Jordany Valdespin started in right field on Opening Day for his Winter League team in the Dominican Republic this week, according to ESPN New York.

Terry Collins told reporters in September that he instead expected Valdespin to play second base in winter ball.

This makes sense, because I think the Mets have no choice but to continue using Daniel Murphy at second base. He really can't be traded, because A) he's shown to be more or less a singles hitter, B) he's decent at second base, not great, and c) most teams already have plenty of guys who can do A or B, so they probably aren't trading for yours... This is what Sandy Alderson is essentially saying when he says Murphy has more value to the Mets than he does to another team. For what it's worth, Murphy showed he can be at least competent enough at second base to justify being there, especially if he's going to hit .290...

That said, it makes total sense to get Valdespin more work in right field... and any other position this guys think he's capable of playing, because his real value is in being a utility guy.

Yes, Valdespin is full of potential, but he just isn't selective enough at the plate to be in their every day against all sorts of pitching. Also, while he can rip a fastball, he struggles with off speed stuff, which is why he was so successful late in games off the bench (with runners on base). Of course, this is also why he failed when starting and batting lower in the order, especially when surrounded by such below-average talent.

I can see Valdespin as a mildy successful starting right fielder next season, so long as he's batting leadoff or second in the order, and so long as the team acquires additional, legit power in center, behind the plate or in left field. However, if Valdespin is in right, batting down in the order, and with similar production coming from those other positions, it's going to be a mess and more of the same. Instead, I believe he's best used playing a variety of positions, against select match ups, and certainly as a pinch hitter late in games, all while getting around 200 at bats on the season.

Tags: MetsBlog, Matthew Cerrone

Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez bats against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez bats against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

New Mets 1B Adrian Gonzalez said on Thursday during a conference call that from what the team has told him, he expects to be the starting first baseman this season.

"There is somewhat of a defined role as far as starting a certain amount of games," Gonzalez said, adding that he'll serve as a mentor of sorts for Dominic Smith during Spring Training.

Gonzalez said Smith has a "beautiful swing" that "can generate a lot of power."

Tags: Dominic Smith, Danny Abriano
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Lance Lynn (Jake Roth)
Lance Lynn (Jake Roth)

The Mets have the third-best starting rotation in baseball, according to MLB executives, Buster Olney and ESPN.com's Stats & Information department. As a result, according to Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, the Mets are capable of being this year's 'see-saw team,' he said on MLB Network.

In Smoltz's opinion, if their starting rotation remains healthy, the Mets are more than capable of winning 92 games in 2018 after losing 92 games in 2017. Mets GM Sandy Alderson clearly agrees, having told SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio yesterday that he does not intend to sign another starting pitcher because he believes in the current's staff's ability to remain healthy and effective in 2018...

"We're confident we're going to see a significant difference and greater health this year," he boldly told hosts Jim Duquette and Ryan Spilborghs. "The bottom line is, if they're not healthy, we're probably not going to be competitive. It's that critical for us."

Health is important and will no doubt be a major factor in the team's success. However, I'm actually more concerned about the lack of known quantities in the rotation than I'm worried about their health...

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1B Adrian Gonzalez, whose free agent deal with the Mets became official on Thursday, tweeted about his excitement.

Click below for the tweet

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Mets GM Sandy Alderson said Wednesday that the team can add another significant contract to fill their infield void. Here are their potential targets...

Tags: Jose Reyes, Danny Abriano
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Aug 22, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Kevin McGowan (61) pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Aug 22, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Kevin McGowan (61) pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Mets have designated RHPs Kevin McGowan and Chasen Bradford for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for recently-signed OF/1B Jay Bruce and 1B Adrian Gonzalez.

McGowan allowed five runs on eight hits across 8.2 innings of relief last season. He walked six batters and struck out eight. He made his major league debut in August when the Mets hosted the Diamondbacks at Citi Field.

If McGowan and/or Bradford clears waivers, the Mets will have the option of releasing them or outrighting them from the 40-man roster and placing them in the minors.

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What's the plan with Nimmo? 00:02:22
With the news that the Mets decided to pass on Andrew McCutchen in order to hold onto Brandon Nimmo, the BNNY crew has questions.

The Mets are "not particularly enthusiastic" about trading OF Brandon Nimmo in exchange for INF/OF Josh Harrison of the Pirates, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post.

