Earlier tonight, Sandy Alderson spent roughly one hour on a conference call with a group of Mets bloggers.

I actually enjoyed this call very much and found it to be very educational, in particular from the technical answers he gave about the game itself. It was fascinating to listen to Alderson talk about the metrics they use to evaluate players, and discuss details of the offensive philosophies they are preaching up and down the organization.

I also thought Alderson did a great job with his responses to everyone's questions. He was very detailed, candid and open, even on the issues surrounding the outfield and his inability to make significant additions to the roster this winter.

As a fan, I appreciate that honesty, even though I am not pleased with the end result of his outfield compilation.

Here is a transcript of his talk, during which he discusses the state of the farm system, current outfield, the importance of on-base percentage, how he measures Terry Collins' performance, home plate collisions, his favorite television show right now, and more:

Chris McShane, Amazin' Avenue: How tempted might you be to trade some of the depth for a promising minor league hitter, or an outfielder, if things are going well in the middle of the season?

Sandy Alderson: The nice thing is we haven't been put to that test yet. This offseason was all about the R.A. Dickey trade. We did try to get involved with Justin Upton and some other outfield trade possibilities. Those didn't came to fruition in part because we weren't prepared to trade any of our frontline prospects. What's interesting is, below that group, we have a number of outstanding pitching prospects, but they're a little under the radar now. What we need to be doing, of the list, is how we rank them, and who might be available. Many of them are at the stage now where you're going to have to do a certain amount of projection. And, you're not always right about your projections. Sometimes you under project, over-project. The nice thing is we haven't been tempted yet. But, that time is coming. A number of these guys who were at Brooklyn, Savannah, or St. Lucie will begin to emerge on a more national scale. The temptation to move some of these players to shore up some weaknesses elsewhere will be forthcoming, and we need to be ready for that.

Michael Donato, Optimistic Mets Fan: Is there more of a temptation to trade some young talent if the plan isn't working or stagnating?

Sandy Alderson: What I have said once or twice this off-season is that we are not that far away. I hate to deal in speculation, but let's just say we had signed Michael Bourn, trade for Justin Upton, and kept both Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey. We would be having a completely different conversation. Those things didn't happen, but they could have, and we were close enough to where they could have happened. If you could have plugged those two in, we'd be having a very different conversation, and people would be looking at the Mets differently. So, I don't think we're that far away. Are we a couple of moves away? Maybe. But I don't want you to think this is an exercise in an elongated process where everything has to be methodical, everything has to work out perfectly, and we're not going to do things unless we look smarter than the other guy. No. But right now, we have to be careful before we pull that trigger.

We have the currency. The financial situation is very different today than it was two years ago. For a lot of reasons, including contracts coming off the books, we're in a different situation development wise; we have players to trade, if we desire. There are things we can do. I understand people look at the outfield. Things just didn't work out there, and I certainly take responsibility for that. Could we have jumped earlier who was a marginal improvement over what we have? Yes, we probably could have. But marginal, as opposed to something significant.

Mike Silva: Knowing that this could be a rebuilding year, what do you need to see from Terry Collins to extend his contract?

Sandy Alderson: There two things upon which a manager is evaluated. One is wins and losses, and the other is the improvements of the players on the team. Regardless whether it's a veteran-dominated team or a younger team, players have to improve, More importantly, they have to be motivated, and that's partly where the manager comes in. I think Terry will be evaluated on both of those basis, with the understanding that wins and losses are not an absolute. To some extent, they are relevant to the talent we have.

Ian Fowler: How do you explain not using the money you said ownership made available to you to improve the outfield?

Sandy Alderson: The simple response is in any case where we sign players, we want to have some reasonable relationship between cost and value. If that doesn't exist, hopefully we won't pursue that transaction. Now, I understand not every deal is going to be a great deal from an efficiency standpoint, or from a price to value standpoint. At some point we're going to have to "overpay." The question is by how much, and how it relates to the present state of our baseball affairs. Sometimes, it makes sense to overpay, sometimes it doesn't make sense to overpay. That decision also has to be made from player-to-player. That's true not just in terms of payroll cost, but also in terms of talent cost. To acquire Justin Upton, should we have traded Zack Wheeler or Matt Harvey? Some people say we should have, but we weren't going to do that. That was the value proposition there. It comes up in every transaction.

At some point, you do get into situations where overpaying is the appropriate thing to do because it may be the last piece, or a weakness. But I don't think that where we are and what we are trying to do in 2013 and 2014, it made sense to overpay a Jonny Gomes. Inevitably, there are things that happen that just don't work out.

I happen to think fans like continuity, but they don't like continuity to the point of boredom. What they're really looking for is continuity over a core of players. That core may be three, five or ten players. But like the rest of our lives, change is inevitable. In some cases it's embraced, and people like to see that in their teams as well. So I think what they want is continuity, but they also want change. That's why they like free agents and things of that sort. We are mindful of that, so I think there's a point at which overpaying becomes a reality. If you're going to play with the big boys, you've got to step up like the big boys. But that's not true in every case, and not true at every stage of a team's development.

Scott Mandell: How do you handle conveying the message of patience to ownership and the public, all while dealing with the expectations in the New York market?

Sandy Alderson: It has to be balanced in any market. But you are right to point pout that in the New York market, it is particularly difficult by coming down on the side of the long term rather than the short term. The only way to deal with it is to come up with a plan, with an approach that makes sense in your particular set of circumstances. If you go back two years or a year and a half, while people might not have been happy with the direction we decided to take, I think they were able to understand why we were doing it. That was probably if not the best option, it was one of the only viable options. Waiting for the contracts to expire, waiting for some other issues to get cleared up, improving the farm system, and being somewhat disciplined about what we were doing day-to-day and season-to-season. Once we come up with that approach, we measure everything we do against it. That doesn't mean we are constrained by it, but we think in terms of that strategy and everything we do and how it fits with that strategy. And, if it doesn't fit, we at least recognize that it doesn't, and as a result, it may have to be explained. So, in some ways, it's really good, because it keeps us focused on what we're doing.

Scott Mandell: Does it make you feel a need to force feed your kids just to see what you've got and show your fans what you've got?

