Oct 7, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu (9) hits a double during the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers in game three of the 2018 NLDS playoff baseball series at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports (Russell Lansford)
Oct 7, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu (9) hits a double during the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers in game three of the 2018 NLDS playoff baseball series at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports (Russell Lansford)

Most of the talk around the Mets this offseason has been about adding a high-end catcher and potential runs at high-end relievers. While the Mets should be open to adding big-name players, here are four underrated, undervalued free agents the team should have interest in...

The veteran back-up catcher Nick Hundley

Hundley has been mostly a backup catcher the past two seasons, during which he has played in 197 games while hitting a combined .242 with 19 HR and 66 RBI in 608 at-bats.

In addition to being an ideal backup catcher, his true value may be in handling pitching staffs and being a positive, experienced influence in the clubhouse.

"He's one of the best (teammates) I've ever had," Giants starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija told NBC Sports in 2017 after Hundley was awarded the 2017 Willie Mac Award, which is given annually to the player deemed most inspirational by players, coaches, training staff, fans, and Willie McCovey.



Hundley inked a one-year, $2.5 million deal to return to the Giants in 2018, with whom he has spent the past two seasons. It's a bargain price considering he put up production worth $6.1 million, according to FanGraphs.com's WAR-dollar value.

However, during his 11-year career, Hundley has only ever played 50 games east of Colorado. So, it's hard to see how that suddenly changes this winter, especially given San Francisco's continued need for a fill-in for Posey. That said, if he is willing to cross the Mississippi, as a backup with a great reputation, he'd be a nice pickup for what amounts to a bargain rate.

By the way, in case you're wondering, Nick is not related to Mets fan favorite Todd Hundley.

The super-utility infielder DJ LeMahieu

Free-agent infielder DJ LeMahieu has established himself as the ideal super-utility infielder with terrific defensive skills. As a result, he'd be the perfect fit to help provide depth across the dirt at Citi Field, while also capable of being an everyday player.

He played 128 games this past season and set a career high in home runs (15) and doubles (32) and fell four RBI short of his career-best 66. In addition, during the past few years, he has played all four infield spots and if needed is certainly athletic enough to spend time in the outfield.

His most underrated asset, though, is his ability to turn with power on inside pitches, yet also easily adjust on balls up or outside to go the other way. He's basically immune to the shift, which is a quality with extra importance in Citi Field.

Team insiders say the Mets are very focused on adding players that put the ball in play more than players they had in their lineup last season. LeMahieu would help improve that need.

FanGraphs put his production the past two seasons as being worth $15-16 million each season. He was paid $4.5 million in 2017 and $8.5 million in 2018. So I'm sure he's looking to make up for lost time when negotiating a deal this winter. Along those lines, MLB insiders tell me he's worthy of a three- to -four-year contract worth between $40-50 million.

It's a pricey contract. But it's still a bargain assuming LeMahieu continues to produce at the rate he has the past four years, all of which would solve multiple needs on Brodie Van Wagenen's to-do list.



The other super-utility infielder, Jed Lowrie

Lowrie keeps getting better with age. He will be 35 years old next Opening Day, with more than 1,100 games played to date, but is coming off a career year in 2018.

Despite being paid a combined $13 million, his past two seasons were worth $67 million in production, according to FanGraphs.

Lowrie has spent five of the last six seasons with the A's, so it stands to reason he is a fan of living in the Bay Area. And, given Oakland's surprising success in 2018, I'm sure he'd love to continue with them, not move and help the A's get in to the postseason.

However, I'm sure he has also been fantasizing about his potential increase in income during this winter's free agency. Unfortunately for him, based on what we witnessed last winter, there is zero chance a team will give any 35-year-old a long-term deal. As a result, MLB insiders predict Lowrie will get the standard get two-year, $15-20 million being offered to players of his age and expected production.

For the same reasons stated above when writing about LeMahieu, Lowrie would go a long way in providing Van Wagenen and Mickey Callaway more contact at the plate and versatility around the infield. And, given his age, though Lowrie will come with less of a ceiling, he'll also require less dollars and commitment than LeMahieu.

