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 fans are eagerly awaiting the arrival of SS prospect Amed Rosario and 1B prospect Dominic Smith, both knocking on the door while playing for Triple-A Las Vegas.

Beyond Rosario and Smith are lots of other prospects who are a bit further away but whose potential is high. Here are five of them...


1.) LHP Thomas Szapucki, Low-A Columbia Fireflies

The 21-year-old Szapucki, the Mets' eighth-best prospect according to Baseball America, has a 2.82 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with 21 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings this season for the Fireflies. He was the Mets' 5th round selection (149th overall) in the 2015 Draft.

2.) SS Luis Guillorme, Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies

Guillorme, 22, is hitting .289 with a .352 OBP in 67 games this season for the Rumble Ponies. Viewed as the best defensive player in the Mets' system and perhaps the best defensive player the team has developed since Rey Ordonez, Guillorme wowed fans during spring training with his one-handed bat catch.

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Mets LHP Thomas Szapucki pitches against the Staten Island Yankees (BrooklynBaseballBanter.com)
Mets LHP Thomas Szapucki pitches against the Staten Island Yankees (BrooklynBaseballBanter.com)

Mets LHP prospect Thomas Szapucki missed the start of this season with a left shoulder impingement, but has since made three straight quality starts with Low-A Columbia.

In his most recent outing, Szapucki struck out 10 batters through six scoreless innings, while giving up just two hits and walking two batters.

Szapucki appeared on multiple top prospects lists this past winter, as well as 60th on ESPN.com's Keith Law annual overall rankings.

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Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)
Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)

At 34-41 and nine games back of a playoff spot, the Mets are reportedly open to discussing trades for their veteran players who have expiring contracts.

"It's the business of baseball, any of us could get traded today," Mets OF Jay Bruce said Sunday, according to the Bergen Record.

Bruce, as well as Lucas Duda, Addison Reed, Curtis Granderson, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Reyes, and Jerry Blevins, are all eligible to be free agents at the end of this season...

Tags: Jay Bruce
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Figueroa talks MiLB prospects 00:02:55
Nelson Figueroa joins Daily News Live from MCU Park to preview the Brooklyn Cyclones' final game of their series against Hudson Valley

The Mets have won three games in a row, and four of their last seven. 

With 87 games to play, they recently improved to be nine games back of a Wild Card spot thanks in large part to the Rockies losing six in a row.

What's Next...

The Mets begin a three-game series tonight in Miami against the Marlins at 7:10 pm ET. Robert Gsellman (5-5, 6.04 ERA) will start for the Mets opposite Dan Straily (5-4, 3.43 ERA).

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This season, Verizon customers can enter to win unique baseball experiences to every Tuesday Night Baseball home game... all you need is a current Verizon Wireless or Verizon Fios account!

It's better baseball from the Better Network.

To enter, go to SNY.TV/VERIZON or click here for more information...

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Jun 21, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins reacts during a MLB baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers defeated the Mets 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jun 21, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins reacts during a MLB baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers defeated the Mets 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

The Mets are doing it again, aren't they? By winning three in a row, despite still being significantly below .500 and a mile back from a postseason spot, they've got me running scenarios again and wondering what it will take for them to get back in a playoff race.

And, of course, I'm taking the bait. Because, as the Mets swept the Giants, the Rockies -- who lead for the second Wild Card -- lost five in a row.

I know, I know, the Mets beat up on the Giants, who have lost nine of their last 10, are the second worst team in the NL, and more or less a total mess and shadow of the team that beat the Mets in the Wild Card game last October...

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JRSportBrief: Mets must sell! 00:01:40
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR discusses why the Mets should start selling some of their best assets.

The Mets are open to discussing trades for their pending free agents, but the market could prove to be difficult, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney.

Jay Bruce, Addison Reed, Curtis GrandersonAsdrubal CabreraLucas Duda, Jerry Blevins and Neil Walker are all eligible to be a free agents at the end of this season. However, according to Olney, since most of this year's contending teams do not have a major need for position players, it may be difficult for Sandy Alderson to find worthwhile trading partners this summer.

For instance, the Dodgers, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Astros, and Cubs are likely to prioritize pitching in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. And while a few teams have weaknesses in the field, their holes are very particular, such as the Red Sox needing a third baseman.

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Hello Jerry 00:04:55
Mets reliever Jerry Blevins answers non-baseball questions from fans on the latest edition of "Hello Jerry".

