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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New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas leaves the mound after being taken out of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fifth inning at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas leaves the mound after being taken out of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fifth inning at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets (13-11) fell back in a first-place tie in the NL East after they lost to the Phillies 6-0 on Wednesday. They are off Thursday before beginning a three-game series at Citi Field against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.

Here's what went down on Wednesday:


While Jason Vargas allowed just one run in 4 2/3 innings, the Mets left nine runners on base and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in Wednesday's 6-0 loss to Philadelphia.

 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Jacob Rhame, Jason Vargas, Philadelphia Phillies, Zack Wheeler
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Mets lose finale to Phillies 00:00:55
New York Mets shortstop third baseman Todd Frazier and manager Mickey Callaway are ready to move on from Rhys Hoskins' slow trot.

The Phillies and Mets had some tension heading into the final game of their series at Citi Field on Wednesday night. 

On Tuesday with Rhys Hoskins at the plate in the top of the ninth, Jacob Rhame threw too fastball -- one behind Hoskins and the other around his head -- that saw both benches begin to clear. Some believed Rhame could have been sending a message after two Mets were hit by pitches in Monday's opener. 

Well, Hoskins got his revenge tonight, hitting a homer to left field off Rhame. And he milked it....

Tags: Amed Rosario, Jacob Rhame
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Apr 24, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas (44) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Apr 24, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas (44) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Though Jason Vargas had a pretty solid outing, the Mets couldn't muster any offense against Vince Velasquez in a 6-0 shutout at Citi Field on Wednesday night.  >> Box score

Six things to know about Wednesday's game...

1) Vargas didn't go deep in this one, but he did manage to only allow one run over his 4.2-inning start. He allowed three hits and walked two while striking out four. The Mets are sticking with Vargas as their fifth starter, and it shows as Gio Gonzalez went to the Brewers on Wednesday. This is an encouraging outing that they are making the right choice. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jacob Rhame, Jason Vargas, Robinson Cano, Scott Thompson
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New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at SunTrust Park. (Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at SunTrust Park. (Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)

It was a good sign for the Mets after Jacob deGrom finished another bullpen session on Wednesday without any pain in his right elbow, per MLB.com's Anthony DiComo

With that successful session, deGrom should be set to come off the Injured List and return to the rotation. His next scheduled start would be the series opener against the Brewers on Friday. 

DeGrom received an MRI on his elbow on Monday, and it came back clean. This came before deGrom threw a 30-pitch bullpen that also saw positive results. There was never much concern for the Mets' ace, who was also battling strep throat.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Apr 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario (1) hits an RBI double against the Minnesota Twins during the second inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario (1) hits an RBI double against the Minnesota Twins during the second inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Mets try to sweep the Phillies in a three-game set Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m. on SNY. They haven't swept the Phillies in a three-game set since April 10-12, 2017 and haven't done so in New York since May 25-27, 2015.

Mets notes

Amed Rosario is back in the lineup after he was out sick the previous two games. ... Brandon Nimmo isn't starting because of a left oblique issue. ... Pete Alonso gets a day off as Dominic Smith starts at first base. ... If the Mets manage to get a quality start out of Jason Vargas, they'd have gotten three consecutive quality starts for the first time this season. ... The Mets have held the Phillies scoreless over the last 14 innings.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Pete Alonso, Philadelphia Phillies
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The Mets didn't sign Gio Gonzalez, due in part to the fact that they didn't view him as much of an upgrade over Jason Vargas. Whether you agree with that or not, it's clear that the current situation with Vargas is not tenable.

Even on days where Vargas is "good" by the standards set for him, the Mets are still not comfortable letting him pitch more than four or five innings. And in a world where Vargas is actually able to give four or five solid innings most times he pitches, that positive would be mostly offset by the negative of taxing the bullpen every five days.

Translation: The Mets have a problem. Here are seven options who can replace Vargas, with some of them potentially not options until later in the season...

