Jul 9, 2013; Terry Francona, Mickey Callaway and bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. against the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 9, 2013; Terry Francona, Mickey Callaway and bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. against the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets will introduce Mickey Callaway as their new manager at a press conference later today.

In the next few weeks, Callaway and GM Sandy Alderson will be tasked with rounding out the team's coaching staff.

Pitching Coach

In early-October, when it was announced that Terry Collins would not be back as manager, the team also stated that Dan Warthen would not be back as their pitching coach. Callaway was a big-league pitcher and made headlines as a coach developing the amazing staff he worked with in Cleveland. Here in New York, he'll be inheriting a young staff that has the potential to be the best in baseball.

The point is, Callaway is a pitching guy with pitching credentials set to work with a team built on pitching. So, I expect him to pay a lot of attention to who gets hired to replace Warthen.

People with the Indians told me Callaway and manager Terry Francona had a near-symbiotic relationship as the two were notorious for game-planning together and essentially reading one another's minds during the game. Callaway is a thinker, believing that a pitcher's mental state, strategy, and confidence is as important -- if not more -- than his mechanics. 

I have not heard any possible people he may endorse and encourage Alderson to hire, but I'd be willing to be bet he'll want a former player or teammate now in coaching, with whom he shares a similar approach to psychology and pitching.

Callaway's choice will also need to be someone capable of quickly earning the trust of the team's top pitchers, specifically Noah Syndergaard, Jeurys Familia, and Jacob deGrom, all of whom have been outspoken about Warthen's dismissal.

Hitting Coach

I'm sure Callaway is hoping to keep Kevin Long, who interviewed with Alderson for manager and was considered a candidate to replace Collins. In early-October, Alderson said Long would be back, but Long has since told reporters that nothing is official. And, given that Long was just passed over as manager for Callaway, it seems quite possible he could feel he needs to leave the Mets.

The Nationals and Phillies are still searching for a new manager, which Long might now feel compelled to pursue. Plus, just like the Mets, Red Sox, and Tigers, the Nationals and Phillies will also be hiring new coaches, all of which could be of interest to Long, who is regarded as one of the best at his job in baseball. 


Aug 7, 2015; Kevin Long (57) prior to the game at Tropicana Field. Credit: Klement-USA TODAY Sports


First Base, Third Base Coach, etc...

Alderson suggested in October that bench coach Dick Scott, first-base coach Tom Goodwin, and bullpen coach Ricky Bones could be back in 2018, but all three men were given permission to talk this month with other organizations about new opportunities.

Also, it stands to reason that Callaway will want to bring in people to be on his staff -- especially bench coach. so my hunch is all three of these guys could be someplace else next season just as easily as they're again in Queens.

As he did when speaking about Long, Alderson announced in October that third-base coach Glenn Sherlock and assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler would also be back with the organization next season. However, also like Long, their respective contracts expire Oct. 31 and Alderson never identified to reporters what their their future roles might be...

My hunch is Alderson will address the above three men, including Long, during Monday's press conference. The New York media will certainly have questions about Long, who was reportedly one of the final candidates being considered for manager. There is no way this will not come up, at which point it will be surprising if Alderson punts on answering...

Bench Coach

Bench coach will be interesting to watch, by the way. I wasn't impressed with Scott, and felt Collins struggled a lot without Bob Geren by his side. Geren left after the 2015 World Series to take coaching position with the Dodgers and be closer to his family in Los Angeles. 

I've heard Alderson wanted someone with a connection to his new manager, who also has experience in New York and can speak Spanish. If this is accurate, Manny Acta and Sandy Alomar Jr. make an enormous amount of sense.

Acta, who speaks Spanish, was on Willie Randolph's coaching staff with the Mets back when the team won the NL East. Acta was also managing the Indians when Callaway debuted as a minor-league coach in Cleveland, so the two obviously have a working relationship.

Similarly, Alomar and Callaway both served together on Francona's bench in Cleveland, where Alomar bounced around from bench coach to first base coach. So, like with Acta, Callaway also has a working relationship with Alomar.

It's worth noting that reports indicated Acta was a finalist to get the job Callaway just won. It was also reported a few days before that, though the Mets were close to making a final decision, they might also interview additional candidates, with Alomar among the names being mentioned.

I'm sure the Mets have known for a few days that Callaway was getting the gig, so my hunch is that reports about interviewing Acta and Alomar were more about them and the coaching staff than they were about being hired for manager. I prefer Alomar to Acta, by the way, which you can read more about by clicking here...

In the end, I'm hoping Callaway's staff at least includes Long, Sherlock, and Alomar, and a thinking-man's pitching coach. In most cases, the coaching staff is not finalized until around the Winter Meetings in December. I'm sure this will be the timeline for Alderson and Callaway, as well, though I'm sure it will be touched on today with reporters at Citi Field.


Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is the host of SNY's MetsBlog Q&ACast and the lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!


