Oct 16, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox in game three of the 2018 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)
Oct 16, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox in game three of the 2018 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)

The Mets have continued to be in contact with free-agent starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel, according to SNY's Andy Martino.

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal recently reported that, while Keuchel would prefer a multi-year deal, he is open to signing a one-year contract worth more than the $17.9 million qualifying offer he rejected.

Brodie Van Wagenen did a terrific job this past winter working to improve the team's position player depth, but he has yet to create reliable, proven insurance for the pitching staff -- specifically the rotation.

In Keuchel, Van Wagenen has the opportunity to add depth, reliability and experience to his rotation, but it also comes with a variety of cons as well...

PROS TO SIGNING KEUCHEL

He is better than what they have.

Van Wagenen and Mickey Callaway expect the Mets to be in the postseason. To do that, they have said, the Mets must always carry their best 25 players and field the best guy at each position. 

Keuchel will be better than Jason Vargas. The end. 

The two most popular projection systems (ZiPS and Steamer) both expect Keuchel to produce roughly 2.5 WAR, while they project Vargas be a hair above league average at 0.5 WAR. 

For what it's worth, the two systems also project Keuchel to be better than Steven Matz and on par with what can be expected of Zack Wheeler, who so far has struggled to continue his strong 2018.In other words, Keuchel not only pushes the current weak link out of the rotation, he also becomes the third-best starter, makes Matz fifth and gives the Mets the most talented rotation in the National League.



To put it another way, looking at the existing five, it's not just a competition between Keuchel and Vargas, but also requires answering whether you would prefer Chris Flexen to Keuchel? The way it stands, in the event of a long--term need, Flexen is first in line to hop in to the rotation. So, Keuchel vs. Vargas is essentially the decision if it's assumed that one of the current group is injured or hits a terrible slump.

The report on Flexen is that by shedding significant weight this past winter, he looks fit, is performing well and seeing added zip on his fastball. I'd still prefer Keuchel, who has a track record of success and experience pitching in important baseball games. And I'd definitely prefer Keuchel to Vargas. I assume most Mets fans would also agree.

The talent...

Keuchel is 31 years old and posted a 3.74 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 2018 while throwing 204.2 innings. In the time since winning the Cy Young award in 2015, he has dealt with shoulder soreness and a related pinched nerve in his neck. He's not a strikeout pitcher, instead relying on soft contact and a lot of ground balls.

On one hand, this sounds like a pitcher the modern game will want to avoid, and that may very well be partly why he's struggling to find the long-term deal he set out to get.

That said, he still more talented than Vargas and more experienced than Flexen. And his game actually provides a nice counterbalance to the flame-throwing deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Also, in a pitcher's park, bringing in a guy that doesn't allow hard hits and keeps the ball down will only help further his chance of success.

The new value...

Keuchel started this winter reportedly asking teams for a six-year, $150 million deal, which would be in the neighborhood of contracts recently signed by Jon Lester and Patrick Corbin. This is an absurd amount of years to commit to Keuchel, who would be 37 years old when the deal runs out. 

Based on linear regression, variables, comparables, etc, it can be argued that Keuchel is right to value himself being worth $110 million across the next five seasons. The thing is, no one believes he is worth those numbers, otherwise he would have signed that deal by now.

That said, according to more or less anyone I've talked with in baseball, Keuchel is very much worth paying roughly $22 million for one season. He's also worth paying around $50 million for two seasons, but it's believed he's more likely to take the one-year pillow deal and again hit free agency this winter. 

The point is, he's not overvalued and could very well be a bargain when hiring him to pitch one season



CONS TO SIGNING KEUCHEL

What happens to Vargas?

In the event Keuchel walks through the door, making more than $20 million, it pushes aside Vargas and the one-year, $8 million remaining on his deal. This shouldn't matter, but for some reason it does to people who care about sunk costs -- as all those running baseball teams do.

