Josh Donaldson (Treated Image by SNY)
Josh Donaldson (Treated Image by SNY)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

With the balance of power in the NL East potentially hinging on where Josh Donaldson signs, the Nationals' spending spree on lesser free agents in recent days could be an indication they believe he's likely to sign elsewhere. 

The Mets better hope so, anyway. 

In truth, there's probably no good outcome for the Mets here, especially with reports out of Minnesota that the Twins are ready to move on, pessimistic about their chances of signing the last big-splash free agent still on the market.

As such speculation is growing, at least among baseball people I spoke to on Monday, that Donaldson is mostly likely to return to the Braves, the team he helped win 97 games last season. 

"I think what they're probably weighing is the cost of signing Donaldson vs. the cost of trading for (Kris) Bryant," an exec from a National League team said. "Donaldson will cost them more than they want to pay for a guy who's 34, but he won't cost them prospects."

A potential trade with the Cubs for Bryant may not be quite as certain as the exec made it sound, but the Braves certainly have the depth of top prospects to make such a deal, especially the young pitching that Theo Epstein would want. 

The Nationals, meanwhile, almost certainly don't have the prospects to make such a trade with the Cubs, which probably explains why they signed Starlin Castro and re-signed Asdrubal Cabrera this week, as insurance if they don't get Donaldson to replace the departed Anthony Rendon.

In that sense it's probably better for the Mets if Donaldson returns to the Braves, because at least such a move would leave one of the top two teams in the NL East without a star third baseman.

And make no mistake, losing Rendon is a huge blow to the defending world champs. They were right to prioritize re-signing Stephen Strasburg but unless the Nationals do get Donaldson, their offense won't be nearly as dangerous, as teams almost certainly will pitch around Juan Soto a lot.

Even if that turns out to be the case, however, with their flurry of moves this week the Nats have added important depth that make them more well-rounded and certainly a legitimate contender again as long as their starting pitching stays healthy.

On Monday, in fact, they added some pop in the lineup by signing Eric Thames, whose lefty power could be part of a quality first-base platoon if they settle on a deal to bring back Ryan Zimmerman, as many expect.

And no less important, they re-signed Daniel Hudson, who emerged as a bullpen savior for them late last season, only a couple of days after inking Will Harris, the top remaining reliever on the free agent market. 

There's no guarantee that the 33-year old Hudson will be the dominant reliever he was for the Nationals the last couple of months of 2019, after they acquired him in a trade from the Blue Jays. 

Only last spring he was released by the Angels, after all, in what has been something of a journeyman career, but the Nationals are obviously convinced that Hudson found something significant with them, pitching to a 1.44 ERA in 25 appearances.

"I like what they've done," an NL scout said Monday. "They're giving themselves depth in some key areas, especially the bullpen. I'd like to see the Mets make a couple more of those types of moves to give themselves a better shot. That division is going to be a bear."

Yes, for the all the potential the Mets' bullpen offers, the uncertainty that comes with Dellin Betances' 2019 injuries, as well as the ineptitude of Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia last season, makes the case they could still really use another reliever, even if it's a relatively low-cost free agent.

And if there was one low-cost player who seemed to be an excellent fit for the Mets, it was catcher Jason Castro, who signed a one-year deal with the Angels over the weekend for $6.85 million. 

As a lefthanded hitter who hit all 13 of his home runs last season with the Twins against righthanded pitching, and a solid defensive catcher who gets high marks for framing, Castro would have been an ideal platoon partner with Wilson Ramos, allowing the Mets to keep Ramos fresh by playing him fewer games.

Instead it seems the Mets may be content to have Tomas Nido as their backup catcher, giving them solid defense but very little offense. 
"As competitive as their division is shaping up," the same scout said, "little moves like upgrading at backup catcher could matter."

Ultimately, of course, the big moves teams have made this off-season are sure to have more impact:

Can the Mets get bounce-backs from Betances, Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha?

Will Zack Wheeler live up to $118 million worth of expectations in Philly?

Are Cole Hamels and Will Smith final championship pieces for the young Braves?

Is Strasburg ready to win a Cy Young Award?

Final question: which of the NL East contenders has had the best winter? That all depends where Donaldson signs.


SEE IT: McNeil hitting as he works way back from surgery >> Read More

RELATED: Three moves that should still be on Brodie's agenda >> Read More

HARPER: How does the Mets' bullpen stack up against the NL East >> Read More

Tags: Dellin Betances, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, John Harper
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As the Mets kicked off their 2020 spring training slate with a split-squad game against the Miami Marlins in Port St. Lucie on Saturday, Luis Rojas saw the game through a new perspective.

