I'm home from Port St. Lucie. This past week was my 11th time covering and attending workout week during Spring Training. I want to say camp was laid back and more quiet than usual, but I can't say with confidence that this statement is true. Instead, it could just be a byproduct of how Tim Tebow and Brodie Van Wagenen (as well as Mike FrancesaAlex Rodriguez and a snake) pulled the attention of fans and media.



In hindsight, this is probably a good thing, because it allowed for the players, coaches and specifically Mickey Callaway to focus more on baseball than autographs and answering questions from fans on fences. In fact, last year I saw Callaway on the field multiple times every day, this year I might have saw him once or twice and, in some cases, not at all.



As I said earlier this week, the star of camp was not a player, not even Tebow, it was Van Wagenen. The Mets GM must have signed more autographs and took more pictures with fans in five days than Sandy Alderson did during his entire eight years at the helm.

This is not a judgement on Alderson. It simply underscores the difference between Alderson (who is a methodical, wise, reserved, older man) and Van Wagenen (who is a polished, engaged, active, younger man). The two leaders simply created a different dynamic in camp.




The Alderson Era was often quiet, baseball-centric and serene. I found this past week filled with off-field frenzy, flash-popping energy and, my favorite addition, music, which blared from the front office tower at the center of the back practice fields. Beneath it, fans mill around, rest, grab shade and refreshments and run field to field. However, this year they did it surrounded by the sounds of Bruno Mars, Keith Urban, Aerosmith, Kanye West and a range of other music capturing the vibe of players, Van Wagenen and staff.



By the way, it was also unique to see so many people that cross generations and front offices all in one place at the same time. For instance, while it is to be expected that Van Wagenen would be in camp, he was often surrounded by Omar Minaya, Terry Collins, Guy Conti and people that preceeded even his predecessors. Marlon Anderson is even in camp, having been moved from the Brooklyn Cyclones to being a minor-league instructor and new eyes and ears for Minaya and Collins.

I also need to compliment Mets fans in camp that displayed a wide-range of jerseys, spanning eras (lots of Seaver and Koosman, lots of Keith and Carter) and spanning talent (be it Ike Davis, Turk Wendell and Endy Chavez). Great work, everyone...



As a result of all the above, it was difficult to hone in on new and old players and the overall tenor of camp, which is the question most people want answered when I return from Florida.

"How are they looking," and, "What's the vibe," is repeatedly asked of me. And, to be honest, I'm not sure how to answer right now.

I mean, for the most part, everyone looked healthy, so that's good. (Aside from Jed Lowrie, who has a capsule sprain in his left knee and someone I actually never saw once during my five days.) Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard walked tall and strong and were popping mitts like you'd expect from them. Again, all good. Jeff McNeil's swing is a joy to watch, Robinson Cano is Robinson Cano, Michael Conforto is free and easy, Todd Frazier was moving with confidence and Wilson Ramos looks like he's been with the Mets for his entire career. To repeat, all good...




Like most people, I wanted to fill my mind with a firm opinion on top-prospect 1B Pete Alonso, but I just couldn't lock it in. He can hit, no question, but, while he's improved in the field, he still looks like he's thinking too much and sometimes too slow to react to impromptu situations. Overall, I think he'll be fine, but, like most of everyone else, I'm not sold on where to set expectations.

Basically, it was business as usual, with everyone just doing their thing, no fuss, no muss...

That said, I don't see a heavyweight. The camp, lineup and roster is missing one big focal point that will pull the attention of opposing fans, energize fans and tip this team from feeling like a mid-80 win club to one that will go wire-to-wire for a playoff spot. It was once Mike Piazza. It was once Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado. Most recently, it was Yoenis Cespedes. Right now, it's no one. It's noticeable when looking online at the 40-man roster, and it feels noticeable when observing the team in Port St. Lucie.

Cano, Frazier, Ramos and Lowrie are leaders. Brandon Nimmo, Conforto and Amed Rosario look poised to turn a corner in their careers. But, with all due respect, none of the above is striking fear inside a pitcher's heart. Bryce Harper would create that fear and add a block of concrete to the middle of the lineup that would help make everyone better around him.




If I'm an opposing pitcher, there's a major difference between game-planning for Nimmo, McNeil or Lowrie, Conforto, Cano and Ramos, as opposed to Nimmo, McNeil or Lowrie, Conforto, Harper, Cano and Ramos. Frankly, with Harper batting behind him, and Nimmo on base 40 percent of the time, I could see Conforto becoming a 6.0 WAR player with close to 80 extra base hits and 100 RBI. 

