AAA - Las Vegas 51sHittersHotAlan Dykstra - The reigning PCL Player of the Week hit .481/.611/1.000 (13-for-27) with five doubles and three homers and nine walks in his last nine games.

Wilmer Flores - After a slow start, Flores has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, going .295/.385/.455 in that time with four extra-base hits and six walks.

NotThere are not a lot of good candidates for this award. Cesar Puello's .619 OPS is the lowest among the Vegas regulars, but he's 5-for-11 in his last two games with a triple. He's really helping get himself out with two walks in 71 plate appearances, a walk rate of under 3%. Yuck.

PitchersHotJacob deGrom is fourth in the PCL in ERA (1.57), fifth in WHIP (0.96) and fifth in lowest batting average against (.200). DeGrom believes his broken finger, suffered right before Spring Training in 2013, threw his mechanics out of whack last year, and he fought the whole year to get them back.

NotThor. The 20-year-old Noah Syndergaard has been far from immortal in his last three starts: 14 IP, 17 H, 12 R, 9 ER, 7 BB, 10 K - 5.79 ERA with opponents hitting .304/.375/.464 against him. He's still the best prospect in the system, he's just had three lousy starts in the PCL. It happens.

AA - Binghamton MetsHittersHotSS/2B Matt Reynolds has hit safely in nine straight games and is sitting at .364/.435/.418 in 15 games for the B-Mets.

The 23-year-old knows who is as a hitter:

“I’ve never been a power hitter in my life and I don’t think I’ll ever be,” Reynolds said. “I just try to hit line drives consistently and consistently make solid contact and have good (at-bats).” (Lynn Worthy, Press & Sun Bulletin)
Reynolds did not hit much last year, and his comments about how that impacted his outlook on the game are pretty self-aware:

"My mental aspect of staying positive and everything wasn’t there last year. I got down on myself, and I beat myself up too much.

Even if I hit a ball hard right at somebody, I’d be mad about it, but this year I’m just trying to stay positive and always take positivity off of something.”

Jeff Paternostro, who scouted Reynolds recently for Amazin' Avenue, sees his upside as a bench player- a "Justin Turner with a little more on-base ability."

Reynolds is basically the same guy he was last year, but he's had more singles fall. Lets check on the walk and strikeout ratios in a month. In the early season, his walk and strikeout look similar to last year, if a bit better in both dimensions, while he's hit for slightly less power. When his batting average regresses, his whole stat line will as well.

[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]

;G;AB;H;2B;3B;HR;BB;SO;AVG;OBP;SLG;

2013 FSL;117;433;98;21;6;5;36;80;.226;.286;.337;

2014 EL;15;55;20;3;0;0;7;11;.364;.455;.418;

[/sny-table]

[sny-table rowheader=true columnheader=true]

;XBH%;SO%;BB%;HR%;BABIP;ISO;

2013 FSL;6.8;17.1;7.7;1.1;.267;.111;

2014 EL;4.5;16.7;10.6;0.0;.444;.055;

[/sny-table]

Not

Cory VaughnA week shy of his 25th birthday, Vaughn is hitting .106/.218/.170 in 14 games. He's 3-for-his-last-33 (.090), although all three hits have been doubles.

PitchersHotRainy Lara's 1.47 ERA is superficially impressive, and he allowed just one unearned run in his last 13 innings of work. However, over those same 13 innings, he's struck out four and walked three of the 45 batters to face him. That's not very good.

NotHansel Robles walked seven batters in 4.2 innings in his last start. Yeah.

A+ HotBrandon Nimmo - Nimmo has actually had three hitless games in his last six, but he's still fourth in the FSL in batting average, tied for second in hits, third in walks, fourth in on-base percentage and tops in runs scored as part of a .360/.467/.467 line in 19 games. He's walking in 16.7% of his plate appearances which is just a monster number and his strikeout rate is down from 27% in the SAL last year to 21% this year. the major hole in his offensive game is his power, but I'm still reasonably optimistic that it will come as he learns to pick pitches to drive.

