franchise to its first World Series crown in 1980.

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Feb 24, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) looks on from the dugout during the first inning at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 24, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) looks on from the dugout during the first inning at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

By tomorrow morning, the Mets will have just eight Grapefruit League games left before starting the 2017 season April 3 against the Braves at Citi Field.

"It's crunch time," Terry Collins stated Monday, when asked about the remaining schedule and decisions facing the team during their final two weeks in Florida.

Here's what has to be decided before April 3...

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Steven Matz is making his fourth Grapefruit League start. In 8.2 innings this spring, he's allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits, while striking out six batters.

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Mar 8, 2017; Jupiter, FL, USA; Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker (12) walks towards the dugout before a spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 8, 2017; Jupiter, FL, USA; Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker (12) walks towards the dugout before a spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals failed to acquire a closer this past winter, and they've seemingly made no steps toward resolving the issue this spring training.

"We haven't really discussed it at any length," the team's manager Dusty Baker recently told the Washington Post's Chelsea Janes.

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View of the sunset as New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies play in the second inning at Citi Field. (Noah K. Murray)
View of the sunset as New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies play in the second inning at Citi Field. (Noah K. Murray)

The Mets will take on their Triple-A affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s, at First Data Field on March 30 before departing Port St. Lucie for New York.

The following day, the Mets will welcome the Army Black Knights to Citi Field for an exhibition match at 1:10 p.m. The teams will play a seven-inning game and parking at Citi Field will be free. 

General admission tickets for Field Level seating are $10 and net proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Mets Foundation. All active and retired military members with military identification will be allowed to attend the game along with one guest for free.

The game against Army was scheduled to take place at West Point, but was moved to Citi Field this morning due to last week's snowstorm.

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Feb 27, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) at bat against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 27, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) at bat against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

In the NY Times, James Wagner talks with Jay Bruce about his new-found use of advanced to statistics thanks to the team's head of research and development T.J. Barra >> Read more!

"I don't live and die by it, but there are definitely numbers out there that tell a story," Bruce told Wagner. "I'm a game changer offensively and I want to do that as much as I can."

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Infielder Gavin Cecchini is ranked as the Mets third-best prospects.
Infielder Gavin Cecchini is ranked as the Mets third-best prospects.

The Mets today announced that RHP Ben Rowen and Erik Goeddel, outfielder Travis Taijeron and infielders Gavin Cecchini and Matt Reynolds have been reassigned to minor league camp.

Rowen, Goeddel, Taijeron, Cecchini and Reynolds are all expected to begin the 2017 season playing for Triple-A Las Vegas.

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MTL on rookie pranks tradition 00:02:42
The Mets Talk Live crew talks about the tradition of rookie pranks in baseball.

What's on tap for Wednesday

The Mets were off Tuesday. They return to Grapefruit League action today in St. Lucie where they'll host the Marlins at 1:10 pm.

According to the team's website, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler are both scheduled to pitch. However, the last time this situation occured, the Mets pushed Wheeler back a day so he could start instead of entering a game in relief.

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Travid d'Arnaud throwing issues 00:03:42
The guys from Mets Talk Live discuss Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud and his struggles with throwing out base runners.

With a left-handed batter in the box Sunday, Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud sailed a ball in to left field while intending to throw out Dee Gordon attempting to steal third base.

The error resulted in a renewed discussion in print, on Twitter and on air about d'Arnaud's arm strength and accuracy, which is something he says he's been working to improve this spring.

In 2016, d'Arnaud caught just 22 percent of runners attempting to steal a base against the Mets. This spring, seven of eight runners have successfully stolen a base with him behind the plate...

Tags: Travis d'Arnaud
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SI's NL predictions 00:04:35
The Mets Talk Live crew on Sports Illustrated's prediction that the Cubs will defeat the Mets in the National League Division Series.

Sports Illustrated made its annual Major League Baseball predictions, picking the Mets to lose to the Cubs in the NLDS.

SI has the Mets beating the Giants in the Wild Card game before losing to Chicago.

The magazine picks the Nationals to win the NL East before losing to the Dodgers in the NLDS...

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Mets minor-league OF Kevin Kaczmarski parked his car Monday in Jacob deGrom's spot in the player parking lot at First Data Field.

In response, deGrom closed up Kaczmarski's entire car in shrink wrap, an image of which was later posted to Twitter by their teammate, reliever Josh Smoker...

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Mar 20, 2017; Salas (59) throws to first during a spring game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Credit: Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 20, 2017; Salas (59) throws to first during a spring game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Credit: Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Mets reliever Fernando Salas made his first Grapefruit League appearance Monday.

He gave up one hit and threw a wild pitch, but retired the final two batters he faced during his two-thirds of an inning.

"It's good to get him back and out there," manager Terry Collins said. "He's going to get a bunch of work here in the next 10 days."

Salas missed all of the team's workouts due to a visa issue that kept him in Mexico. However, while home, he was able to pitch one inning during the World Baseball Classic.

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First day of spring 00:03:20
The guys from Mets Talk Live play a lighthearted game to celebrate the first day of spring.