For the first time, Rojas watched the game from the dugout as a major-league manager.

Rojas' Mets fell to the Marlins 5-3 on Saturday, but as is the case with all spring training efforts, the game was more about getting things right for Opening Day rather than immediate results.

Still, Rojas was pleased with what he saw in his first game as a manager.

Tags: Wilson Ramos
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The Mets fell to the Miami Marlins 5-3 in a split-squad outing in Port St. Lucie on Saturday, but the offense looked strong to get things started.

In the top of the first inning, Jeff McNeil slapped a single to left field to get things going, setting the table out of the leadoff spot. After loading the bases, Wilson Ramos drove in a pair with a wind-blown ground-rule double down the right-field line.

Check out the full highlights from Saturday's game with the Marlins...

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Wilson Ramos
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The Mets played two split-squad games on Saturday afternoon to kick off their spring training schedule. With one group staying in Port St. Lucie, the other group took the field in Jupiter, Fla. against the St. Louis Cardinals.

In that game, the Mets handed the ball to Marcus Stroman to get things started. 

In the first inning, Stroman gave up a one-out single to Matt Carpenter, but he followed that up by striking out both Paul Goldshmidt and Yadier Molina on sliders down in the zone.

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 (Jim Rassol)
(Jim Rassol)

The Mets' split squad in Port St. Lucie got this year's spring training schedule started with a 5-3 loss to the Miami Marlins. >> Box Score

5 things to know from Saturday's game...

1) Rick Porcello got the first spring training start for the Mets in Port St. Lucie. The right-hander pitched only the first inning, with some mixed results. Porcello allowed a single to Monte Harrison with one out, and after stealing second, Harrison came around to score on a Garrett Cooper single. He did strikeout Isan Diaz on three pitches in the inning as well.

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso, Wilson Ramos
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Sep 12, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman (7) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
Sep 12, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman (7) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

Both teams struggled offensively as the Mets lost 2-0 on Saturday in a split-squad contest against the Cardinals. >> Box score

4 things to know from Saturday's game...

1) Marcus Stroman got the ball and pitched a solid first inning, allowing a hit but striking out both Paul Goldschmidt and Yadier Molina. But Tyler O'Neill led off the second with a home run to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. Stroman got Tommy Edman to ground out on a comebacker, but after a walk and a single, Stroman's day was done after 1 1/3 innings pitched.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, JD Davis, Rene Rivera
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Mar 28, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Seth Lugo (67) throws a pitch to the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Mar 28, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Seth Lugo (67) throws a pitch to the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

After suffering a small fracture to his pinky toe in his hotel room Monday nightSeth Lugo returned to the Clover Park mound on Saturday to throw a bullpen session, and said he's suffering minimal ill-effects from the minor injury.

"It felt pretty good," Lugo said. "Pitches were coming out real good. I felt a little soreness when I got done but that's to be expected. Hopefully tomorrow that's gone."

Lugo informed the Mets after arriving at the ballpark on Tuesday that he had hurt the toe while banging it on something in his hotel room, and an X-ray revealed the small fracture.

Tags: Seth Lugo
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Clover Park is the spring training home of the Mets, and the newly-renovated facility hosted its first game as the team welcomed in the Marlins on Saturday.

Mets COO Jeff Wilpon was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, along with Port St. Lucie mayor Gregory Oravec.

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Sep 23, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) pitches against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 23, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) pitches against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

PORT ST. LUCIE -- The competition between Steven Matz and Michael Wacha for the final spot in the rotation represents one of the few unsettled questions in Mets camp. If all six starters remain healthy, and if Rick Porcello performs competently, either Matz or Wacha will have to move to the bullpen.

Despite their need to win a job, both pitchers are tasked with the typical spring training project of prioritizing process over results, especially in their early appearances. They won't be judged exclusively on performance, but on their adherence to personal goals set with new pitching coach Jeremy Hefner.

If you're watching closely enough, you can find clues to how each is progressing. Here's a guide for what to watch, based on a chat with both Matz and Wacha.
 

Tags: Steven Matz, Andy Martino
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In his latest Mets mailbag, Matthew Cerrone weighs in on non-roster invitees, Luis Guillorme and youngsters around the NL East.