Dilson Herrera - The little dude has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games while hitting .375/.414/.500 in those contests. Just past his 20th birthday in March, he's tied with Nimmo for second in the FSL in hits and is 10th in batting average as part of a .333/.389/.432 line in 19 games.

Aderlin Rodriguez - Last 10 games: .286/.348/.452. Half of his 12 hits have gone for extra bases (5 doubles and a triple). Now the bad news: his on-base percentage in that time was sustained by three  extra-base hits and one walk. He's walked twice all season in 85 PA, a rate of 2.3%. That's not going to work. The power plays, but he must become more selective to leverage his strength.

NotOF Eudy Pina is off to a .169/.244/.225 start with 21 strikeouts in 18 games at age 23.

PitchersHotHeading into Thursday's start, Steven Matz is 10th in the FSL in ERA (2.00). The 23-year-old's 24% strikeout rate is sixth in the FSL, and he's doing it against a sharp 4.2% walk rate. He took a no-hitter into the sixth in his last start. He's off to a great start to the year.

NotTwo pitchers who rolled through the SAL in 2013, Gabriel Ynoa and Luis Cessa have each scuffled to start the year. Neither is missing bats. Ynoa, who will not turn 21 until May, has a 5.40 ERA through four starts with an 11/3 K/BB ratio and a 12% strikeout rate.

Cessa has allowed 20 hits in his 17 innings to reach his 4.24 ERA with a 6/5 K/BB ratio and an 8% strikeout rate.

A - Savannah Sand GnatsHotJeff McNeil - This should be a new name for all but the most hard-core of Mets Minor League watchers. In his last 12 games, the 22-year-old has hit .370/.434/.652 with eight extra-base hits (5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR), four walks and four strikeouts. Sure, his .366 BABIP is high, but the left-handed hitter is scorching the ball. Overall, he's leading the SAL in doubles (8), tied for the lead in extra-base hits (11) and is fourth in slugging (.563).

The Mets drafted McNeil in the 12th round last year out of Long Beach State where he was primarily a second baseman, although he played a little outfield and shortstop. This year, late in Spring Training, when he was hitting the ball well, the Mets told him to go play third, a position he had never played as a professional OR an amateur. In fact, he's played relatively little baseball - only one year of high school ball. He was primarily a golfer in high school, but in his one season at Nipomo HS, he was the team MVP. That ball-striking ability and golf pedigree is reflected in his current swing.

The rail-thin McNeil is growing up as a baseball player in a hurry, last year, he had 11 extra-base hits in 47 games with Kingsport on his way to an .080 isolated slugging percentage. He already has 11 extra-base hits 17 games into this season on his way to a .250 isolated slugging percentage.

NotDominic Smith - The 18-year-old has hit .105/.205/.105 (5 BB, 5 K) in his last 11 games on his way to a .167/.227/.167 line through 17 games. The one piece of good news: he's not striking out obscenely - just 12% of the time so far. The 2013 first round pick is just not doing much damage on contact.

HotAkeel Morris Out of the Savannah bullpen, he's allowed just three hits in 11.2 innings with a 19/7 K/BB ratio. However, he's walked at least one batter in each of his five outings. I'd like to see him start, or at least used as a tandem starter. Remember, an eye-popping SAL reliever's k-rate is no guarantee of future success; ask Jack Leathersich, or Bret Mitchell to cherrypick only a few Mets examples. Speaking of silly k-rates....

LHP Dario Alvarez has fanned 17 and walked 4 in 12.1 innings in one start and a pair of relief outings. He's allowed six hits and no runs. Alvarez, who's now 25, pitched in the DSL for the Phillies in 2007-2009, but never made it stateside. He did not throw in a professional game in America 2010-2012.  The Mets saw him in Venezuela in winterball in 2012 where he made three appearances and threw 5.1 innings total. That was enough to earn a tryout, and then a contract, and then a placement in Brooklyn where he made 12 starts with a 3.10 ERA with 57 strikeouts agains 26 walks.  I've only had one look at him, but he's throwing well.