It's also worth noting that Lowrie had been represented by Van Wagenen.

The replacement starter Nathan Eovaldi

Eovaldi missed all of 2017 recovering from Tommy John surgery. As is the case with most pitchers during their first year back from TJ, he needed four-to-five starts to get his bearings.

However, once he locked in, he had no trouble using the same varied fastball and cutter combination that made him successful earlier in the career. He also showed a new-found ability to pitch north and south and change the eye level of opposing hitters.



In his final 16 starts between the Rays and Red Sox, he had a 3.69 ERA and struck out 70 batters. More impressive, he allowed just three runs during his final four starts, all of which were made for the Red Sox down the stretch of a postseason run inside Boston's pressure cooker.

The Mets do not currently need a starting pitcher. However, if they end up dealing Zack Wheeler or find a way to cut bait with Jason Vargas, Eovaldi should be toward the top of Van Wagenen's list of possible replacements.

FanGraphs puts his dollar value to production at roughly $20 million during 2014 and 2015, and a tick lower at $18 million this past season. At 28 years old, with experience pitching in New York and Boston, with less than 900 innings on his arm, and with Tommy John surgery already behind him, he's well worth the three-to-four year deal and roughly $50 million likely due to him on the free agent market.


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


May 18, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Rajai Davis (11) talks to Oakland Athletics third base coach Chip Hale (4) in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)
May 18, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Rajai Davis (11) talks to Oakland Athletics third base coach Chip Hale (4) in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)

The Mets signed outfielder Rajai Davis to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training, the club announced on Monday. 

Davis hit .224 with an OPS of .690, 33 runs, six doubles, one triple, a home run and six RBIs across 101 games for the Indians last season. The 38-year-old stole 21 bases for Cleveland in 2018. Davis' speed and added outfield depth will serve as an advantage for the Mets, a club that is thin in both departments. 

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Robinson Cano's defensive stats 00:00:28
The Mets' new second baseman Robinson Cano's defensive numbers are impressive over his career. He should upgrade the Mets' infield.

Robinson Cano makes playing second base look easy, but the Mets know first-hand it's anything but simple. 

If we take a deep dive into Cano's defensive numbers compared to the Mets' previous second basemen, we'll find that no New York player in that position has come close to Cano's Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in over a decade.

DRS works to quantify a player's entire defensive performance by measuring how many runs he saved or cost the team on defense. It takes into account errors, range, arm and double-play ability to value positioning and first step.

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Devil's Advocate on Wilson Ramos 00:01:17
Everyone agrees signing Wilson Ramos was a good deal for the Mets, but Marc Malusis says pump the breaks a tad.

The first responsibility of a talent agent is to establish options in the marketplace, which allows him or her to create leverage against the client's top target. Then, and only then, is it time to strike a deal. In case you forgot, Brodie Van Wagenen was a prominent player agent prior to being hired as GM of the Mets in October.

As GM, I 100 percent believe he hoped to acquire Marlins C J.T. Realmuto. However, I also believe he learned early on that Miami's ask for Realmuto would be significantly more than Van Wagenen was willing to pay. So, instead of turning his back on the Marlins, he continued to engage them, while signaling to reporters and other teams that he was laser focused on trading for what many consider to be the top catcher in baseball.

Meanwhile, according to multiple reports, he met with free agents Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos, after which rumors about the Mets and Marlins and Realmuto reached a fever pitch...

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Mets gained a new trade partner? 00:00:50
The Mets gaining a new trade partner could be the biggest takeaway from the Winter Meetings, Andy Martino argues.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

It was weeks ago now, long before any of us noticed, that Brian Cashman and Brodie Van Wagenen began talking. The reason seemed simple enough -- Cashman needed pitching, and Van Wagenen had it.

But, as anyone who follows New York baseball knows, this was no small thing at all, and was in fact the beginning of a major change. For years, the Yankees and Mets simply did not believe that a significant deal between them was possible. Now, somehow, they were talking about Noah Syndergaard and others.