The calendar has turned from Hot Stove to sunshine and palm trees.

Not surprisingly, so have questions being sent to me for my weekly mailbag post.

Here are answers to the most common questions to come in, all of which focus on the farm system, prospects and guys that can help the big-league team.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Matthew Cerrone
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 (Jim Rassol)
(Jim Rassol)

Marcus Stroman gets the start for the group of Mets traveling to Jupiter, Fla., Saturday at 1:05 p.m. for a split-squad matchup against the Cardinals. The other half of the team is hosting the Marlins in Port St. Lucie.  

Mets notes

Amed Rosario and Brandon Nimmo will bat first and second in for the Mets, while former Yankee Eduardo Nunez is in the lineup hitting fifth.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo
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Feb 16, 2020; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets pitcher Rick Porcello (22) works on defensive drills during spring training. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Rassol)
Feb 16, 2020; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets pitcher Rick Porcello (22) works on defensive drills during spring training. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Rassol)

Rick Porcello will make his first appearance in a Mets uniform as he gets the start on the mound in one of two split-squad games on Saturday. The other half of the team will face the Cardinals at 1:05 p.m.

Mets notes

Pete Alonso will hit second in Saturday's lineup against the Marlins, while newcomer Jake Marisnick will play center field and hit sixth. Tim Tebow will be available off the bench.

Tags: Pete Alonso
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Mets' Brandon Nimmo (Treated Image by SNY)
Mets' Brandon Nimmo (Treated Image by SNY)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

When the 2019 season began, it appeared pitchers had found an up-and-in hole in Brandon Nimmo's swing about the size of Wyoming, his native state, and they pounded away at it to the tune of 26 strikeouts in his first 61 plate appearances of the season.

At which point he crashed into the fence in Atlanta on April 14th, causing a neck injury that also messed with his swing and eventually forced him to the sidelines for four months. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, John Harper
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Luis Rojas spoke in Port St. Lucie Friday afternoon just a day before the Mets kick off their first game of spring training, and discussed the progress he's seen out of injured outfielder Yoenis Cespedes so far this offseason.

On what he saw from Cespedes this week and how long until he's ready

"Well I think it was a really big week for him. He's advancing, he's progressing, he's doing things everyday that just impress you. He's out there taking fly balls with the rest of the outfielders -- obviously limited in the movement laterally and covering ground -- but he's out there, he's moving, getting behind balls, making throws in. He threw a couple to home plate yesterday, he made a couple of throws after a cutoff in relays. Facing live pitching."

"He's basically going through the schedule at lets say 75 percent of it, 80 percent of it from what everyone else is doing. So that's big news for us and the timelines not...we don't know yet. He's got to go through this progression. And our performance staff is working close with him, and he's doing a good job responding to it."

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes
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Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard
Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard

Most anybody and everybody who knows pitching, it seems, still believes Noah Syndergaard can be one of the best pitchers in baseball, based on his talent. But what does he need to do to make it happen after 2019, the worst season of his career? 

Opinions on that varied among the several people I spoke to about the Mets' righthander, most centering around pitch selection and/or mental approach, something Syndergaard copped to himself in Port St. Lucie last week, saying his struggles last season were at least partly a case of "paralysis by analysis; thinking too much." 

However, Bob Ojeda, the former Mets pitcher, who has also worked as a minor-league pitching coach and SNY analyst, delivered a harsher critique that was aimed at Syndergaard's Thor persona, if you will.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, John Harper
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May 2, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; General view of New York Mets helmet in the dugout before a game against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Brett Davis)
May 2, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; General view of New York Mets helmet in the dugout before a game against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)

Josh Wolf is a projectable 6-foot-3, 170-pound power arm with more room to physically mature. Here's what to know about the Mets prospect...


The Skinny

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 170 lbs

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Mets Spring Training is in full swing in Port St. Lucie. Here's what happened Thursday, in case you missed it...


With Mets Spring Training kicking off, we're about to go from "best shape of his life" stories that often don't matter to game results that never matter >> Read more

Yoenis Cespedes and Jacob deGrom faced off against each other in live BP >> Read more

Tags: Jacob deGrom, JD Davis, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso, Yoenis Cespedes
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One of the most memorable moments for the Mets in 2019 came on August 9 against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.

With the Mets in the midst of a 12-wins-in-13 games streak, Washington pushed out to a 6-3 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. But the Mets refused to go down quietly against Nats closer Sean Doolittle, and after Todd Frazier tied the game on a three-run shot, it was Michael Conforto who later singled in Juan Lagares to give the Mets the win. 