Tags: Anthony Kay, David Peterson, Jason Vargas, Seth Lugo
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Brodie Van Wagenen (Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)
Brodie Van Wagenen (Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)

Gio Gonzalez opted out of his minor league contract with the Yankees on Saturday because he is interested in continuing to be a starting pitcher, and the Yanks did not have room for him in their rotation.

On Thursday, he chose the Milwaukee Brewers over the Mets for similar reasons: The Brewers offered him a far better opportunity to start.

After talking with the Mets, Gonzalez agreed to terms on a one-year, $2 million deal -- that's $2.3 million over a full season -- with Milwaukee. The contact includes $2 million in additional performance bonuses.

Tags: Jason Vargas, Seth Lugo, Andy Martino
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Mar 23, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gio Gonzalez (43) throws a pitch at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Mar 23, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gio Gonzalez (43) throws a pitch at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

As Jason Vargas struggles, the Mets have remained in touch with free agent starting pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Keuchel. Here's the latest on Gonzalez...


April 24, 12:16 PM:

Gonzalez has signed with the Brewers, reports SNY's Andy Martino, who says the deal contains a $2 million base salray with an additional $2 million in potential incentives. 

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Wrapped into Zack Wheeler's absolutely dominant performance Tuesday night for the Mets was the fact that he accomplished something no other pitcher has done this season.

While dismantling the Phillies with his arm and bat, Wheeler became the first pitcher this season to throw a pitch of 100 MPH or more and hit a pitch 100 MPH or more.

As he was regularly reaching the high 90s with his fastball and touching 100, Wheeler also mixed in a double and this laser of a homer to left-center field -- the first of his career:

Tags: Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Apr 23, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) is greeted at home by second baseman Robinson Cano (24) after hitting a grand slam home run in the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Apr 23, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) is greeted at home by second baseman Robinson Cano (24) after hitting a grand slam home run in the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

The Mets (13-10, 1.0 game up on Phillies for first place in NL East) face Philadelphia on Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m. on SNY.

Here's what went down on Tuesday in case you missed it...


In the Mets' win over the Phillies on Tuesday night, Zack Wheeler was utterly dominant as he dismantled Philadelphia over 7.0 shutout innings >> Read more

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jacob Rhame, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Wheeler on mentality VS NL East 00:00:37
New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler talks about his mentality whenever he goes out to face an NL East rival.

A scout who has watched Zack Wheeler for many years sat in the stands at Citi Field on Tuesday night and offered a blunt assessment.

"This is the best I've ever seen him," said the scout, whose team has tried to trade for Wheeler in years past. "Hands down."

Perhaps even more exciting for the Mets, on a night that Wheeler struck out 11 batters in seven scoreless innings in an 8-0 win over Philadelphia, is that the pitcher himself didn't agree. Though pleased with his performance, Wheeler still doesn't think he has his best stuff.

Tags: Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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Apr 23, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins (17) exchanges words with New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud (18) after almost getting hit by a pitch in the ninth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Apr 23, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins (17) exchanges words with New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud (18) after almost getting hit by a pitch in the ninth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Things got a bit testy at the end of the Mets' 9-0 win over the Phillies on Tuesday night at Citi Field. 

With two outs in the ninth inning, Mets reliever Jacob Rhame zipped a pitch behind Rhys Hoskins' head, who did not appreciate it. 

Hoskins began walking toward the mound and both benches began to clear but nothing further escalated as Hoskins was stopped by home plate umpire Scott Barry. 

Tags: Jacob Rhame
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Wheeler shuts down Phillies 00:01:15
New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler had an amazing performance against the Phillies both on the mound and at the plate.

Zack Wheeler had himself a night at Citi Field on Wednesday, as his pitching -- and hitting -- led the way to a Mets shoutout of the Phillies, 9-0.   >> Box score

Six things to know about Tuesday's game...

1) Wheeler absolutely shutdown the Phillies' offense with a strong performance on the bump, allowing five scattered hits and no runs over seven innings. The walks that have plagued him too didn't appear in this one, as he struck out 11 and didn't allow a free pass. Oh, Wheeler also helped himself at the plate. He not only ripped a two-RBI double to put the Mets on the board first, but he launched his first career homer as well for a total three RBI on the night.  