What's on tap for Tuesday

The Mets are off today. They return to Grapefruit League action Wednesday in St. Lucie where they'll host the Marlins at 1:10 pm.

According to the team's website, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler are both scheduled to pitch. However, the last time this situation occured, the Mets pushed Wheeler back a day so he could start instead of entering a game in relief.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jeurys Familia 00:00:21
Jeurys Familia returns to Mets camp following the Dominican Republic's exit from the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Mets closer Jeurys Familia returned to St. Lucie on Monday after throwing 3 1/3 scoreless innings across four appearances for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

Now that Familia is back in camp, MLB is expected to soon announce whether he will be suspended for being accused of domestic violence last October.

Tags: Jeurys Familia
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GEICO SportsNite: Matt Harvey 00:01:59
Matt Harvey discusses his latest Spring Training outing against Detroit.

Matt Harvey allowed three runs and seven hits, while striking out four batters and walking none, in 4 1/3 innings Monday against the Tigers.

"I kind of looked up and realized how many pitches I had, and it's been a long time since I've gone into the fifth inning," Harvey said after the game. "Overall, I'm excited."

Harvey is expected to make at least one more Grapefruit League start before transitioning toward preparation for his season debut against the Braves in April.

Tags: Matt Harvey
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 (Jasen Vinlove)
(Jasen Vinlove)

Matt Harvey allowed three runs in 4 1/3 innings while reaching 96 MPH with his fastball as the Mets lost the Tigers, 5-1, on Monday afternoon in Lakeland, FL.

For a full box score of the game, click here.

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

1) Harvey allowed seven hits, struck out four, and walked none during his start. His fastball sat between 92 and 94 MPH for the first few innings before reaching 96 MPH in the third inning.

2) RH reliever Fernando Salas, who had been dealing with a visa issue, allowed one hit and struck out one in 0.2 innings during what was his Grapefruit League debut.

Tags: Matt Harvey, Wilmer Flores
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Mar 1, 2017; Flores (4) chats with fans before a game at Roger Dean Stadium. Credit: Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2017; Flores (4) chats with fans before a game at Roger Dean Stadium. Credit: Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Mets infielder Wilmer Flores told reporters this past weekend that he's dissatisfied with being a bench player, but will do whatever is asked of him by Terry Collins to help the team win.

"It's going to be hard if you don't play for three days and then have to go out there and do your thing," Flores said, when asked about his likely role in 2017. "I know I can play in the big leagues. I know I can play every day, but it's not my choice when it comes to making the lineup."

Terry Collins said Friday that Flores will get time playing all four infield positions this season, plus see consistent at-bats against left-handed starting pitchers.

"You don't have to like it, but you have to accept it and be ready to play," Collins concluded.

Tags: Wilmer Flores
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 (Steve Mitchell)
(Steve Mitchell)

Mets OF prospect Tim Tebow will open the season with the Mets' Low-A affiliate, the Columbia Fireflies.

"Sending him to a full season club is what we hoped to be able to do," Mets GM Sandy Alderson told Newsday. "And based on what he's done in spring training, and his whole body of work since last fall, we feel comfortable with him going to Columbia."

"We were concerned that it might be a stretch at some point, or could be a stretch," Alderson continued. "But what he's done in spring training has convinced us that this is where he should go. And he's prepared for it."

Alderson also said it's a "bogus argument" to claim that Tebow is taking the spot of someone more deserving...

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Feb 24, 2017; Montero (50) throws a pitch at JetBlue Park. Credit: Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 24, 2017; Montero (50) throws a pitch at JetBlue Park. Credit: Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mets reliever Rafael Montero pitched two scoreless innings this past weekend against the Marlins, allowing a pair of hits, while striking out three batters and walking no one.

"He's locating his pitches, that he hasn't done in the past," manager Terry Collins said, speaking about the difference in Montero's game this spring. "He works the edges of the plate, and this year he's catching those edges. He's starting to show us things we know he's got."

Tags: Rafael Montero
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Matt Harvey is making his fourth Grapefruit League start. In his first eight innings, he's allowed nine runs (seven earned) and 11 hits, while striking out eight batters.

Josh Smoker, who is competing for a spot in the Opening Day bullpen, is scheduled to pitch in relief. He has given up only one run and five hits in 9.1 innings this spring to go with nine strikeouts.

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Mets pitchers Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler, all of whom are competing for a spot on the roster (Photo Credit: USA today Sports Images)
Mets pitchers Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler, all of whom are competing for a spot on the roster (Photo Credit: USA today Sports Images)

Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz are a lock to be in the team's starting rotation when it begins their 2017 season in exactly two weeks...

Matt Harvey should be a lock, but has struggled this spring after last year's season-ending surgery to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. I expect he'll make the Opening Day roster, though I do think there's a small chance he stays back in St. Lucie where he'd begin the season in extended spring training and on the disabled list.

Meanwhile, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and Zack Wheeler have all pitched well enough to be considered for the rotation's final spot.

"It's a great problem to have," Terry Collins said Sunday. "We came into this camp knowing we had depth in the rotation. ... They have stepped up and showed us we weren't wrong."

Tags: Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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