The Mets then celebrated in style, as Pete Alonso led the charge to rip Conforto's jersey off in the middle of the field.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Steven Matz
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J.D. Davis had a breakout 2019 season in his first year with the Mets, batting .307 and hitting 22 home runs in 140 games.

He talked to SNY's Todd Zeile at spring training about his swing and how he prepares for games. Zeile noticed Davis' ability to hit the ball to right field and stay off breaking balls.

"I started really tuning into that right-center or at second base probably by college, it's just the way my swing worked," Davis said. "It helped me stay more on the fast ball and not really pull off on any offspeed."

Tags: JD Davis
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There's been plenty written and said about Pete Alonso's rookie season.

And rightfully so, as the Mets first baseman slugged an MLB rookie-record 53 home runs and drove in 120. 

But as Mets spring training gets underway in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Alonso is now looking ahead to the new season, and he's got some lofty goals for this 2020 group.

Tags: Pete Alonso
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On Thursday night, Mets' Jeff McNeil joined the Mets Hot Stove at Duffy's in Port St. Lucie.

McNeil reflected on his 2019 All-Star season, what caused his power surge in the second half of the season, and how he feels about being the everyday third baseman.

Tags: Jeff McNeil
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Jacob deGrom was on hand at Mets spring training on Thursday putting in some bullpen work before going out to face live hitters in his first live BP session. 

And among his opponents was Yoenis Cespedes

As Cespedes continues to work his way back, the matchup against deGrom wasn't the most fair, with the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner blowing some pitches by him.

Here's what else happened at camp down in Port St. Lucie...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Yoenis Cespedes
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Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

With the Mets kicking off their spring training schedule on Saturday when they open Grapefruit League play with split squad games against the Marlins and Cardinals, we're about to go from "best shape of his life" stories that often don't matter to game results that never matter.

While it will be fun to see Pete Alonso taking his hacks against another team's pitcher and Jacob deGrom's glare 60 feet, six inches away, it's important to enjoy these games for what they are: fun distractions on the march to the first game that actually matters, when the Mets host the Nationals on Opening Day on March 26 at Citi Field.

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, Pete Alonso, Danny Abriano
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Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard at Mets spring training
Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard at Mets spring training

Mets spring training is in full swing in Port St. Lucie. Here's what happened Wednesday, in case you missed it...


Yoenis Cespedes tracked fly balls with the rest of the outfielders as he continued to progress toward a return >> Read more

Seth Lugo talked about his injured toe and updated his timeline >> Read more

J.D. Davis will take 50 percent of his spring training reps at third base, where he is most comfortable >> Read more

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, JD Davis, Seth Lugo, Yoenis Cespedes
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Mets manager Luis Rojas was not ready Jan. 25 to definitively say RHP Edwin Diaz would be the team's closer, but the fifth-year reliever is preparing for whatever comes his way in 2020.

Ahead of Year 2 in New York after what was a disappointing 2019 debut, going 2-7 with a 5.59 ERA and 99 strikeouts against 22 walks and four hit batsmen in 58.0 innings pitched over 66 appearances, he's prepared to bounce back.

"Once last season ended, that was last season," Diaz told SNY's Steve Gelbs through Mets communications assistant and Spanish language translator Alan Suriel in an interview Wednesday. "So what I did, I took the positives from that season, I brought that with me, left all the negative in the back and I just try to continue to stay positive and I put a lot of work in to have a good season this year."

Tags: Edwin Diaz
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After an unforgettable rookie year in 2019, Mets 1B Pete Alonso looks for more at the plate as he prepares for his second MLB season. With those aspirations in mind, Alonso approaches 2020 accordingly.

Down in Port St. Lucie, Fla. for Spring Training, Alonso provided SNY's Todd Zeile with an inside peek at that process. Alonso, who slashed .260/.358/.566 with an MLB rookie single-season record 53 home runs and 120 RBI, reported Saturday to Port St. Lucie and has hit the ground running.

During Wednesday's 1-on-1 segment with Zeile, an SNY analyst and former Met himself from 2000-01 and in '04, Alonso broke down how he carries his practice routine into game situations.

Tags: Pete Alonso
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Mets ace Jacob deGrom has reached the pinnacle of pitching, from an individual standpoint, two years in a row. 