Sandy Alderson: It doesn't do you any good to force feed a player or two who ultimately fail. While that's the temptation, it doesn't do us any good to pitch Zack Wheeler on the first day we televise from Spring Training if he's not any good that day. There's risk in anything you do. Whether you force feed, or wait. People are probably going to judge on the basis of the results, and not the process.

With Matt Harvey last year, we kept him down until July. There was no reason to do that because we were going to save an option, delay his free agency, the arbitration issue by that point wasn't relevant. It was about whether he was ready, and whether he should pitch first at Citi Field or someplace on the road; all of those things came into play. Ultimately, he's going to have to pitch, and it's going to be out there, and first impressions are important. So, you have to keep in mind it's about how the player does. It's not about when he does it.

While the temptation might be to throw somebody out there a month or two early, it doesn't do us any good if that player doesn't ultimately perform and has to be sent down. That's the worst of all possibilities. Given our longer -erm perspective, it's a little easier to wait.

Steve Keane, Kranepool Society: Are the new players, such as Collin Cowgill, Andrew Brown, and Jamie Hoffman, the prototypical players you've been looking to add to the Mets?

Sandy Alderson: To the extent these players are aggressive, command the strike zone, have some power, and run the bases a little bit, yes, I'd say these are the kinds of players we would like to have. Offense plays: you can be a great defender, but if you can't hit, you probably can't play anywhere. I'm not just talking about the Mets exclusively. Also, it's possible there are players who don't get an opportunity in certain organizations because they could be deeper at some positions over others. So, the minor league free agent market or the fringe 25-man roster guy playing with a club with a strong roster, given the opportunity, could turn into something valuable. Mike Baxter is another example of this from previous years. Not that Mike has great power, but he's a very valuable piece and part of the team. There's now uestion we value on-base percentage, walk rates, isolated power is important. But, as we've emphasized with a  number of guys in camp, on-base percentage, command of the strike zone is important.

It's important on offense, but it's also important on the pitching side. If you don't walk anybody and keep the ball in the ballpark, you can win games.

These are the kinds of players we are looking for who can make a contribution at the Major League level, and we're going to find out this Spring what we have. We should have most of them going into the season, so we'll have a chance to look at them again. But you have to look for players wherever you can find them, particularly when you're weak at that area in your system.

Ed Marcus, Real Dirty Mets Blog: What have you seen so far in the outfield competition, and is it still a weakness?

Sandy Alderson: The outfield is definitely a question mark, collectively. I think we've like what we've seen from Cowgill, but I don't think Brown or Hoffman have had much of an opportunity to play at this point. Nieuwenhuis and den Dekker have some work to do offensively. Marlon Byrd is what he is. Mike Baxter is certainly in that mix, and I expect him to be on the team.

The classic outfield offensive player, we don't have. We think Lucas Duda will be fine, offensively. But his defense is a question mark, so the balance is difficult to maintain. He'll have to really produce offensively. Center and right, we will have to see. I wouldn't eliminate Jordany Valdespin as a candidate either. That's how open things are.

John Delcos, New York Mets Report: Is the strikeout rate of the team acceptable, and what is an acceptable strikeout-to-walk ratio?

Sandy Alderson: The strikeout-to-walk ratio is overrated. If someone has a 1:1 ratio, and they walk ten times a year, they aren't very useful offensive players. If the have a 1:1 ratio but walks 100 times and strikes out 100 times, that player will be highly valuable, generally speaking. We have to be careful about strikeout rates. I had a conversation with a player recently in camp, and the conventional wisdom is he strikes out a lot and has to cut down on the strikeouts. The reason I brought the player in was that I wanted to make sure he understood it wasn't about the strikeouts; it was about the on-base percentage. This is a player with power, a high strikeout rate, and  a too low on-base percentage. The idea of commanding the strike zone is more about improving the on-base percentage than cutting down the strikeouts. We teach a two-strike approach, so that is something we take into account. But if you get on-base, and you do work the count, you're going to put yourself in jeopardy and you may increase the strikeout rate. So, what is an acceptable strikeout rate? From my standpoint, it's really a function of everything else the player does. If the player gets 100 walks a year, hits 40 home runs, drives in 120 and scores 120, I don't care how many times he strikes out.

Joe Decaro, MetsMerized Online: Are there some positives about Kirk Nieuwenhuis and his ability to hit leadoff, or are there not any better candidates for the job?

Sandy Alderson: I think Kirk will be the first to admit he has some things to work on this Spring. In his case, cutting down on strikeouts, improving on-base percentage; these are all goals, but not solutions. Kirk and a few others are working on a  variety of things that will contribute to a lower strikeout rate, a higher on-base percentage, and more power. That comes from better command of the strike zone, and better command of the strike zone comes from better pitch recognition, and a better understanding of strengths and weaknesses. In trying to get Kirk to improve in these areas, it's a matter of looking at those areas and having a plan for what he's going to try and do for those pitches.

I think there are a number of candidates for the leadoff spot, but we will see how that competition goes. Nieuwnehuis needs to improve, den Dekker needs to improve. We have Cowgill, who is a right-handed hitter. Where do Baxter and Valdespin fit in? Again, it's not a perfect scenario, but under current circumstances, these players aren't ideal candidates, keeping the basic leadoff characteristics in mind.

Joe Decaro, MetsMerized Online: Are you looking to fill the void in-house, or are you shopping for a solution?

Sandy Alderson: I wouldn't focus exclusively on the leadoff position. If you go back to the leadoff position, our run production was pretty good. Now we had Jose all that season, so the leadoff spot was well filled. Last year, we didn't score as many runs. It wasn't simply a result of doing less well in the leadoff position. Tejada's walk rate did drop significantly from the year before and from first half tot he second half. But one of the reasons we went after Bourn was because we didn't see a lot of good solutions in-house. We didn't view Bourn as the perfect free agent for us, but he does a lot of positive things. Defense, leading off, speed, etc. There's a gut who strikes out a lot, by the way. So, we recognize they're hard to find, and when they come up we have to take a hard look at it.

I just think, realistically, you're not going to find the perfect leadoff man in a Spring Training trade. it's probably not going to happen. You're just going to have to take a shot with somebody, and hope they grow into it. Or, recognize the limitations of the people you have and emphasize the importance of doing certain things. So for example, with Ruben, it's about getting on-base. He's not going to steal bases, but if we can get him back to a .360 OBP, we will take it.

