This past Saturday, Sandy Alderson said the Mets and Johan Santana agreed that Santana should scale back his off-season workout plan. However, Alderson then said he was disappointed that Santana arrived to camp not ready to pitch.

Alderson later told reporters it could be 10 days before Santana pitches from a mound again.

However, yesterday, Santana threw off a mound, after first long-toss session from 180 feet, according to the team's beat reporters on Twitter. It was the first time Santana has thrown off a mound since February 19.

Mets C Anthony Recker caught Santana, but he was situated in front of the plate.

Santana seemed agitated and would not speak to reporters after throwing, reports suggest.

“What’s spring training for? What’s practice? To get you better," Santana said, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. "That’s what I’m doing right now. That’s what I’m here for, and that’s what I’m going to do. That’s what I’m working on.”

Alderson has since clarified his original statement to say Santana was 10 days away from pitching in games, not 10 days from pitching on a mound, according to Newsday.

“He’s pissed off,” Terry Collins told reporters. “He has every right to be.

Dan Warthen speculated that Alderson's comments helped to motivate Santana to take the mound yesterday, according to the Daily News.

“I said this morning, ‘Look, don’t let this stuff get to you," Collins said, in regards to his talk with Santana earlier in the day. "I said, ‘This is about getting you ready. And if it’s April 1, terrific. If it’s April 5, great. If it’s April 15, that’s the way it is. But it’s about you being able to run out there 30 times next summer. If that means we’re going to have to slow the pace down, then we’ll do it."

For starters, Santana takes his work VERY seriously. There is no way he slacked off this winter, and anyone who thinks this hasn't been paying attention to him the last five seasons. Furthermore, to think he'd slack in a walk-year means you haven't been paying attention to professional sports... ever. I don't know why Alderson said what he said when he said it. I don't really care how this looks, I don't care about the optics, which is something Joel Sherman of the New York Post seems to quite concerned with. Santana is right, this is Spring Training, and it's time to train and get ready. He missed half of last season, had surgery and (in concert with the team) decided to implement a different, slower-paced off season plan. That's fine by me, considering he's ended so many seasons with surgery. My big concern is that he doesn't push himself, for whatever reason, which putting him at greater risk of injury that he already is. I trust Santana's work ethic and that he knows his body. I also trust Alderson to be methodical and smart about how he handles a $31 million asset. Together, they'll figure this out, because it's in their individual best interests to do so...

I suppose this is a good sign, but this wasn't a full bullpen session; it's clear Santana still has a ways to go to get where he needs to be.

I expected a bumpy road from the beginning in this situation, so I am not surprised Santana hit a roadblock. That it was determined Santana was lacking arm strength made it pretty clear he wasn’t ready to pitch; this isn’t really a new revelation. The questions are if Santana wasn’t physically ready for camp, then why? Also, were Santana and the Mets in alignment on his status throughout the winter? Those are my concerns at this point.

Now, to be fair, there’s still a lot of time for Santana to get ready for the season, although I now don’t expect him to be ready for Opening Day. I could see him starting on the fifth or sixth day of the season, or even get pushed back to the middle of April, assuming all goes well through the rest of camp. But there’s no telling what’s going to transpire between now and then, how he’s going to respond to each of his bullpens and starts, and so on. However, I think this was a concern going into camp regardless of what kind of pitching shape Santana was in when he reported.

Tags: MetsBlog, Matthew Cerrone

Mets GM Sandy Alderson and OF Jay Bruce (Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images)
Mets GM Sandy Alderson and OF Jay Bruce (Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images)

According to countless reports since December, the Mets have been trying to trade Jay Bruce and his salary so they can free up money to add a relief pitcher.

Bruce is due $13 million next season, after which he can be a free agent.

In the event Bruce is traded, Yoenis Cespedes is expected to start most days in left field, with Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares splitting time across center and right field.