It kills me that Harper isn't on the Mets, especially if (as I believe) Mike Trout joins the Yankees in two years. I can see the poster clear as day, Trout and the clean-cut Yankees on one side with Harper and feisty Mets on the other, face to face, Rocky vs. Drago, making all New York center stage for baseball. Ugh.

The thing is, regardless of the marketing, buzz and revenue potential of Harper joining the Mets, which should be enough to sign him, his physical presence, youth and talent instantly improves the team. It bumps up expectations in a way that matches the team's desperation to win a ring and fits in with Van Wagenen's glitz, polish and different brand of leadership. I'm holding out hope. It just makes sense.



Minus Harper, I leave Port St. Lucie feeling about this team very much the same way I felt when I arrived this past weekend. They look good, not great. For all of the talk about eliminating 'ifs,' I see a lot of slippery spots on the roster. To win the NL East, not only will the top of this team's roster need to remain healthy, but Van Wagenen is going to need to acquire a hitter at some point during the summer and his competition will need to hit a hurdle or two along the way. It's not going to be smooth sailing, but that's OK. The grind can often be fun. But, make no mistake, it's going to be a grind. I'm ready for April.



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!

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Bryce Harper, Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Robinson Cano, Tim Tebow, Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
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What's the latest on the Mets? 00:00:40
On Baseball Night in New York, Andy Martino broke down the latest news on possible extensions for Jacob deGrom and other Mets.

Will the Mets and Jacob deGrom agree to a contract extension before Opening Day? Are other Mets candidates for extensions?

SNY's Andy Martino provides an update on the extension talks on Baseball Night in New York.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith (SNY)
Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith (SNY)

During the summer of 2017, Mets 1B Dominic Smith was considered the top first base prospect in the minors. He was promoted to the Mets a few weeks later, at which point he was widely considered to be their long-term, future first baseman.

He struggled at the plate and in the field and was later called out in public for his preparation and eating habits by then-GM Sandy Alderson. In response, Smith changed his diet, trimmed down, and returned to Triple-A in hopes of regaining the trust of the organization. 

Thanks to Alderson's remarks, Smith, 23, entered 2019 much like he entered 2018, questioning whether he had any sort of future in the big leagues.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Peter Alonso, Matthew Cerrone
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Feb 18, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) throws during drills at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 18, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) throws during drills at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Don't expect to see injured Mets veterans Todd Frazier and Jed Lowrie on the field on Opening Day.

Mickey Callaway indicated on Thursday that the two infielders won't be healthy by the time the Mets open the season next week.

"I just don't see it," Callaway said. 

Tags: Jed Lowrie, Todd Frazier
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Brandon Nimmo on his approach 00:00:54
New York Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo is happy about his approach at the plate after starting the spring in a slump.

The Mets beat the Marlins on Thursday at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie >> Box score

Five things to know about Thursday's game...

1) Michael Conforto remained on fire, hitting a homer in his fourth-straight game -- a mammoth two-run shot to right field. 

2) Steven Matz rebounded from a tough start his last time out, firing 5.1 scoreless innings while allowing six hits, walking none and striking out three.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Peter Alonso, Steven Matz, Tyler Bashlor, Danny Abriano
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Mar 11, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) connects for a double against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 11, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) connects for a double against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

With Opening Day one week away, things are starting to come into focus for the Mets. Here's how we see things shaking out in our 25-man Roster Prediction 3.0...

Starting Rotation (5)

  1. Jacob deGrom, RHP
  2. Noah Syndergaard, RHP
  3. Zack Wheeler, RHP
  4. Steven Matz, LHP
  5. Jason Vargas, LHP
Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Drew Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Jacob Rhame, Jason Vargas, Jeff McNeil, Jeurys Familia, Juan Lagares, Justin Wilson, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Paul Sewald, Peter Alonso, Robert Gsellman, Robinson Cano, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Todd Frazier, Travis d'Arnaud, Tyler Bashlor, Wilson Ramos, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Doug Williams and Andy Martino drop an all-new episode of Shea Anything, and they break down how Mickey Callaway should handle Pete Alonso and Dom Smith if both make the Opening Day roster.

They also discuss who should be backing up Wilson Ramos if the veteran goes down with injury as well as where Jacob deGrom stands with so many contract extensions being signed this spring.

