We're going to play a fun game, match the Mets prospects/assets to those involved in trades for other teams. I don't do this for every trade, only the ones that interest me for one reason or another.

Today we'll take on the Rockies/Astros swap for Dexter Fowler and a PTBNL for Brandon Barnes and Jordan Lyles.

Earlier this offseason, the Mets were rumored to be interested in trading Ike Davis for Dexter Fowler. On the same day they traded Fowler, the Rockies also "addressed" their first base hole, by signing Justin Morneau.

Fowler will be  28 in 2014, and has significant home road splits (.298/.395/.485 at Coors and .241/.333/.361 on the road in 1291 PA). He's owed $7.35 million in 2014, and will be arbitration eligible in 2015 before becoming free agent for 2016. Still, he's in the prime of his career, has been a league average hitter, and while the advanced metrics don't like his work in center, he should be an asset defensively in a corner.

For the Mets, he would have been an improvement on Eric Young Jr. in the outfield at the least, and potentially much more. So, what did it take to bring him to the Astros?

Turns out, very little.

The right-handed Lyles was a good prospect in a bad Astros' system who has never figured out the big leagues. Since making his big league debut in 2011, he owns a 5.35 ERA with 259 strikeouts against 117 walks in 377 innings with 431 hits allowed and a ERA+ of 74 (!) or an ERA- of 141 and a -2.8 bWAR overall. His Baseball America rankings rose from #6 after the 2008 season to #3 the following year to the top spot in the system after 2010 when he was the #42 prospect in baseball. Lyles has a four-seam fastball at 93 mph, a sinker at 92 mph, a slider in the upper 80s, a changeup at 83 and a curveball around 80-81 mph. He throws his two fastballs over 66% of the time combined. Every pitch he throws carries negative value at Fangraphs.

Lyles' strikeout rates from the last three years have actually declined from 16.1% in 2011, to 15.8% in 2012 to 14.5% in 2013. Meanwhile, his walk rate has ticked up from 6.3% to 6.7% to 7.6% in the last three years. Lyles was a relatively low strikeout guy in AAA as well with a 14.4% strikeout rate in 2010 and 16.3% in 2011.

Lyles is young and has prospect pedigree. That's about it. At ESPN, Keith Law argues that Lyles' numbers have been hurt by throwing in front of Houston's poor defenses the last few years, "... he has been below-average but above that replacement-level baseline when measured on his own performance. Lyles has a good feel for pitching and above-average control, suffering from his lack of any clear out pitch."

The Mets do not have a Jordan Lyles - a failed former first round pitcher.

  1. Perhaps the closest the Mets' current roster, offers, when taking into account only production, is Carlos Torres who bounced from the White Sox to the Rockies to the Mets in the last four seasons.
  2. Dillon Gee, who is older than Lyles, has been appreciably better, putting up a 2.2 bWAR in 2013 with a 3.80 RA9, his first year below 4.00.
  3. Jenrry Mejia had never really had any big league success either in 2010 or 2012, combined for a -0.1 bWAR between those two years. Then, in 2013, after returning from Tommy John surgery, he returned with better fastball command, more feel on his changeup and a new slider that helped him to a 2.30 ERA/2.96 RA9 and a 0.5 bWAR in just five starts.
  4. Statistically, perhaps the best match for Lyles in the Mets' system is former second round pick Cory Mazzoni. in AA this past summer, Mazzoni had a strikeout rate of 26.2%, a 6.7% walk rate, an opponents' batting average of .268 and a 4.36 ERA/2.70 FIP. In 2010 in AA, Lyles had a  21.3% strikeout rate, a 6.5% walk rate, a .266 opponents' batting average, and a 3.12 ERA/3.36 FIP.
If we divorce position from the discussion, the Met most like Lyles - a former first rounder who has flopped in the big leagues recently - is the guy the Rockies were rumored to be interested in: Ike Davis. He hit just .205/.326/.334 in 2013 on his way to a 0.2 bWAR. That leaves out his productive, but short 2011, and his long slog through 2012 when he was still worth 0.9 bWAR.