Syndergaard did not ultimately become a Yankee, of course. But it got closer than anyone would have thought possible, and that very fact brings major, positive ramifications for years to come. We can no longer dismiss the chance of a major blockbuster transpiring between the teams.

Tags: Gary Sanchez, Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, Noah Syndergaard, Andy Martino
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Apr 28, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) pitches during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)
Apr 28, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) pitches during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)

Jeurys Familia said Monday that he preferred to return to the Mets to be a setup man over going to a different team to close.

"It means a lot for me, it (is) where I grew up, it's like a home for me," Familia said during a conference call. "That's why I am here today. It doesn't matter what inning I am going to pitch. I come back here to win and get a championship."

Familia added that one of his goals was to return to the Mets, and that he told his agent that if there was any possibility, to make it happen...

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Danny Abriano
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Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock warms up before his at-bat against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning at AT&T Park. (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)
Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock warms up before his at-bat against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning at AT&T Park. (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets remain in the market for an everyday center fielder and possibly one or two more additions to the bullpen, particularly a left-handed reliever. Here are the latest rumors from each of the above markets, followed by my take...

The everyday catcher

The Mets and free-agent C Wilson Ramos agreed to a two-year, $19 million contract on Sunday. The contract also includes a $10 million club option or a $1.5 million buyout for 2021, according to James Wagner of the NY Times.

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Before signing free agent catcher Wilson Ramos, the Mets didn't want to do a one-for-one trade with the Marlins of Noah Syndergaard for J.T. Realmuto, a source told SNY's Andy Martino.

With Ramos on board, the Mets are now out on Realmuto, according to Martino, who said the team deemed the Marlins' asking price to be too high. In other talks with the Marlins about Realmuto, Miami expressed interest in Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, and Amed Rosario, reportedly asking for two of the three at one point. 

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | TwitterThis is to take nothing away from the value of Realmuto, who is a special talent in his prime, but the Marlins need to get their demands in check before they lose every potential suitor for him...

Tags: Noah Syndergaard
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Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter | With their signing of free agent catcher Wilson Ramos to a two-year deal with a third-year option, the Mets are now out on a potential trade for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, reports SNY's Andy Martino.

That of course also means they're out on free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal, who they were considering along with Ramos. 

The above is a good thing for the Mets. Yes, it would have been exciting to add Realmuto. But in the end, the Mets made the smarter move. And the smarter move is also the better move. Here's why...

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New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud is seen during the second inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)  (Jeff Roberson/AP)
New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud is seen during the second inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (Jeff Roberson/AP)

After the Mets agreed to a deal with catcher Wilson Ramos and took themselves out of the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes, the Mets plan to stick with Travis d'Arnaud and explore a trade of Kevin Plawecki, a source told SNY.tv's Andy Martino.

The Mets are still looking for a center fielder and a left-handed reliever, according to Fancred's Jon Heyman, and with Ramos and d'Arnaud, Plawecki is expendable.

Plawecki, 27, hit .210/.315/.370 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs in 79 games for the Mets last year, however Ramos is a significant upgrade to the lineup.

Tags: Kevin Plawecki, Travis d'Arnaud
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Wilson Ramos deal explained 00:01:25
Andy Martino explains the thinking behind the Wilson Ramos deal for the Mets. Short version: it's a very good deal.

The Mets have agreed to a deal with free agent catcher Wilson Ramos, SNY's Andy Martino confirmed.

The deal is for two years and is pending a physical, adds Martino, who reports that with the signing of Ramos, the Mets are out on a potential trade for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto

The Mets, who also had a meeting with representatives for free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal, had been weighing both before deciding they liked Ramos more, a source told Martino...

 

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The Mets had been aggressive in their efforts to trade for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, who the Marlins are expected to deal. Here's the latest...


Dec. 16, 5:01 PM:

With the Mets signing free agent catcher Wilson Ramos, pending a physical, they are out on a potential trade for Realmuto, notes SNY's Andy Martino...

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Miguel Andujar, Noah Syndergaard, Danny Abriano
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Sep 8, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Sep 8, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard has seen his name come up in trade rumors all offseason, recently tweeting at MLB Network that he doesn't believe them. On Saturday, Syndergaard updated his Twitter bio, adding a line that said "SNY is trying to trade me."