Matthew Artus: Can you clarify on the organization's position on the decision to have Travis d'Arnaud not block the plate?

Sandy Alderson: This particular issue has gotten some coverage in recent days. Mike Matheny of St. Louis suggested there be a rule change about collisions at home plate. I think you have to be sensible about this, and catchers themselves have to be sensible. At this point, the rule is what it is. It's something we've only begun to address publicly, because we've been asked over the last couple of days. There's some justification for this sentiment, in a general sense. There's a concern all sports have with concussions, putting aside how valuable a catcher can be and whether he will be lost for the season. Just general physiological well being is something that has to be taken into account. As far as d'Arnaud is concerned, we have to take into account his injury history, and his value for us going forward for the future. We really need to think about it in terms of all of our catching prospects. But d'Arnaud brings it up in particular focus because of his prospect status and his injury history. It's something we have to take a look at.

Now, do we want d'Arnaud to block the plate in a Spring Training game and be taken out for Spring Training and maybe two months of the season? Absolutely not. He had an injury to his knee last year, and that is the leg you would normally block the plate with. So there are some specific issues we have to take into account. As a temporary measure, Terry has said 'look, get out of the way.' Whether that will be permanent with him or all of our catchers, and the swipe tag becomes standard for catchers in the big leagues, I don't know. But I think it's a legitimate issue we have to address globally and not just in the case of Travis d'Arnaud. We have an obligation to treat everyone the same way.

Michael Baron: I have a question about your tenure here with the Mets. You’ve been here now two plus years, this is your third camp. There’s obviously been a massive undertaking in getting this organization going in the right direction. What are some of the things, looking back over that time that you would like to have back and do over again?

Sandy Alderson: Part of what we’re trying to accomplish here is a culture shift, if you will, so that the organization as an institution has a direction, and philosophy, and an operating plan over the next several years. The only way to really implement anything like that is through education or re-education of personnel on the baseball side of the organization, so it’s involved bringing some other people in, but also it’s been a matter of getting buy-in from those who were here. So I think we’ve made some progress in that regard. Obviously, only the passage of time eliminates the overhang of certain contracts. In the meantime, we’ve made progress on the player development side, both in terms of how we approach things and the actual personnel we are developing. I think we’ve made some nice acquisitions of young talent that have not just given us depth, but have also given us top shelf talent. Obviously one would like to accomplish positive results as soon as possible and it’s been nice that we’ve played well for roughly half a season in each of the past two years, but, of course, not very well the second half. You can always argue you might do this, you might do that- that there are some things we haven’t done well. The bullpen has not been very good … (feedback) … It’s easy to look back at the acquisitions we’ve made and say "Well, I won’t do that again," or shouldn’t have done that. Collectively the bullpen was not very good last year, but I think they’ll have a better shot at it as more of our pitchers are able to pitch in the pen as they give us more flexibility. We’re seeing it now in spring training, hopefully we’ll see it through the course of the season as well. Otherwise, you certainly have to learn from past mistakes and each individual event that occurs so that we can inform what we do in the future. Other than that, I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what I can’t change in the past. But obviously there are some things that have gone poorly and we’ll try to not make those mistakes again.

Greg Prince: Hi Sandy, thanks for joining us tonight, I was wondering…  need to be open and honest with the media and sort-of feed the media beast with maybe the need to exercise discretion, I’m thinking mainly of the Bourn negotiations which seemed to take on a life of their own as they were being reported, even though they weren’t really coming to fruition- at least as far as the Mets signing him. How do you manage that?

Sandy Alderson: That’s a good question. I think one of the things you have to do is first you have to realize that it’s next to impossible to keep the transaction of that type confidential. It’s just not going to be possible with the number of people involved from our side and the number of people involved on the agent’s side. But there are other teams that are involved. There can be communications with Major League Baseball. There’s just so many different entities that you just have to assume that these things are going to eventually become known and become public. Often that’s the value of trying to do something quickly. Because in the case of Bourn, as you point out, it was useful to use in hearing what people had to say and various points of view, but ultimately because of the debate I think the issue with respect to the draft pick- while it got fully vetted- also had an impact on Major League Baseball and their viewpoint. So it’s a tough thing. It’s also difficult to move something simply because it may become public. Some of these things just have a gestation period that can’t be avoided. So for example, in a player transaction, Michael Bourn or otherwise, an agent is trying to get the best deal for his client. He may not have an incentive to do something quickly, unless there’s something we do on a preemptive basis. And in our situation with Bourn, we didn’t feel it was so integral to what we’re doing long term, that it warranted something preemptive on our part. So it is an issue. It has to be anticipated. Interestingly, in the RA Dickey trade, I think Alex Anthopolous told people in his organization that the public reaction would probably not be good, but he was prepared for that because he’d anticipated it, and as a result, the debate about the trade once it became known didn’t alter the outcome. But it could have. And that was one of the things we were concerned about with the three day window- that if it became public it would alter the perception of the deal from the Toronto side. So, it’s difficult to avoid and at the same time- in terms of how I deal with it- in dealing with the media, sometimes I’m just not available rather than no commenting. Even a "no comment" conveys a certain amount of information, probably being unavailable does too, but rather than provide misinformation, sometimes I just go radio silent. That way it’s just the best of, possibly, several bad options.

Shannon Shark, MetsPolice: What is your favorite TV show these days?

Sandy Alderson: I hate to admit this, but I'm watching Downton Abbey at the moment. What I like about it is the historical and sociological implications it presents from that period. It's a whole different genre to Homeland. I don't generally get on FX or some of the others I should, because I know there are some other great series there too.

Tags: Editorial Aside, Q&A
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The Mets are in upheaval roughly three weeks before spring training starts as they search for a new manager to replace Carlos Beltran.

In his latest mailbag, Matthew Cerrone answers questions about the Beltran situation and more...


The elephant in the room -- and the overwhelming question asked of me -- has been about who I want the Mets to hire to replace Carlos Beltran.

In the wake of the Phillies hiring Joe Girardi, who was my top choice at the start of the offseason, I advocated for Eduardo Perez -- not Beltran. I still like Perez, who I think has a unique mix of relatable player experience, knowledge of stats and feel for the game, media savvy, professionalism, in-game management skills and a commanding presence on and off the field. He signed a new deal with ESPN that can be broken if he is offered a gig to run a team or dugout.