Vargas, at 36 years old, has said he's open to any role that helps the team win, but he also has bristled on record when asked about his ability to pitch in the bullpen. Like most veteran starting pitchers, Vargas has said he isn't in the habit of quickly warming up and entering a game without multiple days to mentally and physically prepare. In other words, in his mind and body, he's a starting pitcher, which means moving him to the bullpen could actually negate some benefits of adding Keuchel.

Therefore, Vargas would likely end up killing time in the bullpen, taking up a usable roster spot and waiting for a spot start or entering a game in long relief. Personally, I have no problem with this. It's needed and, last I checked, creates depth. But, it's now less common on rosters than it was just 10 years ago. But it's the only logical place to stash Vargas unless he is forced on to the IL or cut.



The Cost...

To sign Keuchel, it will mean the Mets exceeding the $206 million Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) for the first time in history. In case you missed it, the luxury tax number is based on the average annual value and all potential benefits of each contract given to players on the entire 40-man roster. 

The CBT is not determined by the current year's payroll, which for the Mets, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts, is $158 million. However, their 2019 40-man CBT is counted as $195 million.

This matters only if Van Wagenen is pushing the limit of his 2019 budget.

In addition to the payroll, budget and CBT issues, signing Keuchel also means losing a second round draft pick this year because he rejected a qualifying offer from the Astros. This isn't the end of the world, but for a front office that is trying to add young talent in their vision, it would help to have as many draft picks as possible.

What would I do...

Teams exceeding the CBT for the first time must pay a 20 percent tax on all overages. The thing is, while Keuchel will add $22 million in real dollars to this year's payroll, it will only cost the Mets a $2 million CBT penalty. So, exceeding the CBT should not be considered a major deal to the Mets.

That said, if Van Wagenen has only a bit of wiggle room to add talent this summer, signing Keuchel now and maxing out his budget could be a major problem in three months. 

Idealistically, the Mets throw caution to the wind and spend on whatever it takes to push this roster over the September hump and in to the postseason. However, if the only way that can happen is being careful in April to make additions in July, signing Keuchel may not be worth it (even though he is better than Vargas). 

That said, if deep in the offices at Citi Field it is known that there is plenty of spending money to do both (sign Keuchel and add talent this summer), they should absolutely top any competing one-year offer for Keuchel. 

What will happen...

In the end, based on the tenor and comments of people around baseball, I still think Keuchel will end up signing a contract with the Astros because 1) they need him, 2) he knows them, and 3) he won't cost them a draft pick. I see him and Houston reuniting with a three-year deal that probably includes an opt-out clause and can reach as long as five years based on options. 


RELATED: Alonso made MLB history on Tuesday >> Read more

MARTINO: Vargas is making Dallas Keuchel look more appealing to Mets >> Read more 

WATCH: Van Wagenen gives early thoughts on 2019 Mets


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!

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Clover Park
Clover Park

Add the Mets to the group of teams that have re-opened their spring training facilities for players on a limited basis. 

The state of Florida, like many others, is allowing facilities to open up for sports teams, and the Mets told Newsday's Tim Healey on Tuesday that Clover Park in Port St. Lucie "is available for players who reside locally."

Mets C Wilson Ramos was seen there on Tuesday working out in the gym. 

Tags: Wilson Ramos, Scott Thompson
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MLB
MLB

With owners giving approval on May 11 to Major League Baseball's proposal to begin the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, negotiations are now ongoing between the league and Players Association.

The goal is to begin a second spring training of sorts around June 10 and for Opening Day to be around July 1, meaning the league and players have a finite amount of time to reach an agreement.

Here's the latest...

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See how the Mets fared against the Houston Astros in Game 60 of the virtual season on MLB The Show 20.

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Regardless of what many said after the fact, pretty much everyone watching Game 5 of the 2015 World Series wanted Matt Harvey to come back out for the ninth inning with the Mets leading, 2-0.

From the fans at Citi Field to the fans at home to the media in the press box, the belief was that Harvey should be given a chance to finish what he started.

When Harvey came running back to the mound after talking Terry Collins out of replacing him, the crowd roared. But things fell apart from there.