Early Sunday, Syndergaard took to Instagram, posting a picture of himself on the mound in his Mets uniform, using the caption 'My Team, Our Colors, New York's Future.'

Click below to see...

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Danny Abriano
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April 29, 2007; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets pitcher (13) Billy Wagner pitches against the Washington Nationals in the ninth inning at RFK stadium in Washington, DC. The New York Mets defeated the Washington Nationals 1-0. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports Copyright © James Lang (James Lang-USA TODAY Sports)
April 29, 2007; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets pitcher (13) Billy Wagner pitches against the Washington Nationals in the ninth inning at RFK stadium in Washington, DC. The New York Mets defeated the Washington Nationals 1-0. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports Copyright © James Lang (James Lang-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Mets closer Billy Wagner received just 11 percent of 422 possible votes one year ago when he again missed out on being elected to the Hall of Fame, and he's not trending in the right direction during this year's voting.

Sadly, Wagner has consistently fallen short of the 75-percent threshold needed for an induction. He received just 10.5 percent during 2016 -- his first year on the ballot.

In 16 seasons, Wagner pitched for the Astros, Mets, Phillies, Red Sox, and Braves, for whom he collected 422 saves with a 2.31 ERA and 0.99 WHIP with 1,196 strikeouts in 903 innings. The opposition hit just .187 against him, while striking out 33 percent of the time, both of which are the most all-time among pitchers who have thrown at least 800 innings during their careers. So why does he keep getting overlooked for the Hall?

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Aug 29, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) tips his helmet after hitting a grand slam home run against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Young)
Aug 29, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) tips his helmet after hitting a grand slam home run against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Young)

Mets captain David Wright may no longer be around, but that does not mean the team is void of leadership.

Enter Todd Frazier

The veteran third baseman, whom Mickey Callaway has already declared the starter over Jeff McNeil, plans to take rookie first baseman Peter Alonso under his wing and has requested that the 24-year-old's locker be placed next to his this spring training, he told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. 

Tags: Todd Frazier
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Aug 20, 2015; Nick Castellanos (9) hits a sacrifice fly at Comerica Park. Credit: Osentoski-USA TODAY
Aug 20, 2015; Nick Castellanos (9) hits a sacrifice fly at Comerica Park. Credit: Osentoski-USA TODAY

The Mets appear to be looking into the trade market for an outfielder, too. 

The Mets and Tigers have had talks regarding rightfielder Nick Castellanos, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free-Press, although the asking price is high. 

Castellanos, 26, hit .298/.354/.500 with 23 home runs and 89 RBI last season with the Tigers and can also play third base.

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Oct 15, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal (9) hits a double against the Milwaukee Brewers in the fifth inning in game three of the 2018 NLCS playoff baseball series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports (Gary A. Vasquez)
Oct 15, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal (9) hits a double against the Milwaukee Brewers in the fifth inning in game three of the 2018 NLCS playoff baseball series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports (Gary A. Vasquez)

Could the Mets be close to finding their coveted catcher?

According to SNY's Andy Martino, the Mets' catching situation is moving closer to a resolution. And that doesn't mean a deal or trade is imminent, but Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen and his team are working hard to get it done.

While the Mets were said to be "very aggressive" to trade for Marlins C J.T. Realmuto, Martino is hearing from multiple people that the team is very serious about free-agent C Yasmani Grandal.

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Brodie Van Wagenen speaks during a news conference to announce the New York Mets new General Manager Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)
Brodie Van Wagenen speaks during a news conference to announce the New York Mets new General Manager Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Aside from a few nifty quips by Bryce Harper's agent, there was little real action on baseball's two biggest free agents at this week's Winter Meetings. Harper and Scott Boras sat down with a few clubs and Manny Machado has meet-and-greets scheduled in the coming days, but neither player seems close to a resolution. 

Instead, the best intel to come out of Las Vegas might have been about the developing bullpen market. Or further confirmation that shopping for a top-end catcher, by trade or free agency, will be pricey. 