The second player the Rockies acquired,, Brandon Barnes, who will be 28 in May 2014, is a 4th outfielder. He's hit .233/.282/.330 in his two partial big league seasons in 2012 and 2013. Barnes is not as good as the 4th outfielder the Rockies traded to the Mets in 2013: Eric Young Jr., himself a career .258/.325/.338 hitter in 404 big league games.

If the Rockies were not interested in reacquiring Young, perhaps 25-year old Matt den Dekker (.207/.270/.276 in 63 PA) would have sparked their interest as an extra outfielder.

So, after picking up Lyles for the back of their rotation, and a Barnes for their bench, the Rockies signed Justin Morneau, who will turn 33 in 2014, for two years at $13 million. The great Dan Szymborski fired up his ZiPs machine to project "Morneau in Colorado 2014: 280/343/457, 104 OPS+ 0.9 WAR. 2015: 277/339/453, 102 OPS+, 0.5 WAR."

Again, Morneau's 2014 projection is awfully similar in bWAR to what Ike Davis actually produced in 2012. And Davis would probably be $3 to $5 million cheaper over the next two years. Of course, there's that messy issue of 2013 as well.

From the Rockies perspective if they had done the deal with the Mets for say Ike Davis and Matt den Dekker for Fowler, they would have needed to add a starting pitcher from the free agent market or another trade. Those - free agent pitchers - are expensive, but most are better than Lyles. Also, Morneau is a safer bet than Davis, although Davis has more upside given their ages.

A package from the Mets centered around Dillon Gee for Dexter Fowler would have given the Rockies a better pitcher, although without the coveted "former Top Prospect" tag that Lyles carries.

Or maybe the Mets felt that they were better off committing the $7.25 million they would have had to pay Fowler to Chris Young, who will cost only money and not players. Still, the Mets have an open outfield spot remaining. An outfield of Juan Lagares/Young/Fowler, all three with centerfield pedigree, would have been very good defensively (and run a low batting average, but we digress).

Given the Rockies' moves Tuesday, it certainly seems as though the Mets had the pieces to have acquired Dexter Fowler from Colorado. Fowler is younger than the remaining major free agent outfielders, like Curtis Granderson and Shin Soo Choo, and will require a fraction of the financial commitment.

Tags: Analysis, Toby Hyde

May 09, 2006; Mets closer (13) Billy Wagner talks with the media at Citizens Bank Park. Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
May 09, 2006; Mets closer (13) Billy Wagner talks with the media at Citizens Bank Park. Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Former Mets closer Billy Wagner is expected to fall short of getting in to the Hall of Fame when results of this year's voting are revealed tonight at 6 p.m. ET live on the MLB Network.

Wagner is in his second year on the ballot. He earned 46 votes (10.5 percent) last year, well short of the needed 75 percent, but double what was needed to remain on the ballot.

In 16 seasons, during which he pitched for the Astros, Mets, Phillies, Red Sox, and Braves, Wagner collected 422 saves with a 2.31 ERA and 1,196 strikeouts in 903 innings.

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Mar 9, 2016; DeGrom (48) delivers a pitch at Tradition Field. Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 9, 2016; DeGrom (48) delivers a pitch at Tradition Field. Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Mets RHP Jacob deGrom has been throwing for several weeks and expects to be on track for the start of Spring Training, he recently told Newsday's Steve Marcus.

"The plan is to be off the mound a couple of times before spring, then I think just a nice and easy introduction to a slope and then be ready to go when Spring Training is here," he added.

He had a 3.04 ERA and 1.20 WHIP with 143 strikeouts in 148 innings (24 starts) last season before a pinched ulnar nerve in his right elbow resulted in season-ending surgery on Sept. 20.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Mar 27, 2016; Wright (5) throws over to first base at Tradition Field. Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 27, 2016; Wright (5) throws over to first base at Tradition Field. Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Mets third baseman David Wright has started baseball activity in Virginia and the team hopes to see him ready for spring training, GM Sandy Alderson told reporters in early-January.

"We won't know until we get down [to Florida] and he shows up and tells us where he's at," manager Terry Collins recently said of Wright, according to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo. "David knows himself better than anybody, so if he feels he's ready to play games or, you know, when he's ready to get in the lineup, we're going to get him in there."