Tags: Matt Harvey, Danny Abriano
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New York Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez (45) (STEVE MITCHELL/AP)
New York Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez (45) (STEVE MITCHELL/AP)

Major League Baseball and the Players Association continue to have back-and-forth negotiations, but the clock is ticking toward the "soft deadline" if the goal is still to resume spring training around June 10. 

Pedro Martinez, the Hall-of-Famer who pitched four seasons with the Mets in the mid-2000s, is hopeful that both sides can find a middle ground on some of their differences, particularly when it comes to figuring out players' pay for a shortened season with no fans, so that the game can offer some solace for the fans at home.

"I'm hoping that both sides stop thinking about their own good to start thinking about the fans," Martinez said during an interview with Mike Tirico on NBC Sports' Lunch Talk Live. "I think this is the perfect time to have their baseball teams out there to have the people try to forget about a little bit what's going on. 

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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

As protests against police brutality and racial injusitce continue in most major cities in the United States, Mets star Pete Alonso posted on Instagram on Tuesday along with the caption #blackouttuesday -- a hashtag many are using on Tuesday in a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Soon after Alonso's post went up, Instagram user @mattenrique77 responded by saying "All Lives Matter" -- a pathetic retort Alonso would have none of.

"Get out of here with that ignorance," Alonso wrote. "Of course everybody's life matters but we're focusing on the wide spread racism in our country right now. The question is, why does the black lives matter movement bother you enough to have to say all lives matter?"

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Baseball glove, bat and ball (Treated Image by SNY)
Baseball glove, bat and ball (Treated Image by SNY)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Owners from all 30 Major League Baseball teams convened on a conference call Monday, according to sources, and reiterated the desire to begin the season. 

If any owner has gotten to the point where he does not see the value in playing a truncated schedule, he did not express that to his colleagues. Add that to the players' consistent stance that they want to play, and there remains the expectation that the 2020 season will be salvaged. 

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MLB
MLB

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Let's start with where we expect this negotiation to end: Major League Baseball and the Players Association will reach an agreement to play roughly 70-80 games, and players will accept a small percentage pay cut.

Additionally, the league will offer further financial incentives like removing the qualifying offer and the competitive balance tax this winter, in order to help kick-start free agency during an offseason of financial hardship. The union will offer deferred salaries.

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With this shortened MLB season slowly coming together, Vegas Sportsbooks haven't missed a beat with projecting winning percentages for 2020. 

As we knew, the NL East was going to be a hard-fought division this season -- shortened or not. With the World Series-champion Nationals not even being the NL East division winner last season (that's the Braves) to go along with the Mets and Phillies, it was bound to be good baseball.

Vegas thinks the same thing with their winning percentages this season. So do you think the Mets will go over or under their projected wins? That's the latest topic on What Are The Odds?

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On the eighth anniversary of Johan Santana pitching the first Mets no-hitter, Mike Baxter and Josh Thole recall their roles from that night.

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May 28, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets former pitcher Ron Darling is introduced to the crowd during a pregame ceremony honoring the 1986 World Series Championship team prior to the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
May 28, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets former pitcher Ron Darling is introduced to the crowd during a pregame ceremony honoring the 1986 World Series Championship team prior to the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

A judge has thrown out former Met Lenny Dykstra's lawsuit against his former teammate Ron Darling for defamation following the release of Darling's autobiography. 

With the lawsuit put to bed, Daring released an official statement on the matter:

CLICK BELOW TO READ DARLING'S FULL STATEMENT

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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)

With most major cities in the United States protesting police brutality and racial injustice in recent days after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, the Mets released a statement about the situation on Monday:

Queens, NY is one of the most diverse areas in our country. We take pride in our diversity. It is our strength

That is why we denounce all forms of racism and discrimination.

We stand with our state, our city, and community. We hope to be a part of positive change in our society.

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Johan Santana threw the first Mets no-hitter eight years ago today.

After making history, the jubilant Santana addressed his teammates. Watch his full speech above...