NotI've been driving the Chris Flexen bandwagon for a few years, but after three starts, he's allowed 20 hits in 16 innings and has an 8/7 K/BB ratio.

Kevin McGowan, last year's 13th round pick, has a 5.27 ERA and an 11/6 K/BB ratio in 13.2 innings over two starts.

Tags: Analysis, Daily Recap, Toby Hyde

MLB's annual Rule 5 Draft will take place on Thursday, concluding the MLB Winter Meetings...

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Andy Martino on Winter Meetings 00:03:57
Andy Martino discusses the latest from the Winter Meetings including the Nats-White Sox Trade, Yankees, Mets and Wade Davis to the Cubs.

MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone and Robert Brender recorded their final Winter Meetings Podcast, during which they answered questions about Andrew McCutchen, Dexter Fowler, Jose Abreu, what's going on with the Nationals, what will happen to Jay Bruce, Sandy Alderson's bullpen, and if Darrelle Revis will play in the AFL...

To listen in a seperare pop-up player, click here, or use the audio player below...

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Alderson on the Mets' outlook 00:02:51
Steve Gelbs chats with Sandy Alderson to discuss the progress the Mets have made at the Winter Meetings and their remaining offseason plans.

Sandy Alderson talked with reporters late Wednesday and said, while he doesn't know that he'll make any deals before the end of the Winter Meetings, he's made progress in talks with teams and agents that he hopes will benefit the Mets before the end of the offseason.

Alderson also had the following to say about...

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McCutchen (22) at bat at PNC Park (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
McCutchen (22) at bat at PNC Park (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

The Nationals, who had reportedly shown interest in Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen, will acquire White Sox OF Adam Eaton for prospects Lucas Giolito, Dane Dunning and Reynaldo Lopezaccording to multiple reports.

In this case, I really, really hope the Mets use this opportunity to get in on McCutchen.

The Rangers, Dodgers, Mariners and a "mystery team" have all recently asked about McCutchen, according to reports on MLB Trade Rumors. The Nationals had been reportedly pursuing him since last summer.

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Aug 4, 2016; Bruce (19) celebrates a three run home run with Granderson (3) (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Aug 4, 2016; Bruce (19) celebrates a three run home run with Granderson (3) (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Dec 7 | 3:20 PM

The Mets met with the Rangers on Wednesday, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.


Matthew Cerrone: In addition to starting pitching, the Rangers have reportedly been looking to acquire a corner outfielder or Designated Hitter, such as Jay Bruce. At the same, I've heard from MLB insiders that they've been offering up RH reliever Jeremy Jeffress, who the Mets had interest in acquiring last summer before he was dealt from the Brewers to Rangers with Jonathan Lucroy. It's worth also noting that Texas still has Lucroy, who the Mets were trying to trade for last summer, as well, despite saying they were committed to Travis d'Arnaud. I see no evidence that the Rangers are looking to deal Lucroy. But, if they are, I assume the Mets would be intrigued, despite again saying they're commited to d'Arnaud.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce
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Aug 4, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher David Robertson (30) pitches against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Osentoski)
Aug 4, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher David Robertson (30) pitches against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Osentoski)

In the wake of trading Chris Sale to the Red Sox, multiple reports indicate the White Sox have started shopping several of their high-priced players.

So far, I have yet to read or hear of any rumors connecting the Mets to the White Sox. However, Chicago clearly has players that should be of interest to Sandy Alderson, specifically closer David Robertson and 1B Jose Abreu. 

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Wheels in motion 00:02:52
Jon Hein and Marc Malusis discuss the Mets' plan of action for Zack Wheeler, including his possible use out of the bullpen.

Zack Wheeler spoke about his health and a potential move to the bullpen during an appearance at the Mets' annual coat drive at Citi Field on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old said he threw about three weeks ago and will do so again around Christmas in what he called a "normal offseason," according to Joe Trezza of MLB.com. Wheeler added that he has not felt pain since April and that "this is the best he's felt."