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN

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Tom Seaver speaks during a ceremony for Members of the 1969 New York Mets baseball team before the Mets play the Phillies Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009,  in New York.  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Tom Seaver speaks during a ceremony for Members of the 1969 New York Mets baseball team before the Mets play the Phillies Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Mets will be permanently changing the address of Citi Field to honor Tom Seaver, the team announced on Thursday, with full details to be released at a later date. 

In addition, the team will be unveiling plans this June for a statue to honor Seaver, Mets chief revenue officer Lou DePaoli said, according to Newsday.

"We've been working on exploring a potential statue option for a couple of years in coordination with the [Seaver] family," DePaoli said. "We won't be unveiling a statue this season. We will unveil the plans of what it will look like sometime on that ['69] weekend."

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Jun 21, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (51) looks on prior to the game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jun 21, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (51) looks on prior to the game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Ichiro Suzuki walked off the field Thursday for the last time as a player, ending a Hall-of-Fame career that began in 2001 -- including a stint with the Yankees and a period spent pestering the Mets as a member of the Marlins. And while he was one of the best hitters ever, he also gave some of the best and funniest quotes ever. Here is a sampling...

'Who the f*ck is Tom Brady?'

In 2017, Ichiro received a text message from a number he didn't know. The number belonged to Tom Brady, who had gotten it from Alex Rodriguez and wanted to talk to Ichiro about his stretching regimen. When one of the coaches asked Ichiro who had texted him, his response was perfect: 'Some guy named Tom Brady. Who the f- is Tom Brady?'

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New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz throws against the Boston Red Sox at First Data Field. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz throws against the Boston Red Sox at First Data Field. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

After two days off (one due to a scheduled off-day and one due to rain), the Mets face the Marlins at First Data Field on Thursday at 1:10 p.m. on SNY. 

Mets notes

Pete Alonso gets the start at first base as the Mets trot out a lineup that should very closely resemble what we see on Opening Day. ... Steven Matz is on the mound. 

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Edwin Diaz, Jeff McNeil, Justin Wilson, Michael Conforto, Peter Alonso, Robinson Cano, Steven Matz, Tyler Bashlor, Wilson Ramos, Danny Abriano
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Robinson Cano back in New York 00:01:31
Take a deeper look at one of the newest Mets, Robinson Cano. The veteran is expected to bring a lot to New York, this season.

During their first meeting about 2019, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen and manager Mickey Callaway agreed that their roster needed a well-respected, accomplished, battle-tested player that could handle New York and provide a heavyweight presence in the clubhouse.

According to MLB sources familiar with the deal, Van Wagenen quickly identified Robinson Cano as a possible fit. It was well known the Mariners were eager to move his contract, which -- by the way -- Van Wagenen negotiated for Cano when representing him in 2014.

In return for taking on roughly half of the $120 million left on Cano's current contract, the Mets wanted closer Edwin Diaz. In the end, after shopping a similar deal to other teams, the M's sent Cano and Diaz to the Mets for top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn, Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, and prospect Gerson Bautista while no longer having to pay roughly $60 million in payroll during the next five years...

Tags: Robinson Cano, Matthew Cerrone
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Mickey Callaway on Smith, Alonso 00:00:51
New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway explains how he would handle Dom Smith and Pete Alonso if both first basemen break camp with the team.

We suggested eight days ago that it could make sense for the Mets to carry both Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith on the Opening Day roster, and manager Mickey Callaway said Wednesday the team is considering just that.

And If the Mets do carry the right-handed hitting Alonso and left-handed hitting Smith, Callaway suggested it wouldn't be in a straight platoon. 

"I wouldn't classify it as a platoon situation," Callaway said. "I think our main goal would be to put them in the best situation to succeed. ... keep them both healthy and in the game mentally."

Tags: Dominic Smith, Peter Alonso, Danny Abriano
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Mar 16, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) connects for a two run homer against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 16, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) connects for a two run homer against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The Mets have a challenge ahead of them if they want to make the playoffs this season, being in what is expected to be the toughest division in baseball. Michael Conforto, fully healthy after working his way back from injury in 2018, is embracing it. 

"The division was tough this past year and this year it got a lot tougher," Conforto told Buster Olney during an interview Tuesday on ESPN Radio. "I think we're very lucky to be in a division that's as competitive as it is. The Braves, the Phillies, us, the Nationals, and even the Marlins -- they've got some good young players and you really can't overlook that series you have against them every so often. It's gonna be a battle as well."