That said, it's quite clear the Mets totally misread the market for power hitters and outfielders this winter. Or, this is a risk they were willing to accept. In either case, position players are due to report to St. Lucie in less than three weeks and Bruce is still on the roster, which is why Mets GM Sandy Alderson recently told reporters it's possible he begins spring training with all of his current outfielders, including Bruce.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Aug 26, 2016; Collins (10) takes the ball from a starting pitcher before going to his bullpen at Citi Field. Credit: Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 26, 2016; Collins (10) takes the ball from a starting pitcher before going to his bullpen at Citi Field. Credit: Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets may stick to signing free-agent relief pitchers to only minor-league deals, Sandy Alderson suggested to reporters at Citi Field in mid-January.

"If you go back and look at our history, we haven't exactly come up cherries on signing free agent relievers and I think that has a lot to do with the volatility they represent,"Alderson explained, according to NJ.com's Matt Ehalt. "The fact is, once you commit to someone that eliminates and detracts from the flexibility we currently have right now and I think we have flexibility with quality."

This is fair. I don't disagree with Sandy's premise, but - given expectations for this season and the importance being put on their pitching - I'd say this is the year to do whatever is necessary to help make the bullpen as good as it can be.

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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 were scheduled to be among the 12-20 teams watching free-agent left-handed reliever Craig Breslow during his showcase on Jan. 23, according to MLB reporter 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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Free-agent relievers Sergio Romo, Boone Logan, Fernando Salas and Joe Smith (Credit: USA Today Images)
Free-agent relievers Sergio Romo, Boone Logan, Fernando Salas and Joe Smith (Credit: USA Today Images)

The Mets are among 10-12 teams still looking to add a left-handed reliever, and they're among the 15 or so teams still in the market for a right-handed reliever, MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone wrote Jan. 4.

Depite pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, the current list of unsigned free-agent relief pitchers still includes Sergio Romo, Greg Holland, Joe Smith, Joe Blanton and Fernando Salas, as well as Jerry Blevins, Boone Logan, J.P. Howell and Travis Wood.

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Expectations for Harvey in 2017 00:02:49
The Daily News Live panel debates what Mets fans should expect from Matt Harvey and if he will to being the team's ace this season.

Mets pitcher Matt Harvey said he feels healthy and has experienced no pain in his arm when throwing this offseason, he told reporters at a team charity event earlier this month.

"The way things are feeling now, it feels great," Harvey said, according to ESPN.com. "Obviously being healthy through spring training and getting to the season and continuing to be healthy through the season is a big plus for me. It's something I look forward to doing."

Harvey, who underwent surgery in July for Thoracic outlet syndrome, recently threw off the slope of a mound at the Storm Sports Academy in West Hempstead...

Tags: Matt Harvey
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Mets fans dressed as Thor wield their hammers as Syndergaard warms at Citi Field. Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mets fans dressed as Thor wield their hammers as Syndergaard warms at Citi Field. Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Noah Syndergaard was ranked ninth on MLB Network's Top 10 Starting Pitchers Right Now!, which premiered Sunday on the MLB Network >> Read more here!

Later, MLB Network's official Twitter account asked Syndergaard to weigh in on what he believes to be the 10 top best starting pitchers in baseball, after which he had the following response...

Tags: Noah Syndergaard
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Hot Stove on Mets prospects 00:04:05
Mets Hot Stove qualifies New York's farm system and the likelihood of seeing certain prospects make it to Flushing this season.

Sandy Alderson's top pick from last year's draft, RHP Justin Dunn, is the 84th-best prospect in baseball, according to a list published by ESPN.com's Keith Law.

"Dunn has always had a good arm and is a tremendous athlete, but he didn't throw this hard (upper 90s) or throw many strikes until 2016," Law explains. "Now, Dunn is throwing 93-96 mph with plus life along with a plus changeup that might end up a 70 pitch, and he throws both for strikes."

By '70 pitch,' Law is referring to the 20-80 scouting scale, of which a 70 pitch would be "plus plus."

A Long Island native, Dunn was the 19th overall selection in last year's draft.

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Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard and OF Yoenis Cespedes during Spring Training 2016 (Credit: USA Today Images)
Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard and OF Yoenis Cespedes during Spring Training 2016 (Credit: USA Today Images)

 

Yoenis Cespedes ranked second on MLB Network's Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now!, which premiered Sunday on the MLB Network.