According to FoxSport.com's Ken Rosenthal, among the team's pending free agents, Mets LHP reliever Jerry Blevins is the least likely to be traded.

Blevins, 33, is earning $5.5 million this season. The Mets hold a $7 million club option for 2018 or can make him a free agent by paying a $1 million buyout.

In 38 appearances this season, he is 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA (2.66 FIP), while holding left-handed hitters to a .113 average.

Tags: Jerry Blevins
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Jeep Pitchcast: Rafael Montero 00:00:27
Jeep Pitchcast highlights Rafael Montero's great outing and changeup against the Giants.

Jeep Pitchcast highlights Rafael Montero's great outing and changeup against the Giants. 

"There's no giveaway with the motion," SNY's Keith Hernandez explained about one of the things that made Montero's changeup effective.

Tags: Rafael Montero
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Take your vacation to the next level at Universal Orlando Resort's three amazing theme parks. Immerse yourself in the next generation of blockbuster entertainment at Universal Studios Florida™. Journey through the legendary worlds of incredible heroes at Universal's Islands of Adventure™.

Enjoy the thrills and relaxation of a tropical paradise like no other at the all-new Universal's Volcano Bay™ water theme park (now open!). With three exciting theme parks, five spectacular on-site hotels offering a range of accommodations, and the dining and entertainment of CityWalk™, it's days and nights of endless fun for every member of the family. Vacation beyond anything you've experienced before at Universal Orlando Resort.

You could win a 3-night trip for four to experience it all for yourself, including:

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New York Mets starting pitcher Rafael Montero pitches to the San Francisco Giants in the first inning at AT&T Park. (Andrew Villa/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Rafael Montero pitches to the San Francisco Giants in the first inning at AT&T Park. (Andrew Villa/USA TODAY Sports)

Mets RHP Rafael Montero earned his first major-league win since 2014 by allowing just one run in 5 2/3 innings of work during Sunday's 8-2 win against Giants at AT&T Park.

Making his third start of the season, Montero struck out a season-high seven batters and allowed one run and five hits in his best outing of the year. He had pitched in relief during seven of his previous eight appearances.

"You've got to get some confidence back and it all starts from the way we pitched," manager Terry Collins said after the game, speaking about Montero.

Tags: Rafael Montero, San Francisco Giants
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Collins and Montero discuss win 00:04:13
Mets manager Terry Collins and starting pitcher Rafael Montero discuss what went well for Montero and Rene Rivera's big day at the plate.

The Mets, who begin a series in Miami tonight, swept the Giants this past weekend in San Francisco to move to seven games below .500. However, they remain 11 games behind the Nationals in the NL East and 10 losses back of a Wild Card spot.

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Hello Jerry 00:04:55
Mets reliever Jerry Blevins answers non-baseball questions from fans on the latest edition of "Hello Jerry".

Mets LHP Jerry Blevins answers non-baseball questions from fans on the latest edition of 'Hello Jerry.'

Tags: Jerry Blevins
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New York Mets catcher Rene Rivera hits a ball against the San Francisco Giants in the fifth inning at AT&T Park. (Andrew Villa/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets catcher Rene Rivera hits a ball against the San Francisco Giants in the fifth inning at AT&T Park. (Andrew Villa/USA TODAY Sports)

Rene Rivera hit two of the Mets' four home runs as their month-long power surge continued in Sunday's 8-2 win over the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.

Jay Bruce hit his 20th home run of the season and Curtis Granderson added a solo home run that gave the Mets 46 home runs in June, the franchise's most in a month.

Rivera, who didn't record a multi-hit game since May 9, hit a two-run home run off Matt Moore in the second inning that gave the Mets a 3-0 lead, then made it 4-1 with a solo home run in the fourth inning, as New York won its third straight game following a four-game losing streak.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Rene Rivera, San Francisco Giants
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New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Dodger Stadium. (Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Dodger Stadium. (Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets expect RHP Zack Wheeler to make his return from the 10-day disabled list on Friday against the Philadelphia Phillies, according to the New York Daily News' Kristie Ackert.

Wheeler, who was placed on the DL with biceps tendonitis on June 21, threw 72 pitches at 95 to 100 percent in a bullpen session on Sunday, pitching coach Dan Warthen told Ackert.

"He threw well," Warthen said. "The ball came out good."

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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Cadillac Post Game Extra: 6/25 00:03:55
Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez break down the Mets' 8-2 win over the San Francisco Giants.