Among the biggest moves elsewhere in the NL East were the Phillies adding Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto, the Nats adding Patrick Corbin, and the Braves taking a shot on a rebound year from Josh Donaldson. The Mets added Edwin Diaz, Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, Jed Lowrie, and more. 

Tags: Michael Conforto, Peter Alonso, Danny Abriano
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New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud during spring training at First Data Field. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud during spring training at First Data Field. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

As the Mets continue to work out their catching situation, most of the attention has centered around the competition between Travis d'Arnaud and Devin Mesoraco to back up Wilson Ramos -- but Tomas Nido remains in camp as well.

The Mets have long seen Nido as a potential long-term solution as a backup catcher. No one is deluded about his offensive potential, but Nido is an excellent defender in a role that requires it.

D'Arnaud has also made himself more central to the team's plans this year. He is making progress in his return from Tommy John surgery, and the Mets like what they are seeing from his on-field performance.

Tags: Travis d'Arnaud
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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)

The Mets are offering a unique ticket package for Citi Field this season. 

For $39 per month, Mets fans can download the "Amazin' Mets Pass" on their smartphone that will give them access to 78 games this season. The tickets are for standing room, but there is an option to upgrade to a seat Monday-Thursday. All fans have to do is download the tickets for the game from the app, and scan the code at the gate to gain access.

"The program is targeted to the millenial demographic and unconventional audiences," Mets Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales Chris Zaber told The Post's Natalie O'Neill. "It's a greay way to gain access to Citi Field at a low cost. Even if you come to three games a month, it's a great deal.

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Donovan Mitchell loves Piazza 00:01:50
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell reminisces about growing up when his dad was with the Mets and his favorite Mike Piazza memory.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is in town to face the Knicks this week, but the 22-year-old spent some time on Tuesday reminiscing about growing up around the Mets. 

Mitchell's father, Donovan Mitchell Sr., has worked in the Mets front office for several years and is their director of player relations and community engagement. 

Mitchell spent a lot of his time growing up around his father and at Shea Stadium, where he recalled one of his favorite memories -- the Mike Piazza home run after 9/11. 

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Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

NEW YORK - March 19, 2019 - SNY, the official television home of the New York Mets, New York Jets and all things New York sports, today announced its 2019 regular season broadcast schedule for the New York Mets featuring 133 exclusive live games including pre- and post-game shows. SNY's Emmy Award-winning Mets broadcast returns Thursday, March 28 at 1:05 p.m. ET, as the New York Mets open the 2019 season on the road against the Washington Nationals.

SNY's broadcast team of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling, widely regarded as the best booth in baseball, return for their unprecedented 14th season together. They will be joined by Mets on-field reporter Steve Gelbs. Gelbs will continue delivering his insightful in-game interviews and features with players, coaches and other personalities. This season, the broadcast team will also be providing content for SNY's social media outlets pre-, during and post-game. The award-winning production team headed by executive producer Curt Gowdy, Jr., senior coordinating producer Gregg Picker, and director Dan Barr, will continue to lead all SNY-produced Mets telecasts.

SNY's Opening Day Lineup will begin with a special 90-minute Citi Pre-Game Live hosted by Gary Apple, who will be joined by former Mets Todd Zeile and Nelson Figueroa and former Mets General Manager Jim Duquette as they take viewers right up to the start of the game with Jacob DeGrom scheduled to take the mound for the Mets.

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On the morning after Derek Jeter announced his retirement during spring training of 2014, I happened to be in Angels camp in Tempe, Arizona. At that time, a manufactured storyline was going around that Mike Trout could replace Jeter as the "face of baseball."

As Trout fielded questions about this topic, he was affable, engaging -- and clearly uninterested in being anything other than a great ballplayer for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He was more goofy younger brother than international celebrity, and that seemed fine.

The news on Tuesday morning of Trout's 12-year, $430 million agreement with the Angels, first reported by ESPN, closed off any remaining chance that Trout can ever rise above niche recognition from hardcore baseball fans.

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Feb 27, 2019; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer (32) throws a pitch during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Feb 27, 2019; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer (32) throws a pitch during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

When the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes in the waning minutes of the 2015 trade deadline, they had to part with one of their top pitching prospects, Michael Fulmer

The deal arguably worked out for both sides in the short term; Cespedes helped lead the Mets to a pennant that year and re-signed with the team, while Fulmer won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2016 and was an All-Star the next season. But the righty regressed in 2018 and had knee surgery in September. 