While the Mets have engaged the Pirates in talks for Harrison, talks are not ongoing, Puma also reported on Wednesday. The Mets believe the asking price is not consistent with Harrison's contract, according to Puma. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes
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Bruce on reuniting with Callaway 00:06:57
Gary Apple talks with Jay Bruce, who says he's excited to reunite with Mickey Callaway in New York after both were members of the Indians.

Mets OF Jay Bruce said manager Mickey Callaway was involved in the final stages of the process before he returned to the Mets on a three-year deal worth $39 million.

"He was actually kind of the one who started the final conversations before this thing all kind of took place," Bruce told SNY's Gary Apple on Wednesday. "He gave me a call and kind of said 'we're in.'" 

Bruce added that Callaway impressed him during his time in Cleveland, when Callaway was the team's pitching coach.

Tags: Jay Bruce
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Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | If you're handicapping what's next for the Mets now that they've celebrated returning free agent Jay Bruce with a Citi Field press conference, here's the way Sandy Alderson looks at the rest of the Met winter:

He'd rather sign a free agent than make a trade to improve the club. He says he could offer a potential free-agent infielder a "significant" contract. He doesn't agree with the hot takes that peg the Mets' farm system as mostly-devoid of desirable players, nor do he and his lieutenants believe the Mets need to add another bullpen arm.

Oh, and Alderson likes Brandon Nimmo's skill set an awful lot...

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jay Bruce, Anthony McCarron
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Michael Conforto has not had a setback as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but GM Sandy Alderson said the team does not expect him back until around May 1. 

"Everything's going as planned," Alderson said. "There's been no setbacks. But his schedule is such that I don't expect him back until the first of May. Any updates we have will probably be about the time we open camp. Right now, I don't expect him to be ready for opening day."

It was reported in November that Conforto's recovery was progressing well, and he was expected to start swinging a bat by late-January, but Alderson has maintained since earlier this offseason that he didn't expect Conforto to be ready for Opening Day.

Tags: Michael Conforto, Danny Abriano
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Bruce talks trade, re-signing 00:07:20
Jay Bruce sheds light on what went on behind the scenes of his trade to Cleveland and return to New York.

While introducing the newly-signed Jay Bruce on Wednesday morning at Citi Field, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said there were a variety of factors that went in to bringing Bruce back.

"Strictly on the basis of performance, we're very happy to have him back," Alderson said, adding that Bruce's durability and versatility were huge things in his favor.

"Jay has proven to be versatile," Alderson said, noting that Bruce volunteered to play first base last year when injuries mounted. "Why we don't expect Jay to be a career first-baseman with the Mets," his ability to play there "gives us the confidence to move people around."

Tags: Jay Bruce, Danny Abriano
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Who's on first in 2018? 00:06:30
Baseball Night in New York breaks down the development of Dominic Smith and how he fits in with the signing of Adrian Gonzalez in 2018.

I'm trying very hard to keep an open mind and see the silver lining in the Mets signing Adrian Gonzalez to a one-year, league minimum contract.

The fact is that he's just one year removed from having a .784 OPS. And, while there's probably a less than five-percent chance he ever hits at that level again, he doesn't have to win an MVP or even bat .250 to provide meaningful, long-lasting value to the Mets. 

In late-December, when at Citi Field for a team event, 1B prospect Dominic Smith looked to be in significantly better shape than he was at the end of last season. I assume he's continuing to keep up his conditioning and new diet and is going to impress everyone when he gets to Spring Training. Nevertheless, signing Gonzalez signals the strong possibility that Smith starts next year in Triple-A.

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New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin/USA Today Sports Images)

Tune in today at 11 a.m. on SNY's Facebook page as the Mets re-introduce Jay Bruce.

The agreement between the Mets and Bruce became official Tuesday night when the club announced it has brought back the slugger for three years and $39 million.

Bruce will receive a signing bonus of $3 million. He'll earn $10 million in 2018 and $13 million in each of the last two seasons of the deal.

Tags: Jay Bruce
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New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario celebrates in the dugout after being driven in on a run in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets shortstop Amed Rosario celebrates in the dugout after being driven in on a run in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

Amed Rosario, who is expected to be the Mets' starting shortstop this coming season, is already in St. Lucie working on improving his strike zone recognition and patience at the plate.