 (AP)
(AP)

Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani reached a 24-hour extension with the MLBPA to reach an agreement with an MLB team that would make him eligible to play in the U.S. in 2018.

Otani, a 23-year-old outfielder and pitcher, has until Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET to reach an agreement with an MLB team after his Japanese club, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, post him for $20 million. 

Each MLB team can use its international bonus pool money to sign Otani. He would likely earn the league minimum for three seasons before he becomes eligible for arbitration, a process that differs from the long-term deals pitchers like Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka signed when they transferred from Japan to the U.S.

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Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler makes a play in the infield during the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. (Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports)
Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler makes a play in the infield during the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. (Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets had preliminary trade talks with the Detroit Tigers regarding second baseman Ian Kinsler, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi.

New York could possibly look into acquiring a second baseman in the offseason, and have been linked to several players, including Jason KipnisBrian Dozier and Dee Gordon.

In a post earlier today on MetsBlog, Matthew Cerrone broke down the cost of acquiring each of the above names, including Kinsler, who will be a free agent after next season.

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New York Mets shortstop Luis Guillorme of the Scottsdale Scorpions during the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game at Salt River Fields. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets shortstop Luis Guillorme of the Scottsdale Scorpions during the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game at Salt River Fields. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Mets infielder Luis Guillorme is among four prospects the team added to its 40-man roster to protect from the Rule 5 Draft.

The Mets also added RHPs Tyler Bashlor, Gerson Bautista and Corey Oswalt to the 40-man roster, which stands at 39. The team did not protect Jhoan Urena or Mickey Jannis from the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place Dec. 14.

Prospects who have been part of a team's organization for five seasons are eligible to be drafted through the Rule 5 process if they are not on the 40-man roster. 

Guillorme, 23, is considered the 11th-ranked prospect in the Mets organization, according to MLB.com. He hit .283/.376/.331 with one home run and 43 RBIs in 128 games with Double-A Binghamton last season, his fifth year with the franchise since he was a 10th-round pick in 2013. 

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Mar 2, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets second baseman Neil Walker (20) throws the ball to first base for an out against the Miami Marlins at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Mar 2, 2017; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets second baseman Neil Walker (20) throws the ball to first base for an out against the Miami Marlins at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

I sampled three friends in player development and all said they would prefer free-agent second baseman Eduardo Nunez over Neil Walker, who may be forced to again take a one-year deal.

Similarly, they all prefer to trade for Indians 2B-OF Jason Kipnis over Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler, though they all believe Kinsler will cost significantly less in trade.

"Walker is a professional second baseman, I just wish he'd provide a bit more power," one NL insider told me, after noting that Walker has missed roughly 30 percent of the last two seasons due to injury.

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A general view from the press box of First Data Field, home of the St. Lucie Mets (Jasen Vinlove (USA Today))
A general view from the press box of First Data Field, home of the St. Lucie Mets (Jasen Vinlove (USA Today))

The Mets will open their 2018 Spring Training Grapefruit League schedule on Friday, February 23 against the Braves at 1:10 p.m. at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie, FL.

The team will play 31 exhibition games in 2018, including 17 home games in Port St. Lucie.  

The Yankees travel to First Data Field on Wednesday, March 7. The Yankees will host the Mets in Tampa on Saturday, March 10.

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 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

This week in our offseason entertainment, we had quite some movement in terms of baseball. There's now a coaching staff, which is huge. Now, we just need a big bat, a reliever, an outfielder who can also play first base, etc etc.

Off the field, however, the Mets also kept us entertained. No, it was not another weekend of love like last weekend was with Travis d'Arnaud, Brandon Nimmo, and Mickey Jannis all walking down the aisle. But, weddings did come up this week.

Steven Matz. We all know he's engaged and getting married soon. On WOR this week when asked about which teammates he felt obligated to invite to the wedding, his response gave away two of his groomsmen, but was also a bit vague...

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, David Wright, Jerry Blevins, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Travis d'Arnaud, Michelle Ioannou
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Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton, owner Derek Jeter and 2B Dee Gordon. Credit: USA Today Sports
Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton, owner Derek Jeter and 2B Dee Gordon. Credit: USA Today Sports

The Marlins have discussed sending OF Giancarlo Stanton and 2B Dee Gordon to the Giants for 2B Joe Panik and prospects, according to SiriusXM host and San Francisco reporter Craig Mish.

The Cardinals are the only other team to make a formal offer to acquire Stanton from the Marlins, per MLB.com's Jon Morosi.

However, if the Marlins plan to complete a deal, talent evaluators recently told ESPN.com's Buster Olney that Miami will need to lower its asking price.

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Second base options Dee Gordon, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Nunez. Credit: USA Today
Second base options Dee Gordon, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Nunez. Credit: USA Today

Based on my own conversations, published reports, and reading between the lines, I'm convinced the Mets intend to have a new, everyday second baseman on the team next season.