Now, Fulmer won't see a mound for quite a while. He has been recommended to have Tommy John surgery, the team said Tuesday, after consultating with the renowned Dr. James Andrews, who also performed Fulmer's knee surgery. Additionally, he will seek a third opinion befor making a final decision. 

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes
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Sep 28, 2018; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Sep 28, 2018; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

The nightmare scenario for the Mets of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper landing with the Phillies didn't happen, and the nightmare scenario of Mike Trout joining Harper on the Phillies won't be happening, either.

Trout, who had been due to hit the free agent market after the 2020 season, has agreed to a 12-year deal worth $430 million to remain with the Angels, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN

The new deal absorbs the two years that were remaining on Trout's existing deal, reports USA Today's Bob Nightengale, technically making it a $363.5 million extension that begins in 2021. The deal includes a full no-trade clause and does not contain any opt-outs...

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Feb 26, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers during 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; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers during the spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

After Tuesday's rainout in Jupiter against the Marlins, Mets RHP Zack Wheeler -- who was set to start -- will instead throw 90 or more pitches Wednesday during an intrasquad game during the team's off day. 

Wheeler remains on track to start the third game of the regular season, but with the rainout pushing his schedule back, he will now be making the start on regular rest instead of an extra day of rest.

Jacob deGrom is scheduled to start on Opening Day -- March 28 against the Nationals -- with Noah Syndergaard starting the second game of the season on March 30 (after a team off-day), and Wheeler getting the ball on March 31.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Jason Vargas, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Mar 11, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) connects for a double against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 11, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) connects for a double against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Mets 1B prospect Pete Alonso hit his fourth home run of the spring on Sunday.

"I felt like last year I had a pretty solid year and I feel like this year I'm composing myself to have an even better year," Alonso recently told reporters in St. Lucie. 

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen and manager Mickey Callaway have repeatedly said they want to leave Florida with the best 25 guys on the Opening Day roster.

Tags: Pete Alonso, Matthew Cerrone
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Wright's knowledge brings value 00:03:15
New York Mets special advisor David Wright discusses how often GM Brodie Van Wagenen calls him and explains the value he brings to the team.

David Wright may have never won a World Series with the Mets, but he did win an NL pennant and had some successful seasons, so he knows what it takes to win in the majors and that it is sometimes more than just talent on the field. 

That's how Wright felt about the 2015 Mets and he sees some of that in this year's team. 

The former Mets captain, in Port St. Lucie as special advisor to the GM, listened to a team meeting on Monday and spoke with some players afterward about what it takes to win in this league. 

Tags: David Wright
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Syndergaard VS deGrom 00:00:48
Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom faced off in a minor league intrasquad game on Monday, with Brodie Van Wagenen and David Wright watching.

Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard squared off against one another on the back fields of the facilities at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie on Monday in a minor-league intrasquad game. 

The Mets decided to scratch them from their scheduled starts against the Nationals this week in an attempt to scale back exposure against teams that they will be seeing plenty of in the regular season. 

DeGrom allowed one run on seven hits while striking out 12 in 6.1 innings while Syndergaard allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits and two walks while also striking out 12 in six innings. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard
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Mar 18, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets center fielder Michael Conforto (30) at bat in the third inning of the spring training game against the Washington Nationals at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Mar 18, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets center fielder Michael Conforto (30) at bat in the third inning of the spring training game against the Washington Nationals at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Michael Conforto stayed red hot at the plate and Jeurys Familia served as the opener during the Mets' 6-5 loss to the Nationals on Monday in Port St. Lucie. >> Box score

Five things to know about Monday's game ...

1. Conforto went yard for the third straight day, launching a two-run homer in the first inning for his fourth homer of the spring. The two-run shot gives him 10 RBI in Spring Training.

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Michael Conforto, Washington Nationals
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Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) reacts after the top of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) reacts after the top of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Negotiations between the Mets and ace Jacob deGrom are ongoing, with optimism in some corners that the sides will reach a deal by next Thursday's self-imposed deadline.

As of Monday morning, an agreement was not imminent, but the Mets and deGrom's reps continued to hammer away behind the scenes. SNY has previously reported that deGrom is seeking a deal of approximately five years and $150 million; it is not known what type of deal the sides are currently discussing.