Noah Syndergaard ranked ninth on their Top 10 Starting Pitchers Right Now!

Cespedes finished one spot ahead of Starling Marte (Pirates) and one spot behind Ryan Braun (Brewers), while Syndergaard finished between Zack Greinke (D-backs) and Johnny Cueto (Giants).

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes
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The Mets will wear a new alternate hat at Citi Field this season, according to uniform insider Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch.com...

The only difference is the elimination of the orange brim, which I actually kind of liked. It's also the same as the standard home cap, but with the white outline added to it, which I don't mind, but is nevertheless a strange 'update.'

It also looks like these might be MLB's new Spring Training warm-up jerseys, which are always kind of odd, especially their love of those underarm vent patches.

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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)

In a weekend article for the Daily News, columnist John Harper wonders if -- at this point -- the Mets better off keeping Jay Bruce, as opposed to trading him >> Read the full article here!

According to Harper, while former GMs Dan O'Dowd and Ned Colletti believe the Mets are better off keeping Bruce, former Mets GM Steve Phillips said he would simply give Bruce away because the money saved would allow the them to address the bullpen.

Tags: Jay Bruce
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Mets left-handed hitting outfielders Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto (Credit: USA Today Sports)
Mets left-handed hitting outfielders Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto (Credit: USA Today Sports)

During his lunch with reporters at Citi Field last week, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said it's possible he begins spring training with all of his current outfielders in camp, 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."

Alderson indicated it would be difficult to trade Curtis Granderson, instead of Bruce, because the Mets need Granderson to play center field.

In the event Bruce starts the season in a Mets uniform, he'll presumably remain a midseason trade candidate. However, for at least a couple of the month, Terry Collins may find himself with a jam-packed outfield. How might they juggle four every day players - Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, Granderson and Bruce - for three spots? And, do it in a way that maximizes their production?

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, Maggie Wiggin
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Mets 1B prospect Dominic Smith hitting during Spring Training in 2016 (Credit: Matay/USA Today Sports Images)
Mets 1B prospect Dominic Smith hitting during Spring Training in 2016 (Credit: Matay/USA Today Sports Images)

For the second year in a row, Mets prospect Dominic Smith is the third-best first baseman prospect in baseball, according to a list recently published by MLB.com.

"A potential plus hitter with 15-plus homer potential, the 21-year-old Smith is also a gifted defender at first base who earns high praise for his footwork and glove," MLB.com's Mike Rosenbaum explains.

MLB.com will unveil its 2017 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday, Jan. 28, with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET.

Smith hit more home runs last season (14) than he hit during his first two and a half years with the organization (13).

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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred at MLB's 2016 first-year player in draft (Credit: Associated Press)
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred at MLB's 2016 first-year player in draft (Credit: Associated Press)

The Mets will have the 20th, 59th and 97th overall pick during the first three rounds of June's MLB amateur draft, according to CBS Sports.

The order is officially set now that all qualifying free agents are signed and off the market.

The Mets selected all college players with their first 10 picks last season.

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Hot Stove on Wright's outlook 00:06:12
Mets Hot Stove discusses what to expect from David Wright, who is coming off neck surgery, in 2017.

David Wright has no intention of retiring. Instead, he told the NY Post's Kevin Kernan, he intends to play, play well, and help the Mets win a World Series...

"Everybody I've talked to has said the same thing to me. You know when you know," Wright said at his foundation's Vegas Night at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. "It's not just to stay healthy, it's to be productive. ... What I know for a fact is I have a passion. I still feel can help get this team to where it needs to go."

Wright's Vegas Night raised more than $1 million dollars for the Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters in Virginia, where he was born and raised.

To read more from Wright, who talks with Kernan about his goals for 2017, reflecting on his career and life as a new dad, click here to read the article in the New York Post.