That affects both the Yankees and Mets, who are searching for upgrades. Here's a look at the market following the week in Vegas. 

Tags: Amed Rosario, Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, Brandon Nimmo, David Robertson, Didi Gregorius, Giancarlo Stanton, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Anthony McCarron
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Jul 11, 2018; Trenton, NJ, USA; Binghamton Rumble Ponies outfielder Tim Tebow (15) warms up for batting practice prior to the game at ARM & HAMMER Park. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
Jul 11, 2018; Trenton, NJ, USA; Binghamton Rumble Ponies outfielder Tim Tebow (15) warms up for batting practice prior to the game at ARM & HAMMER Park. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

Tim Tebow is ready for his comeback. 

The Mets minor-league outfielder and former Heisman Trophy winner released a video via his charity, the Tim Tebow Foundation, where he expressed optimism that he will be able to bounce back from his season-ending surgery of his broken hamate bone in his right hand. 

"In every setback, there's a comeback," he said.

Tags: Tim Tebow
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Apr 28, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) pitches during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)
Apr 28, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) pitches during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)

And just like that, RHP Jeurys Familia is back.

The Mets and Familia agreed to a three-year deal, worth $30 million to bring the former closer back to their bullpen, the team officially announced on Friday.

"We are excited to bring Jeurys back to Flushing," Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said in an official statement. "Jeurys is a familiar face and an accomplished, elite reliever with experience that will fit well in our clubhouse."

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Scott Thompson
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This past Monday, I wrote that I expected Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen to do the following five things by end of the week's MLB Winter Meetings, which concluded Thursday.

So, what did he do, what didn't he do, and how will he approach the rest of the offseason?

1. Sign a high-end free-agent reliever

Tags: Amed Rosario, Asdrubal Cabrera, Brandon Nimmo, Jeurys Familia, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Todd Frazier, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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Philadelphia Phillies catcher Wilson Ramos looks to the dugout against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Phillies catcher Wilson Ramos looks to the dugout against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

While the Mets have showed interest in free-agent catchers Wilson Ramos and Yasmani Grandal, they appear to have competition in the Los Angeles Angels.

Ramos, with whom the Mets met earlier in the week, is the Angels' No. 1 catching target, according to Jerry Crasnick, while the Los Angeles Times' Maria Torres reports they are also pursuing Grandal.

Though Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen expressed his confidence in the catching tandem of Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki, he has not shied away at upgrades at the position, including a potential trade for Marlins All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Tags: Kevin Plawecki, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Travis d'Arnaud
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The Red Sox are most in search of help in the bullpen, that much is clear based on what reports and insiders said of their past week at the MLB Winter Meetings.

However, it has also been reported that they're looking to get younger in their rotation and have interest in a young, hard-throwing, dominant, under-team-control starting pitcher.

This reads very much like Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard, who has been the subject of countless trade rumors dating back to early November.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Matthew Cerrone
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Doug Williams, Andy Martino and John Harper put the podcast wrap on the Winter Meetings! They talk about the return of Jeurys Familia to the Mets, and what the next moves will be for Brodie Van Wagenen.

They also address the probably crazy notion of the Mets jumping into the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. Could it ever happen?

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN

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New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard pitches during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard pitches during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

Las Vegas - The Mets, continuing to look for creative ways to acquire Miami catcher J.T. Realmuto, have discussed a three team trade this week with the San Diego Padres involving Realmuto and Noah Syndergaard, according to major league sources.

For context, this is one of many creative scenarios Mets are discussing to try to land Realmuto. A deal was not close, or even close to close, as of Thursday morning. The takeaway from this tidbit should be that Brodie Van Wagenen and his group are still pursuing Realmuto, and still listening on Syndergaard the right situation.

The loose parameters of these particular discussions would send Syndergaard to San Diego, Realmuto to New York, and Padres prospects to Miami. It's premature to say that a particular offer is on the table, but discussions are active, per sources.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Andy Martino
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Jun 24, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Anthony Gruppuso)
Jun 24, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

The Mets bringing back Jeurys Familia on a three-year, $30 million deal feels at first like a sidestep, as opposed to an upgrade.