But as he looks to potentially take home his third straight NL Cy Young Award, putting him in rarefied air, deGrom is also focused on team success, and he believes the 2020 Mets are as good as anyone in the NL East.

"I think we're right there at the top," deGrom said on Wednesday's Mets Hot Stove. "Great rotation, a lot of depth, really good position players. You look at it, our plan is to win the East and win the World Series, so everybody in there Is pulling in that direction, and you got a good group of guys doing that. I think we've got a good shot."

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso
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Mets prospect Brett Baty
Mets prospect Brett Baty

Brett Baty was the Mets' first round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. And while he's years away from the majors, he has joined Francisco Alvarez, Ronny Mauricio, and Matthew Allan as one of four blue chip prospects the Mets currently have...


The Skinny

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 210 lbs

Tags: Ronny Mauricio
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Mets' Edwin Diaz, Pete Alonso and Yoenis Cespedes (Treated Image by SNY)
Mets' Edwin Diaz, Pete Alonso and Yoenis Cespedes (Treated Image by SNY)

MetsBlog's Matt Cerrone makes some over/under predictions for the upcoming Mets season...


86.5 - Total wins

Over.

The roster is strong on paper, which is seconded by fan polls, expert commentary and reflected in countless prediction systems. My view is the same.

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Yoenis Cespedes was part of a group of Mets outfielders (Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis, and Michael Conforto among them) tracking fly balls in the outfield on Wednesday as he continues his progression toward a return.

Cespedes participated in the Mets' first full squad workout earlier this week but broke off to do individual work with the performance staff when the rest of the outfielders split up into two groups. Wednesday was different.

It should be noted that the other outfielders in Cespedes' group on Wednesday seemed to be getting balls hit to them that were farther away/tougher to track than Cespedes' were, but there is plenty of time for that to ramp up.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, JD Davis, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes
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May 8, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets third baseman J.D. Davis (28) throws to first base on a ground out by San Diego Padres left fielder Hunter Renfroe (not pictured) during the fourth inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports (Orlando Ramirez)
May 8, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Mets third baseman J.D. Davis (28) throws to first base on a ground out by San Diego Padres left fielder Hunter Renfroe (not pictured) during the fourth inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports (Orlando Ramirez)

J.D. Davis' struggles at third base for the Mets in 2019 were so bad that he was basically rendered unplayable at the position.

He was worth -9 DRS at third base (per FanGraphs) in just 220 innings. And when you extrapolate that over a full season, it's easy to see why Davis was used mostly in left field, where he was below average but playable.

But Davis said on Dec. 4 when talking about where he would play in 2020 that he preferred third base to left field, explaining that he felt more natural there.

Tags: JD Davis, Danny Abriano
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Executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association Tony Clark was down in Port St. Lucie on Wednesday to talk with the Mets, but also took time to answer some questions about the Astros sign-stealing scandal. 

MLBPA released a statement following MLB commissioner Rob Manfred's comments saying the union had pushed back after the league wouldn't rule out disciplining players when trying to make progress within the investigation. Clark said that anything regarding the obstruction of the investigation "is completely untrue."

Clark continued to comment on the immunity situation, saying that disciplining players wasn't even in the initial conversations before the investigations began. 

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Mets reliever Seth Lugo talked about his fractured left pinky toe on Wednesday, explaining that he suffered the injury when he stubbed it on the ottoman in his hotel room Monday night, and updated his progress toward a return.

Lugo noted that there was a slight miscommunication on Tuesday and that he has not stopped throwing entirely -- he has only stopped throwing from the slope of the mound for now.

Adding that he is not too concerned, Lugo said he would continue his throwing progression.

Tags: Seth Lugo, Danny Abriano
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A general view at Mets spring training
A general view at Mets spring training

Mets spring training is in full swing in Port St. Lucie. Here's what happened Tuesday, in case you missed it...


Seth Lugo is dealing with a small fracture of his left pinky toe but the Mets are not concerned >> Read more

Brodie Van Wagenen detailed what's ailing Jed Lowrie and touched on what his chances are of being ready for Opening Day >> Read more

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jeff McNeil, Seth Lugo, Yoenis Cespedes, Danny Abriano
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As the Mets' 2020 season comes more into focus, it's only natural to start thinking about how the everyday lineup will look under new manager Luis Rojas.

And that lineup intrigue starts right at the top. 