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Johan Santana
Johan Santana

It was a night many Mets fans thought they would never see.

On June 1, 2012 at Citi Field in front of 27,069 fans, Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in franchise history 50 years after the inception of the team.

There had been many near-misses through the years, from Tom Seaver to Rick Reed to Tom Glavine and many in between. But it was Santana -- back on the mound after missing the entire 2011 season due to shoulder surgery -- who did it.

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Mets prospect Matthew Allan (Treated Image by SNY)
Mets prospect Matthew Allan (Treated Image by SNY)

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |9

When the Mets selected hard-throwing RHP Matthew Allan in the third round (89th overall) of the 2019 MLB Draft, they got a first-round talent who SNY contributor and former Mets front office member Adam Fisher referred to at the time as the "linchpin" of their draft.

Allan, who turned 19 years old this past April, dropped out of the first round and all the way to the Mets at No. 89 because of signability concerns. But New York walked a bit of a tightrope when giving out its signing bonuses, and were able to get Allan signed under its alloted bonus pool.

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FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2015, file photo, New York Mets left fielder Michael Cuddyer adjusts his gloves during batting practice before a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field in New York. Cuddyer is ready to retire after playing 15 seasons in the major leagues. He turns 37 in March and leaves with one season left on a two-year, $21 million contract that he signed with the Mets as a free agent. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek, File) (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)
FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2015, file photo, New York Mets left fielder Michael Cuddyer adjusts his gloves during batting practice before a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field in New York. Cuddyer is ready to retire after playing 15 seasons in the major leagues. He turns 37 in March and leaves with one season left on a two-year, $21 million contract that he signed with the Mets as a free agent. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek, File) (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

A few nights ago, Michael Cuddyer sat in bed and forced himself to watch the entire video, all eight minutes and 43 seconds, that showed a white Minneapolis police officer kill a black man, George Floyd. It took him about four minutes to break down crying.

Cuddyer is an icon in Minnesota, having played 11 seasons for the Twins before leaving for Colorado and New York. He is now back with the team as a member of the front office.

"I forced myself to watch it, because I wanted to feel the empathy and I wanted to see the injustice," Cuddyer said in a phone interview on Sunday. "In the middle of it, I started bawling…I'm not afraid to admit it. I literally was in my bed bawling. Tears falling down my face."

Tags: Michael Cuddyer, Andy Martino
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MLB The Show
MLB The Show

See how the Mets fared against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 59 of the virtual season on MLB The Show 20.

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Mets 1B Pete Alonso (Noah K. Murray)
Mets 1B Pete Alonso (Noah K. Murray)

With most major cities in the United States protesting police brutality and racial injustice in recent days after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, Mets first baseman Pete Alonso spoke about the situation on Sunday.

"For the past couple of days, I've struggled to wrap my mind around what's happening," Alonso wrote on Instagram. "I have a voice and I will not remain silent. My heart has been broken over the murder of George Floyd. I will never know what it feels like to be discriminated against because (of) the color of my skin. To anyone who faces this type of discrimination, I will fight for you and be an ally. I will always stand with you. There needs to be justice and change made for the better of humanity. Let words be our sword and unity be our armor. Take care of each other."

Floyd died following his arrest in Minnesota after police officer Derek Chauvin -- who was later arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter -- had his knee on a prone Floyd's neck for roughly nine minutes while Floyd repeatedly said "I can't breathe."

After protests began in and around Minneapolis following the death of Floyd, other protests have taken place in New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, and elsewhere. 

Tags: Pete Alonso, Danny Abriano
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Here is the Sports Squared crossword puzzle for Sunday, May 31, called Players Who Played for the Mets and Yankees...

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Marcus Stroman (Jim Rassol)
Marcus Stroman (Jim Rassol)

Protests against police brutality and racial injustice after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have been taking place in cities across the country.

Many professional athletes, both in New York and other cities, have used their platform to either speak out on or join these protests.