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

Things you should know about today's game...

1) Rafael Montero allowed one run over 5 2/3 innings to win for the first time since Sept. 10, 2014. The right-hander surrendered five hits and two walks with a season-high seven strikeouts to win his second big league game.

2) Rene Rivera hit two of the Mets' four homers and drove in three runs. Jay Bruce launched his 20th of the season, a two-run shot in the eighth, and had three RBIs. Curtis Granderson slugged his 10th of the year in the top of the ninth and finished 2-for-3 with three walks.

Tags: Rafael Montero, Rene Rivera
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New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto looks on during batting practice before playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto looks on during batting practice before playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)

The Mets announced X-rays on outfielder Michael Conforto's left hand came back negative after he was hit by a pitch in Sunday's game against the San Francisco Giants.

Conforto left the game before the bottom of the sixth inning after he suffered a left hand contusion when he was hit on the wrist by a Matt Moore pitch in the top of the fifth.

"Once we did some tests out there after it happened, I kind of realized that it was probably not broken, it was probably OK," Conforto said, according to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo. "[Trainer] Ray [Ramirez] told me that he just wanted to be sure that there was nothing going on in there, that he just wanted to play it safe and get an X-ray and make sure."

Tags: Michael Conforto
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In this week's Meet the MetsCast, MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone, comedian Steve Hofstetter and SiriusXM's Rob Brender answer questions about the rest of this season, including...

  • Will Terry Collins be let go before the start of 2018?
  • Is Sandy Alderson returning after this season?
  • When should the Mets call up Rosario and Smith?
  • Is anyone on this team worth trading?
  • Why did the Mets give up on Justin Turner?
  • If you were a free agent, would you sign with the Mets?

To listen to the show, click play below or use this link to download...

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GEICO SportsNite: Tebow promoted 00:00:51
Sandy Alderson discusses Mets minor leaguer and former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow being promoted to St. Lucie (Advanced A) on Sunday.

Tim Tebow has been promoted by the Mets from Low-A Columbia to High-A St. Lucie. 

Tebow, 29, is batting .222/.311/.340 with three home runs and 23 RBIs in 63 games played this season for Columbia.

"His last two or three weeks trended pretty well and given all the other circumstances, age and so forth, we felt this was the right time to promote him," general manager Sandy Alderson said of Tebow's promotion. "I think we're pleased with [Tebow's] first half of the season. It's not like he's tearing up the league, but at the same time all indications are positive in terms of various things that we look at, in terms of chase rates, exit velocity."

The former Heisman trophy winner is in the midst of his first season playing professional baseball after spending three years in the NFL. 

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 (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)
(Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)

The Mets (33-41) wrap up their three-game series against the San Francisco Giants (27-50) at AT&T Park on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. on SNY. 

The Mets have won the first two games of the series,with Jacob deGrom's eight strong innings highlighting Saturday night's win.

Who is starting today for the Mets?

RHP Rafael Montero (6.49 ERA, 2.09 WHIP), who has allowed one run on three hits with two walks and eight strikeouts spanning 6 2/3 innings over his last two appearances, both of which have come in relief.

Tags: Rafael Montero
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Mets Insider preview 00:01:17
With the New York Mets in the midst of a challenging season, Mets Insider looks at the enduring belief of the team and its fans.

With the New York Mets in the midst of a challenging season, Mets Insider looks at the enduring belief of the team and its fans.

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Jun 24, 2017; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the seventh inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports (Neville E. Guard)
Jun 24, 2017; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the seventh inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports (Neville E. Guard)

Jacob deGrom limited the San Francisco Giants to just one run in eight strong innings of work in the Mets' 5-2 win on Saturday to pick up his seventh win of the season.

DeGrom allowed just four hits, struck out seven batters, and only needed 101 pitches to complete eight innings. San Francisco's lone run off deGrom came on Brandon Belt's solo home run in the seventh inning.

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Jun 24, 2017; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) and right fielder Curtis Granderson (3) and right fielder Jay Bruce (19) celebrate after the end of the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports (Neville E. Guard)
Jun 24, 2017; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) and right fielder Curtis Granderson (3) and right fielder Jay Bruce (19) celebrate after the end of the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports (Neville E. Guard)

The Mets have now won two straight games after losing seven of their last eight. The Washington Nationals have also won their last two games and maintain a 12 game lead in the NL East.