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Dellin Betances, Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Matthew Cerrone
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Credit: Las Vegas Review-Journal YouTube
Credit: Las Vegas Review-Journal YouTube

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

No baseball team wants to find itself searching for a manager in late January, but that's where the Mets find themselves, after baseball's massive electronic cheating scandal swallowed Carlos Beltran.

The team did at least conduct an exhaustive search last October. The Mets will now lean on that work -- which began as two sets of lists on a white board in their offices, and continued on to include many in-person interviews -- as they try to make a quick but thoughtful decision on who should lead the club this year.

GM Brodie Van Wagenen declined comment on the process. Other indications are that the Mets would like to have a new manager by the end of next week.

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Andy Martino
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Eduardo Perez. Credit: ESPN on YouTube
Eduardo Perez. Credit: ESPN on YouTube

Speaking Thursday night during an appearance on ESPN, where he works as an analyst, Eduardo Perez spoke about the Carlos Beltran situation and said he had not yet heard from the Mets as they embark on their second manager search of the offseason.

"I have not heard from the New York Mets," Perez said. "I think they're gonna do their due diligence and move forward from this. And I can tell you this: from the interview process that I did go through in October through November, they did their due diligence. This just popped up and it looks like it did not work their way. But at least with me, they did do their due diligence."

The 50-year-old Perez, who was one of three finalists for the Mets manager job before it went to Beltran and could be a candidate again this time around, agreed with Beltran and the Mets parting ways.

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Danny Abriano
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Hensley Meulens (Treated Image by SNY)
Hensley Meulens (Treated Image by SNY)

As the dust settles after the Mets and manager Carlos Beltran mutually parted ways on Thursday, the team has started their second managerial search of the offseason, with GM Brodie Van Wagenen saying the team is considering internal and external candidates. 

Here are the odds for who the Mets will choose to replace Beltran, per betonline.ag.

Eduardo Perez: +300
Hensley Meulens: +350
Luis Rojas: +400
Tim Bogar: +400
Terry Collins: +700
Tony DeFrancesco: +700
Bruce Bochy: +900
Buck Showalter: +900
Dusty Baker: +900
John Gibbons: +1000
Kevin Long: +1200

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Danny Abriano
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May 12, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Milwaukee Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy (59) looks on in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)
May 12, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Milwaukee Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy (59) looks on in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)

The "sense among Brewers people" is that their current bench coach, Pat Murphy, would be an "ideal fit" for Mets manager, reports Robert Murray.

The 61-year-old Murphy's name first emerged when the Mets were beginning their third round of interviews that eventually led to the hiring of Carlos Beltran, with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reporting at the time that Murphy had already had two interviews with the Mets for the job.

Since parting ways with Beltran on Thursday amidst the Astros sign-stealing scandal, Luis Rojas has come up as a potential candidate and Joe McEwing has thrown his hat in the ring. Other potential candidates could include bench coach Hensley Meulens.

Terry Collins is not expected to be in the mix, SNY's Andy Martino reported Thursday.

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Chicago White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing looks on against the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing looks on against the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets announced on Thursday afternoon that team and Carlos Beltran have mutually parted ways, following Beltran's including in Major League Baseball's report on the Astros sign-stealing scandal.

So now the question becomes where to the Mets turn to find their next manager?

According to SNY's Andy Martino, Mets quality control coach Luis Rojas has come up as an internal candidate while early indications are that former manager Terry Collins will not be a candidate for the job.

Other candidates could include Eduardo Perez, a finalist for the job this past November, while SNY's John Harper believes the Mets should hire Buck Showalter

Tags: Carlos Beltran
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Jul 14, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) walks through the dugout after striking out in the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Jul 14, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) walks through the dugout after striking out in the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

On Thursday, the Mets and Carlos Beltran mutually agreed to part ways, just a few days after the recently named Mets manager was named in MLB's report on the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.

After the news broke, some of the Mets players took to social media to weigh in.

One of those players was first baseman Pete Alonso, who at just 25 years old has already begun to establish himself as a leader within the team clubhouse.

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Pete Alonso
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Carlos Beltran, a superb hitter and gifted outfielder, becomes eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2023. Time may dim the current furor over his prominent role in the Astros' sign-stealing scandal, but it's hard to imagine his candidacy won't be impacted by it. 

Is it enough to keep him out of Cooperstown? That's unknowable now. 

Maybe it sinks what some believe is a borderline case, or at least gives undecided voters pause. Some longtime voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America I spoke to Thursday say they now consider the scheme part of the data that they must evaluate in Beltran's case.

But perhaps Beltran, a nine-time All-Star, was so good that all will be overlooked. One voter said Thursday said he won't view the star's candidacy any differently in light of the sign-stealing.  

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Buck Showalter
Buck Showalter

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

So the Josh Donaldson domino finally fell on Tuesday night, and by landing in Minnesota it didn't tilt the balance of power in the NL East, after all. Or my offseason grades, for that matter.

Either the Nationals or the Braves could have separated themselves by signing -- or re-signing -- the power-hitting third baseman. Instead, there's not much to separate the work the four contenders did this offseason, and even the Marlins at least warrant a grade this time for spending a little dough to upgrade their roster.

Last season, the division was the toughest in the majors, producing the 97-win Braves, the World Series-winning Nationals, a Mets team that went 46-26 in the second half (falling just short of a wild-card berth), and the dangerous-but-flawed Phillies who faded down the stretch but at least finished at .500.

Tags: Carlos Beltran, John Harper
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Speaking Thursday after the Mets and manager Carlos Beltran mutually agreed to part ways, COO Jeff Wilpon and GM Brodie Van Wagenen went over the timeline of events and went into detail about the decision-making process that led to Beltran being out as manager.

Van Wagenen said the Mets were unaware of the sign-stealing situation with the Astros when Beltran was hired on Nov. 1 and that the organization first found out about the involvement of Beltran on Nov. 12 when the initial story in The Athletic was published.

At that time, the Mets deferred to MLB for them to lead the investigation.