He was also open to the idea of moving to the bullpen to start 2017, something Mets GM Sandy Alderson mentioned prior to the start of the Winter Meetings this past Sunday.

 

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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Free-agent OF Dexter Fowler, Royals OF Lorenzo Cain and Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen (USA Today Images)
Free-agent OF Dexter Fowler, Royals OF Lorenzo Cain and Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen (USA Today Images)

The price on position players -- especially outfielders -- is going down by the minute, according to multiple MLB market markers.

The top-tier, free-agent market includes outfielders Dexter Fowler, Jose Bautista and Ian Desmond, while the trade market reportedly includes Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), Charlie Blackmon (Rockies), Adam Eaton (White Sox), Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson (Royals), Odubel Herrera (Phillies) and Jay Bruce (Mets), among others.

"If I'm Fowler, I give up making $18-20 million a season and quickly grab one of those four-year, $60 million offers, because it might not be there if he waits," a team executive told me.

In regards to the Mets, this doesn't bode well for wanting to trade Bruce. And, it probably explains why reports now indicate Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto are off the table. Because, if prices are dropping, it's not worth moving them.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Jay Bruce (19) has dominated the Mets news cycle during the Winter Meetings (USA TODAY Sports)
Jay Bruce (19) has dominated the Mets news cycle during the Winter Meetings (USA TODAY Sports)

Mets GM Sandy Alderson should have at least one or two reasonable trades on the table for OF Jay Bruce, according to teams that have talked with the Mets.

However, because he's comfortable with slow-playing the free-agent market for relief pitchers, Alderson appears totally fine holding off on dealing Bruce for an arm, while letting the outfield market play out and revisiting his options during December.

"Things are generally slow," Alderson explained Tuesday, talking to reporters. "Hopefully things start to loosen up a little bit. ...Clubs are still trying to figure out exactly what they think is exactly the best way to go. The contours of the market are still a little bit vague, so you don't see a lot of movement."

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

Tuesday's News and Rumors...

The Mets contacted the Royals about closer Wade Davis >> Read more!

The Mets also may have interest in free-agent relievers Matt Belisle, Joe Blanton, Junichi Tazawa, Drew Storen and Boone Logan, as Jerry Blevins is seeking a three-year deal >> Read more!

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he and his staff are planning to change the workload and routine of their starting pitchers >> Read more!

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Oct 17, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Wade Davis (17) and center fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) celebrates after beating the Toronto Blue Jays in game two of the ALCS at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)
Oct 17, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Wade Davis (17) and center fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) celebrates after beating the Toronto Blue Jays in game two of the ALCS at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)

Dec 7 | 6:15 AM

The Mets asked the Royals about closer Wade Davisbut were asked to part with elite SS prospect Amed Rosario, who the team considers untouchable, according to Daily News reporter Kristie Ackert.

Instead, the Cubs are close to acquiring Davis for 24-year-old OF Jorge Soleraccording to multiple reports on MLB Trade Rumors.

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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)

The Mets are not yet willing to pay some of Curtis Granderson's $15 million salary or Jay Bruce's $13 million salary to help trade them during this week's Winter Meetings.

"Not at this point," Alderson said Monday, when specifically asked about the scenario.

Alderson is not usually this vague, though, which makes me think he'll eventually give in. However, right now, it's early enough in the off season that he isn't feeling desperate. Instead, I'm hearing they're more likely to give up a prospect or two in the deal, so the acquiring team is incentivized to absorb Bruce's $13 million.

Remember, the goal here is to a acquire as many relief pitchers as possible before the start of spring training, and I see Alderson eventually getting his men one of the following ways...

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) talks during the World Series victory rally in Grant Park. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)
Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) talks during the World Series victory rally in Grant Park. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)

The Mets are not trading both Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce so they can sign free-agent OF Dexter Fowlera high-ranking team official told SNY's Steve Gelbs.