"I've been working hard, steadily, every single day,'' Rosario told The NY Post through translator Melissa Rodriguez. "Coming into this year, I've really been focusing on my strike zone, trying to make that smaller and, of course, trying not to go for some of those bad pitches."

As a 21-year-old in what was his first taste of the majors, Rosario hit .248/.271/.394 with four HR, four doubles, four triples, and seven stolen bases, but walked just three times in 170 plate appearances. He also struck out 49 times -- a rate of 28.8 percent. For comparison, Yankees OF Aaron Judge -- who was challenging the all-time strikeout record last season -- struck out 30.7 percent of the time.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Yoenis Cespedes, Danny Abriano
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There are multiple opportunities still available to help improve the Mets, despite the number of deals that have gone in down in the last few days...

In the wake of Jay Bruce signing with the Mets, Andrew McCutchen was traded to the Giants, the Twins signed Addison Reed, and the Nationals signed Howie Kendrick.

Meanwhile, Mike Moustakas, Todd Frazier, Neil Walker, Eduardo Nunez, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, J.D. Martinez and countless mid-level relief pitchers remain available on the free-agent market. Also, Josh Harrison is still on the Pirates, and Starlin Castro is still on the Marlins, both of whom are reportedly available in trade.

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New York Mets' Jay Bruce, right, celebrates his two-run home run with Asdrubal Cabrera (13) during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Tuesday, July 4, 2017, in Washington. The Nationals won 11-4. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (Nick Wass/AP)
New York Mets' Jay Bruce, right, celebrates his two-run home run with Asdrubal Cabrera (13) during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Tuesday, July 4, 2017, in Washington. The Nationals won 11-4. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (Nick Wass/AP)

With baseball's Hot Stove cool to the touch, Yahoo Sports Jeff Passan penned a lengthy piece asking whether the sport's economic system might be broken.

The offseason's biggest moves have come via trade, with Giancarlo Stanton going to the Yankees and Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen joining the Giants. 

The Mets have agreed to a pair of free agent deals, inking RP Anthony Swarzak to a two-year, $14 million pact last month and bringing back OF Jay Bruce on a three-year, $39 million contract.

Tags: Jay Bruce
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Jul 29, 2017; Cooperstown, NY, USA; The National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, NY. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
Jul 29, 2017; Cooperstown, NY, USA; The National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, NY. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | Yes, I know. My Hall of Fame ballot is wrong.

Heck, the only person on the planet who thinks it's right is the one typing this. And even I acknowledge there are some things I could've changed. More on that in a moment.

My ballot's first imperfection, at least according to some, stems from the fact that I'm a Big Hall guy. I've voted for 10 players -- the maximum allowed -- every year since 2013. Some believe there should be fewer players elected; I say, "What fun is that?"

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The latest on deGrom 00:01:01
On Baseball Night in New York, John Harper discusses what he heard from Jacob deGrom, including how he plans on winning the Cy Young Award.

Mets RHP Jacob deGrom says his main personal goal for 2018 is to win the Cy Young award.

"That's the main goal," deGrom told John Harper of the NY Daily News. "You set the bar high and go after it. That's what I'm striving for."

DeGrom had a 3.53 ERA (3.50 FIP) and 1.19 WHIP with a career-high 239 strikeouts in a career-high 201.1 innings in 2017. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Aug 4, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison (5) hits an RBI single against the San Diego Padres during the fifth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Aug 4, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison (5) hits an RBI single against the San Diego Padres during the fifth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Pirates INF/OF Josh Harrison suggested Tuesday that in the wake of the team trading RHP Gerrit Cole and OF Andrew McCutchen, that he would like to be traded next if the team doesn't plan to contend in 2018.

The Mets, Yankees, and Blue Jays are among the teams who have been talking with the Pirates this offseason about a potential trade for Harrison.

"Now, I am the most tenured member of the Pirates, I want to win, I want to contend, I want to win championships in 2018, 2019 and beyond," Harrison said in a statement released to The Athletic.

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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 infield prospect Luis Guillorme, who is the team's 10th-best prospect, according to Baseball America, is the second baseman on MLB Pipeline's All Defense team. The 23-year-old Guillorme started 56 games at shortstop and 52 games at second base last season for Double-A Binghamton, while hitting .283/.376/.331 with 20 doubles and one HR.