The Mets held back channel talks this week with a number of teams open to trading a second baseman, including Marlins 2B Dee Gordon and Indians 2B-OF Jason Kipnis, according to MLB insiders.

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Terry Collins smiles before facing the Rockies at Coors Field, Aug. 1, 2017. Credit: AP Photo-Zalubowski
Terry Collins smiles before facing the Rockies at Coors Field, Aug. 1, 2017. Credit: AP Photo-Zalubowski

The Mets had the talent to compete in 2017, but no team could ever overcome the number of games they played this past season without their best players, former Mets manager Terry Collins told WFAN's Mike Francesa this past weekend at an event in New York.

"It was hard, Mike, it really got to be tough," Collins admitted.

"You can handle it if they're only out two weeks, but they were out four months," he continued. "To ask guys to fill in for the Syndergaards and Harveys it was just a lot to ask. And, we just couldn't bounce back from it. Then when we lost Cespedes for a long time, which is a pretty big whole to fill."

Following seven seasons as manager of the Mets, Collins stepped down this past October and later accepted an advisory position in Sandy Alderson's front office.

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Mar 15, 2017; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets shortstop Luis Guillorme (77) connects for a base hit against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Rovak)
Mar 15, 2017; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets shortstop Luis Guillorme (77) connects for a base hit against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Rovak)

The deadline to add Rule-5 eligible players to 40-man rosters is tonight at 8 p.m. ET.

Eligible players left off the roster can be selected by another organization during the Rule 5 Draft, which is held each year at the MLB Winter Meetings in early-December.

According to MLB.com, the Mets have five players from their Top 30 Prospect list that are eligible, including Luis Guillorme, Jhoan Urena, Gerson Bautista, and Corey Oswalt.

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Chances the Mets pursue Ohtani 00:02:02
The Mets Hot Stove crew break down the likelihood of the Mets pursuing Japanese two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani this offseason.

The Mets will not rule out a pursuit of Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani, GM Sandy Alderson said on Wednesday.

The final hurdle for Ohtani is the MLBPA allowing the old posting system to be grandfathered in to allow his Japanese club to post him for a fee of $20 million -- with a deadline for a decision set for today, according to multiple reports. If the MLBPA does not allow Ohtani to be posted, he will not be able to come to the majors this coming season.

Ohtani, 23, hit .332 with a .403 OBP, 8 home runs, 16 doubles, and 1 triple in 65 games this past season for Nippon, while playing right field and left field. During his five-year career as a pitcher, he has a 2.52 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with 624 strikeouts in 82 starts. He's fastball has reportedly reached 101 MPH.

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Apr 25, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) shakes hands with starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) after defeating the New York Yankees in an interleague game at Yankee Stadium. The Mets defeated the Yankees 8 - 2. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ( Adam Hunger)
Apr 25, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) shakes hands with starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) after defeating the New York Yankees in an interleague game at Yankee Stadium. The Mets defeated the Yankees 8 - 2. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports ( Adam Hunger)

With the Mets down 3-1 in the 2015 World Series, Matt Harvey took the hill for New York looking to extend the series. 

Harvey was spinning a career defining performance, and through eight innings hadn't given up a run with eight strikeouts. The Mets were winning 2-0. Terry Collins talked to Mike Francesa, Live at the Tilles Center, about how Harvey fought to remain in the game.

"The toughest part was he had an eight-pitch 8th inning, and so he comes off the mound in the 8th inning and he walks in the dugout and I said as he walks by me I said, "That's it." He went over to grab his jacket and he stopped and came back and said, "You got to let me go out there. This is my night, this is my game! I'm fine, you got to let me have this game"...

Tags: Matt Harvey
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New York Mets starting pitcher Robert Gsellman pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the fifth inning at SunTrust Park. (Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Robert Gsellman pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the fifth inning at SunTrust Park. (Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets appear most willing to deal Wilmer Flores, Brandon Nimmo, Kevin Plawecki, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Rafael MonteroDominic Smith, and most of their top prospects, according to what MLB insiders told me at the end of this week's GM Meetings.

However, though they may all have "value," SNY contributor Andy Martino wrote earlier this week that the Mets remain reluctant to move most of the above names.

According to multiple reports, Sandy Alderson is aiming to add a new second baseman, back-end reliever, a first baseman that can play outfield, and possibly, a reliable veteran starting pitcher. However, he may have only $30-40 million to spend on acquisitions, which would mean possibly dealing big-league talent to fill a need and/or free up money to spend on free agents.

"There is an assumption on the part of most clubs that we are not going to trade Jacob deGrom or a Noah Syndergaard," Alderson added during a talk with reporters this week at the GM Meetings.