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Danny Abriano
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Carlos Beltran (Treated Image by SNY)
Carlos Beltran (Treated Image by SNY)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

As he did his work on the field in Port St. Lucie on Wednesday, charming fantasy campers and huddling with staff, Carlos Beltran carried around a sadness perceptible to others. His friends in the organization felt it, too -- bummed, perhaps angry, and in disbelief that a promising career was about to end before it started.

There was a path forward for the Mets and Beltran. He could have held a news conference to apologize for his role in the historic Houston Astros cheating scandal. The team could have noted that Beltran was a player in 2017 -- not a team official like GM Jeff Luhnow, manager A.J. Hinch, and bench coach Alex Cora.

The only development that would have made it truly necessary to fire Beltran would have been if he lied to the team. But, according to the Mets' statement, " We believe that Carlos was honest and forthcoming with us. "

Tags: Dellin Betances, Andy Martino
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Hensley Meulens (Treated Image by SNY)
Hensley Meulens (Treated Image by SNY)

With the Mets and Carlos Beltran mutually parting ways amidst the fallout from the sign-stealing scandal that also claimed Astros manager A.J. Hinch and Red Sox manager Alex Cora, the question now becomes who his replacement will be.

Here are four potential candidates...

 

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With the Mets and Carlos Beltran mutually agreeing to part ways on Thursday, they will immediately begin their search for his replacement. 

One candidate could be quality control coach Luis Rojas, who has come up internally, SNY's Andy Martino reported.

The 38-year-old Rojas is well-liked in the organization and was a candidate for the job that ultimately went to Beltran. He began his tenure with the Mets in 2006 and has worked his way through the ranks, managing at multiple levels of the minors and eventually becoming the Mets' quality control coach. 

Aside from Rojas, former manager Terry Collins (currently working as an advisor to GM Brodie Van Wagenen) and bench coach Hensley Meulens could also be among the candidates.

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Carlos Beltran (Treated Image by SNY)
Carlos Beltran (Treated Image by SNY)

Carlos Beltran and the Mets have agreed to mutually part ways, sources tell SNY's Andy Martino. The Mets later confirmed the news.

The 42-year-old Beltran, who was hired in November, had been in Port St. Lucie preparing for the 2020 season as the Astros sign-stealing scandal investigation was wrapped up by MLB.

Beltran was the only player mentioned in MLB commissioner Rob Manfred's report that was released on Monday and focused on the Astros and Red Sox.

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Danny Abriano
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Speaking Thursday outside the Mets' spring training complex in Port St. Lucie after having a street named after him, Mets legend Mike Piazza spoke about the electronic sign-stealing scandal that has led to the firing of Astros manager A.J. Hinch and Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

The Mets have not yet officially determined the fate of manager Carlos Beltran, who was the only player named in MLB commissioner Rob Manfred's report on sign-stealing that was released Monday.

"We won't be using any cameras to steal signs," Mike Piazza said with a laugh about Team Italy, who he is manager of. "But we will have a lot of pasta and coffee in the dugout. No cameras, just pasta."

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Mets legend and baseball Hall-of-Famer Mike Piazza was honored Thursday when the street outside the Mets' spring training home in Port St. Lucie, FL. was named "31 Piazza Drive."

While accepting the honor, Piazza became emotional when talking about his father, Vince, who Piazza said is not doing well health-wise.

Click below to watch...

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The Mets are honoring Hall of Fame C Mike Piazza by renaming the address of the Mets Spring Training facility in Port St. Lucie to 31 Piazza Dr. on Thursday. 

"I am extremely excited that the Mets Spring Training home address and street name will be renamed in my honor," Piazza said in an official statement. "Port St. Lucie will always hold a special place in my career as the place where I prepared for some of my most memorable seasons, with teammates, staff and of course fans. Florida has been my home for the past thirty years so it's great tribute for my family and for future generations. I am truly touched and blessed."

While accepting the honor, Piazza was emotional as he explained how he would love for his father to see the ceremony, but he couldn't make it. He also learned that St. Lucie was from Sicily, which is where Piazza's family is from as well, so it was a full circle moment for him. 

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Oct 23, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Carlos Beltran (15) talks to players during batting practice one day prior to game one of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)
Oct 23, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Carlos Beltran (15) talks to players during batting practice one day prior to game one of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

With the Mets not having yet publicly disclosed how they plan to proceed with manager Carlos Beltran in the wake of the Astros sign-stealing scandal that has swallowed up two other managers, Houston has started its search to replace A.J. Hinch.

The Astros, who fired Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow on Monday shortly after Rob Manfred suspended both of them for the 2020 season, have interviewed John Gibbons and Buck Showalter (per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal) as they look for a replacement. 

The Red Sox, who fired manager Alex Cora -- who was the Astros' bench coach in 2017 and helped devise the electronic sign-stealing operation) are also at the beginning of their managerial search, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said on Tuesday.

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Danny Abriano
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Feb 23, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view at First Data Field prior to the game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 23, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view at First Data Field prior to the game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Eighteen-year-old Mets prospect Francisco Alvarez has been named the No. 5 catching prospect in Major League Baseball by MLB Pipeline.

Alvarez, who had an explosive professional debut in 2019 as a 17-year-old after signing with the Mets in July of 2018 for $2.9 million as an international free agent, could be a consensus top 100 prospect in baseball by the middle of this season.

He made Baseball America's Top 100 prospects list in September.

On MLB Pipeline's new top 10 catching prospects list, Alvarez is behind only Adley Rutschman of the Orioles, Joey Bart of the Giants, Sean Murphy of the Athletics, and Luis Campusano of the Padres.

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A day after the Red Sox parted ways with Alex Cora as their manager, Mets fans are still waiting to see how all of this fallout from the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal will affect Carlos Beltran.

As of Wednesday evening, the Mets have yet to address the situation. Beltran was the only Astros player named in the MLB report, though it was "a group of players, including Carlos Beltran" who discussed that the team could "improve on decoding opposing teams' signs," per the MLB report.

SNY's Andy Martino has reported that no decision on Beltran's future will come on Wednesday.

Tags: Carlos Beltran
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John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

So the Josh Donaldson domino finally fell on Tuesday night, and by landing in Minnesota it didn't tilt the balance of power in the NL East, after all. Or my offseason grades, for that matter.