"Racism is engrained [sic] in our society/culture and the world seems incapable of change," tweeted Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman. "To change the world we must begin with ourselves. Truly look in the mirror and identify if you're part of the problem or the solution. Your true colors will always be revealed!"

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See how the Mets fared against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 58 of the virtual season on MLB The Show 20.

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New York Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia throws during the eighth inning of Game 1 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum/AP)
New York Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia throws during the eighth inning of Game 1 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum/AP)

The Mets were leading the Kansas City Royals, 4-3, with one out and none on in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series. They were about to secure the win, guaranteeing themselves at least a split before returning to Citi Field for Game 3. And then it happened.

A Jeurys Familia quick pitch was turned around by Alex Gordon, who drove it out of the ballpark. Five innings later, the Mets lost. And the series was turned on its head.

Speaking this week on The Metrospective podcast with Tim Britton and Pete McCarthy, former Mets GM Sandy Alderson lamented the Game 1 loss and Familia's quick pitch.

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Danny Abriano
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See how the Mets fared against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 57 of the virtual season on MLB The Show 20.

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In a winner-take-all Game 5 of the 2015 NLDS against the Dodgers, Jacob deGrom stepped up in a huge way for the Mets, allowing just two earned runs over six innings of work while striking out seven hitters.

On the latest BNNY: Living Room Edition, the crew discusses how this game helped deGrom take his confidence to the next level and shaped him into the two-time NL Cy Young winner he is today ...

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Matt Harvey
Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey's time with the Mets was complicated, with off the field moments and his Dark Knight persona at times overshadowing what was his utter dominance on the mound when healthy.

Harvey blew past his innings limit in 2015 in his first season after Tommy John surgery (something former teammate David Wright recently lauded him for), underwent thoracic outlet surgery in 2016, and was never the same.

Speaking this week on The Metrospective Podcast with Tim Britton and Pete McCarthy, former Mets GM Sandy Alderson was asked what led to Harvey's downfall.

Tags: Matt Harvey, Danny Abriano
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MLB
MLB

The Mets are among teams that have released minor leaguers on Thursday, per The Score's Robert Murray

The Brewers, Nationals and Mariners were also among known teams that have let go some of its prospects. 

Unfortunately, these cuts shouldn't come as a surprise as the coronavirus pandemic hasn't just been wreaking havoc in Major League Baseball, but in Minor League Baseball as well. 

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Daniel Murphy's 2015 postseason run is something Mets fans will never forget. 

After hitting just 14 home runs in the regular season, Murphy became a legend in the postseason, belting seven home runs in a nine-game span, helping the Mets defeat the Dodgers in five games and then sweep the Chicago Cubs to win the NL pennant. 

On the latest Beyond the Booth Live, SNY's Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, and Keith Hernandez looked back on Murphy's meteoric playoff rise. 

Tags: Daniel Murphy
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See how the Mets fared against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 56 of the virtual season on MLB The Show 20.

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Aug 27, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) runs the bases celebrating his solo home run in the fourth inning setting the Mets all time single season home run record against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Aug 27, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) runs the bases celebrating his solo home run in the fourth inning setting the Mets all time single season home run record against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Odds with a + in front show how much money would be won on a $100 bet. Odds with a - in front show how much money someone would have to wager to win $100.


Mets first baseman Pete Alonso hit 53 homers in 2019 as he shattered the single-season rookie record and led all of the majors. While Alonso is among the favorites to hit the most homers during a shortened 2020 season that could be roughly 82 games, he is not the favorite.

Here are the players with the best odds, per BetMGM:

Tags: Pete Alonso, Danny Abriano
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In the latest edition of Beyond the Booth, Gary, Keith and Ron play "Rapid Replies," where they say the first word that comes to their mind when they hear another. 

What do think when they hear "Shea?" How about "Citi Field?" Check it out...

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SNY's Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling answer questions from fans and also look back at the Mets 2015 postseason run during Beyond the Booth Live, hosted by Steve Gelbs on Thursdays at 4 p.m.