Tags: Robert Gsellman, Matthew Cerrone
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New York Mets pitcher Steven Matz (32) delivers against the Washington Nationals during the second inning of a baseball game, Friday, June 16, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) (Julie Jacobson/AP)
New York Mets pitcher Steven Matz (32) delivers against the Washington Nationals during the second inning of a baseball game, Friday, June 16, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) (Julie Jacobson/AP)

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter | Mets LHP Steven Matz, whose 2017 season ended due to ulnar nerve surgery, is "really excited" with the way his arm has recovered, but he's taking nothing for granted heading in to next season.

"Dealing with failure on a personal level as well as with the team, it was tough," Matz said recently on WOR radio. "I'm not taking anything for granted, even as far as my position coming out of spring training. As far as I'm concerned, I've got to earn my spot."

"This is a really big year for me. I know what I'm capable of."

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz
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The Mets hoped the new coaching staff would take initiative to utilize data, and "early returns have been promising," front office officials told Marc Carig of Newsday.

Tags: Jerry Blevins
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John Ricco joins Mets Hot Stove 00:05:52
Mets Assistant General Manager John Ricco joins Mets Hot Stove to discuss the team's offseason plan and their expectations for 2018.

In a report for the NY Post, columnist Ken Davidoff argues in favor of the Mets making a push for free-agent Eric Hosmer by offering at least a seven-year, $150 million contract.

"While he has not presented a picture of consistency, with underwhelming 2014 and 2016 campaigns, Hosmer has displayed his ceiling with very strong performances in 2013, 2015 and 2017," explains Davidoff, who predicted earlier this month that Hosmer would eventually sign with the Red Sox.

I totally understand that signing Hosmer would 'make a splash,' as people say. It would plant a bold, new flag at the start of the Callaway Era, much like Omar Minaya did with Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran when he and Willie Randolph took over the franchise...

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Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Bryan Shaw (Phil Long/AP)
Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Bryan Shaw (Phil Long/AP)

With the Mets turning focus towards the bullpen, as they look to turn around one of the league's worst from last season, we will hear from some familiar names (like the rest of MLB, they will be kicking the tires on Addison Reed and Brandon Morrow), but also some lesser-known relievers with established histories of success.

One right-hander they will likely be looking at that fits this mold is Bryan Shaw. The 30-year-old put in two solid years with the Diamondbacks before blossoming over five excellent seasons with the Indians. His pitching coach there? Mickey Callaway, who knows a good arm when he sees one.

Shaw made 378 appearances for Cleveland from 2011-2017 and hits free agency having put together a 3.11 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP for them. His strikeout rate is far from dominant for a relief arm -- just 8 batters per 9 innings -- but his strong groundball tendency has given him considerable added value in this homerun-heavy era.

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Jun 3, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Matt Purke (64) (Rick Osentoski)
Jun 3, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Matt Purke (64) (Rick Osentoski)

The Mets have signed LHP Matt Purke to a minor league deal that contains an inviation to big league spring training, the team announced Friday.

Purke, 27, has a 5.50 ERA and 1.78 WHIP during his six-year minor league career.

He had a 3.84 ERA and 1.36 WHIP while striking out 80 batters in 65 2/3 innings (48 games) this past season in Triple-A for the White Sox.

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New York Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera fields and throws to first base in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera fields and throws to first base in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

Mets assistant GM John Ricco said the team will put a new emphasis on defense in 2018.

As a team, the Mets ranked 17th in fielding percentage (.984), 16th in ultimate zone rating (-0.3), 20th in defensive rating (-7.3) and 21st in range runs (-6.7) last season.

"That is one area we collectively think we need to be a little stronger," Ricco said Thursday during an appearance on Mets Hot Stove on SNY...

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Apr 27, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) reacts after an injury in the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 27, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) reacts after an injury in the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Baseball fans are understandably focused on free agency, player acquisitions, payroll, and trade rumors during the offseason. However, in the case of the Mets, it may be the following off field changes that have the biggest impact on the team's success in 2018...

Mets pitchers, get ready to be prepared

Mets manager Mickey Callaway repeatedly said this past week that it is vital that the team's pitching staff be healthy and mentally strong when taking the mound. In his view, this includes conditioning between starts and proper advanced scouting, but it also includes things like visualization techniques and being properly hydrated...

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New York Mets first baseman T.J. Rivera (54) doubles in a run in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets first baseman T.J. Rivera (54) doubles in a run in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter | Mets INF T.J. Rivera, who had Tommy John surgery on his injured right elbow on Sept. 14, is hoping to return around the beginning of next season.

While pitchers usually miss between 12 and 18 months recovering from Tommy John surgery, position players can return in as little as six months.

Mets officials foresee Rivera returning this coming summer, but his goal is to get back sooner...