The tone of this negotiation has shifted a few times over the course of the winter, which is probably to be expected for a potential deal this large. At the winter meetings in December, deGrom's reps at CAA left a meeting with Mets higher-ups expecting an offer.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Andy Martino
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Conforto launches a home run 00:00:14
Michael Conforto continues his strong spring with a 2-run home run to put the Mets up 2-0 over the Nationals on Monday in Port St. Lucie.

Michael Conforto seems ready for Opening Day.

The outfielder launched a home run Monday in the bottom of the first inning, his third straight game with a homer. He crushed a 3-2 pitch to right field with two outs to give the Mets a 2-0 lead over the Nationals.

Conforto has four homers and 10 RBI this spring.

Tags: Michael Conforto
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Mar 16, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) connects for a two run homer against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 16, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) connects for a two run homer against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Reliever Jeurys Familia will open Monday's Grapefruit League when the Mets take on the Nationals on Monday at 1:10 p.m. on SNY. 

Mets notes

Michael Conforto remains in the cleanup spot after homering in the last two games. He is hitting .255/.314/.468 with three home runs and eight RBI this spring. ... Juan Lagares is back in the lineup on Monday batting second and in center field. ... Robinson Cano enters the game with a .486 average and two home runs. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Robinson Cano, Washington Nationals
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Alonso homers again in loss 00:01:41
Michael Conforto, Mickey Callaway and Peter Alonso comment on Alonso's power display and improved all-around game this spring

Pete Alonso doesn't lack confidence when he steps in the batter's box. At least, he hasn't shown any signs of it this Spring Training. 

But the knock on Alonso throughout his career in the Minor Leagues is that he struggles defensively. The first baseman has worked hard to erase the stigma, however, and simply play the position better. And he's feeling pretty good about his defensive game as the 2019 season beckons. 

"I'm extremely confident," he told reporters Sunday after the Mets' 10-6 loss to the Nationals. "I mean, I feel like I've done a 180 from 2017 to now, because that was my dark year, so to speak, defensively."

Tags: Peter Alonso
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Alonso, Conforto go deep 00:00:50
Pete Alonso belted his 4th homer of the spring and Michael Conforto also went deep for the 2nd straight day in a loss to the Nationals

Six runs from the Nationals in the first inning set the tone for the game, as they beat the Mets, 10-6, on Sunday at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches. >> Box score

Five things to know about Sunday's game ...

1. For the second straight game, Michael Conforto homered. This time, he drilled a two-run shot off Stephen Strasburg in the third inning. He worked a walked and struck out to raise his Grapefruit League average to .253 with a .782 OPS. 

Tags: Michael Conforto, Peter Alonso, Robinson Cano
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Feb 24, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 24, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Jacob deGrom was scratched from his scheduled outing Sunday in a "B" game for the Mets due to a stomach illness. 

It's obviously no reason to sound the alarms, and the silver lining here is noteworthy. To keep the 30-year-old on track to start Opening Day in less than two weeks, deGrom will throw Monday on the back fields. Fellow rotation mate Noah Syndergaard will toe the rubber for the other team in the Mets' intrasquad contest, providing an intriguing matchup, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reported.

With a pair of games scheduled against NL East rival Washington for Sunday and Monday -- the two days deGrom and Syndergaard were scheduled to pitch, respectively -- the Mets made the conscious decision to shield them from Major League competition for the remainder of Spring Training. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard
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Leiter returns to Mets 00:01:24
Former Met Al Leiter talks about rejoining the organization as a Baseball Operations Advisor

For Al Leiter, joining the Mets as a baseball operations advisor for the club and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen was a no-brainer. 

The 53-year-old met with reporters in Port St. Lucie, where he was attending spring training, on Sunday and said he simply felt like it was time for him to return to the organization he grew up rooting for. 

"There's no other organization that would make sense," Leiter said. "There's no B.S. I loved playing here. I had the majority of my success here, as a Met. It's the right thing. There's no other option." 

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Jacob deGrom (48) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jacob deGrom (48) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The idea of a five-man starting rotation for the ages, as predicted by John Smoltz, among others, is but a memory now, with Matt Harvey gone and Steven Matz more mediocre than elite since his rookie season.

But the Mets might still have the best Big Three in baseball, if Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard all pitch with the dominance expected of them. 

How far can that take them? Pretty darn far, if their history is any indication.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, John Harper
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Feb 28, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets infielder Pete Alonso (20) onnects for a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 28, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets infielder Pete Alonso (20) onnects for a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Hector Santiago takes the mound for the Mets on Sunday as they head to West Palm Beach to face the Nationals at 1:05 p.m. 