Perhaps Jeff McNeil, who was in play for the NL batting title last season, is the perfect choice. SNY's John Harper recently spoke to scouts about whether or not McNeil will be an on-base machine again or whether he could see an uptick in power numbers.

Or maybe Brandon Nimmo is the right man for the Mets' leadoff spot. The left-handed hitting outfielder has started 106 games as the Mets' leadoff hitter over his career, by far the most time he's seen anywhere in the order. He also has a career OBP of .387, so even with a career average of just .254, he's still done a great job at getting on base over his first four years.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano
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Mets new manager Luis Rojas was emotional when he addressed his team for the first time in full Tuesday.

Appearing on Tuesday's Mets Hot Stove down in Port St. Lucie, Fla, Rojas discussed how he felt to speaking to what has now become his team, after being a part of the organization for many years.

"Being in the organization so long, 15 years, and growing up here as a coach and becoming the manager as well, I think there's a lot of emotions in the mix. I mean, there's a lot of guys in the room that share some of that history, that journey to get to here,"Rojas said on Mets Hot Stove. 

"So it was really special to be in the room talking to the guys and exchanging emotions, you know exchanging our ambitions that we have for the season and what we're going to do in spring training, preparing as we started yesterday, and then taking that into the season and being successful, which is what we want."

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Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen is very excited about his club's outlook for the 2020 season. 

Appearing Tuesday's Mets Hot Stove, Van Wagenen expressed his confidence in the current roster, highlighting the team's strong second-half effort in 2019.

"We have talent, we have experience, and we have a team that's returning from last year that's carrying a great deal of momentum and confidence," said Van Wagenen. "So, we're very excited to get these guys in camp.

"The first half of the year last year, we were in a lot of close games and we couldn't figure out how to win those games. Second half of the year, that changed. The team had a better focus. The team had better chemistry and understanding of the small margin of error between winning and losing, and I think the goal is that they can carry that over into this year."

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Yoenis Cespedes
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Jeff McNeil
Jeff McNeil

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

On July 6 last season, Jeff McNeil went 4-for-5 against the Phillies, lining four singles through or over the infield, into left, center, and right. At that point he was hitting .356 for the season, looking like a young Wade Boggs.

Or Tony Gwynn. Or even Pete Rose. Indeed, to scouts of a certain age who cringe at the number of strikeouts in today's game, McNeil was a throwback to an era when hitters prioritized contact over power.

"He was my new favorite hitter," one long-time scout recalled by phone on Monday. "I loved the way he choked up on that bat with the fat handle and hit the ball where it was pitched. Around the All-Star break I remember thinking he was going to hit somewhere between .340 and .350 and win the batting title."

Tags: Jeff McNeil, John Harper
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Mets reliever Seth Lugo has a small fracture in his left pinky toe that he suffered in his hotel room on Monday night, manager Luis Rojas said on Tuesday.

Rojas said there is "no concern at all" and that Lugo will refrain from throwing for roughly three days before ramping back up again.

"It's probably gonna take a little later until he starts participating in games, but we're not concerned about it. ... they're doing a padding on his spikes," Rojas added. "He was testing it walking around today and everything. It's his left foot, so landing on it the next three days we'll see how it progresses and then he'll start throwing."

Tags: Dellin Betances, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Danny Abriano
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Mets manager Luis Rojas at spring training
Mets manager Luis Rojas at spring training

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Spring Training is in full swing for the Mets in Port St. Lucie, with games starting in just four days.

While every member of the team has arrived in camp, some (Jed Lowrie and Yoenis Cespedes to name two) don't appear to be on track to be ready for game action when the bell rings on Saturday.

Going by the above, listening to manager Luis Rojas talk, and reading between the lines, here's our roster prediction 3.0...

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Luis Guillorme, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Rene Rivera, Robert Gsellman, Robinson Cano, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Tomas Nido, Wilson Ramos, Yoenis Cespedes, Danny Abriano
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Jed Lowrie has been participating in all drills at spring training while wearing a large brace on his left knee, and Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen -- who said the team is encouraged by Lowrie's participation -- elaborated Tuesday on what exactly is ailing Lowrie.

"The left knee injury that he had coming into spring training last year has just continued to give him problems," Van Wagenen told SNY's Gary Apple during an interview that will air in full on Mets Hot Stove Tuesday at 6 p.m. on SNY. "A lot of the issues that he had last year were muscles on the left side of his body, on the lower half that were attributed to the knee.