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Collins, Bruce, deGrom on win 00:06:26
Mets manager Terry Collins, outfielder Jay Bruce and pitcher Jacob deGrom react to the Mets' 5-2 win in San Francisco.

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

Things you should know about tonight's game...

1) Jacob deGrom allowed one run, four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in eight innings to notch his seventh win of the season. The right-hander became the first Mets starter to complete eight innings in three consecutive starts since Johan Santana in 2010. DeGrom also singled in three at-bats to raise his average to .294.

2) Jay Bruce's RBI single snapped a 1-1 tie in the top of the eighth to plate Curtis Granderson, who led off the inning with a triple. Wilmer Flores added a two-out run-scoring double to extend the Mets' lead to 3-1 with his second RBI of the day, and Michael Conforto's pinch-hit RBI single scored Jose Reyes, who led off the ninth with triple. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Wilmer Flores
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Mets ace Jacob deGrom throws a pitch at Citi Field. Credit. Frank Franklin II. Associated Press
Mets ace Jacob deGrom throws a pitch at Citi Field. Credit. Frank Franklin II. Associated Press

The Mets (32-41) play the first game of a weekend series against the San Francisco Giants (27-49) at AT&T Park on Saturday at 7 p.m. on FOX. 

New York is coming off an 11-4 victory over the Giants to snap their four-game losing streak. Seth Lugo pitched 5 2/3 innings allowing four runs and the much-maligned bullpen held San Francisco scoreless for the final 3 1/3 innings. Yoesnis Cespedes drove in three runs and hit hits ninth home run of the season while Lucas Duda hit his 13th on the year. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Jun 23, 2017; The Mets celebrate after winning at AT&T Park. Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 23, 2017; The Mets celebrate after winning at AT&T Park. Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

If veteran Mets want to remain with the club beyond the July 31 trade deadline -- and we now know where Asdrubal Cabrera stands on that issue -- they're officially on the clock to turn the season around, Sandy Alderson all but acknowledged Friday.

"We have to be realistic about where we are in the division race, realistic about where we are in the wild card," Alderson told reporters before the Mets produced 20 hits and beat the Giants, 11-4.

If the Mets want inspiration, they can look to their 2015 World Series opponent.

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Mets are sellers 00:05:05
Jon Hein and Dan Graca react to the news that the Mets are making Curtis Granderson, Addison Reed, Jay Bruce and Asdrubal Cabrera available.

One constant at the trade deadline is that pitching is always in demand. Contenders looking to plug rotation holes and bolster bullpens offer far more valuable packages in July than in January. The Mets don't have an especially deep cache of arms to offer up, but there are a few names to watch for.

Addison Reed has largely righted his ship after a difficult start to 2017 and now has a 2.59 ERA dating back to 2015. His 4.89 strikeouts-to-walks ratio is the 10th best in baseball over the span and his 2.58 FIP is 13th best.

He has never been in the top tier of relief aces alongside such names as Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, but he has been surprisingly close. As a pending free agent capable of setting up or closing, he should garner plenty of interest from contenders with weak bullpens, such as, unfortunately, the Nationals...

Tags: Addison Reed, Jerry Blevins, Maggie Wiggin
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Jun 23, 2017; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson (3) is congratulated by third baseman Wilmer Flores (4) after scoring against the San Francisco Giants during the sixth inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports (Neville E. Guard)
Jun 23, 2017; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson (3) is congratulated by third baseman Wilmer Flores (4) after scoring against the San Francisco Giants during the sixth inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports (Neville E. Guard)

The Mets tallied 20 hits, two home runs, and seven doubles in an 11-run effort on Friday in San Francisco.

New York's offense immediately came alive with three hits in the first inning, and Wilmer Flores' RBI single yielded the team's first run. In the second inning, the Mets broke out and scored six runs -- including Yoenis Cespedes' two-out, two-run home run to extend New York's lead to 5-1.

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Jose Reyes, Lucas Duda, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes
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Lugo overcame all odds 00:02:13
SNY profiles starting pitcher Seth Lugo and his journey from being selected in the 34th round of the 2011 draft to starting for the Mets.

SNY profiles Mets starting pitcher Seth Lugo, from being selected in the 34th round of the 2011 draft to starting for the 2017 Mets.

Tune in to Mets Insider on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on SNY to see more on Lugo and the Mets.

Tags: Seth Lugo
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Cadillac Post Game Extra 00:03:29
Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez break down the Mets' 11-4 win over the Giants on Friday night.