The reality is that he's a known commodity coming off five-consecutive successful seasons, and he's a veteran reliever with experience pitching in high-leverage situations under the bright lights and pressure of New York City.

The thing is, the above credentials may not be where he provides the most value to the Mets.

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Matthew Cerrone
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Oct 26, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal (9) throws to first for an out against Boston Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt (not pictured) in the second inning in game three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports (Richard Mackson)
Oct 26, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal (9) throws to first for an out against Boston Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt (not pictured) in the second inning in game three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports (Richard Mackson)

The MLB Winter Meetings conclude Thursday afternoon following the annual Rule 5 Draft.

The signing of free agent Jeurys Familia has been the only significant acquisition made by the Mets this week, despite being consistently linked in rumor to the following pursuits...

Adding an everyday catcher

 

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Familia is back, what's next? 00:01:30
New York Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen discusses Jeurys Familia, and his plans for the bullpen and the outfield following the Winter Meetings

The Mets might not be done adding high-end relievers after their reunion with Jeurys Familia, who is back on a three-year deal worth $30 million. 

And while Familia isn't a bright and shiny new toy, his signing is a damn good one. And it will remain a damn good one regardless of the moves the team makes from here.

Here are three reasons why...

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

The Mets selected RHP Kyle Dowdy from the Indians in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning at the Winter Meetings.

Dowdy, 25, had a 5.15 ERA and 1.48 WHIP with 120 strikeouts in 124.0 innings in Double-A and Triple-A in 2018.

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said Dowdy made "huge strides" in 2018 and has a "four-pitch repertoire that includes a 98 mph fastball," with Van Wagenen adding that Dowdy could be an option for the bullpen or as insurance for the rotation...

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Jeurys Familia returns to Mets 00:02:29
SNY's Steve Gelbs and Andy Martino discuss the Mets signing Jeurys Familia, and whether or not more bullpen help is on the way.

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | TwitterAfter their reunion with free agent Jeurys Familia, the Mets might not be done adding high-end relievers to their bullpen.

With Edwin Diaz and Familia now on board to create a formidable 1-2 punch at the back-end of the pen, SNY's Andy Martino said early Thursday morning that his belief is that Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen came into the offseason seeking "three bullpen pieces."

Now that Van Wagenen has two of those three pieces, the question is where he'll turn next...

Tags: David Robertson, Jeurys Familia, Danny Abriano
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Will Mets deal any aces? 00:00:48
New York Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen weighs in on his strategy this winter meetings and the difficulty of trading Noah Syndergaard.

Though Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen is fielding calls for a handful of his top players, he admitted on Wednesday it's going to be "very difficult" to trade an ace like Noah Syndergaard

After New York acquired elite closer Edwin Diaz and eight-time All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano from Seattle, Van Wagenen made it very clear that the Mets are going all in for the World Series championship next season. As far as conversations at the Winter Meetings go, he envisions holding that trophy with help from his current, star-studded rotation. 

"We're going into this marketplace assuming that both [Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom], as well as Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler, are on our team," Van Wagenen said.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler
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Allard Baird joins Hot Stove 00:01:20
New York Mets Asst. GM Allard Baird divulges why he believes in Brodie Van Wagenen and how he'll approach player development.

New Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has certainly drummed up plenty of buzz about his team this offseason and most recently during MLB's Winter Meetings.

After trading for Mariners' Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, Van Wagenen has made headlines by aggressively pursuing Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto and even willing to do the unprecedented -- bring the Yankees in as a third team in order to get what he wants.

Allard Baird, the Mets' new vice president and assistant GM of scouting and player development, has certainly been impressed by the agent-turned-GM and he said it should not come as much of a surprise, either.

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New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets have made RHP Noah Syndergaard available, though they have said it would take a special package to move him.

Shortly after that, he was involved in talks about a potential three-way trade that would've had him moving to the Bronx. And while those initial talks died, they may start again. All of this is making fans' heads spin, but Syndergaard is simply choosing to not believe it all. 