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jacob Rhame, Michael Conforto, Robinson Cano, Zack Wheeler
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New York Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo high-fives first baseman Pete Alonso after hitting a home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning at Citizens Bank Park. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo high-fives first baseman Pete Alonso after hitting a home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning at Citizens Bank Park. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

Brandon Nimmo is battling yet another injury. 

The Mets outfielder left Tuesday's game after the third inning with a left oblique twinge, the team announced. 

Nimmo, 25, reached base on an error in the second inning, which helped score a run. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo
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Zack Wheeler first career HR 00:00:25
New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler adds to his great night and smacks his first career home run

Zack Wheeler showed he can do it at the plate as well on Tuesday night, blasting an opposite field solo home run in the fourth inning off Phillies pitcher Zach Eflin to put the Mets up 4-0. 

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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Mar 28, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)
Mar 28, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)

The Mets need another starting pitcher and at least one addition to their bullpen.

There are options on the free-agent market, such as Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel, but Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen may also want to reach out to the Giants.

According to the Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Giants are open to dealing relievers Tony Watson, Mark Melancon, Sam Dyson, Trevor Gott and Nick Vincent.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matthew Cerrone
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Apr 21, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Curry)
Apr 21, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Curry)

On Sunday, Noah Syndergaard continued to struggle on the mound after taking a loss against the Cardinals. But there may be a valid excuse this time. 

According to SNY's Andy Martino, Syndergaard was sick during his start. It's unknown what illness he had exactly, but "Thor" won't be cashing in that excuse for his poor performance. He allowed six runs, four earned on eight hits with five strikeouts and two walks over five innings. 

This opening month of the season hasn't seen the typical dominance that Syndergaard has displayed in the past. He owns a 5.90 ERA over five starts, and he admitted after his outing in St. Louis that he needs to turn it around soon. 

 

Tags: Noah Syndergaard
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Mets Academy partners with HSS 00:00:42
Mets Academy partnership will allow HSS to have full medical integration within the Dominican training facility over the next several years.

The Hospital for Special Surgery has been working with the Mets for over two decades, and it is now making the move down to the Domincan Republic. 

The Mets Academy down in the Dominican has partnered with HSS, and it will allow the hospital to have full medical integration within the Mets' training facility down there over the next several years. 

Hear what those involved had to say about the new partnership that benefits the academy immensely...

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Apr 22, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) argues a strike call and is ejected by home plate umpire Mark Carlson against the New York Mets during the fourth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Apr 22, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) argues a strike call and is ejected by home plate umpire Mark Carlson against the New York Mets during the fourth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Bryce Harper's first ejection as a Philadelphia Phillie worked out nicely for the Mets, allowing them to deal with someone named Roman Quinn for two potentially important at-bats instead in a 5-1 win.

But in the long run it might have been a night the Phillies will remember as a tone-setter for the season and, to some degree, the Harper era, after Jake Arrieta called out the $330 million man for getting tossed, and basically said it's time he grows up.

Tags: Bryce Harper, John Harper
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Mar 31, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano (24) celebrates with teammates after scoring in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Mar 31, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano (24) celebrates with teammates after scoring in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

The Mets look to avoid a three-game losing streak when they take on the Phillies in the second game of a three-game set on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field on SNY.

Mets notes

With the majority of their first-month games coming against division competition, it was going to be important for the Mets to start strong. So far, they're 10-7 against NL East opponents. ... Robinson Cano returns to the lineup after being hit in the hand Sunday in St. Louis. The Mets kept him out during Monday's win. The team leads the league with 15 HBP this season. ... Jeff McNeil's .384 batting average ranks fourth in baseball and he whacked his first home run of the year Monday. He has a .483 career average in 15 games against Philadelphia. 

Tags: Philadelphia Phillies
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Apr 22, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) hits an RBI double against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Apr 22, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) hits an RBI double against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The Mets (12-10, tied for first place in NL East with Phillies) face Philadelphia on Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m. on SNY.

Here's what went down on Monday in case you missed it...


