R (App): Kingsport Mets 20, @ Johnson City Cardinals 4

I made the lovely drive from Savannah, GA to Johnson City, TN to see the Kingsport Mets. (This is not a joke. Driving through the Southern Appalachian mountains is gorgeous.) I saw the KMets score 16 runs in the final four innings on their way to a season-high 20 tallies and a 20-4 win  that finished in the rain with the Johnson City catcher on the mound mopping up in relief.

3B Pedro Perez had the game of his (brief) professional life, going 3-for-5 with a double and two three-run homers and seven RBI. The second homer was funny - he got a fastball in and yanked it down the leftfield line. The 18-year-old started a few steps out of the box, wasn't sure it would stay fair, stopped, and then waited for it to straighten out and stay fair. Perez kept it fair, because he said, "I stayed close, and [used] quick hands." (We will have video of this on the blog as well.)

Lower back problems limited Perez to 12 games in the Appalachian League last year when he hit just .119/.178/.190 with three walks and 12 strikeouts. Perez is now up to 6'2" and has filled out to north of 220 pounds.

This year, he explained in halting English (!) what he's doing differently: "I changed my hitting approach and I'm better now. The hitting coach told me about how I feel with two strikes, and how I feel when [there's] a 0-0 count. With two-strike approach, shorten the bat, and spread my legs. He said, you can hit with your legs spread a little bit." (I was very impressed that the 18-year-old Perez was willing to answer questions in English. He had Leger nearby to translate if my questions ran into the complex, or he needed help, but he spoke in English, which speaks extremely well of his learning ability.)

Kingsport manager Jose Leger on Perez, "This year, he's different - more mature. He's actually played a lot better defensively than we saw in extended last year. Hitting-wise, instead of having all the movement, he's tried to cut all the movement and spread his legs and just use his hands. He's got power, he's a big kid with power, he's got a good swing. He uses his legs well, and he's got some batspeed and that body too- he uses what he has."

Perez pointed out that facing erratic Appalachian League pitchers creates a problem upper level hitters do not experience. The hardest part of the league he said is that "Too many pitchers don't throw a lot of strikes. You have to have a lot of concentration when the pitcher throws in the strike zone and I have to stay aggressive with the pitch in the strike zone."

 

Pitching NotesRob Whalen: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K. The Mets' 12th round pick in the 2012 draft out of Haines City (FL) High School was sitting 88-89 mph with his fastball and touched 90 once or twice. He's already listed at 6'2" and 200 pounds, which is probably light. Even as a 19-year-old I don't see a lot of projection left in the body. He threw a few curveballs at 75-76 mph and tried a pair of changeups at 82.

In the seventh, the KMets turned to 20-year-old LHP Alberto Baldonado. Already 6'2" and north of his listed 160 pounds (in a good way) he was throwing 92-93 mph and touching 94. He showed two curveballs at 67 mph, one a good one for a strikeout, and one that forgot to bend and missed the zone by a foot and a half. There's a little bit of funk in his delivery. He fanned four while walking one and allowing three runs on five hits in his two innings. He did not show a changeup. I suspect he will stay in the bullpen for the forseeable future, because his breaking stuff is so rudimentary.

In the ninth, the Mets turned to little fire-baller Ricardo Jacquez. At 5'9" and slender, Jacquez struck out the side throwing 92-94 and sitting at 94. He showed a slider at 87 that was flat, but an effective complement to his heat. The Mets drafted Jacquez in the 25th round this year out of Central Arizona JC. He began his college career at Texas, but was kicked off the team for a second rules violation when he warmed up, but was too "dehydrated" to pitch (read: hungover). Jacquez has struck out 11 of the 20 batters he has faced in the Appy League, walked one and given up two hits. The way he threw Thursday, he has no business in the league and could certainly handle an assignment to the South Atlantic League.

 

Hitter NotesSS Amed Rosario: 1-for-4, RBI, 2 BB, K. He didn't get much to swing at in his two plate apperances that turned into walks. In the seventh, he managed to get to a fastball at his shoulders and drive it to left for a fly-ball out. It was not a pitch he should have swung at, but the pure athletic ability to drive the pitch was redeeming. Facing a catcher on the mound in the ninth in the rain, he slashed a single to right to drive home a run. The 18-year-old is rail thin at 6'2", 170 pounds.

CF Champ Stuart: 2-for-4, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K. You can see what the Mets saw when they plucked him in the sixth round this year. He's fast, he throws well and he has batspeed. He doesn't really know what to do with sliders yet, but there is just a lot of quick in this 20-year-old's game.

LF Brad Marquez: 3-for-6 with a double. He hit a couple of hard line drives up the middle and yanked one into left. He still looks a little like a football player playing baseball with strength in his movements.

Tags: Kingsport Mets, Pedro Perez, Road Trip, Toby Hyde

Wheels in motion 00:02:52
Jon Hein and Marc Malusis discuss the Mets' plan of action for Zack Wheeler, including his possible use out of the bullpen.