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Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Danny Abriano
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May 16, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets center fielder Juan Lagares (12) grimaces after catching a ball in the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 16, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets center fielder Juan Lagares (12) grimaces after catching a ball in the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Mets are "shopping around" Juan Lagares for a potential trade, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

The 29-year-old Lagares, who is currently playing in the Dominican Winter League, had his 2018 season end in mid-May after toe surgery.

He has one year and $9 million left on his deal, along with a $9.5 million option for 2020 that can be bought out for $500,000. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto
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It's the third day of the Winter Meetings and it feels like something could happen at any minute. Doug Williams, Andy Martino and John Harper talk J.T. Realmuto and trade scenarios...

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Sep 30, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Adam Jones (10) runs off the field during the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Sep 30, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Adam Jones (10) runs off the field during the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

The Mets have spoken with free agent OF Adam Jones at the Winter Meetings, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post.

The 33-year-old Jones hit .281/.313/.419 with 15 homers in 145 games for the Orioles in 2018 as his slugging percentage dropped to the lowest it has been since 2008, during what was his first full year in the majors. Meanwhile, Jones' defense in center field continued to decline in 2018, with him worth -18 DRS in 906.2 innings in center field and -6 DRS in 272.2 innings in right field.

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | TwitterWith Jones in decline on both sides of the ball, and the Mets preferring to keep Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo in corner outfield spots, it's hard to see Jones as a good fit...

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Sep 25, 2018; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Freddy Galvis (13) fields the ball against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)
Sep 25, 2018; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Freddy Galvis (13) fields the ball against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)

A Mets trade involving Amed Rosario is far from certain, but names of his potential replacement at shortstop have begun to emerge during this week's Winter Meetings.

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has been in touch with the representatives for free agents Alcides EscobarAdeiny Hechavarria and Freddy Galvis, with Galvis being the team's top choice among the trio, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

The Yankees have also been in touch with Galvis' camp, reported Sherman.

Tags: Amed Rosario
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Noah Syndergaard and J.A. Happ (SNY Illustration)
Noah Syndergaard and J.A. Happ (SNY Illustration)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

LAS VEGAS - In their search for rotation help, the Yankees continue to pursue both J.A. Happ and Mets pitchers, according to major league sources.

The team has what they consider a strong offer out to Happ, and hope he accepts it. So far, Happ has held strong on his desire for three guaranteed years. The Yankees have been reluctant to go there for a 36-year-old pitcher. Still, there is strong mutual interest.

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Sep 18, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) singles in a run in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Sep 18, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) singles in a run in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

The MLB Winter Meetings are underway in Las Vegas and conclude Thursday morning after the Rule 5 Draft.

The Mets are in the market for an everyday catcher and center fielder and possibly one or two more additions to the bullpen.

Here are the latest rumors from each of the above markets, followed by my own insight and analysis...

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Yasiel Puig (Robert Hanashiro)
Yasiel Puig (Robert Hanashiro)

After conflicting reports earlier this week, it appears Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is for sale. 

The Dodgers are actively trying to trade Puig and Matt Kemp, per MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

SNY's Andy Martino reports the Mets are not in on Puig, though. 

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Mets manager Mickey Callaway said on SNY Tuesday night that he wants as many relief pitchers as possible, so it should come as no surprise that they are also in on Adam Ottavino. 

Per Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, the Mets and Red Sox have shown continued interest in the hard-throwing free agent right-hander.

Ottavino is also high on the Yankees' wish list, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. 

Tags: Andrew Miller, David Robertson
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Could deGrom get an extension? 00:01:30
New York Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen discusses Jeff Wilpon making initial contact with Jacob deGrom's new representation.

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen touched on a bunch of topics during his talk with reporters on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Here are the takeaways...

The Mets had meeting Tuesday afternoon about adding a right-handed hitting outfielder

Van Wagenen would not say who the meeting was with, but the Mets -- as he noted last week -- have interest in free agent center fielder A.J. Pollock. A potential outfield target came off the board earlier Tuesday when the Phillies signed Andrew McCutchen to a three-year deal. 