Tags: David Wright
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Brandon Nimmo (9) runs out an RBI single against the Chicago Cubs June 30. It was the the first RBI of Nimmo's MLB career. (Brad Penner)
Brandon Nimmo (9) runs out an RBI single against the Chicago Cubs June 30. It was the the first RBI of Nimmo's MLB career. (Brad Penner)

Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo will play for Italy in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, national writer Jon Morosi reports. 

According to Morosi, outfielder Michael Conforto, who was on Italy's preliminary roster, will not participate in the tournament. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo
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Mets infield prospects Amed Rosario and Gavin Cecchini (Credit: USA Today Images)
Mets infield prospects Amed Rosario and Gavin Cecchini (Credit: USA Today Images)

The Mets have the seventh-best farm system in baseball, and the second-best in the NL East, according to a recent list published by ESPN.com's minor-league guru Keith Law.

"The Mets were not aggressive at the trade deadline in July, and while that may have angered some of their fans, it means we won't see someone they traded win a Rookie of the Year award in 2017," Law explains. "Several years of strong draft results have restocked the system, first with young position players with upside and now with polished starting pitchers, led by Justin Dunn and Thomas Szapucki."

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Call to the Majors: Syndergaard 00:01:35
In the latest installment of Call to the Majors presented by Citi, Noah Syndergaard remembers the day he was promoted to the Major Leagues.

Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard is the fourth-best pitcher in the National League, MLB talent evaluators recently told ESPN.com's Buster Olney.

Syndergaard, 24, was 14-9 with a 2.60 ERA (2.29 FIP) and 1.14 WHIP in 31 appearances (30 starts) last season, during which he made the All-Star team, finished third in ERA and became the first pitcher in MLB history to start his career with 350 strikeouts and less than 80 walks.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard
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Oct 1, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) is doused by third baseman Jose Reyes (7) after clinching a wild-card playoff berth after a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports (Derik Hamilton)
Oct 1, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) is doused by third baseman Jose Reyes (7) after clinching a wild-card playoff berth after a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports (Derik Hamilton)

In order for the Mets to win 90 games in 2017, they obviously can't get hit with the injury bug like they did last season -- especially not in the starting rotation.

So, health aside, what has to happen for them to win 90?

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Michael Conforto, Neil Walker, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Travis d'Arnaud, Yoenis Cespedes, Zack Wheeler
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Mets' offensive identity 00:02:30
Mets Hot Stove examines the Mets' offensive identity based on their current roster heading into the 2017 season.

Can Johan make the Hall of Fame? 00:02:37
Mets Hot Stove analyzes former pitcher Johan Santana's career and his odds of ever being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Johan Santana will be among players newly eligible for the baseball Hall of Fame next winter, as will rivals Chipper Jones, Jaime Moyer, Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen.

Earlier this offseason, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation said Santana, who turns 38 years old in March, will attempt a comeback this coming season.

Santana last pitched in the big leagues with the Mets in 2012, after which he had a second anterior capsule shoulder surgery in 2013 and tore his Achilles tendon in 2014.

To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, a player must remain retired for five years.

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Jose Reyes on Mets Hot Stove 00:04:43
Jose Reyes calls into Mets Hot Stove to discuss his offseason training regimen and expanding his positional skill set.

Jose Reyes is up for the challenge of learning and playing multiple positions, despite entering next season at 33 years old, he told SNY's Mets Hot Stove on Thursday.

"I'm ready to do whatever they ask me to do, that's all I'm focused on right now," he said.

In addition to shortstop, second and third base, the Mets will work Reyes out in the outfield during Spring Training, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters Monday at the MLB Winter Meetings.

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Mets GM Sandy Alderson and OF Jay Bruce (Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images)
Mets GM Sandy Alderson and OF Jay Bruce (Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images)

The Orioles and free-agent Mark Trumbo have reached agreement on a three-year, roughly $37 million deal, according to multiple reports on MLB Trade Rumors.

Despite acquiring Trumbo and OF Seth Smith, Baltimore would still like to add a left-handed-hitting outfielder, according to MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko. However, instead of someone like Bruce, they prefer a player better known for his fielding, such as free-agents Michael Bourn and Angel Pagan.

