The Mets have lots of pitching prospect depth, right? Nope. Outside of Noah Syndergaard, who really is the team's top prospect, the team's depth for 2014 is already in the big leagues. Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom are helping out in the rotation. Jenrry Mejia has found a home at the back of the Mets bullpen.

However, beyond Syndergaard, the next set of guys who project as potential members of a big league rotation (LHP Steven Matz and RHP Gabriel Ynoa) are in advanced Single-A. They are both three levels, and at least a full calendar year, from the big leagues.

Syndergaard, of course, is dealing with his own setback now. The crown jewel of the Mets' farm system, the 21-year-old was placed on the disabled list with a flexor-pronatoor strain. An MRI came back clean, but he will be shut down for at least a few weeks. That will slow the timetable for his MLB debute down until late-July or early August. A similar diagnosis in fellow hard-throwing pitchers. including Steven Strasburg and Josh Johnson, led to Tommy John surgery.

Meanwhile, Dillon Gee, who was only supposed to miss two starts, is now out indefinitely and is beginning his rehab program over in St. Lucie. In theory, when Gee returns, the Mets will have six starters. Add a healthy Syndergaard to Bartolo Colon, Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese, Montero and deGrom and the Mets would have seven starters. In 2015, Matt Harvey and Jeremy Hefner will be recovered from their Tommy John surgeries, and barring trades, the Mets would have up to nine healthy starting pitching candidates.

As for immediate depth beyond them? Not much.


Triple-A

This is a rotation in flux following the promotions of Montero and deGrom and the injury to Syndergaard.

Logan Verrett, the Mets' third round pick out of Baylor in 2011, is an extreme strikethrower with a below average fastball, but a nice slider. He just does not miss enough bats to be a big league starter. In 61 2/3 innings in Triple-A this year, he's fanned 43 (15.5 percent) and walked nine (3.2 percent) on his way to a 4.96 ERA. When he's in the zone, he gives up lots of loud contact, as the PCL is hitting .331/.350/.446 against him this year with a .377 BABIP. He ran a 4.25 ERA in Double-A last year, but struck out 22.5 percent of hitters and walked 5.3 percent. He has a chance to be the first Sandy Alderson draftee to reach the majors, but big league hitters would hit him hard.

The 36-year-old Giancarlo Alvarado slipped into the Las Vegas rotation after the Mets promoted Montero and deGrom. The Mets originally signed Alvarado to a minor-league deal last June. In parts of six seasons, he's run a fine 3.81 ERA in 481 2/3 innings Triple-A, largely in the PCL with a 20.4 percent strikeout rate and a 9.7 percent walk rate. After a pair of competant starts, he was ripped for six runs, thanks to nine hits, three hit batsmen and two walks, in his last start. Overall, he's fanned 19 (16 percent) and walked 16 (14 percent) in 23 1/3 innings in Vegas this year. The well-traveled Alvarado has pitched professionally in Mexico, China, Japan, Taiwain and for the Puerto Rican national team.

Dana Eveland is a living, breathing example of the replacement concept. He's pitched in the big leagues for seven teams in eight years between 2005 and 2012 working to a combined total of -1.0 bWAR. The Mets signed Eveland, who worked in Korea in 2013, in February to a minor-league deal without an invite to spring training.

The Mets signed Joel Carreno last November, in a move that was praised here and elsewhere, to provide options in the bullpen. He made his first 11 appearances for the 51s out of the bullpen before making a spot start on May 12 and another on May 24. He has almost been spectacularly ordinary in Triple-A: 4.50 ERA, 20.8 percent strikeout rate, 10.8 percent walk rate and 30 hits allowed in 28 innings. The Mets could probably throw Carreno, who hasn't been primarily a starter in the minor leagues since 2011, in a big league bullpen, and he would pitch at a comfortably below-average level.

Greg Peavey was transferred to Double-A Binghamton on Wednesday after making his two Triple-A starts. In 8 1/3 innings, he's allowed 12 runs on 15 hits, with a 7/7 K/BB ratio. Peavey made 39 relief appearances with Las Vegas in 2013, so in his two years with the 51s, he's run a 6.59 ERA in 71 innings with a 48/35 K/BB ratio.


Double-A

None of the pre-season Top 41 prospects are in the Double-A rotation. This is unusual.

All six of these pitchers work off a below average big league fastball. And forget the big leagues for a moment, all but one have been below average pitchers in double-A this season.