Tags: David Wright, Matthew Cerrone
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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)

The Mets have the third-best starting rotation in baseball, an anonymous group of talent evaluators told ESPN.com's Buster Olney.

The Red Sox and Cubs rank higher than the Mets mostly because of the New York staff's inability to remain healthy and be on the field at the same time.

"They need to actually get out there and do it," one executive told Olney of the Mets. "It's one thing to have a great arm, but you have to show that you can give 180-200 innings."

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz
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Collins (left) with Jose Reyes in the dugout at Chase Field. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Collins (left) with Jose Reyes in the dugout at Chase Field. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In an effort to keep his team healthy and strong in 2017, Terry Collins told WLIE 540 AM that he plans to take a book out of Joe Maddon's 2016 playbook with the World Champion Cubs...

"The one thing we learned last year is that we've got to keep our guys healthy and one way to keep them healthy is to get them rest," Collins explained. "So, we're going to mix and match as best we can and give guys one, maybe two days a week off to keep them healthy."

Tags: Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores
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Front-office officials and scouting personnel consider Mets prospect Amed Rosario to be among the best defensive shortstops in the minor leagues, according to a survey conducted by MLB.com's MLBPipeline.

"He has the potential to be an all-star shortstop with Gold Glove potential," Baseball America's Matt Eddy wrote in December. "The best athlete in the Mets system, Rosario stands out most for his glove work. ... He has the easy plus range and arm strength to profile as a true impact defender."

"The Mets have Asdrubal Cabrera under contract through 2017, meaning Rosario could be the organization's full-time shortstop at some point in 2018," Eddy concludes.

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Who will trade for Bruce? 00:04:19
Baseball Night in New York breaks down which teams are still in the running for Mets outfielder Jay Bruce.

In case you missed it, this past weekend...

The Blue Jays are reportedly close to re-signing free-agent OF Jose Bautista. Also, the Phillies and free-agent OF Michael Saunders have reportedly agreed to a one-year, $9 million.

CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury said the Phillies had shown interest in trading for Mets OF Jay Brucebut were reluctant to deal multiple prospects to get him.

Lastly, while the Cardinals are looking for a left-handed hitting outfielder, they want him to play all three outfield positions and upgrade their defense, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.

Tags: Jay Bruce
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May 6, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher Craig Breslow (17) throws against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning at Marlins Park. The Marlins won 6-4. (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)
May 6, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher Craig Breslow (17) throws against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning at Marlins Park. The Marlins won 6-4. (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets and Yankees are among 12-20 teams that will watch lefty reliever Craig Breslow throw a showcase on Jan. 23, reports Peter Gammons. 

According to Gammons, Breslow, who was released by the Marlins last July, has worked on lowering his arm angle and improving his breaking pitch. 

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New York Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores takes a curtain call after hitting a three-run home run against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning at Citi Field. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores takes a curtain call after hitting a three-run home run against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning at Citi Field. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

The bullpen and starting pitching will be the key to success in 2017 for the Mets, infielder Wilmer Flores told SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio early Friday.

"When we got to the World Series in 2015, it's no secret that our pitching took us to the World Series," he told the hosts at 7:30 AM on route to his morning workout. "We're built on pitching and it's going to be healthy. ... So, it's going to be an interesting year."

Flores said he's proud of how the team fought through injuries to get to the Wild Card game in 2016. However, this season, he expects them to get back to the Fall Classic.

Tags: Wilmer Flores, Matthew Cerrone
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Jul 7, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores (4) watches his three run home run against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jul 7, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores (4) watches his three run home run against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Wilmer Flores and the Mets did not agree to a deal before Friday's arbitration deadline and the two sides will go to a hearing to determine his 2017 salary, the team announced.

Flores has filed at $2.2 million, while the Mets have offered $1.8 million, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

The Mets changed their stance this offseason in regard to arbitration-eligilble players, and GM Sandy Alderson said Thursday that he had no issue going to a hearing to determine a new contract if an agreement could not be reached by the Jan. 13 deadline.