Mets notes

Michael Conforto returns to the cleanup spot on Sunday after going 2-for-3 with a home run on Saturday ... Pete Alonso bats second with his team-leading three home runs this spring while Dominic Smith is the DH as he continues to make his case to be on the Mets' Opening Day roster. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Peter Alonso, Washington Nationals
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Mets' bats looks good in loss 00:00:59
Michael Conforto homered and drove in 3 runs, while Robinson Cano and Jeff McNeil continued their strong springs in a loss to the Marlins

The Mets jumped out to a 6-0 lead before running into some trouble with their middle relief in a 11-6 loss to the Marlins on Saturday. >> Box score

Five things to know about Saturday's game...

1) Michael Conforto had an impressive day at the plate batting cleanup, blasting a two-run shot in the first inning then singling in a run in the third in a 2-for-3 day at the plate with three RBI. 

Tags: Jason Vargas, Michael Conforto, Robinson Cano, Seth Lugo
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Feb 28, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas (44) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 28, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas (44) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Jason Vargas and the Mets face Sandy Alcantara and the Miami Marlins in a Grapefruit League game on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. 

Mets notes

Pete Alonso gets the start at first base and is batting second as he carries a .375 (15-for-40) average and team-leading three home runs into the game ... Robinson Cano (13-for-32) will bat behind Alonso while Travis d'Arnaud (4-for-13) gets the call behind the plate. 

Tags: Jason Vargas, Miami Marlins
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Mar 12, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) throws against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 12, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) throws against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The Mets think the Nationals have seen enough of their major league pitchers this spring. 

The team revealed on Saturday that they will shield their pitchers from Grapefruit League games so that other teams will not be able to get a good look at them, per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. 

Jacob deGrom, who was on schedule to start in Sunday's game against the Nationals, will instead pitch in a "B" game on the back fields of the Mets' Spring Training facility along with Jeurys Familia and Justin Wilson

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz
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Feb 27, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) reacts after allowing a home run to Miami Marlins designated hitter Lewis Brinson (9) in the first inning of the spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 27, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) reacts after allowing a home run to Miami Marlins designated hitter Lewis Brinson (9) in the first inning of the spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

The Mets fell to the Nationals on Friday, 11-3, at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie, Fla. >> Box score

Five things to know about Friday's game...

1) Steven Matz continued to struggle in what was by far his worst outing of the spring. The left-hander allowed eight runs on seven hits, including four home runs, and a walk in just two innings of work.  

Tags: Steven Matz
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Pete Alonso opens up 00:01:54
Mets prospect Pete Alonso opens up about his journey through baseball, and what he needs to do to take the final steps to the big leagues.

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso is having a strong spring.

The 24-year-old reflects on what got him to this point in his career and how he can continue to succeed at the next level. 

Tags: Peter Alonso
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Feb 27, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) delivers a pitch during the spring training game against the Miami Marlins at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 27, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) delivers a pitch during the spring training game against the Miami Marlins at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Steven Matz' struggles are not getting in the way of his optimism. 

The Mets lefthander had by far his worst outing of Spring Training on Friday, allowing eight runs, including four home runs, on seven hits and a walk in just two innings of work in his latest start against the Washington Nationals. 

Matz, though, knows what the problem is and said that it is better he identifies and works through it now rather than when the season starts. 

Tags: Steven Matz
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New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz throws against the Boston Red Sox at First Data Field. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz throws against the Boston Red Sox at First Data Field. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Steven Matz and the Mets face Jeremy Hellickson and the Washington Nationals in a Grapefruit League game on Friday at 1:10 p.m. at First Data Field.

Mets notes

Dominic Smith is tied with J.D. Davis for the team lead with eight RBIs. ... Robinson Cano has a .414/.452/.655 batting line with two home runs and six RBIs in 10 games.

Tags: Steven Matz, Washington Nationals
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Pete Alonso hits vs. Cardinals 00:00:30
New York Mets first base prospect Pete Alonso hits two singles against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Mets tied the Cardinals. 1-1, on Thursday >> Box score

Five things to know about Thursday's game...

1) Zack Wheeler was dominant for a second-straight start, firing 5.1 shutout innings while allowing two hits, walking none, and striking out four. His ERA is down to 2.25.

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Jeurys Familia, Peter Alonso, Travis d'Arnaud, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Checking out Brodie's Bunch 00:01:25
On the Shea Anything podcast, Doug Williams and Andy Martino discuss the expanded front office staff surrounding Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen.