PitcherAppsERARA/9KBBK%BB%Opp Avg
Bowman84.245.80351420.28.1.260
Lara94.344.73311216.36.3.260
Pill94.965.36391120.15.7.291
Robles85.185.40361520.68.6.284
Gorski92.222.75541226.05.8.212
EL Average6144.014.624254193718.68.5.259
Matt Bowman, Tyler Pill and Hansel Robles have all struck out batters at a slightly above league average rate, but they've been hit hard when they are in the zone.

One of these things is not like the others though: Darin Gorski. Gorski, the only lefty of the group, taking his third hack at Double-A has certainly conquered the level. He flopped hard in Triple-A last year (13.2 IP, 17 H, 11 R, 9 BB, 7 K). His Triple-A tenure ended with a shoulder injury. The Mets outrighted Gorski off the team's 40-man roster at the start of the 2013 season, which means that baseball's other 29 teams also passed on offering him a roster spot. His best pitch is a changeup which has helped him put up better numbers against righties than lefties each of the last two years. However, he struggles at times when the pitch does not have enough separation off his soft fastball. He was recently promoted to Triple-A.

The prospect names get more fun as we move to Single-A and down, but players that far away are not relevant to helping out in 2014.

This comes against a backdrop in which Terry Collins has asked his starting pitchers to extend themselves in their last turn through the rotation in which every starter, other than Niese, matched or set a new season high for pitches. The pitch counts from the Mets starters in the last spin through the rotation: deGrom - 122, Montero - 113, Wheeler - 118, Niese - 104, Colon - 121. Collins must be extremely careful not to burn out his starters, or risk another series of Daisuke Matsuzaka spot starts or dipping into this collection of pitchers.

Tags: Analysis, Toby Hyde

In this week's second episode, Robert Brender does his best to convince MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone that the Mets should trade Michael Conforto for Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen.

Later in the show, Cerrone and Brender discuss Monday's news and rumors from DC, including more on Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson, O's reliever Brad Brach, and if the Mets should trade with the Royals...

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New York Mets' Jose Reyes (7) reacts after hitting a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
New York Mets' Jose Reyes (7) reacts after hitting a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)

The Mets will work out Jose Reyes in the outfield during Spring Training, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters Monday at the MLB Winter Meetings.

"We didn't want to do it last year, because we didn't want him working out at multiple new positions," Alderson explained about when the Mets acquired Reyes last summer.

Tags: Jose Reyes
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Alderson answers fans' questions 00:05:56
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson answers fan-submitted questions on Mets Hot Stove.

New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson talks David Wright's health, Jose Reyes' position in the lineup and what he thinks of Travis d'Arnaud when he answers fan-submitted questions on Mets Hot Stove.

Tags: David Wright, Jose Reyes, Travis d'Arnaud
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David Wright waits during batting practice before facing the San Diego Padres. (AP)
David Wright waits during batting practice before facing the San Diego Padres. (AP)

David Wright will be the team's primary third baseman entering spring training, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters Monday during the Winter Meetings.

According to Alderson, Wright is on track to start baseball activities during December.

Last month, Alderson told WOR 710 AM radio that, while he's hopeful that Wright will return, the Mets need to be realistic about what to expect from him in 2017.

"I think that we're very hopeful he's gonna be able to come back and be productive," Alderson said. However, "I think we have to be realistic about how many games we can expect him to perform."

Tags: David Wright
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Sep 25, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) hits a single during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
		  (Anthony Gruppuso)
Sep 25, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) hits a single during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

Dec 5 | 3:50 PM

The Mets have been in contact with the Orioles about a potential trade of Curtis Granderson or Jay Brucereports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Earlier today, a source told ESPN.com's Adam Rubin that the Orioles recently rejected Sandy Alderson's efforts to trade Bruce for a high-end reliever.

According to Rosenthal, the Mets may be targeting O's right-handed reliever Brad Brach, who had two saves and a 2.05 ERA (2.92 FIP), while striking out 92 batters during 74 innings last season.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce
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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 5 | 3:50PM

The Mets are also in contact with the Orioles about a potential trade of Curtis Granderson or Jay Bruce, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, who says the Mets have interest in O's reliever Brad Brach. Adam Rubin of ESPN recently reported that the Orioles rejected the Mets' initial asking price of a high-end reliever.

Brach, 30, had two saves and a 2.05 ERA (2.92 FIP), while striking out 92 batters during 74 innings with the Orioles last season. He has thrown 288 innings during his six-year career, including five straight seasons with an ERA under 4.00.