Tags: Wilmer Flores
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 (Kathy Willen/AP)
(Kathy Willen/AP)

The Mets will avoid arbitration with RHP Matt Harvey, agreeing to a deal worth $5.125 million that contains $100,000 in performance bonuses, reports James Wagner of the NY Times.

Harvey made $4.325 million last season.

He had a 4.86 ERA (3.47 FIP) and 1.46 WHIP with 76 strikeouts in 92 2/3 innings (17 starts) in 2016 before Thoracic outlet syndrome that resulted in surgery ended his season after his start on July 4.

Tags: Matt Harvey
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 (Frank Franklin II/AP)
(Frank Franklin II/AP)

The Mets will avoid arbitration with RHP Jacob deGrom, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal worth $4.05 million that includes performance bonuses, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN.

DeGrom, who made $607,000 last season, received a base salary that's the largest ever for a first-time abirtration-eligible starting pitcher who didn't qualify for the ERA title. 

He had a 3.04 ERA and 1.20 WHIP with 143 strikeouts in 148 innings (24 starts) last season before a pinched ulnar nerve in his right elbow resulted in season-ending surgery on Sept. 20.

DeGrom told reporters in early December that he planned to soon begin his offseason throwing program and be 100 percent healthy for spring training.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

The Mets will avoid arbitration with closer Jeurys Familia, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal worth $7.425 million, reports James Wagner of the NY Times.

Familia, 27, made $4.1 million last season.

He had a 2.55 ERA (2.39 FIP) and 1.21 WHIP with 84 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings (78 appearances) while saving a team-record 51 games.

Tags: Jeurys Familia
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 (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)
(Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports Images)

The Mets will avoid arbitration with RH reliever Addison Reed, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal worth $7.75 million, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Reed, 28, made $5.3 million last season.

He had a 1.97 ERA and identical 1.97 FIP with a 0.94 WHIP while striking out 91 in 77 2/3 innings (80 games) in 2016. 

Tags: Addison Reed, Jeurys Familia
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 (Brad Barr/USA Today Sports Images)
(Brad Barr/USA Today Sports Images)

The Mets will avoid arbitration with LH reliever Josh Edgin, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN.

The terms of the deal are not yet known.

Edgin, 30, made $625,000 last season, which was his first year back from Tommy John surgery.

Tags: Josh Edgin
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Mets pitchers Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. (Jeff Curry/USATSI)
Mets pitchers Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. (Jeff Curry/USATSI)

The Mets have not yet talked with their young starting pitchers about about multiyear-contract-extensions beyond their current deals, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters during a lunch Thursday at Citi Field.

"I don't see it as a pressing issue," Alderson said, according to ESPN's Adam Rubin.

In late-December, Alderson made a similar statement, saying he had no plans to talk contract extensions prior to spring training.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz
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Sep 18, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud (18) steps up to single to left during the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports 
		 (Anthony Gruppuso)
Sep 18, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud (18) steps up to single to left during the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

The Mets will avoid arbitration with C Travis d'Arnaud, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal, according to FanRag's MLB reporter Jon Heyman.

D'Arnaud, who earned the $524,000 league minimum in 2016, will earn $1.8 million next season.

He is eligible for arbitration in 2018 and 2019, after which he can be a free agent

Tags: Travis d'Arnaud
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 (Anthony Gruppuso)
(Anthony Gruppuso)

The Mets have avoided arbitration with 1B Lucas Duda, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal, the team announced Thursday.

The deal is worth $7.25 million, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag.

Duda, 30, hit .229 with a .302 OBP and .412 SLG with seven HR last season while being limited to just 47 games due to a back injury.

He hit .244 with a .352 OBP and .486 SLG with 27 HR in 135 games in 2015.

Tags: Lucas Duda, Zack Wheeler
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Aug 28, 2016; Flores (4) singles against the Phillies at Citi Field. Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Aug 28, 2016; Flores (4) singles against the Phillies at Citi Field. Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Mets infielder Wilmer Flores's favorite position to play is second base, he told SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio early Friday morning.

"I enjoyed playing first base too last season, it was a lot of fun," he added. "But, I'll do the job wherever they put me."

In 2016, Flores played 51 games at third base, 27 games at first base, 18 games at second base, and eight games at first base, while hitting .267 with 30 extra base hits and 49 RBI in just 307 at-bats.