Tags: Amed Rosario, Asdrubal Cabrera, Dominic Smith, Jose Reyes, TJ Rivera, Danny Abriano
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May 9, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitchers Noah Syndergaard (left) and Jacob deGrom (middle) and Matt Harvey (right) walk to the dugout before start of a game against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 9, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitchers Noah Syndergaard (left) and Jacob deGrom (middle) and Matt Harvey (right) walk to the dugout before start of a game against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

It was reported last week that -- like the Dodgers and Indians -- the Mets intend to keep their starting pitchers from facing a lineup more than two times during a game, hoping it will reduce injuries and maximize their effectiveness.

However, Mets manager Mickey Callaway told WOR and NBC New York this past week that, while it's important to be aware of how his starting pitcher is performing, each situation is different and there will be no one rule dictating when a pitcher will be removed in favor of the bullpen...

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Conforto ahead of schedule 00:02:38
Daily News Live discusses Michael Conforto likely being ready for Spring Training as he is ahead of schedule with his shoulder injury.

Michael Conforto's recovery from shoulder surgery is progressing well and he should be able to begin swinging a bat by late January, the NY Post's Joel Sherman reports.

According to his representatives, Conforto has been working out regularly since undergoing surgery in September and should be fully ready to go in spring training. The 24-year-old Conforto dislocated his shoulder and tore the posterior capsule during a swing Aug. 24 against the Diamondbacks. Doctors quickly recommended surgery and after a second opinion, Conforto reached the same conclusion.

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter | The uncertainty when the severity of Conforto's injury was known turned in to a widely held expectation that he would not be ready for the beginning of the season -- potentially missing the first few months.That makes the news that he's expected to be ready for spring training huge in two ways...

Tags: Michael Conforto
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According to NY Times reporter James Wagner, Juan Lagares is working this winter with Craig Wallenbrock, who is the hitting instructor credited with changing J.D. Martinez's swing.

Prior to working with Wallenbrock, Martinez hit .251 with a .300 OBP and just 24 home runs in nearly 900 at bats, during which he bounced between the Astros and their upper-level affiliates. 

The season after working with Wallenback, at which time Martinez was 26 year sold, he hit .315 with 23 home runs and 76 RBI, while striking out less and getting on base more than earlier in his career.

In his subsequent three seasons, Martinez has hit 105 home runs and enters this winter a top free agent corner outfielder reportedly seeking a $200 million contract.

Tags: Juan Lagares
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Oct 9, 2017; Indians 1B Carlos Santana hits during game four of the 2017 ALDS. Credit: Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 9, 2017; Indians 1B Carlos Santana hits during game four of the 2017 ALDS. Credit: Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

According to Mets GM Sandy Alderson, any outfielder he acquires this winter must have experience and be willing to regularly play first base.

Otherwise, the Mets are open to acquiring someone that only play first base, Alderson explained on the final day of this week's GM Meetings.

The Mets were among roughly 10 teams to express interest in free agent 1B Carlos Santanareports Jon Heyman reported earlier this week for FanRag.com.

Free-agents Jay Bruce, Logan Morrison and Adam Lind are among the names Alderson is reportedly considering for a first base-outfield platoon that would likely also include Juan Lagares and Michael Conforto in center and right field, as well as Smith and Wilmer Flores at first base.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, Wilmer Flores
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Sep 9, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Mike Minor (Jeffrey Becker)
Sep 9, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Mike Minor (Jeffrey Becker)

The Mets are among the teams expressing interest in free agent LH reliever Mike Minor, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The 29-year-old Minor reinvented himself as a reliever in 2017, as he pitched in the majors for the first time since 2014, when he was a starter for the Braves.

After having shoulder surgery in 2015, Minor returned this past season with a a 2.55 ERA (2.62 FIP) and 1.02 WHIP while striking out 88 batters and walking 22 in 77 2/3 innings (65 games). He was dominant against lefties, holding them to a .163/.228/.196 line, but solid against righties as well, as they hit just .223/.281/.383 against him...

Tags: Jerry Blevins, Jeurys Familia, Danny Abriano
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New York Mets injured third baseman David Wright (5) watches from the dugout during the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets injured third baseman David Wright (5) watches from the dugout during the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

David Wright was inducted into the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame on Wednesday night at Scottsdale Stadium.

Wright participated in the AFL in 2003 and hit .341/.426/.489 with two home runs, seven doubles, 15 RBIs and four stolen bases in 26 games for the Peoria Javelinas.

The 34-year-old Wright was honored last year as one of the AFL's top 25 all-time players.

Tags: David Wright
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The Mets today announced their 2018 major league coaching staff.

  • Gary DiSarcina will join the staff as Manager Mickey Callaway's bench coach.
  • Dave Eiland was named the pitching coach.
  • Pat Roessler has been promoted from assistant hitting coach to hitting coach.
  • Glenn Sherlock will return as the third base coach and catching instructor.
  • Ruben Amaro, Jr. will serve as first base coach and outfielder instructor. He will also oversee the base running responsibilities.
  • Ricky Bones will return as the bullpen coach.
  • Tom Slater will join the staff as the assistant hitting coach.