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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 Rangers, Dodgers, Nationals, Mariners and a 'mystery team' have all recently asked about trading for Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, according to reports on MLB Trade Rumors.

The Nationals have pursuing him since July, Jayson Stark of ESPN recently said to Twitter. However, in addition to the above teams, the Mets, Orioles, Blue Jays, Giants, Phillies and Cardinals have all reportedly expressed interest in acquiring a center fielder this off season.

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SNY at MLB Winter Meetings 00:19:03
Andy Martino and Steve Gelbs discuss all the up-to-date topics with the Mets and everything else in the league at the Winter Meetings.

Earlier today, also on Facebook, MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone answered questions during a Live Q&A about the overall hot stove, and what's next for the Mets >> To watch Cerrone's Q&A, click here!

Cerrone will be doing another Facebook Live Q&A for SNY tomorrow around 11 AM ET, after which Gelbs and Martino will return at 1:30 PM ET with another Winter Meetings Live from Washington, DC.

SNY will be live streaming Sandy Alderson's mid-day talk with reporters on their Facebook page each day at 3:30 PM during the Winter Meetings, which you can follow here.

Lastly, later tonight, Cerrone and co-host Robert Brender will be recording their second Winter Meetings Podcast, recapping the day and looking forward to what's on tap for Tuesday. 

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Photo: Chris McShane
Photo: Chris McShane

The Mets' top prospect for 2017 is 21-year-old SS Amed Rosario, according an organizational Top 10 list by Baseball America..

The team recently added Rosario, RHP Marcos Molina, OF Wuilmer Becerra, RHP Chris Flexen, and Nido to their 40-man roster, which will protect them from December's Rule 5 Draft.

According to TPG Mets, no other players on BA's top 10 list are eligible.

Tags: Gabriel Ynoa, Gavin Cecchini, Robert Gsellman
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Travis d'Arnaud catches at Chase Field (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Travis d'Arnaud catches at Chase Field (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

"The Mets are fully planning to go with Travis d'Arnaud as the primary catcher in 2017 and don't foresee going the external route," ESPN.com's Adam Rubin wrote late Sunday.

According to Rubin, the Mets do not intend on pursuing free-agent C Welington Castillo, who was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks this past weekend.

Tags: Kevin Plawecki, Rene Rivera, Travis d'Arnaud
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While the Mets have reportedly been trying to shop one of their outfielders for a relief pitcher, here's what the rest of the NL East has been doing at MLB's Winter Meetings...

Washington Nationals

The Nationals could be looking to make two blockbuster trades -- targeting White Sox ace Chris Sale and Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchenfor whom they might be willing to part with several top prospects, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

However, Washington could end up passing on a trade and, instead, go after free-agent outfielders Dexter FowlerIan DesmondCarlos Gomez and closer Mark Melancon...

Tags: Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, Matthew Cerrone
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MLB's 2016 Winter Meetings will begin today at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. The Meetings conclude Thursday morning after the Rule 5 Draft.

The buzz around the game points to more trade talk than free-agent rumors. The Mets will be among them, since multiple reports indicate they're trying to swap Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson for an upgrade in their bullpen >> To read more about their plans, click here!

Later today on SNY's Facebook page, I will be doing a Live Q&A around 11 am, followed by a Hot Stove check-in from our guys in D.C.. We'll also be Live streaming Sandy Alderson's talk with reporters at 3:30 pm, after which Rob Brender and I will post a podcast here recapping the day's events >> To follow SNY on Facebook, click here!

In the meantime, to keep you warm until rumors, updates and news begin flowing later this morning, check out the following audio and video... Happy Hot Stove!

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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

Mets INF Asdrubal Cabrera will play for Venezuela during the World Baseball Classic, reports Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

The WBC begins on March 6 and ends with the championship on March 22.

Cabrera, 31, played through a left knee injury for the majority of the second half of last season.

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Noah Syndergaard
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 (Jeff Curry)
(Jeff Curry)

The Mets have avoided arbitration with C Rene Rivera, agreeing with him on a one-year deal worth $1.75 million, the team announced Friday.


Today is the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Head here to see the other Mets who are eligible >> Read more!


Rivera, 33, hit .222 with a .291 OBP and .341 SLG with six HR and 26 RBI in 65 games last season.

He threw out 30 percent of would-be base-stealers.

Tags: Rene Rivera
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Steven Matz joins Mets Hot Stove 00:04:08
Steven Matz joins Steve Gelbs on Mets Hot Stove to examine his injury history and moving forward with his career.