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

Things you should know about tonight's game...

1) The Mets scored seven times and collected 11 of their 20 hits in the first two innings. Yoenis Cespedes slugged a two-run homer in New York's six-run second, his eighth of the season, and Lucas Duda went deep for the 13th time with a solo shot in the seventh.

2) Asdrubal CabreraWilmer FloresMichael Conforto, Cespedes and Duda each collected three hits. Cespedes paced the Mets with three RBIs, while Flores, Conforto and Duda drove in two runs apiece. Curtis Granderson notched his third straight multi-hit game and added an RBI.

3) Seth Lugo allowed one run over the first five innings before surrendering three in the sixth. The right-hander was charged with four runs on seven hits and three walks with two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Lugo kicked off the Mets' six-run second with an RBI double. 

Tags: Seth Lugo, Yoenis Cespedes
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Seth Lugo in action against the San Francisco Giants during his start on Aug. 19, 2016. (AP)
Seth Lugo in action against the San Francisco Giants during his start on Aug. 19, 2016. (AP)

The Mets (31-41) play the first game of a weekend series against the San Franscisco Giants (27-48) at AT&T Park on Friday at 10:15 p.m. on SNY.

New York is coming off a 6-3 loss to the Dodgers on Thursday night in Los Angeles. The Mets have now lost four games in a row. Curtis Granderson homered to lead off the game for the second straight night, good for his ninth home run of the season. Granderson finished 2-for-4 with a walk.

Who is starting tonight for the Mets?

RHP Seth Lugo (1-1, 2.63 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) will make his third start of the season for the Mets. The 27-year-old took the loss in his last outing against the first-place Washington Nationals at Citi Field. He gave up four runs -- three earned -- in 6 2/3 innings pitched with five strikeouts and seven hits allowed.

Lugo is 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA in one career start at AT&T Park. He won his first start of the year against the Atlanta Braves on June 11, after coming off the disabled list with a right elbow injury. Lugo tossed seven innings of one-run ball in that outing. He's given up only two homers this season.

Tags: Seth Lugo
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Cabrera unhappy about position 00:03:36
Gary Apple and Jim Duquette react to Asdrubal Cabrera's recent comments regarding his unhappiness in being moved to second base.

Asdrubal Cabrera has asked his agent to help get him traded from the Mets, the infielder told reporters Friday.

"I'm not happy," Cabrera said. "I told them I am not happy."

Fresh off the 10-day disabled list, Cabrera is in the lineup at second base for the Mets' series opener in San Francisco, while Jose Reyes remains at shortstop. Manager Terry Collins had indicated Thursday that the Mets were considering keeping Reyes at shortstop even after Cabrera returned.

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Reyes
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Sep 16, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman Jose Reyes (7) celebrates his solo home run against the Minnesota Twins with shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (13) during the third inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 16, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman Jose Reyes (7) celebrates his solo home run against the Minnesota Twins with shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (13) during the third inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Mets have activated INF Asdrubal Cabrera (thumb) from the disabled list and optioned INF Gavin Cecchini to Triple-A Las Vegas.

The team is considering whether to put Cabrera at second base in order to keep Jose Reyes at shortstop, Terry Collins said Thursday, according to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo.

Cabrera injured his thumb in early June and is expected to return from the disabled list this weekend, Sandy Alderson said earlier this week.

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Gavin Cecchini, Jose Reyes
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Mets selling at the deadline 00:02:58
Jonas Schwartz, John Harper, Sal Licata and Willie Colon discuss the Mets' recent decision to become sellers at the trade deadline.

The Mets are ready to listen to trade offers for their pending free agents, such as Jay BruceAddison ReedCurtis Granderson, and Asdrubal Cabrerareports Buster Olney of ESPN.

The 31-41 Mets are 12.0 games behind the Nationals for first place in the N.L. East and 14.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot.

Bruce, Reed, and Granderson are all set to become free agents after the season.

Tags: Addison Reed, Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce
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Mets 1B Lucas Duda swings at a pitch during a game in 2017. Credit. Jason Getz. USA Today Images
Mets 1B Lucas Duda swings at a pitch during a game in 2017. Credit. Jason Getz. USA Today Images

The Mets have little to show for a largely atrocious season so far, but they do have one thing in great supply: pending free agents. The team will turn over half the starting lineup in the offseason, so expect trade rumors galore over the next six weeks.