Either the Nationals or the Braves could have separated themselves by signing -- or re-signing -- the power-hitting third baseman. Instead, there's not much to separate the work the four contenders did this offseason, and even the Marlins at least warrant a grade this time for spending a little dough to upgrade their roster.

Last season, the division was the toughest in the majors, producing the 97-win Braves, the World Series-winning Nationals, a Mets team that went 46-26 in the second half (falling just short of a wild-card berth), and the dangerous-but-flawed Phillies who faded down the stretch but at least finished at .500.

Tags: Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo, Starlin Castro, Travis d'Arnaud, Wilson Ramos, Zack Wheeler, John Harper
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On Wednesday, Steve Gelbs made his debut as a panelist on The Thread.

Gelbs, who joins Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, and Keith Hernandez for each Mets broadcast on SNY, was in the studio to relive some of his best moments from covering the team. 

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 (Brett Davis)
(Brett Davis)

The biggest name left on baseball's free agent market appears to have found a new home, and it's nowhere in the NL East.

Josh Donaldson, who had a resurgent 2019 season with the Braves, is heading to the Minnesota Twins on a four-year deal worth $92 million, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com broke the news that Donaldson had agreed with Minnesota.

Donaldson, 34, slashed .259/.379/.521 with 37 home runs and 94 RBI, finishing 11th in NL MVP voting. After an injury-riddled 2018 season with the Blue Jays and Indians, Donaldson signed a one-year "prove it" deal with the Braves, and it certainly paid off. 

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On Monday, news of Major League Baseball's report on the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal sent shock waves throughout the game, as Astros manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were suspended for a year, and then subsequently fired by team owner Jim Crane. The team also had to forfeit future first and second round picks, and $5 million.

On Tuesday night, the Boston Red Sox announced that they have parted ways with manager Alex Cora, due to his involvement with the situation.

All of this may have Met fans wondering if anything further will happen to Carlos Beltran, who was also named in the report, but as a player and not a coach.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said on Monday that no players had been suspended based on the league's findings, saying that while a "group of players, including Carlos Beltran, discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams' signs and communicating the signs to the batter," the league would not "assess discipline on individual Astros players."

Tags: Carlos Beltran
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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

As the offseason winds down and spring training is just weeks away, Jeff McNeil has his sights set on the Mets making a big jump into the postseason in 2020.

McNeil, who had an extremely efficient season in 2019 with slashes of .318/.384/.531 that came with 23 home runs and 75 RBI, believes the team has the right personnel to make a run.

"I think we have really high expectations," McNeil said on SiriusXM's PGA Tour Radio with Michael Breed. "I expect to make the playoffs, you now, we came up a little short last year but I expect to make the playoffs. We got the pitching staff to do it. We got the best pitcher in baseball in [Jacob] deGrom. We got Pete [Alonso]. We've got a bunch of young guys, we've got a good mix of young guys and veterans, so I think we're just going to build off what we did last year. We had a good second half, I think we had one of the best records in baseball in the second half, so just kind of build on that and hopefully, you know, once we get in the playoffs anything can happen, especially with our pitching staff with deGrom, [Noah] Syndergaard, it's a pretty good top of the rotation. Basically we just have to get to the playoffs and go from there."

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso
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Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen

The following are insights, ideas and notes gathered from recent conversations with team sources, rival executives, reporters, front office assistants and talent evaluators...

Adding a reliever...

There seems to be a decent market for less-exciting, affordable relievers Pedro Strop and Collin McHugh. Other than that, no one I know seems to think there's much urgency in the market to sign relievers at any level until later in the month.

I still think the Mets need one more arm, even if just for depth.

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Sep 30, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) takes a bases on balls walk in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports (Ron Chenoy)
Sep 30, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) takes a bases on balls walk in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports (Ron Chenoy)

Talks between the Rockies and Cardinals revolving around Nolan Arenado have "advanced beyond a preliminary stage," reports Jon Morosi of MLB.com.

According to Morosi, the Rockies are "insisting" on a package that includes both big league and minor league talent.

Specifically, Morosi says Colorado has interest in Cardinals starting pitcher Dakota Hudson and are expected to ask for at least one of the Cardinals' top four prospects.

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Sep 20, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora (20) at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Sep 20, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora (20) at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

With Red Sox manager Alex Cora embroiled in the Astros' sign-stealing scandal and facing potentially harsh discipline from commissioner Rob Manfred for his role helping Houston and Boston electronically steal signs, Mets right-hander Marcus Stroman is calling him out for his seeming hypocrisy. 

In May of this past season, Cora had harsh words for Stroman (then with the Blue Jays) for the methods he employed while he pitched and how he acted on the mound against the Red Sox.

"I was telling (the home plate umpire), if he's going to get on our guys, get on him," Cora said. "It's the same thing with him every day. He competes a certain way and people don't like it. It seems like whenever a team comes in, somebody screams at him. I don't know, that's the way he acts."

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MLB came down hard on the now-fired duo of Astros manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow on Monday, suspending both of them for one season as part of their involvement in Houston's sign-stealing scandal.

Despite being named in MLB's report, Mets manager Carlos Beltran -- who was a player with the Astros in 2017 when their scheme was ongoing -- will not be suspended.

SNY's Andy Martino reported on Jan. 7 that as Major League Baseball entered the final stages of its investigation, "all indications" were that Beltran would not be suspended.

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Danny Abriano
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Sep 15, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New York Mets right fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) rounds the bases after hitting a three run home run during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)
Sep 15, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New York Mets right fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) rounds the bases after hitting a three run home run during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)

Brandon Nimmo missed a large chunk of the 2019 season due to a neck injury, but that didn't stop him from being recognized as one of the best center fielders in baseball, according to MLB Network's rankings.

Nimmo, who checked in at No. 9 on the list, struggled early last season due in part to attempting to play through his neck injury. After returning in September, he hit .261/.430/.565 in 26 games.

The above numbers improved upon what Nimmo did in 2018, when he slashed 263/.404/.483 and was worth 4.5 fWAR during what was his first full season in the majors.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Danny Abriano
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Syracuse Mets left fielder Tim Tebow reacts after striking out during the fourth inning against the Buffalo Bisons at NBT Bank Stadium. (Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse Mets left fielder Tim Tebow reacts after striking out during the fourth inning against the Buffalo Bisons at NBT Bank Stadium. (Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports)

Tim Tebow's big league dream was already a wild long-shot before he stalled out in Triple-A in 2019, when he hit just .163/.240/.255 in 77 games.