In the Mets' win over the Phillies on Monday night, Steven Matz rebounded in a big way, Jeff McNeil hit his first homer of the season, and Pete Alonso continued to rake >> Read more

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, Steven Matz
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Matz bounces back 00:01:46
Steve Matz comments on bouncing back from his last start while Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil discuss the Mets offensive performance

The Mets moved into a first-place tie in the NL East as they beat the Phillies 5-1 on Monday night at Citi Field. > Box score

Five things to know about Monday's game

1) Steven Matz put last week's nightmarish start against the Phillies behind him, tossing six innings of one-run ball while allowing three hits, walking two and striking out six, as he lowered his ERA to 4.03. Matz retired the first six batters he faced and worked around a second-and-third, one-out jam in the third inning. He held the Phillies scoreless until Rhys Hoskins hit a solo homer in the top of the fourth inning. Included in Matz' night were two strikeouts of Bryce Harper, who was ejected in the top of the fourth for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout before bounding onto the field and losing his mind (more on that below). 

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso, Philadelphia Phillies, Steven Matz, Wilson Ramos, Danny Abriano
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A Mets player was hit on the hand for the third straight game.

This time, it was Jeff McNeil who was hit on the hand by a Jose Alvarez fastball in the seventh inning of Monday's 5-1 win over the Phillies.

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Philadelphia Phillies, Robinson Cano
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Bryce Harper was ejected from Monday's Mets-Phillies game in the fourth inning from the dugout for arguing balls and strikes.

Tags: Philadelphia Phillies
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Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Matt Harvey pitches against the New York Yankees in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. (Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Matt Harvey pitches against the New York Yankees in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. (Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports)

Whether he's with the Mets or a different team, one thing has been consistent with Matt Harvey: success against the Yankees.

The former Mets ace Harvey threw six innings of two-run ball in Monday's start, retiring the last seven batters he faced.

Harvey allowed a solo home run to Luke Voit in the first inning and another run to score on a Gleyber Torres foul out in the third, but allowed just three hits and two walks to lower his ERA to 8.03.

Tags: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Matt Harvey
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Alonso gets Mets on board 00:00:13
Pete Alonso fights off a tough pitch and doubles to right field to give the Mets a 1-0 lead

Pete Alonso hit an RBI double in the third inning that gave the Mets a 1-0 lead.

Later in the game, Jeff McNeil hit his first homer of the season, a solo shot off Jake Arrieta that gave New York a 3-1 lead.

Tags: Pete Alonso
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New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard throws a pitch during the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard throws a pitch during the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets' 5.57 team ERA is the third-worst in the majors, better than only the Orioles and Red Sox. But manager Mickey Callaway isn't ready to sound the alarm.

"It's not concerning," Callaway said at Citi Field before Monday night's game against the Phillies, noting that the sample size is far too small for the team to be worried.

Is Callaway right to not be alarmed? Maybe...

Tags: Corey Oswalt, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Justin Wilson, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Apr 3, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch in the first inning of the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports (Sam Navarro)
Apr 3, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch in the first inning of the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports (Sam Navarro)

Mets ace Jacob deGrom wound up getting an MRI on his elbow after all -- with it happening Monday morning before he threw a 30-pitch bullpen session at Citi Field.

The MRI came back "clean," GM Brodie Van Wagenen said prior to Monday night's game against the Phillies at Citi Field, adding that they'll see how the rest of deGrom's throwing program goes this week before determining whether he will come off the IL and return to the rotation on Friday when first eligible. 

Roughly three hours before Van Wagenen spoke, deGrom tossed the aforementioned bullpen session under the watchful eye of pitching coach Dave Eiland, concluding the session with a fist bump before walking across the field to the dugout.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Sep 14, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) congratulates second baseman Jeff McNeil (68) after catching a line drive hit by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (not pictured) during the seventh inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)
Sep 14, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) congratulates second baseman Jeff McNeil (68) after catching a line drive hit by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (not pictured) during the seventh inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)

The Mets are activating Todd Frazier before Monday night's game against the Phillies at Citi Field, and his return will have an impact on Jeff McNeil -- but fans can breathe a sigh of relief about the kind of impact it will have.