"He could have challenged for shortstop honors if the presence of Amed Rosario in New York hadn't led the Mets to shift Guillorme to the other side of the bag last June," Jim Callis writes for MLB.com. "He's not the quickest middle infielder, but his hands, reflexes and instincts are as good as anyone's in the Minors. He has solid range and arm strength, and he would have led the Double-A Eastern League in fielding percentage at both second (.983) and short (.968) last year if he had played enough at either position to qualify."

Click below to see Guillorme's defense on display...

Tags: Amed Rosario, Danny Abriano
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Mets outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares, and infielders Amed Rosario and Wilmer Flores are working out today at the team's complex in Port St. Lucie, FL.

"Work in silence and let the others make the noise," Lagares wrote as part of his caption on Instagram.

Click below for the picture of Lagares and his teammates

Tags: Amed Rosario, Juan Lagares, Wilmer Flores, Yoenis Cespedes
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DNL: McCutchen on the move 00:02:33
The panel discusses the possible impact the Andrew McCutchen trade to San Francisco has on the Yankees' or Mets' offseason plans.

The Pirates traded former All-Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen and $2.5 million to the San Francisco Giants for RHP Kyle Crick, minor league outfielder Bryan Reynolds and $500,000 in international signing bonus pool money on Monday.

The Mets were "exploring" a trade for McCutchenJohn Harper of NY Daily News said Thursday on SNY's Baseball Night in New York.

McCutchen and/or teammate INF Josh Harrison have reportedly been potential trade targets for the Mets, according to Steven Marcus of Newsday. The Mets' interest in McCutchen was first reported on Jan. 5 by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Juan Lagares
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Sep 26, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Howie Kendrick (4) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the second inning of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports (John Geliebter)
Sep 26, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Howie Kendrick (4) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the second inning of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports (John Geliebter)

The Nationals have signed free-agent utility man, Howie Kendrick, to a two-year, $7 million contract, first reported by USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale.

Kendrick'd deal can max out at $9.25 million over the two years, which incldues $2.25 million based on his plate appearances, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal

Kendrick played with the Nats for 52 games last year, while starting the season with the Phillies. He posted a .293/.343/.494 slash line with seven homers and 25 RBI in Washington. 

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Michelle Ioannou, MetsBlog | Twitter

Happy Monday, Mets fans! Moves have actually been made, and whether or not you like both of them, things are at least happening, right? I for one am happy to have Jay Bruce back, and I'll just leave it at that for now and continue on to report this past week's off the field news.

There was a reunion of former Mets players in White Plains on Saturday -- just look at this iconic trio below...

Tags: Jay Bruce, Jerry Blevins, Josh Smoker, Juan Lagares, Noah Syndergaard, Wilmer Flores, Michelle Ioannou
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 (Benny Sieu)
(Benny Sieu)

The Brewers are continuing their pursuit of 3B Mike Moustakas, and if they end up landing him, they might look to trade their current third baseman, Travis Shaw, per The Athletic's Jim Bowden

One of the teams Bowden mentions is the Mets, as well as the Yankees and Braves as potential trade destinations for Shaw. In his first season with the Brewers, he posted a .273/.349/.513 slash line to go along with 31 homers and 101 RBI in his best season in the MLB thus far. 

Shaw is also a stout defender, having only committed nine errors in 255 attempts at third base last season. He was also worth +3 in DRS as well as +10 in 2016 with the Red Sox. 

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The Mets will sign 1B Adrian Gonzalez pending a physical, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports also reported that the Mets and Gonzalez reached a deal. Nightengale had reported earlier that the Mets were engaged in "serious discussions" to acquire Gonzalez.

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Jenrry Mejia celebrates after the Mets defeated the Brewers, 3-2. Mejia recorded three strikeouts in the ninth inning en route to his 14th save of the season. (AP)
Jenrry Mejia celebrates after the Mets defeated the Brewers, 3-2. Mejia recorded three strikeouts in the ninth inning en route to his 14th save of the season. (AP)

Former Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia, who is suspended from the MLB for life after violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy three times, is expected to apply for reinstatement, according to Matt Ehalt of NorthJersey.com

Mejia's ban was given to him on February 12, 2016. If his appeal is successful and he is reinstated, he'd be eligible to play again on February 12, 2018. 

Recently, the Mets and Mejia agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.7 million, though he will not receive the money unless he applies for and receives reinstatement. 

Tags: Jenrry Mejia
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Off-beat questions with Doc 00:02:19
Former Mets pitcher Doc Gooden sits down with SNY's Gary Apple to answer some off-the-field questions.