Still, as has been the case since joining the Mets, Tebow will be at big league spring training.

Asked what kind of advice he would give Tebow as he continues to play baseball, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun had the following to say to TMZ Sports.

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Jun 9, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; Former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza gestures after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game against the New York Yankees at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
Jun 9, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; Former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza gestures after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game against the New York Yankees at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

The Mets, the City of Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie County, and Mike Piazza will be on hand for a "major announcement regarding an address change and street naming" on Thursday, it was announced by the team on Monday.

Specifically, the address of their spring training home in Port St. Lucie will be changed to honor Piazza.

Mets COO Jeff Wilpon will be attending along with Piazza and local elected officials.

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Sep 26, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Kevin Pillar (1) comes home to score from third base in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports (Cody Glenn)
Sep 26, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Kevin Pillar (1) comes home to score from third base in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports (Cody Glenn)

Center fielder Kevin Pillar is still a free agent, and Mets right-hander Marcus Stroman made it clear over the weekend that he misses his former teammate and the prowess he possessed behind him in center field.

In exchanges Sunday on Twitter (that started with Pillar kind of recreating a workout Stroman carried out with a glass of wine on his back), the two went back and forth, including the below from Stroman:

"Haha my brother! Love that! Tell the family I said whatup. You've always been a beast in the weight room KP. Your better years are still ahead of you. Miss having you behind me catching everything!"

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, JD Davis, Michael Conforto, Danny Abriano
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Sep 24, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) reacts after striking out against the San Francisco Giants in the third inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports (John Hefti)
Sep 24, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) reacts after striking out against the San Francisco Giants in the third inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports (John Hefti)

If the Mets want to make a trade for Nolan Arenado, they better act fast.

The St. Louis Cardinals have emerged as a suitor for the Colorado Rockies third baseman, according to a Sunday evening report from Jon Morosi of MLB Network and MLB.com.

Arenado has drawn interest from the Cardinals over recent days, and the Rockies have conducted "preliminary" negotiations on a trade with St. Louis for Colorado's five-time All-Star, according to Morosi.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso
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Aug 30, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) watches the flight of his three run home run in the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports (James Lang)
Aug 30, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) watches the flight of his three run home run in the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports (James Lang)

Former Mets INF Todd Frazier will be heading to Texas, as Dallas News' Evan Grant reports he has agreed to terms with the Rangers. The deal, which is still pending a physical, is worth $5 million over one year, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal

Frazier was a free agent this summer after completing his two-year, $17 million contract with the Mets. Due to J.D. Davis' emergence last season and Jeff McNeil remaining consistent, bringing back Frazier in 2020 wasn't a necessity. And there's the obvious Pete Alonso presence at first base that wouldn't have Frazier shift across the offense anyway. 

The Rangers, on the other hand, were in desperate need of a third baseman -- and they still may be looking elsewhere for a more permanent option at the position given Frazier's age. Nolan Arenado has been someone they've been linked with, and there were rumors of a trade for Miguel Andujar with the Yankees as well.  

Tags: Todd Frazier
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 (Wendell Cruz)
(Wendell Cruz)

How do you top winning Rookie of the Year, setting the rookie record for home runs, winning the Home Run Derby, and becoming one of the most popular players in the league and doing it all in New York?

This is the question facing Pete Alonso as he prepares for his second big-league season.

In what was a historic season for him in 2019, Alonso hit .260 with a .358 OBP, 53 home runs and 120 RBI. He also exceeded expectations in the field, which was the main concern hanging over him in the minor leagues.

Tags: Pete Alonso, Matthew Cerrone
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Aug 4, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Yefry Ramirez (70) pitches against the New York Mets during the fourth inning at PNC Park. The Mets won 13-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Aug 4, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Yefry Ramirez (70) pitches against the New York Mets during the fourth inning at PNC Park. The Mets won 13-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Former Yankees pitching prospect Yefry Ramirez has signed with the Mets, according to a report from MLB.com's Matt Kardos

Ramirez made his debut in 2018 for the Orioles and stayed in Baltimore until May of the 2019 season, when he was traded to the Pirates. The 26-year-old has a 1-10 record with a 6.32 ERA and 89 strikeouts.

It took quite some time for the RHP to make his way up the ranks after being signed by the Diamondbacks as an international free agent in 2011. 

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Mets shortstop Amed Rosario
Mets shortstop Amed Rosario

Following his second full season as the Mets primary shortstop, Amed Rosario knows he still has some work to do on defense. Which is why, according to The Daily News, he's enlisted the help of defensive guru Perry Hill.

Rosario said he's spent the offseason with Hill -- currently serving as the Mariners' first base and infield coach -- in Tampa to see what he can do to become a more dependable infielder.

"I started working on different defensive points where I can improve my game," Rosario said. "I feel pretty comfortable with it."

Tags: Amed Rosario
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On Friday, the Mets agreed to deals with all of their arbitration-eligible players, including starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard, who agreed to a $9.7 million deal.

At times, Syndergaard's long-term future with the Mets has seemingly been in question, but SNY's Andy Martino said on The Thread Friday, that the Mets have a lot of moving pieces right now, making it hard to predict what the future will hold for the right-hander.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard
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Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen

Spring Training is just around the corner, but there are still lots of questions when it comes to the 2020 Mets...


The Mets bullpen is still riddled with 'what ifs.' Any chance they sign another major league reliever to fortify it a bit? ~ Vas Drimalitis on Twitter)

It's difficult to answer this not knowing their available budget. That said, if looking to spend as little money possible for the most experience, I can see them targeting someone like Alex Wood, Pedro Strop or Brandon Kintzler, all of whom can be had for one year and less than $8 million. Strop is the definition of the up-and-down reliever.

However, through it all, he's always had a good strikeout- and ground-ball rate. He'll be 34 and there's no reason based on his numbers and history to think he can't rebound in 2020 and become one helluva bargain. The same can essentially be said about Kintzler.