"I envision him playing third -- playing it quite a bit and kind of going from there," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Monday afternoon about Frazier. "It will be something that we'll have to be diligent about."

While Frazier is going to play third "quite a bit," Callaway said the player that will impact the most is J.D. Davis, who has been splitting time there with McNeil. As far as McNeil, most of his playing time will likely come in left field...

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Todd Frazier, Danny Abriano
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Apr 10, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano (24) in the dugout during game against the Minnesota Twins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 10, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano (24) in the dugout during game against the Minnesota Twins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Two of the Mets' starting infielders are out of the lineup on Monday night -- for very different reasons.

After exiting Sunday's game early after getting hit in the hand by a pitch, Robinson Cano is feeling residual soreness, GM Brodie Van Wagenen said. While Cano isn't in the lineup, he could be able to enter the game later on.

X-rays came back negative for Cano after Sunday's game, and the fact that he could be available later on Monday night bodes well. 

Tags: Amed Rosario, Robinson Cano, Danny Abriano
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Sep 8, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) hits an RBI sacrifice fly against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Sep 8, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) hits an RBI sacrifice fly against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The Mets officially activated third baseman Todd Frazier on Monday and placed reliever Justin Wilson on the injured list with elbow soreness.

Frazier, who will play third "quite a bit," according to manager Mickey Callaway, has been out since spring training due to an oblique injury.

He played 13 rehab games with High-A St. Lucie and Triple-A Syracuse, going 10-for-42 with one home run and nine RBIs. Frazier also played four games at shortstop.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Jeff McNeil, Justin Wilson, Luis Guillorme, Paul Sewald, Robinson Cano, Todd Frazier
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Callaway on Mets injuries 00:01:43
Mickey Callaway clarified his 'barking comments' while giving an injury update on Jacob deGrom and Robinson Cano.

The Mets look to avoid a three-game losing streak when they take on the Philadelphia Phillies in the first game of a three-game set on Monday at 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field on SNY.

Mets notes

Amed Rosario (sickness) and Robinson Cano (hand) are not in the lineup. ... Jeff McNeil has eight multi-hit games in his last 13 games, slashing .373/.439/.431 in that span. ... The Mets have the second-worst run differential (minus-19) in the National League, but have the sixth-best record. 

Tags: Philadelphia Phillies, Steven Matz
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Andy Martino and Doug Williams talk about the Mets pitching dilemma: Do they seek bullpen help or starting pitching? With the woes of the middle rotation should the Mets be worried about more than just their fifth starter? 

Additionally, what's up with Amed Rosario and should fans be worried?

Click below to listen...

Tags: Amed Rosario
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New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard pitches to St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina during the second inning at Busch Stadium. (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard pitches to St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina during the second inning at Busch Stadium. (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

Noah Syndergaard is not happy with how he has pitched in 2019, during which he has been charged with giving up 19 runs in just five starts and 29 innings.

"To be quite honest, the entire beginning of this season, my performances have been unacceptable," he said later Sunday. "I have to be better. I will be better. There's no excuses for it."

In his start Sunday against the Cardinals, Syndergaard tossed five innings, allowed four earned runs, eight hits and two batters, both which were the first batter of the inning.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Paul Sewald, Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets legend Ed Kranepool at Citi Field on April 22, 2019. (SNY)
Mets legend Ed Kranepool at Citi Field on April 22, 2019. (SNY)

Mets legend Ed Kranepool received good news over the weekend. 

The 74-year-old announced at Citi Field on Monday that he has found a "perfect match" for a new kidney after a nearly two-year wait on the donor list. 

Kranepool, the first baseman on the 1969 World Series champion Mets, has been cleared by doctors for the procedure, which will take place May 7 at Stony Brook University Hospital. 

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Mar 23, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gio Gonzalez (43) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Mar 23, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gio Gonzalez (43) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The market for Gio Gonzalez will be more robust than it was in the winter, with the Milwaukee Brewers now interested in bringing the lefty back, according to major league sources.