Doug Williams and Nelson Figueroa drop an all-new episode of Shea Anything, and they go long on the Pete Alonso vs. Dom Smith debate for first base.

They also go deep on whether or not Amed Rosario will break through with a star-making season in 2019, and try to make sense of the new MLB rules changes.

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN

Tags: Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Peter Alonso
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The NL East is stacked, balanced and expected to be the most compelling division in baseball this season. In large part, this is because the division features several of the league's most dominant starting pitchers and best overall pitching staffs.

For starters, Max Scherzer (Nationals) and Jacob deGrom (Mets) are widely considered to be the top two starting pitchers in all of baseball. According to multiple projection systems and fantasy rankings, the next best 20 pitchers in the league feature an additional five arms from the NL East, including Aaron Nola (Phillies), Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler, (Mets) and Patrick Corbin (Nationals) and Stephen Strasburg (Nationals).

In 2018, among NL pitchers producing at least 2.0 fWAR, six were from the NL East, including deGrom, Scherzer, Nola, Syndergaard, Wheeler and Mike Foltynewicz (Braves). Corbin, who was with the D-backs but has since signed with the Nationals, also finished in the Top 10. If extended to the Top 20, two more Phillies join the list (Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez).

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Jason Vargas, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred gestures while speaking during a Major League Baseball owners meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) (Ben Margot/AP)
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred gestures while speaking during a Major League Baseball owners meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) (Ben Margot/AP)

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's desire for more action and less dead time in baseball is at the heart of the rules changes that were announced on Thursday, and with that in mind, here are the three I believe are most noteworthy:

1) The three-batter minimum for relievers, which goes into effect in 2020, and makes for intriguing strategy decisions as well as fewer late-inning pitching changes.

2) A 28-man September roster, as of 2020, which will finally bring an end to the ridiculous practice of essentially having unlimited substitutions in the final month of the season.

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New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox the spring training game at JetBlue Park. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox the spring training game at JetBlue Park. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)

Zack Wheeler takes the hill as the Mets face Michael Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals in a Grapefruit League game on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. in Jupiter, Florida.

Mets notes

Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith are tied for the team lead in hits (13). ... Travis d'Arnaud is 4-for-10 with one home run and two RBIs in his first four spring training games.

Tags: St. Louis Cardinals, Zack Wheeler
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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred addresses representatives from the grapefruit league during the annual spring training media day at Hilton in West Palm Beach. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred addresses representatives from the grapefruit league during the annual spring training media day at Hilton in West Palm Beach. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The MLB and the MLB Players Association announced an agreement on Thursday that includes changes to the rosters, game play and the All-Star voting process over the next two years.

In 2019, the changes include:

  • The elimination of August trades, meaning July 31 will be sole MLB trade deadline.
  • The maximum number of mound visits per team will be reduced from six to five.
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Syndergaard becoming Browns fan? 00:01:22
See what New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard had to say when asked about Odell Beckham Jr. being traded to the Cleveland Browns.

Noah Syndergaard saved his best fastball for after Wednesday's game.

The flame-thrower was asked following the Mets' 2-1 win against the Astros about his thoughts on the football Giants trading Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns.

"He's special. I don't know what the Giants are doing. We'll find out," Syndergaard said.

Tags: Baker Mayfield, Noah Syndergaard, Odell Beckham Jr.
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Mar 8, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 8, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The Mets beat the Astros, 2-1, on Wednesday afternoon in Port St. Lucie >> Box score

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

1) Noah Syndergaard was a bit wild but largely dominant, firing 5.2 scoreless innings while allowing two hits, walking two, and striking out five, lowering his Spring Training ERA to 1.88.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Peter Alonso, Seth Lugo, Thomas Robinson, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Jason Vargas
Jason Vargas

Mets manager Mickey Callaway and GM Brodie Van Wagenen have been consistent this entire offseason stating Jason Vargas would be their fifth starter in 2019.

Against the first batter Vargas faced this spring, he let up a home run. However, he has not allowed a run since, lowering his Grapefruit League ERA 1.08 ERA during his three starts, which is exactly what Callaway had been hoping to see.

"I really think he just needs a regular spring training, which is uninterrupted, to get himself where he needs to be," Callaway told me in January. "The regular schedule allows him to do that to the best of his ability."

Tags: Jason Vargas, Matthew Cerrone
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