This is disappointing, if true. I'm sure it is, but I also know Mets GM Sandy Alderson and his front office tend to make statements based on what's happening at that specific moment, and it does not necessarily recognize where things are headed.

Remember, Alderson and his staff repeatedly told reporters that the Mets wouldn't release Jason Bay, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez, nor would they be trading Carlos Beltran and RA Dickey, and they eventually did all of the above. I'm not saying the Mets will sign Fowler, or trade both Bruce or Granderson, I'm simply suggesting that we all take what they say with a grain of salt... because things have a way of changing as the environment changes around them...

That said, this is exactly the move I want to see the Mets make.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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MNoah Syndergaard (34), Jacob deGrom (48) and Matt Harvey (33) walk in from the bullpen at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
MNoah Syndergaard (34), Jacob deGrom (48) and Matt Harvey (33) walk in from the bullpen at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

For the second time this offseason, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he and his staff are planning to change the workload and routine of their starting pitchers, he told reporters Tuesday at the Winter Meetings.

Last month, Alderson said he is open to occasionally using a six-man rotation and mixing in spot starters so guys can get extended rest between appearances.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler
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Robert Gsellman pitches against the Braves last Tuesday in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
Robert Gsellman pitches against the Braves last Tuesday in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)

Teams have asked about RHP Robert Gsellman, but Sandy Alderson has told them he's not available, sources told ESPN.com's Adam Rubin.

Gsellman, 23, had a 2.42 ERA (2.63 FIP) and 1.27 WHIP, while striking out 42 batters in 44 2/3 innings, during seven starts and one relief appearance for the Mets in 2016.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler
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Free-agent relievers Fernando Salas, Brad Ziegler, Joaquin Benoit and Joe Smith (Credit: USA Today Images)
Free-agent relievers Fernando Salas, Brad Ziegler, Joaquin Benoit and Joe Smith (Credit: USA Today Images)

Dec 6 | 4:00PM

Free-agent LH reliever Jerry Blevins is seeking a three-year deal worth $5-6 million a season, MLB.com's Anthony DiComo reported on Twitter.

"If Blevins is willing to do a two-year deal, maybe Sandy Alderson can reel him back," MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone wrote Nov. 22. "But, if Blevins finds himself eventually weighing three-year offers, I bet Alderson passes and, instead, signs a veteran or two on minor-league deals."

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Tebow during an Arizona Fall League game at Camelback Ranch (Credit: Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today)
Tebow during an Arizona Fall League game at Camelback Ranch (Credit: Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today)

The Mets haven't decided whether OF Tim Tebow will be invited to play in big league games during Spring Training, GM Sandy Alderson said Tuesday.

"That's a decision we'll make some time in the near future," Alderson said, adding that there's "no benefit" to having him in big league camp.

Mets manager Terry Collins said earlier Tuesday that Tebow would play for the Mets during Grapefruit League games this spring, even if he's in minor-league camp

However, late last month, Tebow would not say if he plans to attend Spring Training.

Tags: Tim Tebow
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Sale of Two Cities 00:02:22
The DNL panel discusses the ramifications of the Chris Sale trade to the Boston Red Sox in a blockbuster move at the Winter Meetings.

The Nationals will not be adding Chris Sale, who is about to be traded to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and two other prospects, according to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal.

Earlier Tuesday, Rosenthal said the Nationals would have included RHP prospects Lucas Giolito and Victor Robles in a deal with Chicago. However, they've been reluctant to put them in a deal for Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen, who they've reportedly been pursuing since last summer.

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In honor of Mets media relation executive Shannon Forde, who lost her long, difficult battle with breast cancer last March, MLB announced Monday it will renovate a youth field in Forde's honor in her hometown of Little Ferry, N.J.

"I think a picture says a thousand words," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said at a press conference at the Winter Meetings. "This is the group that loves and misses Shannon every day."

To raise money for the project, which is part of their annual Play Ball program, MLB is auctioning off a number of unique opportunities, including a pitching lesson from Johnny Cueto, player and manager meet-and-greets, a dinner with Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez.

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