Callaway is replacing Terry Collins, who it was announced in October will soon begin serving as a special assistant to Sandy Alderson's front office.

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Mets interested in Ohtani 00:07:17
The Baseball Night in New York crew break down the Mets having interest in acquiring Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | TwitterOrlando, Fla. -- Before departing the GM meetings on Wednesday morning, Sandy Alderson stood outside the Waldorf Astoria Orlando with a small group of reporters and confirmed that the Mets are interested in Japanese two-way player Shohei Ohtani. If he wasn't interested, he'd have no business being a general manager -- every team should be engaged on this potentially once-in-a-lifetime bargain.

Ohtani can be had for a $20 million posting fee that will be paid to his Japanese team, the Nippon-Ham Fighters, plus relative pennies in international signing money -- anywhere from a few hundred thousand to a few million dollars. In theory, a team could offer him a larger contract later, but the expense of acquiring him will be minimal relative to his value. Scouts say he has the potential to be both a high-end starting pitcher and a capable everyday player.

So there's no downside, right? Well … there is one thing ….

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April 27, 2007; Joe Smith pitches for the Mets at RFK stadium. Credit: Lang-US PRESSWIRE
April 27, 2007; Joe Smith pitches for the Mets at RFK stadium. Credit: Lang-US PRESSWIRE

The Mets are interested in side-arm reliever Joe Smith, according NY Post reporter Joel Sherman.

Smith was drafted by the Mets in 2006, traded to the Mariners in 2008, and later spent six seasons pitching for the Indians when Mickey Callaway was their pitching coach.

Callaway is reportedly also interested in reuniting with free-agent reliever Bryan Shaw, who has been repeatedly mentioned among relievers expected to be pursued by the Mets. 

Smith, 33, had 11.8 strikeouts and 1.7 walks per nine innings last season during 59 relef appearances with the Indians and Blue Jays...

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BNNY: Andy Martino 00:03:17
Andy Martino reports live from the GM Meetings in Orlando and speculates on players the Mets may target to re-tool for the 2018 season.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets spoke on Tuesday with the representatives for free agent first baseman Carlos Santana because that's what baseball teams do in November: they take meetings and canvas the market. The same goes for free agent outfielder Lorenzo Cain and the many other names sure to trickle from loose-lipped agents in the early part of the offseason.

But, according to sources with direct knowledge of New York's thinking, Santana is very unlikely to become a Met. The team remains more focused on finding a reliever, a second baseman (via free agency or trade) and an outfielder who can also play first base. Some reasons for this approach...

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Dominic Smith, Michael Conforto, Wilmer Flores, Yoenis Cespedes
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Loud Mouths: Jim Duquette 00:05:49
Jim Duquette joins Loud Mouths to discuss the Mets' pitching staff, their offseason plans, and Sandy Alderson's comments on Dominic Smith.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson on Monday indicated that 1B Dominic Smith has not yet secured a starting job on the team for the 2018 season.

"He didn't win it in September, let's put it that way," Alderson said, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

In a post here Wednesday afternoon, I wrote that the Mets prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith are only penciled in as the team's starting shortstop and first baseman next season.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Matthew Cerrone
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Oct 9, 2017; Indians OF Jay Bruce and 1B Carlos Santana celebrate at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY
Oct 9, 2017; Indians OF Jay Bruce and 1B Carlos Santana celebrate at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY

MLB teams are again hesitant to commit dollars and years to free agent first basemen, corner outfielders, and designated hitters, suggesting it may be the first group to experience a feeding frenzy this winter, baseball insiders attending this week's GM Meetings told me Tuesday.

According to multiple reports, including my own intel, the Mets are trying to acquire a player that can start at first base, but also play corner outfield and hit for power.

In reports last week, it was said that Sandy Alderson would be targeting free agents Jay Bruce, Logan Morrison and Adam Lind. However, reports Tuesday indicate the Mets are also showing interest in Carlos Santana, who insiders believe very much wants to return to the Indians.

However, according to friends in Cleveland, the Indians and Santana never got far on a contract extension because they were not interested in giving him more than a three-year contract. Obviously, Santana felt (and probably still feels) he will get more on this winter's open market...

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John Ricco on Mets offseason 00:00:53
Mets assistant general manager John Ricco discusses the Mets offseason from the GM Meetings in Orlando, Florida.

The Mets and Blue Jays are expressing interest in free agent CF Lorenzo Cain, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, who says the Royals are growing "increasingly more pessimistic" about re-signing Cain, 1B Eric Hosmer, or 3B Mike Moustakas.

Cain, who turns 32 years old in April, hit .300/.363/440 with 15 HR, 27 doubles, 26 stolen bases, and 49 RBI in 155 games for the Royals this past season.

He was worth 5 DRS in center field in 2017 after being worth 11 DRS in 2016 and 18 DRS in 2015.