"What he's doing is he had some instability and he had some laxity in the knee that we've tried to stabilize with the brace. The brace has allowed him to do his rehab, it's allowed him to do strength work, it's allowed him to do baseball activities. Now we're gonna try to see how that brace can correlate into competition."

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Mets 1B/OF Dominic Smith is heading into the 2020 season aiming to stay on the 26-man roster throughout the year, and make big contributions like his walk-off homer that ended the 2019 season on the highest note.

The journey up until this point for the former first-rounder has had its ups and downs, but in an exclusive 1-on-1 with SNY, Smith discussed that journey and explained why he's so excited to see what this Mets team can do this year. 


SNY: We were just talking about how we were in Las Vegas, which was 3-4 years ago, but it feels like a lifetime ago I'm assuming for you? 

Tags: Amed Rosario, JD Davis, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Scott Thompson
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It's another day at Mets spring training, and the players are all out getting their work in as games begin at the end of the week. 

Wilson Ramos took some hacks in the batting cage, and infielders like Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil corralled some grounders as fans looked on. Check it out above.

Below is some batting practice action from Tuesday:

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Wilson Ramos
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Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes
Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes

Mets spring training is in full swing in Port St. Lucie. Here's what happened Sunday, in case you missed it...


Yoenis Cespedes participated in the Mets' first full squad workout of spring training, which included taking live batting practice >> Read more

Prior to taking the field, Cespedes said he wouldn't be talking to the media at all this season >> Read more

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso, Yoenis Cespedes, Danny Abriano
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Yoenis Cespedes spoke to the media in Port St. Lucie on Monday, but only say that he wouldn't be speaking to them at all for the remainder of the season. 

"Not today, not tomorrow, not at all this year," he said.

On Baseball Night in New York, Doug Williams, Anthony Recker and John Harper gave their thoughts on Cespedes' comments and discuss what role he could play for the Mets in 2020.

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes
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Sep 3, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch during the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Sep 3, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch during the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

MLB Network has released its Top 100 Players Right Now, and four Mets make an appearance on the list.

Jacob deGrom leads the way for the Mets at No. 8, coming off of his second straight NL Cy Young Award. DeGrom led the National League in strikeouts with 255, and posted an 11-8 record with a sparkling 2.67 ERA. He's the second-highest pitcher ranked on the list, slotted just below new Yankees acquisition Gerrit Cole, who came in at No. 7.

Coming off of an historic rookie season, Pete Alonso debuts on the Top 100 Right Now list at No. 24. After winning NL Rookie of the Year and setting the single-season rookie home run record with 53 dingers, Alonso comes into his second season with sky-high expectations, but has done his best to downplay his personal goals early in spring training

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso
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Brad Brach
Brad Brach

The Mets bullpen struggled last season, but righty Brad Brach was a bit of a bright spot. 

Signed in August after the Cubs DFA'd him, Brach threw 14.2 innings with a 3.68 ERA for the Mets over the final two months of the 2019 season. He added another 15 strikeouts as well. 

After his revitalization, the 33-year-old was re-signed by the Mets in December for $850,000 in 2020, with a $1.25 million player option for 2021. 

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Mets manager Luis Rojas spoke on Monday after the team's first full squad workout of spring training. Here are the takeaways...


Jed Lowrie has "no limitations"

Lowrie has been participating in all drills at camp while wearing an enormous brace on his left knee, but he has "no limitations," according to Rojas.

"Lowrie went through the day, he did everything with the team," Rojas said. "He was out there doing the plays -- the bunt plays, first and thirds, took ground balls at second base, he did some covers there as well. He was in the live BP facing (Robert) Gsellman on field 5. He looked good, he's moving good. He's got that brace, it works for him to do all his movements."

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes, Danny Abriano
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Yoenis Cespedes was among the participants Monday morning when the Mets had their first full team workout of spring training. And his swing was looking pretty good during live batting practice. 

Facing off against Michael Wacha, Cespedes almost went yard, but the ball went foul. His first swing was also a slight mishap, as it flew over the dugout out of his hands. Overall, it was good to see the veteran outfielder back in the batter's box. 

Check out the rest of the Mets warming up with Yo...

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes
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Approached Monday morning by reporters at his locker at Mets spring training, Yoenis Cespedes said he wouldn't be speaking to the media this season.

"Not today, not tomorrow, not at all this year," he said.

Asked why he wouldn't talk, Cespedes said "because I don't want to."

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes, Danny Abriano
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