The Mets, who were only minimally interested in Gonzalez during the offseason, are more intrigued now. Gonzalez is seen internally as a more likely addition than free agent starter Dallas Keuchel.

The Mets sent a scout to watch Gonzalez's final start for the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate on Friday, but the game was rained out. Gonzalez exercised an opt-out clause in his contract the following day.

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Jun 23, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; A general view of the field prior to the game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jun 23, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; A general view of the field prior to the game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

If it feels like the Mets just played the Phillies, that's because they indeed did, when the latter took two of three in Philadelphia last week. Tonight's contest begins another three-game set, this time at Citi Field.

Matz won't be able to do any worse than how he fared in the previous series -- so long as there's an out recorded -- as he failed to retire even one batter last Tuesday. Ultimately, eight runs (six earned) went to his name while his ERA soared from 1.65 to 4.96.

Tags: Steven Matz
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A general view at First Data Field (Jasen Vinlove)
A general view at First Data Field (Jasen Vinlove)

Every Monday, we'll be taking a look at how the Mets' top prospects (their MLB.com Mets Top 10 rankings are in parenthesis) are faring.


Andrés Giménez, SS, Double-A Binghamton (No. 2) -- ETA 2020

Pete Alonso remains listed No. 1 on MLB.com's list of top Mets prospects, but he sure seems well entrenched in the majors given his outstanding start to the season. So Giménez tops the Mets' farm system, and it was a good week for the shortstop in Double-A Binghamton.

The 20-year-old went 9-for-25 in six games, recording one homer, three doubles, three RBI, three walks and two stolen bases along with six strikeouts. He takes a five-game hitting streak into Monday's game at Akron, and he had three hits in two of those games. He did commit an error in his last game, his second of the season.

The standout performance came on Thursday, when he went 3-for-4 with a homer and two doubles. The homer was a blast to right field which left the stadium and went "across the street," according to the MiLB video description.

Tags: Andres Gimenez, Anthony Kay, David Peterson, Mark Vientos, Ronny Mauricio, Thomas Szapucki
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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)

As Jason Vargas struggles, the Mets have remained in touch with free agent starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel. Here's the latest...


April 22, 12:18 PM:

Although things may change, SNY's Andy Martino is "not hearing a lot of enthusiasm right now" that the Mets will be the ones to sign Keuchel.

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New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso celebrates with manager Mickey Callaway after hitting a solo home run off of St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Dakota Hudson during the first inning at Busch Stadium. (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso celebrates with manager Mickey Callaway after hitting a solo home run off of St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Dakota Hudson during the first inning at Busch Stadium. (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets (11-10, second place in the NL East, 1 game behind Phillies) open a 10-game homestand, starting with three games against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday at 7:10 p.m. 

Here's what went down on Sunday in case you missed it...


Noah Syndergaard struggled on the mound and more takeaways from the Mets' 6-4 loss to the Cardinals. >> Read More

 

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano
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New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard pitches during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard pitches during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard isn't pitching like the dominant pitcher he has shown capable of being. And he knows he needs to be better.

"To be quite honest, the entire beginning of this season, my performances have been unacceptable," Syndergaard told reporters after Sunday's 6-4 loss to the Cardinals. "I have to be better. I will be better. There's no excuses for it."

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, St. Louis Cardinals
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Alonso hits 8th HR of the year 00:00:20
New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso crushes his 8th home run after telling manager Mickey Callaway he wanted to face Dakota Hudson.

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso and Cardinals RHP Dakota Hudson go way back to the Cape Cod League and college, when they'd face each other as SEC foes, Alonso with the University of Florida and Hudson with Mississippi State.

So even though Alonso could have had Sunday off after taking a pitch to the hand on Saturday, he lobbied manager Mickey Callaway to get a chance to face Hudson.

And Alonso, who went 0-for-4 against Hudson in college, got revenge.

Tags: Pete Alonso
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Mets lose series to Cardinals 00:01:19
New York Mets hit four home runs including blasts from Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto and even Noah Syndergaard but Mets still fall short.