Tags: Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes
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Callaway on contacting players 00:01:05
Mickey Callaway discusses how he's already made the effort to get in touch with every player on the roster while still hiring his staff.

New Mets manager Mickey Callaway has already reached out to the majority of his players, and said he wants to connect with them on multiple levels.

"There is nothing such as a players manager per se," Callaway said on Mets Hot Stove on SNY. "I think that you -- to be a good manager you have to make sure that everybody in the organization knows that you care, and you do that on a daily basis, by showing them in caring about them. Not only as a player, and a performer, but as a person."

Michelle Ioannou, MetsBlog | TwitterThis is all great. Mickey Callaway has only been manager for a couple of weeks, and he's already personally reached out to an entire team. Building a personal relationship starts with one step, and in this case, it was a personal text message from Callaway to each player. How great is that? He didn't wait until everyone reported down to Port St. Lucie. He didn't wait until things settled in and he became accustomed to his new life. He hit the ground running, and knows that it's important to establish a relationship with his players...

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Free-agents Bryan Shaw, Brandon Morrow, Luke Gregerson, Brandon Kintzler, Matt Albers and Mike Minor. Credit: USA Today
Free-agents Bryan Shaw, Brandon Morrow, Luke Gregerson, Brandon Kintzler, Matt Albers and Mike Minor. Credit: USA Today

The Mets will attempt to sign a late-game relief pitcher, even if it means offering a multi-year deal, a source recently told Newsday's Marc Carig.

Carig believes the group being targeted by the Mets includes Addison Reed, Brandon Morrow, Mike Minor, and Bryan Shaw, among others, all of whom are projected to ink contracts in the two- to four-year range.

The willingness to sign free-agent relievers to multi-year deals is a shift in strategy for Sandy Alderson, who has mostly added to his bullpen by signing journeyman pitchers late in the offseason. However, as Carig was first to report, the Mets (like most successful MLB teams during the last few years) intend to limit most of their starting pitchers to facing the opposing lineup only two times each night.

"The teams that have the discipline to do that are getting better results out of those starting pitchers," Alderson told reporters Monday at the GM Meetings in Orlando. "They have the discipline to do it and they have the bullpen capacity.

Tags: Addison Reed, Jerry Blevins, Jeurys Familia
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Breaking down Juan Lagares 00:03:53
On Mets First Pitch, the guys break down outfielder Juan Lagares and discuss what improvements the slickfielding outfielder needs to make.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson suggested that Juan Lagares may see significant playing time in center field next season, Newsday's Marc Carig tweeted Monday afternoon.

"I think Lagares is definitely figuring into our plans," added Alderson, who talked with reporters after Monday's GM Meetings in Orlando.

According to FanGraphs.com, Lagares was the best defensive center fielder this past season during the 85 games he played at that position. He won the Gold Glove for center field in 2014, but did not play enough innings at the position to qualify in 2017.

Tags: Juan Lagares
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The Mets are among roughly 10 teams expressing interest in free agent 1B Carlos Santana, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Along with the Mets, the Angels, Phillies, Red Sox, Mariners, and Indians are also interested in Santana.

Santana, 31, earned $12 million last year for the Indians while hitting .259/.363/.455 with 23 HR, 37 doubles, and 79 RBI in 154 games. He was also worth 10 DRS at first base and was a finalist for the Gold Glove award.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Jay Bruce, Danny Abriano
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GEICO SportsNite: GM Meetings 00:01:45
Andy Martino reports on the state of the Mets' offseason after speaking with Sandy Alderson at the meeting of MLB GMs in Orlando.

According to MLB insiders at the GM Meetings in Orlando, Sandy Alderson clearly intends to sign a free-agent relief pitcher and either sign or trade for a second baseman.

If possible, he'd like to also ink a reliable, veteran starting pitcher, as well as someone who can start at corner outfield, first base and hit for power. There are a lot of options to fill this shopping list.

For instance, there are at least a dozen relief pitchers to consider; there are three free agent second baseman and four or five also available in trade; I see a half dozen starting pitchers that qualify as old and reliable; and there are multiple free-agent first baseman capable of playing the outfield, not to mention guys available in trade.

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Callaway talks fixing Harvey 00:01:14
Mickey Callaway discusses his plans for helping Matt Harvey return to the dominant pitcher he was before a rough 2017 campaign.

To be successful again, Matt Harvey must shed his past, move on from the Dark Knight persona, and adjust to being the best pitcher he's currently capable of being, Mets manager Mickey Callaway told SNY during an interview Monday night on Mets Hot Stove.

"I think that's the key, to make sure you're not trying to get him back to anything," Callaway explained. "You want to get the most potential out of who he is today."

"Some guys never throw with the same velocity," Callaway said about players aging and returning from major surgery. "We don't need the Dark Knight, we need Matt Harvey to be Matt Harvey on a daily basis and be comfortable with who he is."