Former Mets pitcher Doc Gooden sits down with SNY's Gary Apple to answer some off-the-field questions, including the atmosphere difference between Shea Stadium and Citi Field, advice for Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr., and the current hitter he'd most like to face.

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New York Mets pitcher Addison Reed pitches during the seventh inning of Game 1 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) (Orlin Wagner/AP)
New York Mets pitcher Addison Reed pitches during the seventh inning of Game 1 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) (Orlin Wagner/AP)

The Twins and Addison Reed have agreed on a two-year, $17 million deal pending a physical, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Reed had reportedly been a target for the Mets this offseason.

Reed, 29, was with the Mets for just under two years. The team acquired him from the Diamondbacks on August 31, 2015 before trading him to the Red Sox on July 31, 2017. 

The RHP enjoyed a career year in his one full season for the Mets in 2016. Reed had a 1.97 ERA (1.97 FIP) and 0.94 WHIP in 77 2/3 IP with 91 K. Last season between the Mets and Red Sox, Reed had a 2.84 ERA (3.67 FIP) and 1.05 WHIP over 76 IP with 76 K and 19 saves.

Tags: Addison Reed
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Apr 20, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 20, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard is back, and as usual, he is beaming with confidence.

The Mets underwhelmed in 2017 with a 70-92 record, but that doesn't mean anything to Syndergaard who says they'll be at the top of the division at the end of the regular season in 2018. 

"I think it's going to be an awesome year, a lot of fun competing against other guys in our division," Syndergaard told The Post's Mike Puma. "I'm pretty confident we'll come out on top."

Tags: Noah Syndergaard
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Aug 1, 2016; Sandy Alderson speaks to reporters. Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 1, 2016; Sandy Alderson speaks to reporters. Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The deadline for MLB teams and their arbitration-eligible players to submit salary figures for 2018 is today, Jan. 12. In the the event player and team can not reach agreement before Saturday, an arbitration hearing will be scheduled for February. However the two sides can still negotiate before going to a hearing...


9:00 p.m.: AJ Ramos reaches a $9.225 million deal with the Mets to avoid arbitration. The 31-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2018 season. 

6:53 p.m.: Zach Wheeler filed for arbitration at $1.9 million while the Mets filed at $1.5 million, per The Post's Ken Davidoff. The Mets and Wheeler can negotiate a deal before the arbitration hearings in February. Wheeler is arbitration-eligible next season before becoming a free agent in 2020. 

 

Tags: Hansel Robles, Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Travis d'Arnaud, Wilmer Flores, Zack Wheeler
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

As Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler come off of disappointing and injury-riddled seasons, their futures with the Mets remain hazy. Though both were highly-touted and, in Harvey's case, experienced a significant run of exceptional success, there's a chance that at least one of them will be pitching out of the bullpen by the end of next season.

Rumblings about Wheeler pitching out of the bullpen started almost as soon as his major league career. As a flamethrower with difficulty pitching deep into games, it seemed to be a natural fit, though the promise of a young pitcher reaching his full potential as a starter was enough to keep him in the rotation even after his 2015 Tommy John surgery. But promise doesn't last forever, and the 27-year-old has yet to show he can overcome his deficiencies as a starter.

One of the issues that has always made Wheeler a frustrating pitcher to watch is his difficulty going deep into games. He has yet to average 6 innings per start in a season, and 2017 was his worst yet, averaging just over 5. Converting him into a reliever would instantly eliminate one of his biggest weaknesses, though it's questionable whether it would address the primary cause of that weakness -- his sky-high walk rate. It would also likely add some velocity to his fastball, which could potentially boost his strikeout numbers. And the smaller workload could preserve his arm health, which is in serious question right now...

Tags: Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Maggie Wiggin
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New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud (18) hits a three run home run against the Washington Nationals during the fourth inning at Nationals Park. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud (18) hits a three run home run against the Washington Nationals during the fourth inning at Nationals Park. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)

Mets C Travis d'Anruad was "ecstatic" after getting a text from his dad telling him Jay Bruce was returning.

"I literally jumped and almost hit my head on the ceiling, I was so excited," d'Arnaud told SNY on Mets Hot Stove on Thursday night. "I'm so happy he's back."