Earlier this week, the Blue Jays re-signed OF Jose Bautista to one-year, $18 million deal and the Phillies and free-agent OF Michael Saunders reportedly agreed to a one-year, $9 million.

CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury said the Phillies had shown interest in trading for Bruce, but were reluctant to deal multiple prospects to get him.

Tags: Jay Bruce
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Apr 7, 2010; Kreuter (23), talks with pitcher Brad Douthit (49), left, and catcher Kevin Roundtree (10) during a game at Dedeaux Field. Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
Apr 7, 2010; Kreuter (23), talks with pitcher Brad Douthit (49), left, and catcher Kevin Roundtree (10) during a game at Dedeaux Field. Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Former big-league catcher Chad Kreuter will take over as manager of the Single-A St. Lucie Mets in 2017, the team announced Thursday.

Kreuter, 52, comes from outside the Mets organization and will be the 17th field manager in St. Lucie history. He played 16 years as a catcher in the major leagues from 1988-2003.

"I'm extremely excited," Kreuter said in the team-issued statement. "It is an honor to be named a manager in professional baseball. The Mets are a great organization. They have shown the ability to produce great homegrown talent. It looks like it will continue that way so to be able to manage one of their young teams is really exciting."

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Major League Baseball scout clocks the speed of pitches thrown during a game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
Major League Baseball scout clocks the speed of pitches thrown during a game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Legendary Mets scout Harry Minor, who spent 44 years in their organization, passed away Wednesday night at his home in California. He was 89 years old.

Minor first joined the Mets as an area scout in 1968.

According to MLB.com's Tracy Ringolsby, as the Mets debated whether to draft Dwight Gooden or Richard Monteleon with their first round during the 1982 MLB draft, it was Minor that helped tip the balance in Gooden's favor.

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Apr 11, 2016; Rawlings presents Cespedes (52) with a Golden Glove award for 2015. Credit: Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 11, 2016; Rawlings presents Cespedes (52) with a Golden Glove award for 2015. Credit: Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes is the best left fielder in baseball, anonymous MLB scouts and team executives recently told ESPN.com's Buster Olney.

In late-November, Cespedes and the Mets agreed to a four-year, $110 million contract, which -- so far -- is the only nine-figure deal given to a free agent this offseason.

"They don't have a lot of lineup depth or power, which underscores the importance of Cespedes's production for them," Olney explains. "While his defense has been in clear regression, his ability to throw still makes him a weapon."

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper reacts after a called third strike in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game four of the 2016 NLDS at Dodger Stadium. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper reacts after a called third strike in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game four of the 2016 NLDS at Dodger Stadium. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

ESPN's Jim Bowden reported the Nationals have interest in free agents Matt Wieters and Greg Holland, but are complicating the decision because they are over budget on their spring training complex.

"Wieters/Holland > Team Store! #NatsNatsNatswoooooo," Harper wrote on Twitter, implying that his team is spending money in the wrong place.

Harper's teammate, Adam Eaton, for whom the Nationals traded several top prospects and was also the subject of another Harper tweet earlier in the offseason, seconded Harper's words with his own tweet.

Tags: Washington Nationals
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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 received just 10.2 percent of votes and will miss out on being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, it was revealed during Wednesday's announcement.  

Wagner, who received 10.5 percent during his first year on the ballot, again fell well below the 75-percent threshold needed for an induction, but will still remain on the ballot next year, doubling the five percent needed to stay on. 

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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Call to the Majors: d'Arnaud 00:01:41
In the latest installment of Call to the Majors presented by Citi, Travis d'Arnaud remembers the day he was promoted to the Major Leagues.

The Mets and C Travis d'Arnaud avoided salary arbitration last week, agreeing to terms on a one-year, $1.8 million contract for this coming season. He is eligible for arbitration in 2018 and 2019, after which he can be a free agent.

D'Arnaud played in just 75 games during 2016, while hitting .247 with four home runs and 15 RBI. He missed time early in the season with a strained rotator cufff and was idle for almost a month.

Tags: Travis d'Arnaud
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