Zack Wheeler spoke about his health and a potential move to the bullpen during an appearance at the Mets' annual coat drive at Citi Field on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old said he threw about three weeks ago and will do so again around Christmas in what he called a "normal offseason," according to Joe Trezza of MLB.com. Wheeler added that he has not felt pain since April and that "this is the best he's felt."

He was also open to the idea of moving to the bullpen to start 2017, something Mets GM Sandy Alderson mentioned prior to the start of the Winter Meetings this past Sunday.

 

Tags: Zack Wheeler
Read More

Aug 4, 2016; Bruce (19) celebrates a three run home run with Granderson (3) (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Aug 4, 2016; Bruce (19) celebrates a three run home run with Granderson (3) (Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Dec 7 | 11:40 AM

The Giants insist they have no more money to spend this winter, meaning they're unlikely to trade for Jay Bruce and his $13 million, nor will they sign a free-agent outfielder, according to USA Today.

In regards to the outfield market, free-agent Ian Desmond is reportedly signing a five-year, $70 million deal with the Rockies, who may also be sending OF Charlie Blackmon to the Cardinals, who reportedly had interest in free-agent Dexter Fowler, which you can read more about at MLB Trade Rumors.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce
Read More

Free-agent OF Dexter Fowler, Royals OF Lorenzo Cain and Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen (USA Today Images)
Free-agent OF Dexter Fowler, Royals OF Lorenzo Cain and Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen (USA Today Images)

The price on position players -- especially outfielders -- is going down by the minute, according to multiple MLB market markers.

The top-tier, free-agent market includes outfielders Dexter Fowler, Jose Bautista and Ian Desmond, while the trade market reportedly includes Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), Charlie Blackmon (Rockies), Adam Eaton (White Sox), Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson (Royals), Odubel Herrera (Phillies) and Jay Bruce (Mets), among others.

"If I'm Fowler, I give up making $18-20 million a season and quickly grab one of those four-year, $60 million offers, because it might not be there if he waits," a team executive told me.

In regards to the Mets, this doesn't bode well for wanting to trade Bruce. And, it probably explains why reports now indicate Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto are off the table. Because, if prices are dropping, it's not worth moving them.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
Read More

Jay Bruce (19) has dominated the Mets news cycle during the Winter Meetings (USA TODAY Sports)
Jay Bruce (19) has dominated the Mets news cycle during the Winter Meetings (USA TODAY Sports)

Mets GM Sandy Alderson should have at least one or two reasonable trades on the table for OF Jay Bruce, according to teams that have talked with the Mets.

However, because he's comfortable with slow-playing the free-agent market for relief pitchers, Alderson appears totally fine holding off on dealing Bruce for an arm, while letting the outfield market play out and revisiting his options during December.

"Things are generally slow," Alderson explained Tuesday, talking to reporters. "Hopefully things start to loosen up a little bit. ...Clubs are still trying to figure out exactly what they think is exactly the best way to go. The contours of the market are still a little bit vague, so you don't see a lot of movement."

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
Read More

 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

Tuesday's News and Rumors...

The Mets contacted the Royals about closer Wade Davis >> Read more!

The Mets also may have interest in free-agent relievers Matt Belisle, Joe Blanton, Junichi Tazawa, Drew Storen and Boone Logan, as Jerry Blevins is seeking a three-year deal >> Read more!

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he and his staff are planning to change the workload and routine of their starting pitchers >> Read more!

Read More

Oct 17, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Wade Davis (17) and center fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) celebrates after beating the Toronto Blue Jays in game two of the ALCS at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)
Oct 17, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Wade Davis (17) and center fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) celebrates after beating the Toronto Blue Jays in game two of the ALCS at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)

Dec 7 | 6:15 AM

The Mets asked the Royals about closer Wade Davisbut were asked to part with elite SS prospect Amed Rosario, who the team considers untouchable, according to Daily News reporter Kristie Ackert.

Instead, the Cubs are close to acquiring Davis for 24-year-old OF Jorge Soleraccording to multiple reports on MLB Trade Rumors.

Read More

Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)
Sandy Alderson is surrounded by reporters during the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings (Credit: Manning-USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets are not yet willing to pay some of Curtis Granderson's $15 million salary or Jay Bruce's $13 million salary to help trade them during this week's Winter Meetings.

"Not at this point," Alderson said Monday, when specifically asked about the scenario.

Alderson is not usually this vague, though, which makes me think he'll eventually give in. However, right now, it's early enough in the off season that he isn't feeling desperate. Instead, I'm hearing they're more likely to give up a prospect or two in the deal, so the acquiring team is incentivized to absorb Bruce's $13 million.

Remember, the goal here is to a acquire as many relief pitchers as possible before the start of spring training, and I see Alderson eventually getting his men one of the following ways...

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
Read More

Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) talks during the World Series victory rally in Grant Park. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)
Nov 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) talks during the World Series victory rally in Grant Park. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)

The Mets are not trading both Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce so they can sign free-agent OF Dexter Fowlera high-ranking team official told SNY's Steve Gelbs.