D'Arnaud said Bruce, who reportedly agreed to a three-year deal worth $39 million, is a huge clubhouse presence.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Kevin Plawecki, Travis d'Arnaud, Danny Abriano
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Seth Lugo pitches at Citi Field.  (Brad Penner (USA Today))
Seth Lugo pitches at Citi Field. (Brad Penner (USA Today))

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | Seth Lugo can't quite get used to the idea that the kids now at his old high school sometimes call him "sir" when they see him at the gym. "Hey," Lugo says, "I'm still a player. Don't call me 'sir.'"

After a moment's reflection, though, Lugo admits, "Maybe I am 'sir.'"

The students at Parkway High in Bossier City, La. might be on to something, considering the Met pitcher's career arc. A former 34th-round pick, Lugo missed his first full pro season because of spinal surgery, made a splash as a surprise contributor to the Mets' 2016 run to the NL Wild Card Game, starred in the World Baseball Classic last year, and then faced a serious elbow injury that he knows he'll "have to stay on top of the rest of my career."

Tags: Seth Lugo, Anthony McCarron
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Gooden breaks down Harvey 00:02:49
New York Mets legend Doc Gooden discusses what to expect from Matt Harvey in 2018 and the importance of Harvey starting the season strong.

Former Mets RHP Doc Gooden believes RHP Matt Harvey has a lot of baseball left in him, and that he has more than enough velocity to have success.

"If he's throwing 94, 95, as opposed to 98, 100, that's still okay," Gooden told SNY. "Getting ahead of hitters and trusting your fastball, and not worrying about trying to trick guys. Still go with your strength, and make those guys beat your strength."

If he's healthy, and knowing that it's okay -- you can get away with 94 -- it don't have to be 98. I think Matt's going to be fine. I know he has a desire and a fire to win, and that's why I have a lot of confidence in Matt."

Tags: Matt Harvey
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BNNY on Bruce's return to Mets 00:05:47
The Baseball Night in New York crew break down Jay Bruce returning to the Mets and how this impacts the team going forward.

Sandy Alderson intends to acquire at least one more position player, but can add only an additional $10 million in salary this winter, according to sources.

By the way, as it pertains to payroll, MLB agents expect nearly every team will end up cutting payroll by at least 10 percent, which is about where the Mets will end up as well.

I keep hearing that the Mets are still open to doing something meaningful, be it trading Juan Lagares, acquiring an everyday center fielder, or freeing up money to bring in a bonafide third baseman or second baseman. However, with so few impact prospects to deal, just $10 million left to spend, only 33 days until pitchers and catchers, and still so much gridlock in the market place (see below), it's growing increasingly difficult for Alderson to knock down dominoes and make an ideal surgical strike.

This is why I think the Mets will soon end up signing a less-than $10 million per year infielder, like Howie Kendrick, declare themselves essentially done, and then shift to luring in position and pitching depth using minor-league deals.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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Lucas Duda (Laurence Kesterson)
Lucas Duda (Laurence Kesterson)

The Mets are considering a reunion with free agent 1B Lucas Duda, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Duda, 31, was traded by the Mets to the Rays last July 27 in exchange for RH reliever Drew Smith. He hit .217/.322/.496 with 30 HR in 126 games last season with the Mets and Rays For his career -- which has been spent enitrely with the Mets aside from the last two months of the 2017 season -- Duda has hit .242/.340/.457 with 138 HR in eight seasons.

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter | A reunion between Lucas Duda and the Mets at this point would be puzzling, unless they are intent on trading Dominic Smith or having him spend the majority of the season with Triple-A Las Vegas...

Tags: Dominic Smith, Jay Bruce, Juan Lagares, Lucas Duda, Michael Conforto
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 (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)
(Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets are ready to grant 50 Cent another chance at throwing out the first pitch. 

In 2014, the Queens native was scheduled to throw out the first pitch. 50 Cent very loosely performed the act of throwing a pitch and his pitching ability became a laughing stock on social media, because the internet is forever. 

On Monday, 50 Cent reflected on that moment with Newsday's Neil Best. He was able to joke about himself. 

"Listen, no one warned me," 50 Cent told Best. "No one said: 'Risk versus reward!' I would have kept my [expletive] in the stands. This is never going away."

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Mets shortstop Matt Reynolds (15) turns a double play. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Mets shortstop Matt Reynolds (15) turns a double play. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Once the Mets' three-year deal with free agent OF/1B Jay Bruce is final -- which may not be until next week -- they will have to clear a spot on the already-full 40-man roster for him.