Tags: Wilmer Flores
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Jul 27, 2016; NFamilia (27) reacts as he heads to the dugout at Citi Field. Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 27, 2016; NFamilia (27) reacts as he heads to the dugout at Citi Field. Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Latest Update...

Jan. 13 | 8:20AM

Sandy Alderson told reporters Thursday that he does not know when MLB will make a decision about whether to suspend Jeurys Familia, who he assumed will miss at least some period of time during the 2017 season (Rubin, Jan. 12).

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Matthew Cerrone
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Latest on Jay Bruce 00:05:04
Mets Hot Stove analyzes the Mets decision to either trade Jay Bruce or keep him on the roster.

During his lunch with reporters at Citi Field on Thursday, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said it's possible he begins spring training with all of his current outfielders, including Jay Bruce.

"Obviously the market for certain players, certain free agents and therefore trade candidates has been slow at best, nonexistent at worst," Alderson said, according to NJ.com. "What we continue to do is reassess where we are and what our options are going forward, and those options range from doing something soon, which is possible or was possible, is possible, or doing nothing."

Tags: Jay Bruce
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Mets 1B Lucas Duda, RHP Matt Harvey, C Travis d'Arnaud and RHP Jacob deGrom (Credit: USA Today Images)
Mets 1B Lucas Duda, RHP Matt Harvey, C Travis d'Arnaud and RHP Jacob deGrom (Credit: USA Today Images)

The deadline for teams and unsigned arbitration-eligible players to file salary figures is January 13, after which the final salary will be determined during an arbitration hearing.

The Mets intend to take a more strict position on their potential arbitration cases than they have in past, Newsday's Marc Carig reported Thursday.

According to Carig, if the two sides cannot agree by Friday's deadline, the Mets have no issue letting the situation play out in arbitration.

This year's remaining, unsigned arbitration-eligible players for the Mets are...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Lucas Duda, Matt Harvey, Travis d'Arnaud
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

The Mets have signed LH reliever Adam Wilk to a minor league deal that includes an invite to major league Spring Training, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN.

Wilk, 29, last pitched in the majors in 2015, allowing one run in 2.0 innings for the Angels.

He has also pitched for the Tigers, appearing in five games in 2011 and three games in 2012.

Tags: Jerry Blevins
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Wally Backman speaks out 00:06:32
Baseball Night in New York looks into Wally Backman's recent negative comments about Mets general manager Sandy Alderson.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he hasn't been contacted by other teams about former Mets minor league manager Wally Backman, who recently told the Bergen Record's Bob Klapisch that he's being blackballed across Major League Baseball by Alderson.

Alderson, who said Backman is a "good baseball man," added that "Wally did a good job for us at Las Vegas. ...Nobody has called about Wally," according to Adam Rubin of ESPN.

Backman, 57, had been coaching within the Mets minor league system since 2009, most recently serving as manager for their Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas from 2013-16. However, resigned from his role after last season in order to pursue other opportunities.

"It's not Sandy's nature" to be this vindictive, a non-Mets baseball executive told Klapisch...

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Yanks and Mets share Series odds 00:03:31
Baseball Night in New York wonders whether Las Vegas made the right call by giving the Yankees and Mets the exact same World Series odds.

The Mets currently sit at 13-to-1 odds to win the World Series in 2017, the same odds as the Yankees, according to information provided by the Venetian Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas...

The Yankees finished 84-78 during 2016, but missed the playoffs by five games. The Mets, on the other hand, went 87-75 last season to win the top Wild Card spot.

Tags: Michael Conforto, Travis d'Arnaud
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 (Steve Mitchell)
(Steve Mitchell)

The Mets will conclude their Spring Training game schedule on March 31 against Army at West Point, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN.

Mets pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training in Port St. Lucie, FL on Feb. 12, with position players required to report by Feb. 17.

Their Grapefruit League schedule begins Friday, February 24 against the Red Sox in Fort Myers, FL.

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Sep 24, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo (54) pitches during the tenth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)
Sep 24, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo (54) pitches during the tenth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)

The Oakland A's and free-agent reliever Santiago Casilla have agreed on a two-year, $11 million deal that contains $3 million in incentives, according to multiple reports.