GM Sandy Alderson has earned his reputation for generally getting value as a seller, so they could end up being one of the more active teams in baseball at the deadline.

So who should the Mets be looking to move? 

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Maggie Wiggin
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Oklahoma State Cowboys pitcher Trey Cobb (Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports)
Oklahoma State Cowboys pitcher Trey Cobb (Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets have signed third round draft pick, OF Quinn Brodey, for $500,000, reports Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.

The Mets signed four more draft picks from the 2017 First-Year Player Draft on Thursday:16th-round pick OF Raphael Gladu from Louisiana Tech, 20th-round pick RHP Yadiel Flores from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, 33rd-round pick RHP MacLeod Lozer from the University of Michigan, and 37th-round pick LHP Joshua Walker from the University of New Haven.  

The Mets signed 2nd round pick SS Mark Vientos on Tuesday.

They signed RHP Tony Dibrell from Kennesaw State and eighth-round pick RHP Trey Cobb from Oklahoma State on Sunday, along with the following players...

  • Sixth-round pick RHP Marcel Renteria from New Mexico State
  • Seventh-round pick RHP Connor O'Neil from Cal State Northridge
  • Ninth-round pick RHP Cannon Chadwick from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville
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Mets ace Jacob deGrom throws a pitch at Citi Field. Credit. Frank Franklin II. Associated Press
Mets ace Jacob deGrom throws a pitch at Citi Field. Credit. Frank Franklin II. Associated Press

The Astros are aiming high in their search for a starting pitcher, "and would love to add Mets ace Jacob deGrom," according to Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated.

The 48-24 Astros are leading the A.L. West by 12.5 games.

Meanwhile, deGrom has a 3.94 ERA (3.90 FIP) and 1.33 WHIP with 106 strikeouts -- a career-best 10.72 per nine innings -- in 89.0 innings (14 starts) this season. He is arbitration-eligible and under team control through 2020, after which he can file for free agency.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)
Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)

It seems reasonably likely this will be the final season that Terry Collins is manager of the Mets. Collins acknowledged after last season that if he felt health-wise this coming October like he did last October, he would hang it up. And given his team's woeful performance in 2017 -- even if a decimated roster is the primary culprit -- it seems probable the Mets would make a managerial switch during the offseason and portray it as Collins voluntarily stepping aside.

However, it's not just Collins who is in the final year of his current contract. Sandy Alderson's contract is set to expire after the season, too.

In recent years, Alderson has battled cancer and he turns 70 in November. So, if the Mets were coming off a World Series appearance this upcoming October, it would seem a logical point for him to step aside on a high note. But, given the Mets are now a whopping 10 games under .500 for the first time since Sept. 1, 2014, would Alderson really hang it up after this season?

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Terry Collins speaks to the media in San Diego during 2015. Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY
Terry Collins speaks to the media in San Diego during 2015. Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY

These last four days in Los Angeles have to rank among the worst four-day stretches in Mets history, at least in terms of playing baseball, getting beaten up, losing, and crushing everyone's hopes and dreams for a season as early as June.

The fact is, things already seemed bleak when they were just six games under .500, 10 back of the Nationals and 11 games back of the Wild Card, as the Mets were on Monday before starting their series against the Dodgers. 

However, after watching them get stomped on in Los Angeles, being outscored 36-11, having more players end up on the disabled list, and dropping to 10 games under .500, 12 back of Washington and 14 games away from a Wild Card, any shot at a successful season now feels impossible. And that sucks... It really does, because I still feel like this season never actually started.

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Matz pitches against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Credit. Richard Mackson USA TODAY
Matz pitches against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Credit. Richard Mackson USA TODAY

In only his third start of the season, LHP Steven Matz surrendered a career-high five walks Thursday night as the Dodgers completed a four-game sweep of the Mets.

Matz, who started the season on the disabled list, pitched six innings and allowed three runs and three hits, two of which were home runs, while striking out eight batters.

"There's a lot of nights I've been to Dodger Stadium where the ball doesn't fly. And it flew out of here this series like nothing," Mets manager Terry Collins said after the game.

Tags: Steven Matz
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Collins on sweep in LA 00:04:30
Terry Collins and Jerry Blevins discuss what went wrong during the Mets four-game series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

The Mets have lost seven of their last eight games to fall 10 games below .500 (31-41).

They are closer to last place than first place in the NL East and 13 games back of the Wild Card with 32 games to play before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline...