Tags: Matt Harvey
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Jun 8, 2017; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Wily Peralta (38) pitches in the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports (Benny Sieu)
Jun 8, 2017; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Wily Peralta (38) pitches in the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports (Benny Sieu)

The Mets consider free agent RHP Wily Peralta as a versatile option for their pitching staff, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post.

The Mets see him as a "potential swing man," according to Puma.

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July 24, 2011; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets right fielder Carlos Beltran (15) (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)
July 24, 2011; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets right fielder Carlos Beltran (15) (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter | Carlos Beltran announced his retirement from baseball on Monday, about two weeks after winning his first World Series title when the Astros defeated the Dodgers.

The 40-year-old Beltran, who slashed .279/.350/.486 while hitting 435 HR, 565 doubles, 78 triples (he had 2,725 hits total), and stealing 312 bases during his 20-year career -- which he spent the majority of as one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball -- will almost certainly be a Hall of Famer.

The question now becomes, which hat (if any) should adorn Beltran's plaque in Cooperstown?

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Mets manager Mickey Callaway joined us on Facebook live to discuss some off-the-field questions...

Click below for the video

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Free-agents Bryan Shaw, Brandon Morrow, Luke Gregerson, Brandon Kintzler, Matt Albers and Mike Minor. Credit: USA Today
Free-agents Bryan Shaw, Brandon Morrow, Luke Gregerson, Brandon Kintzler, Matt Albers and Mike Minor. Credit: USA Today

At the GM meetings on Monday, Mets GM Sandy Alderson stressed the importance of bolstering the team's bullpen.

"Any way you cut it, the bullpen is becoming more important," Alderson said, reports Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

Newsday's Marc Carig revealed last week that Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom may be the only starting pitchers the Mets allow to face an opposing team the third time through the lineup each game.

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Jose Reyes hitting a home run against the Reds.  (AP)
Jose Reyes hitting a home run against the Reds. (AP)

"The Mets are open to bringing back free-agent infielder Jose Reyes, but they're also examining other possibilities," the NY Post's Mike Puma tweeted Monday afternoon.

Reyes, who is currently a free agent, told the Mets in September that he hoped to return in 2018.

"I want to be here," he told reporters after the team's final game of the season. "We'll see what happens. It's going to be an interesting offseason."

Tags: Jose Reyes
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Second base options Dee Gordon, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Nunez. Credit: USA Today
Second base options Dee Gordon, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Nunez. Credit: USA Today

In a post earlier today on MetsBlog, SNY contributor Andy Martino said it will be difficult for the Mets to top competing offer for Marlins 2B Dee Gordon or Indians 2B-CF Jason Kipnis.

According to Martino, even if Alderson is to offer RHP Robert Gsellman, OF Brandon Nimmo, 1B prospect Dominic Smith and a second minor leaguer, such as infield prospect Luis Guillorme, it still might not be enough to get a deal done with the Marlins or Twins.

I think Martino is right, at least for now...

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Juan Lagares (left) steals second while Dee Gordon waits for the throw during the seventh inning. (AP)
Juan Lagares (left) steals second while Dee Gordon waits for the throw during the seventh inning. (AP)

Orlando, Fla. - Mets GM Sandy Alderson is set to report to these GM meetings Monday morning. Here, he will have his first opportunity of the offseason to chat in person with his counterparts from rival teams and see if he can lay groundwork for trades. However, Mets people know they will have to get creative in order to pull off an impact deal. because the way this roster is constructed, trading won't be easy...

The Mets are seeking a late-inning reliever, a second baseman, a corner infielder or strict first baseman, and possibly a back-end starting pitcher. Free agency will be the easiest route to fill as many of those needs as possible, because the team knows that its farm system lacks the type of high-end trading chips Alderson had a few years ago (and even then he tended to hold onto his prospects).

The Mets have players on their major league roster that would bring back value, but I'm told they are highly reluctant to move most of them...

Tags: Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Jacob deGrom, Juan Lagares, Matt Harvey, Robert Gsellman, Steven Matz
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Houston Astros designated hitter Carlos Beltran (15) (Andrew Dieb)
Houston Astros designated hitter Carlos Beltran (15) (Andrew Dieb)

Former Mets OF Carlos Beltran has officially announced his retirement after a 20-year MLB career. 

Beltran, who just won the World Series with the Astros, was emotional after securing his first, and now only, championship.

Click below for video of Beltran after winning the World Series

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Sandy Alderson talks with reporters
Sandy Alderson talks with reporters

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

With a new manager in Mickey Callaway and a coaching staff in place, Sandy Alderson can now focus his full attention on the Mets' roster.

This is a significant offseason for the GM, who is in the homestretch of his tenure, and who must return the franchise to the relevance it enjoyed in 2015 and 2016.

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Jay Bruce, Jerry Blevins, Jeurys Familia, Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores, Yoenis Cespedes
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