Noah Syndergaard struggled on the mound as the Mets lost for the fourth time in the last five games with a 6-4 loss on Sunday at Busch Stadium. >> Box score

Six things to know about Sunday's game

1) Syndergaard (1-2, 5.90 ERA) allowed six runs (four earned) and eight hits in five innings. In five starts this season, he has allowed at least four runs four times.

2) Pete Alonso, Syndergaard, Robinson Cano and Michael Conforto each hit solo homers, however the Mets wet 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base.

Tags: Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, St. Louis Cardinals
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New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano looks on prior to a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano looks on prior to a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

X-rays came back negative on Mets second baseman Robinson Cano's right hand.

Cano left Sunday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals after taking a 93.9 mph Andrew Miller fastball to the right hand in the seventh inning.

Cano went down in pain, however umpires ruled it was a foul ball, a call that manager Mickey Callaway argued, which led to his ejection.

Tags: Robinson Cano
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Alonso hits 8th HR of the year 00:00:20
New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso crushes his 8th home run after telling manager Mickey Callaway he wanted to face Dakota Hudson.

Pete Alonso could have had the day off Sunday. Instead, he wanted to face Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson and called manager Mickey Callaway Saturday night, pleading his case to be in the lineup.

Callaway desired to exercise caution toward his rookie first baseman, who exited Saturday's 10-2 loss in St. Louis after being plunked on the hand with a pitch. X-Rays confirmed that he was OK, and Callaway heeded Alonso's request. 

The decision proved wise. Alonso blasted off to center field on an 0-1 offering from Hudson during his first at-bat of the afternoon. The ball traveled an estimated 444 feet and left the bat at 114.7 mph. He now has eight home runs on the season. 

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso
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Apr 11, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Miami Marlins left fielder Curtis Granderson (21) against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)
Apr 11, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Miami Marlins left fielder Curtis Granderson (21) against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)

The Mets have reshaped their roster over the last year and change, saying goodbye to some familiar faces (some beloved, some not) in the process. Every week, we'll take a look at how some of those former Mets are performing with their new teams...


Wilmer Flores, Diamondbacks

Flores is hitting .236 in 17 games. So far, he has no homers and only one RBI with four doubles with his new team. 

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Jenrry Mejia, Matt Harvey, Wilmer Flores
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New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso hits a solo home run against the Washington Nationals during the eighth inning at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso hits a solo home run against the Washington Nationals during the eighth inning at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets (11-9) look for a series win over the Cardinals (11-9) in the rubber match of the three-game set at Busch Stadium on Sunday at 2:15 p.m. 

Mets Notes

A win Sunday would give the Mets their third series win of the season. Additionally, a win would give the Mets their 10th road win of the season, which would tie the Mariners for the league lead. ... Pete Alonso is one of two New York rookies to bash seven homers through his first 20 games. Aaron Judge did it for the Yankees in 2017. ... Brandon Nimmo has reached base safely in each of his last 10 games, batting .355 (11-31) with 10 runs, three doubles, three home runs, seven RBI, seven walks and a .487 on-base percentage. ... Jeff McNeil's 100 career hits are the most all-time through 82 games by a Met.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, St. Louis Cardinals
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Apr 17, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil (6) hits a single during the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Apr 17, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil (6) hits a single during the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

As Jeff McNeil is already making it clear that last year was no fluke, that he's going to hit in the big leagues, and probably for a long time, he's become a favorite topic of conversation among scouts.

Part of it is his throwback approach, choking up on a knob-less bat, making contact to all fields, which appeals to the purist nature of scouts who for the most part have disdain for the home run-or-strike out style that is so prevalent in today's game.

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Todd Frazier, John Harper
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Apr 13, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) hits a double against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)
Apr 13, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) hits a double against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)

The Mets (11-9, second place in the NL East, 1. game behind Phillies) play the St. Louis Cardinals in the final game of a three-game set on Sunday at 2:15 p.m. 

Here's what went down on Saturday in case you missed it...


Jeff McNeil made team history at the dish. >> Read More

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso
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