Mets LHP Steven Matz has been cleared by the Mets and team doctors to proceed with his normal offseason routine, he told WOR radio Thursday.

"The doctors said, 'You're good to go,'" he told WOR's Pete McCarthy.

Matz had surgery in late September to remove a large bone spur from his pitching elbow. He ended his season early due to a rotator cuff impingement, which Sandy Alderson said in November did not require surgery. Instead, Matz received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left shoulder.

Tags: Steven Matz
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Apr 20, 2016; Duda (21), Cabrera (13), Wright (5) and Walker (20) during a pitching change (Credit: USA TODAY Sports)
Apr 20, 2016; Duda (21), Cabrera (13), Wright (5) and Walker (20) during a pitching change (Credit: USA TODAY Sports)

After years of injuries and ineffectiveness leading to a middle-infield-merry-go-round, the Mets find themselves entering the 2017 season with a stable tandem of shortstop and second base. Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker are both coming off strong performances in 2016 and - ideally - they will provide a stable presence to an infield with question marks in the corners.

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Mets Hot Stove: Matt Harvey 00:04:12
The Mets Hot Stove panel discusses Matt Harvey's injury rehab and their expectations from the right-handed hurler in 2017.

In July, 2016, Mets RHP Matt Harvey had season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, which was done to restore feeling in his pitching arm and fingers.

According to former Mets GM and SNY analyst Jim Duquette, Harvey is not yet throwing off a mound, but he's feeling strong, on schedule with his post-surgery, off-season throwing program and will be 100% ready for spring training.

"He's had a great deal of time to work out and focus on his body and strength. We expect him to come back and be the Matt Harvey of old," his agent, Scott Boras, told reporters in early November at MLB's GM Meetings. "He's throwing free and easy and he's strong."

Tags: Matt Harvey, Matthew Cerrone
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 (Steve Mitchell)
(Steve Mitchell)

Mets pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training in Port St. Lucie, FL on Feb. 12, the team announced Thursday.

Position players are required to report by Feb. 17.

Earlier this month, the Mets today their official 2017 Spring Training Grapefruit League schedule, which begins Friday, February 24 against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers, FL

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Mets relievers Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed (Credit: USA Today Sports Images)
Mets relievers Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed (Credit: USA Today Sports Images)

Sandy Alderson has repeatedly said this offseason that he'd like to add at least one reliever to his bullpen before the start of spring training.

"There are some questions in the bullpen that we are going to have to answer, either internally or from external sources," he reiterated during Wednesday's press conference to announce the signing of Yoenis Cespedes.

Alderson said in early November that he has no interest in signing free-agent closers Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon or Kenley Jansen, who similarly have little interest in the Mets because Jeurys Familia is already the team's closer.

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New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) during spring training at Tradition Field. (Brad Barr)
New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) during spring training at Tradition Field. (Brad Barr)

The Mets have discussed using RHP Zack Wheeler in the bullpen to start the season, according to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo.

Wheeler, who had Tommy John surgery during March, 2015, was shut down in early September after being examined by Dr. James Andrew and diagnosed with a mild flexor strain in his pitching arm.

Wheeler went 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA for the Mets in 2014. In addition to the flexor strain, his return to action was also delayed in 2016 after having an undissolved stitch surgically removed. He also had an anti-inflammatory injection to treat nerve pain...

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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 (Rick Osentoski)
(Rick Osentoski)

The Mets have trade RHP Logan Verrett to the Orioles for cash considerations, the team announced.

The trade frees up a 40-man roster spot for recently re-signed OF Yoenis Cespedes.

Verrett, 26, had a 5.20 ERA and 1.56 WHIP while striking out 66 batters in 91 2/3 innings (12 starts, 23 relief appearances) for the Mets last season.

He had a 3.03 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in 38 2/3 innings for the Mets in 2015.

Tags: Logan Verrett

Sandy Alderson (left) talks with Wilpon at Citi Field (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Sandy Alderson (left) talks with Wilpon at Citi Field (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

According to multiple sources and reports, the Mets want to keep their Opening Day payroll around $140 million, which would leave money in reserve for mid-season acquisitions.

However, their current projected payroll already sits around $145 million when including upcoming raises, players under contract and after bringing back Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker.

At the same time, the Mets will likely save on part of Jeurys Familia's estimated $8.5 million salary, because they don't have to pay him during a potential suspension. Also, trading away Jay Bruce's $13 million would free up additional money.

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