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Baseball glove, bat and ball (Treated Image by SNY)
Baseball glove, bat and ball (Treated Image by SNY)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Following a day of video conferences with other players in leadership positions in the Players Association, Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer held the position that his union would not accept further pay cuts.

"After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there's no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions," Scherzer, a prominent voice in the union, tweeted on Wednesday night.

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Not many MLB players working out in anticipation for whenever the 2020 season gets underway has someone working alongside of them, let alone a teammate. 

Dom Smith and Marcus Stroman have been working out together since the pandemic shut down spring training, and it has given Smith a real good look at what Stroman brings to the rubber every fifth day. 

When his stuff is on, Stroman is one of the hardest pitchers to time and hit with his deceptive delivery techniques that match his array of pitches. On the latest episode of The Cookie Club with J.D. and Dom presented by Insomnia Cookies, Smith discussed what he's been doing with Stroman recently. 

Tags: Dominic Smith, Scott Thompson
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Custom handshakes between baseball players is basically an art form.

And while there won't be any handshakes if/when the 2020 season begins due to Covid-19 health and safety protocols being put in place, Dominic Smith has come up with some socially distant ways to celebrate, and it's still fun to reminisce about some of the best handshakes from last season. 

On the latest edition of The Cookie Club presented by Insomnia Cookies, Smith and J.D. Davis discussed not only just how some of these hand shakes develop over time, but also how Davis completely whiffed on sharing a handshake with Smith after one of his biggest home runs of the season. 

Tags: Dominic Smith, JD Davis
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When the 2020 MLB season (hopefully) begins, new health and safety protocols will be in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. It's not yet clear exactly what the protocols will be, but with high-fives and fist bumps likely to be forbidden, how will walk-off celebrations look?

The Mets made an art form out of walk-offs last season, with the player responsible for the game-winner getting his jersey ripped off. The celebrations also featured players dousing one another with water and food, and Dominic Smith using his scooter to take part while he was recovering from a foot injury.

Asked during the latest Cookie Club presented by Insomnia Cookies what celebrations could look like in 2020, Smith had some ideas in mind.

Tags: Dominic Smith, JD Davis, Danny Abriano
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See how the Mets fared against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 55 of the virtual season on MLB The Show 20.

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With MLB and the Players Association deep in negotiations for the potential return of the 2020 season -- which could mean a second spring training starting around June 10 -- players are ramping up their preparation.

For J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith, that means things have gotten more intense.

"Right now what I'm doing (is) I'm getting more balls off the machine. Getting ready, swinging a little bit harder, making sure I do some more sprints, some more long distance stuff," Davis said Wednesday during The Cookie Club presented by Insomnia Cookies. "Definitely ramping it up here, definitely getting the itch. The month before it was kind of that mystery of when we're gonna start, but now it's becoming a little more clear that it's gonna start here in the next couple of weeks. I have no idea, I don't make those decisions, but I'm excited for that phone call."

Tags: Dominic Smith, JD Davis, Pete Alonso, Yoenis Cespedes, Danny Abriano
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Baseball Night in New York takes a look around the NL to discuss who the best overall position player is in the entire league.

Los Angeles' Cody Bellinger edged out Milwaukee's Christian Yelich in MVP voting last year, and former AL MVP Mookie Betts has now changed leagues as well. So who is the top position player?

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On The Cookie Club presented by Insomnia Cookies, J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith reveal the secrets behind last season's handshakes and new ways to safely celebrate when baseball returns.

Tags: Dominic Smith, JD Davis
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MLB
MLB

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The players want to play. The owners want to earn. A round of calls to sources reveals that everyone is surprisingly calm behind the scenes, and the PR/social media war is mostly kabuki.

For these reasons and more, Tuesday's dust-up did nothing to change the industry expectation that MLB will launch its season in July.

When we did our rounds of asking for reaction on the player/agent side on Tuesday and Wednesday after the owners proposed steep cuts for top earning players, we received a number of virtual shrugs.