Tags: Pete Alonso, Matthew Cerrone
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Sep 27, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (7) goes to the dugout after giving up two runs to the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
		
		 (Noah K. Murray)
Sep 27, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (7) goes to the dugout after giving up two runs to the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Friday is the deadline for teams and arbitration-eligible players to come to terms on a contract for the 2020 season.

For the Mets, Marcus StromanNoah SyndergaardMichael ConfortoEdwin DiazSteven MatzSeth LugoBrandon Nimmo, Robert Gsellman, and Jake Marisnick are the players eligible for arbitration. All were tendered contracts earlier this offseason.

If a player and team are unable to come to terms, their salary will be set during an arbitration hearing later this offseason.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Danny Abriano
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Feb 21, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets pitcher David Peterson (77) poses for a photo on photo day at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 21, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets pitcher David Peterson (77) poses for a photo on photo day at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

The Mets announced Thursday that 15 non 40-man roster players will be invited to participate in big league spring training. Some of the players are new to the organization, such as 2011 Rays first round pick Jake Hager, and a few others with some big-league experience in RHP Pedro Payano and OF Ryan Cordell, who I believe will provide some necessary depth in Triple-A Syracuse.

The Mets also invited some prospects to spring training that I think you should keep an eye on since they have a good shot of contributing in the majors in 2020.

Five of the prospects to watch are highlighted below...

Tags: David Peterson, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz
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Feb 26, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view as New York Mets designated hitter Brandon Nimmo (9) bats against the Detroit Tigers in the second inning of the spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 26, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view as New York Mets designated hitter Brandon Nimmo (9) bats against the Detroit Tigers in the second inning of the spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Robert Dominguez, the 18-year-old right-handed pitcher whose fastball already tops out at 99 mph, is ranked No. 17 on the Mets' Top 31 prospects list that was released by FanGraphs on Friday.

Dominguez, who was signed out of Venezuela this past July, also already has a plus curveball to go along with a developing changeup.

"He's only thrown a handful of times since the velo spike and not even all of the Mets upper level decision makers have seen him yet, but the talent level is on par with a compensation or second round pick," FanGraphs wrote in their scouting report. "There's just significantly more uncertainty and less track record than even later-developing players taken in that range, like Josh Wolf."

Tags: Andres Gimenez, Franklyn Kilome, Mark Vientos, Ronny Mauricio, Thomas Szapucki, Danny Abriano
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Feb 23, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view at First Data Field prior to the game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 23, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view at First Data Field prior to the game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

The St. Lucie Mets announced their field staff for the upcoming 2020 season, most notably adding Endy Chavez as their bench coach.

Chavez, who played 13 years in the MLB and three with the Mets, will become the first bench coach for St. Lucie. He most recently served as a coach with the Class A-short season Brooklyn Cyclones last season.

St. Lucie also added another newcomer to its staff in Royce Ring, who will be the team's new pitching coach.

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A trade of Nolan Arenado by the Rockies is "starting to look inevitable," Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote on Thursday. This is an escalation from Dec. 19, when Rosenthal wrote that a trade of Arenado was possible.

On Jan. 2, Rosenthal reported that in order to trade their franchise third baseman, the Rockies would "likely" need to receive a controllable first baseman or center fielder. 

We explained here on Dec. 20 why Arenado is a near-perfect Mets trade target. And if Brodie Van Wagenen hasn't already gotten on the phone with the Rockies to discuss it, he needs to.

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Mar 17, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Ryley Gilliam (81) delivers a pitch in the eight inning of a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports (Sam Navarro)
Mar 17, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Ryley Gilliam (81) delivers a pitch in the eight inning of a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports (Sam Navarro)

The Mets have invited eight players to big league Spring Training, including two of their top prospects, a fast-rising bullpen arm, and Tim Tebow

The top prospects are left-handed starting pitchers David Peterson and Kevin Smith

The fast-rising bullpen arm is right-hander Ryley Gilliam.

Tags: David Peterson, Tim Tebow, Danny Abriano
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Aug 21, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello (22) delivers a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)
Aug 21, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello (22) delivers a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)

Rick Porcello reportedly turned down longer and larger offers to sign Dec. 12's one-year deal worth $10 million with the Mets, and he has his sights set on a big 2020 season in New York.

The 31-year-old RHP, whose first 11 years in MLB included stints with the Detroit Tigers (2009-14) and Boston Red Sox (2015-19), fortifies the back end of a Mets rotation after a resume that includes the 2016 AL Cy Young Award and a 2018 World Series Championship.

Looking to bounce back after sporting a 14-12 record and career-worst 5.52 ERA on the 2019 season, the No. 27 overall pick in the 2007 MLB draft from West Orange (N.J.) Seton Hall Prep embraces an opportunity with the Mets.

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Sep 26, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Kevin Pillar (1) comes home to score from third base in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports (Cody Glenn)
Sep 26, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Kevin Pillar (1) comes home to score from third base in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports (Cody Glenn)

Free agent outfielder Kevin Pillar "could fit" with the Mets if they don't trade for Starling Marte, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, who also lists the Diamondbacks and Rangers as other potential fits for Pillar.

The 31-year-old Pillar, who was DFA'd by the Giants in December, hit .264/.293/.442 with 21 homers and 37 doubles in 156 games for San Francisco in 2019.

Defensively in 2019, Pillar was worth -5 DRS in 129 games in center field. Digging deeper into Pillar's defense in 2019, he was in the 50th percentile when it came to jumps and still had above average sprint speed (in the 74th percentile).

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Ronny Mauricio (Tom Priddy, Four Seam Images)
Ronny Mauricio (Tom Priddy, Four Seam Images)

Baseball America released its Top 10 Mets prospects list for 2020 on Wednesday, and it featured a potential impact shortstop at the top, a very fast riser at No. 2, and a bunch of 2019 draftees throughout.

Here's how things shook out:

1. SS Ronny Mauricio
2. C Francisco Alvarez
3. 3B Brett Baty
4. RHP Matthew Allan
5. INF Andres Gimenez
6. 3B Mark Vientos
7. LHP Thomas Szapucki
8. RHP Josh Wolf
9. LHP Kevin Smith
10. LHP David Peterson

Tags: Andres Gimenez, David Peterson, Mark Vientos, Ronny Mauricio, Thomas Szapucki, Danny Abriano
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