This is a lot of money for a 36-year-old right-handed reliever. So, if reports are accurate and the Mets are pinching pennies, then it makes sense to pass on him. That said, Casilla is the type of experienced pitcher the Mets say they have been looking for, and given their window to win and the need for bullpen help, it's disappointing to see them hold back.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters in December he would prefer to acquire a pitcher that can handle "high-leverage situations" and has experience closing games, even though the pitcher might not be considered a closer.

Tags: Oakland Athletics, Matthew Cerrone
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New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) throws in the spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Tradition Field. (Brad Barr)
New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) throws in the spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Tradition Field. (Brad Barr)

Zack Wheeler and the Mets avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $800,000 deal on Wednesday, the team announced. 

Wheeler underwent Tommy John surgery in March of 2015 and missed each of the past two years. The 26-year-old last pitched in 2014 when he had a 3.54 ERA and 1.32 WHIP while striking out 187 batters in 185 1/3 innings.

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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 (Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports Images)
(Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports Images)

The Mets have invited 13 minor leaguers to big league Spring Training, the team announced Wednesday.

Top 1B prospect Dominic Smith highlights the list.

The other invites are RHPs Chase BradfordKevin McGowanPaul SewaldCorey Taylor, and Logan Taylor, LHPs P.J. Conlon and David Roseboom, C Xorge Carrilllo, infielders Phillip Evans and Luis Guillorme, and outfielders Champ Stuart and Travis Taijeron.

Absent from the list is OF Tim Tebow, who signed with the Mets over the summer and played in the Arizona Fall League.

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Nov 3, 2016; Tebow with the Mets against the Glendale Desert Dogs during an Arizona Fall League game. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Nov 3, 2016; Tebow with the Mets against the Glendale Desert Dogs during an Arizona Fall League game. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Mets minor leaguer Tim Tebow considered sticking with football, but instead chose baseball to take on a new challenge, he told ESPN's 'First Take" on Tuesday.

"I wanted to do something I wanted to do, that would be fun for me, a challenge for me," Tebow told host Max Kellerman. "That's why I chose to pick up a baseball bat."

Tebow, who signed a $100,000 contract to join the Mets this past summer, hit .194 with a .296 OBP, no home runs, three doubles and 20 strikeouts in 19 games during October's Arizona Fall League.

"At a certain point, it's not about what other people want you to do it's about what you want to do," he reitterated to Kellerman, parroting a line he frequently used during his book tour last November. "It's your life, not everybody else's life. I could go play football at another position, but why settle. Life isn't about settling, life is about striving."

Tags: Tim Tebow
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New York Mets relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia (58) throws against the Miami Marlins during the spring training baseball game at Tradition Field in 2015. (Brad Barr)
New York Mets relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia (58) throws against the Miami Marlins during the spring training baseball game at Tradition Field in 2015. (Brad Barr)

Suspended relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia and the Mets went through the formality Tuesday of agreeing to a one-year contract worth $1,976,000, money he will not ever receive. 

Mejia was given a lifetime ban from baseball last Feb. 12 after his third positive test under the major league drug program. He remains on the Mets roster on the restricted list, and because he has four years of major league service he was eligible for salary arbitration. However, players serving drug suspensions do not get paid. 

Mejia's salary was cut the maximum 20 percent from his $2.47 million salary last year - money he also did not receive. 

Tags: Jenrry Mejia
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Will Jay Bruce ever be traded? 00:05:17
The Baseball Night in New York panel discusses the trade market for Jay Bruce and which teams he would fit the best with.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson is operating under a mandate not to spend on new players until he removes money currently on the payroll, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman.

While Alderson is notorious for wanting to begin the season with budget space to make in-season deals, which he has done the past two years, I hope this is not accurate considering the organization is coming off back-to-back postseason appearances.

In either case, Alderson obviously wants to trade Jay Bruce and his $13 million salary for an established, high-leverage, right-handed relief pitcher, then use his remaining money to sign a left-handed reliever and any pitcher willing to accept a minor-league deal.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Baltimore Orioles, Matthew Cerrone
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