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Jun 21, 2019; Bradenton, FL, USA; Team Howard outfielder Austin Hendrick (12) at bat during the eighth inning at IMG Academy. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Jun 21, 2019; Bradenton, FL, USA; Team Howard outfielder Austin Hendrick (12) at bat during the eighth inning at IMG Academy. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

In the last 10 years, the Mets have selected an outfielder with their first pick in the first round of the MLB Draft three times.

The picks of Brandon Nimmo (2011) and Michael Conforto (2014) have worked out incredibly well, and they currently make up two thirds of the Mets' expected starting outfield.

The other outfielder the Mets most recently drafted? That would be Jarred Kelenic, who was selected in 2018 and traded to the Seattle Mariners in the deal that brought Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano to Queens. Regardless of whether Diaz and/or Cano improve in Year 2 in New York, including Kelenic in that deal was unwise. And he is now a consensus top 10 prospect in baseball who will likely be in the majors by 2021.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Danny Abriano
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MLB
MLB

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

After reading about Major League Baseball's proposal for a sliding scale of pay cuts that penalized the highest earners, one veteran role player had to grudgingly admire what the owners had done.

"They've just taken the biggest problem in the union, the pay class divide, and flipped it on its head," the player said. "And now they'll watch as the union tears itself apart as the highest paid fight back on this while the lowest paid say 'whoa whoa whoa, we like this!' The union will try to convince those young, naive players that it's in their interest to stand together, but it isn't."

Inside any major league clubhouse, there are wealthy players and players making the minimum salary. Last year on the Yankees, to choose a random example, Giancarlo Stanton earned approximately $25.5 million more than Ben Heller.

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton, Andy Martino
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See how the Mets fared against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 54 of the virtual season on MLB The Show 20.

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Baseball Night in New York looks back on Chase Utley's dirty slide into Ruben Tejada in Game 2 of the 2015 NLDS, and Anthony Recker reveals the impact it had on the Mets.

Tags: Ruben Tejada
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Bartolo Colon, who is not giving up on pitching again in the majors even at age 47, was already a Mets folk hero before he launched a home run deep into the San Diego night in 2016.

But that home run, coming after so many at-bats filled with laughs as Colon spun around and his helmet flew off -- added to his lore.

"I still have the bat; it's a beautiful memory for me," Colon told ESPN's Marly Rivera about the home run and his thoughts before it happened. "Ever since [my debut] with Cleveland, I always dreamt of playing interleague baseball. When I was with the White Sox [in 2003], one time I thought it was going to happen, when I faced Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs. I really thought I was going to hit it out that day because the ball was flying out of the park.

Tags: Bartolo Colon, Danny Abriano
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Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

In the last 25 years, the Mets have taken a corner infielder with their first pick in the first round of the MLB Draft just four times.

The last two taken were Brett Baty in 2019 and Dominic Smith in 2013. Before that, it was Ike Davis in 2008. You then have to go all the way back to David Wright in 2001 -- and Wright was a supplemental pick who was taken 38th overall.

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Sep 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
Sep 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

Whenever this 2020 MLB season gets underway, Mets ace Jacob deGrom will be going after a feat only two pitchers in MLB history have accomplished before him. 

A three-peat in Cy Young Awards has only been done by Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson -- two Hall of Fame starters who were just as dominant as deGrom has been in their primes. It's an entirely different situation this season with it being shortened. However, deGrom is still at the top of his game, and many believe he can join these two in the record books.

But does deGrom have to worry about his competition? 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Scott Thompson
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MLB The Show 20
MLB The Show 20

See how the Mets fared against the Atlanta Braves in Game 53 of the virtual season on MLB The Show 20.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that effective immediately, all professional local sports teams are now permitted to begin training camps in the state while following appropriate health protocols.

"Starting today, all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps (in the state)," Cuomo said during his daily coronavirus press briefing. "I believe that sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena -- do it, do it.

"Work out the economics if you can. We want you up, we want people to be able to watch sports. To the extent people are still staying home, it gives people something to do. It's a return to normalcy. So we are working and encouraging all sports teams to start their training camps as soon as possible, and we'll work with them to make sure that can happen."

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