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Cadillac Post Game Extra: 6/22 00:03:17
Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez break down the Mets' 6-3 loss to the Dodgers.

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

Things you should know about tonight's game...

1) Joc Pederson's solo home run of Paul Sewald in the seventh snapped a 3-3 tie and propelled the Dodgers to a four-game sweep of the Mets. It's the fifth time New York has been swept this season.

2) Steven Matz allowed three runs on three hits -- two home runs -- and a career-high five walks over six innings. The left-hander struck out a season-best eight in his third start of the season.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Steven Matz
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The Mets (31-40) play the final game of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers (47-26) at Dodger Stadium on Thursday at 10:10 p.m. on SNY. 

The Dodgers beat the Mets, 8-2, Wednesday as New York suffered their third straight loss. Curtis Granderson provided the offense, going 3-for-5 with a homer, double and two RBI.

Who is starting tonight for the Mets? 

LHP Steven Matz (3.21 ERA/ 5.27 FIP, 1.00 WHIP) who lost in his last outing against the Nationals. He allowed four runs on eight hits, including three homers in seven innings. It was Matz second start since returning from the DL earlier this month. 

Tags: Steven Matz
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Tyler Pill pitches to the Milwaukee Brewers.  (AP)
Tyler Pill pitches to the Milwaukee Brewers. (AP)

The Mets have called up RHP Chasen Bradford and optioned Tyler Pill to Triple-A Las Vegas ahead of Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Bradford, who has yet to make his big-league debut, is 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA in 29 games for Las Vegas this season. He has appeared entirely in relief, and has led the team in Las Vegas with nine saves.

Pill struggled in his outing against the Dodgers on Wednesday, allowing five runs in six innings. In 18 innings for the Mets this season -- including four starts -- Pill is 0-3 with a 5.00 ERA.

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Yasiel Puig, the Mets new enemy 00:02:28
The Daily News Live panel debates whether the Mets should take action after Yasiel Puig's home run celebration Wednesday night.

Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig hit a home run against the Mets during the fourth inning Wednesday, after which he stood at home plate admiring his work before taking 32 seconds to round the bases.

As he rounded first base, Wilmer Flores told Puig to run, not jog, at which point Puig slowed up, looked back, and cursed at Flores, creating a visual tension on field.

Tags: Wilmer Flores
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Aug 25, 2012; Barry Larkin during his number retirement at Great American Ball Park. Credit: Victores-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 25, 2012; Barry Larkin during his number retirement at Great American Ball Park. Credit: Victores-USA TODAY Sports

This morning on SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio, co-hosts and former GMs Steve Phillips and Jim Bowden discussed their failed trade from July 2000, that would have sent Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin to the Mets.

According to Phillips and Bowden, who was GM of the Reds at the time, the deal would have sent then-elite OF prospect Alex Escobar to Cincinnati with Larkin joining the Mets, who would eventually play the Yankees in the World Series a few months later.

"It was very close, and it would have gotten done," Phillips said, noting that Larkin first had to agree to waive his complete no-trade clause.

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Jul 17, 2016; Syndergaard (34), Matz (32) and deGrom (48) during national anthem at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 17, 2016; Syndergaard (34), Matz (32) and deGrom (48) during national anthem at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets have been hurt by injuries up and down the lineup, and by consistent ineptitude in the field, but the more significant culprit is clearly their pitching.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. Even with an injury-plagued rotation, the 2016 Mets surpassed expectations and ranked as one of the top staffs in the league. With nearly all of last year's successful hurlers returning (Bartolo Colon, who is struggling mightily in Atlanta this year, being the lone exception), reasonable projections anticipated similar results, even if not quite up to 2016's exceptional standards.

Instead, Mets fans have watched nothing short of an unmitigated disaster unfold in the rotation, one start at a time...

Tags: Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Maggie Wiggin
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Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Wednesday that pitching coach Dan Warthen is not in danger of losing his job.

The Mets enter play Thursday with the second-worst ERA in the National League.

"He's part of the solution," Alderson told reporters at Dodgers Stadium. "He's part of the group of people, including the pitchers, as well as the coaching staff, who are trying to figure out how to get this staff back to where we expected it to be."

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Collins, Flores on another loss 00:03:53
Terry Collins and Wilmer Flores discuss dropping their third straight game to the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

The Mets, who have lost seven of their last nine games, are 13 back in the Wild Card race, 11 games behind the Nationals, and nine games under .500 for the first time since August 27, 2014.

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