Tags: David Wright, Danny Abriano
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Aug 13, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario (1) hits a solo home run against the New York Yankees during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Aug 13, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario (1) hits a solo home run against the New York Yankees during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Amed Rosario's name has come up as a player the Mets could potentially trade to the Marlins for J.T. Realmuto, and Rosario -- who beileves he won't be traded -- wants to stay.

"I'm very happy about the comments that have come out about me not being traded," Rosario said through an interpreter at an event on Tuesday, according to Newsday. "I definitely feel like I'm part of the Mets family and that I'm staying here.

As the Mets remain engaged with the Marlins on a potential deal for Realmuto, they are reluctant to trade Rosario, but not as reluctant as they say publicly, according to SNY's Andy Martino.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Danny Abriano
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Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports  (Brad Penner)
Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Mets had a preliminary meeting with the representatives for Jacob deGrom on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, per SNY's Andy Martino.

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen later told SNY's Steve Gelbs that the meeting with deGrom's reps on Tuesday was preliminary and that he views deGrom as a big part of the Mets "now and in the future."

Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, who arrived in Las Vegas on Monday, said last week that the Mets would be offering deGrom a long-term extension -- the first definitive comments anyone with the Mets has made about the plan for deGrom's future with the team. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Danny Abriano
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Mets should sign Yasmani Grandal 00:01:16
The New York Mets need a power hitting catcher and Yasmani Grandal would be a good fit via free agency instead of trading for J.T. Realmuto.

Las Vegas - The Mets remain interested in Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, but are prepared to pivot to a strong pursuit of free agent Yasmani Grandal, according to major league sources.

As trade talks continue for Realmuto -- some with a third team involved, including the Yankees, the Mets still like Grandal as an alternative.

The Mets also remain very interested in fee agent reliever Andrew Miller.

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Callaway talks infield makeup 00:00:57
New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway discusses how Jeff McNeil will be utilized in 2019 and Amed Rosario?s development at the plate.

Mickey Callaway was asked Tuesday at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas if Jeff McNeil could potentially push Todd Frazier to become the starter at third base entering the season, His answer was succinct. 

"Frazier is our starter at third base right now," Callaway told reporters. "As we stand here today, Todd Frazier is going to be standing at third base."

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter | Callaway could be echoing the sentiments of Brodie Van Wagenen and the front office when it comes to the plan for McNeil in 2019 or he could be saying the above on his own. But if McNeil proves himself to be a better option than Frazier to start at third base, the conventional wisdom has to be that he'll supplant him....

Tags: Todd Frazier, Danny Abriano
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May 15, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario (1) hits an RBI single against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
May 15, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario (1) hits an RBI single against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Mets are reluctant to trade Amed Rosario, but not as reluctant as they say publicly, according to SNY's Andy Martino, who says the Mets remain aggressive in their pursuit of Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto

According to FanCred's Jon Heyman, the Mets are debating whether to include Rosario or Noah Syndergaard in a potential deal for Realmuto.

Martino reported Monday night that a three-team deal that would send Syndergaard to the Yankees was a "real possibility." Such a deal could include Realmuto landing with the Mets, but Martino noted that the three-way trade with the Mets and Yankees was one of many scenarios. As of Monday afternoon, the three-team trade talks involving Syndergaard and the Yankees were not progressing, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com...

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The good news is that, based on the number of hot stove rumors surrounding the Mets, it's clear GM Brodie Van Wagenen is interested in making big moves.

The bad news is that, based on the number of hot stove rumors surrounding the Mets, if he doesn't make a big move, fans, reporters, other teams and players will see him as all talk and no action...

"I'll admit, I was one of the many people who were skeptical about him going from agent to GM," a rival assistant GM told me Tuesday. However, he continued, "I've never seen anyone change perception and increase his profile so much and as so fast as Brodie has done during the past few weeks."

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It's the second day of the Winter Meetings and there's a lot of speculation out there. Doug Williams, Andy Martino and John Harper separate fact from fiction. Highlights include Mets-Yankees trade talks and the latest on Noah Syndergaard.

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN...

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