The Mets recently added minor league RHPs Tyler Bashlor (who struck out 84 batters in 49.2 innings last season between High-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton) and Gerson Bautista (who they acquired from the Red Sox last season in the Addison Reed trade) to the 40-man. So it's a safe bet the two of them are safe.

And unless the Mets are dropping a pitcher such as Rafael Montero or Chris Flexen -- which they absolutely should not be doing given their lack of starting pitching depth -- it's hard to see a pitcher being removed from the roster at this point.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Asdrubal Cabrera, Dominic Smith, Gavin Cecchini, Jay Bruce, Matt Reynolds, Rafael Montero, TJ Rivera, Wilmer Flores, Danny Abriano
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Apr 29, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) is congratulated by catcher Rene Rivera (44) after earning a save against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Apr 29, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) is congratulated by catcher Rene Rivera (44) after earning a save against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

The Mets are not currently looking to add to their bullpen or starting rotation, sources recently told NY Post reporter Mike Puma.

Earlier in the offseason, Mets GM Sandy Alderson indicated he might pursue up to two relievers and a Bartolo Colon-type starting pitcher for the back-end of the rotation.

The team's bullpen projects to include Jeurys Familia, Jerry Blevins, AJ Ramos, Hansel Robles, Paul Sewald, Josh Smoker and Anthony Swarzak, who was signed to a two-year, $14 million deal in December. Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz make up the team's projected starting rotation.

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BNNY: Starlin Castro 00:01:38
Following rumors that Starlin Castro wants out of Miami, The BNNY panel discusses why the Mets should seriously consider pursuing him.

Marlins INF Starlin Castro wants to be traded, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, who says Castro does not want to be part of the rebuilding process.

Castro was traded to the Marlins by the Yankees last month in the Giancarlo Stanton deal. It was reported shortly after by the NY Daily News' Kristie Ackert that the Mets would reach out to the Marlins about Castro. The 27-year-old Castro hit .300/.338/.454 with 16 HR in 112 games last season for the Yankees.

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter | Starlin Castro looks good on the surface, but a deeper look at his numbers tell a different story -- with his home/road splits over the last two seasons at the forefront...

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Oct 1, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) celebrates with center fielder Juan Lagares (12) after making a sliding catch to end a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets won 5-3 to clinch a wild-card playoff berth. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports (Derik Hamilton)
Oct 1, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) celebrates with center fielder Juan Lagares (12) after making a sliding catch to end a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets won 5-3 to clinch a wild-card playoff berth. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports (Derik Hamilton)

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter | The Mets are reportedly signing OF/1B Jay Bruce to a three-year deal worth $39 million, and have told him to expect to get some time at first base. The deal will likely have serious ramifications (short and long-term) for at least two current players -- and maybe more...

What happens to Juan Lagares?

The Mets have been open to trading Lagares, who is owed $6.5 million this coming season and $9 million in 2019. And the acquisition of Bruce gives them a full outfield of Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto (when he returns), and Bruce from left to right...

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jay Bruce, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, Danny Abriano
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Aug 15, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (22) hits a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)
Aug 15, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (22) hits a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)

The Mets and Indians agreed on a trade earlier this offseason that would've brought 2B Jason Kipnis to New York, but the deal fell apart at the last minute, SNY contributor Andy Martino said last Friday on Baseball Night in New York.

Meanwhile, the Mets are reportedly bringing former-Indian (and Met) Jay Bruce back on a three-year deal worth $39 million, while the Indians currently plan to hold on to Kipnis, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported last week.

However, with the Mets still seeking a second baseman, they could re-visit a trade for Kipnis, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reported on Thursday.

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Jul 27, 2017; Bruce (19) plays 1B for the Mets at Petco Park. Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 27, 2017; Bruce (19) plays 1B for the Mets at Petco Park. Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets will sign free agent OF-1B Jay Bruce to a three-year, $39 million deal, which will pay him just $10 million in 2018, according to multiple reports.

This is good news, not great news. The Mets are better today than yesterday. But, still a lot has to be done to get their offense where it has to be for Opening Day. But, one thing at a time...

By signing Bruce, I expect Sandy Alderson's next set of moves will be to either trade for a center fielder, trade for a second baseman, or sign a free-agent third baseman (or all of the above). I've heard the Mets have a two-year offer out to Addison Reed, but so do lots of teams.