This is disappointing, if true. I'm sure it is, but I also know Mets GM Sandy Alderson and his front office tend to make statements based on what's happening at that specific moment, and it does not necessarily recognize where things are headed.

Remember, Alderson and his staff repeatedly told reporters that the Mets wouldn't release Jason Bay, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez, nor would they be trading Carlos Beltran and RA Dickey, and they eventually did all of the above. I'm not saying the Mets will sign Fowler, or trade both Bruce or Granderson, I'm simply suggesting that we all take what they say with a grain of salt... because things have a way of changing as the environment changes around them...

That said, this is exactly the move I want to see the Mets make.

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
Read More

MNoah Syndergaard (34), Jacob deGrom (48) and Matt Harvey (33) walk in from the bullpen at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
MNoah Syndergaard (34), Jacob deGrom (48) and Matt Harvey (33) walk in from the bullpen at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

For the second time this offseason, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he and his staff are planning to change the workload and routine of their starting pitchers, he told reporters Tuesday at the Winter Meetings.

Last month, Alderson said he is open to occasionally using a six-man rotation and mixing in spot starters so guys can get extended rest between appearances.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler
Read More

Robert Gsellman pitches against the Braves last Tuesday in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
Robert Gsellman pitches against the Braves last Tuesday in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)

Teams have asked about RHP Robert Gsellman, but Sandy Alderson has told them he's not available, sources told ESPN.com's Adam Rubin.

Gsellman, 23, had a 2.42 ERA (2.63 FIP) and 1.27 WHIP, while striking out 42 batters in 44 2/3 innings, during seven starts and one relief appearance for the Mets in 2016.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler
Read More

Free-agent relievers Fernando Salas, Brad Ziegler, Joaquin Benoit and Joe Smith (Credit: USA Today Images)
Free-agent relievers Fernando Salas, Brad Ziegler, Joaquin Benoit and Joe Smith (Credit: USA Today Images)

Dec 6 | 4:00PM

Free-agent LH reliever Jerry Blevins is seeking a three-year deal worth $5-6 million a season, MLB.com's Anthony DiComo reported on Twitter.

"If Blevins is willing to do a two-year deal, maybe Sandy Alderson can reel him back," MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone wrote Nov. 22. "But, if Blevins finds himself eventually weighing three-year offers, I bet Alderson passes and, instead, signs a veteran or two on minor-league deals."

Read More

Tebow during an Arizona Fall League game at Camelback Ranch (Credit: Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today)
Tebow during an Arizona Fall League game at Camelback Ranch (Credit: Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today)

The Mets haven't decided whether OF Tim Tebow will be invited to play in big league games during Spring Training, GM Sandy Alderson said Tuesday.

"That's a decision we'll make some time in the near future," Alderson said, adding that there's "no benefit" to having him in big league camp.

Mets manager Terry Collins said earlier Tuesday that Tebow would play for the Mets during Grapefruit League games this spring, even if he's in minor-league camp

However, late last month, Tebow would not say if he plans to attend Spring Training.

Tags: Tim Tebow
Read More

Sale of Two Cities 00:02:22
The DNL panel discusses the ramifications of the Chris Sale trade to the Boston Red Sox in a blockbuster move at the Winter Meetings.

The Nationals will not be adding Chris Sale, who is about to be traded to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and two other prospects, according to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal.

Earlier Tuesday, Rosenthal said the Nationals would have included RHP prospects Lucas Giolito and Victor Robles in a deal with Chicago. However, they've been reluctant to put them in a deal for Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen, who they've reportedly been pursuing since last summer.

Read More

In honor of Mets media relation executive Shannon Forde, who lost her long, difficult battle with breast cancer last March, MLB announced Monday it will renovate a youth field in Forde's honor in her hometown of Little Ferry, N.J.

"I think a picture says a thousand words," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said at a press conference at the Winter Meetings. "This is the group that loves and misses Shannon every day."

To raise money for the project, which is part of their annual Play Ball program, MLB is auctioning off a number of unique opportunities, including a pitching lesson from Johnny Cueto, player and manager meet-and-greets, a dinner with Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez.

Read More

David Wright waits during batting practice before facing the San Diego Padres. (AP)
David Wright waits during batting practice before facing the San Diego Padres. (AP)

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

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

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

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

Tags: David Wright
Read More

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

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

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

Tags: Jose Reyes
Read More

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

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

Tags: David Wright, Jose Reyes, Travis d'Arnaud
Read More

McCutchen (22) at bat at PNC Park (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
McCutchen (22) at bat at PNC Park (Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

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

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

Read More

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

Travis d'Arnaud catches at Chase Field (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Travis d'Arnaud catches at Chase Field (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

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

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

Tags: Kevin Plawecki, Rene Rivera, Travis d'Arnaud
Read More

Photo: Chris McShane
Photo: Chris McShane

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

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

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

Tags: Gabriel Ynoa, Gavin Cecchini, Robert Gsellman
Read More
Login with Facebook Login with Twitter Login with SNY.tv