 

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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New York Mets' Jay Bruce follows the flight of his solo home run off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Chris Rusin in the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, Denver. The Rockies won 5-4. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (David Zalubowski/AP)
New York Mets' Jay Bruce follows the flight of his solo home run off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Chris Rusin in the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, Denver. The Rockies won 5-4. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (David Zalubowski/AP)

Mets pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Josh Smoker reacted on Twitter to reports that the Mets have signed Jay Bruce to a three-year, $39 million contract on Wednesday night.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Josh Smoker, Noah Syndergaard
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Aug 23, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) and right fielder Michael Conforto (30) and center fielder Juan Lagares (12) celebrate after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports  (Brad Penner)
Aug 23, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Brandon Nimmo (9) and right fielder Michael Conforto (30) and center fielder Juan Lagares (12) celebrate after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Michelle Ioannou, MetsBlog | TwitterIt's risky for the Mets to not acquire another outfielder. Duh, right? But it's so much more than that. Here are three reasons why the Mets' need for an outfielder is so glaring:

Michael Conforto is still recovering from his shoulder injury

Conforto is not expected to be ready for Opening Day, and his injury is a punch to the gut that I don't need to re-live. He's supposed to be the kid who can be placed anywhere in the outfield without us having to worry. He got experience in center field last season just for this reason. But the Mets are likely not going to have him on the roster when the season begins, and we're not sure for how long after that...

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jay Bruce, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, Michelle Ioannou
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Yoenis Cespedes hitting a three-run home run against the Phillies.  (AP)
Yoenis Cespedes hitting a three-run home run against the Phillies. (AP)

Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes is the third-best left fielder in the National League, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney, MLB talent evaluators and the team at ESPN Stats & Info.

However, Olney adds, if Cespedes can play 150 games, he would be number one.

"Tool-for-tool, he's as good as anybody in baseball," former Mets manager Terry Collins told WFAN in November. "He has the ability to turn the league upside down if he wants to."

In September, Cespedes told reporters he intended to do more running this off-season in an effort to keep his legs more healthy.

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
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BNNY: Where will Frazier sign? 00:06:21
The Baseball Night in New York crew discusses the latest on free agent Todd Frazier, who has been in contact with both New York teams.

According to MLB insiders, free-agent 3B Todd Frazier would prefer to sign with Mets or Yankees.

However, I hear the Yankees do not want to give him a long-term deal. And, while I believe the Mets are open to giving him a two-year offer, my hunch is they prefer to spend their money on a second baseman and keep Asdrubal Cabrera at third base.

The Mets signaling a willingness to us Cabrera at second base, but they would much rather have a more experienced defender standing between Amed Rosario and whomever is playing first base on a given day.

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New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Noah Syndergaard is feeling better than he's ever felt before, he recently told MLB.com's David Adler.

"The offseason's been a lot of fun, it's gone by quick, but I got some quality work in and I'm ready to hit the ground running in the 2018 season," Syndergaard added. 

Syndergaard missed nearly five months in 2017 after suffering a partially torn lat muscle. He returned to make two starts at the end of the season. He reported gaining 17 pounds of muscle between 2016 and 2017 with hopes of building more strength and increasing velocity on his fastball.

"I realized how jacked up my body was last year, and I've been working extra hard to make sure it's loose and it's limber and as mobile as it can possibly be," Syndergaard said, according to Adler.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Matthew Cerrone
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Feb 28, 2017; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud (18) connects for a solo home run against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 28, 2017; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud (18) connects for a solo home run against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Mets GM Sandy Alderson is happy with how Travis d'Arnaud is progressing in his career, despite reports last week that the team was recently in contact with free-agent C Jonathan Lucroy.

"I couldn't be happier with Travis' progress,'' Alderson said in an e-mail to Newsday's Steve Marcus. "Last year he had a career high in home runs, RBIs and games played. Glenn Sherlock has helped him tremendously with his footwork behind the plate. I look for him to continue to make progress in all these areas again in 2018.''

In what was his fifth big-league season, D'Arnaud, 28, hit .244 with 35 extra base hits last year. However, during the team's final 32 games, he batted .293 with a .343 OBP, six HR, eight doubles and 20 RBI.

Tags: Travis d'Arnaud, Matthew Cerrone
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