PECOTA's forecast for the Mets 00:00:31
Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projections have been released, and forecast the Mets finishing second in the N.L. East.

As it stands, FanGraphs.com projects the Mets to be 81-81 this season, while finishing in second place in the NL East and missing the second Wild Card by four games to the Giants.

The legendary PECOTA projections, which are published by Baseball Prospectus, also has the Mets finishing .500, in second place, and missing the second Wild Card by four games.




Following back-to-back postseason appearances in more than 15 years, the Mets finished 2017 winning just 70 games -- their lowest total since 2009.

As a result, Sandy Alderson replaced Terry Collins as manager with Mickey Callaway, who has been surrounded by several new coaches. The team also made significant changes to their medical and training staff, including hiring a Director of Performance and Sports Science to help keep tabs on the team's overall health, wellness, rehabilitation, scheduling, and recovery plans.

The Mets have also given out more than $70 million in contracts to retain Asdrubal Cabrera and Jerry Blevins and add Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Anthony Swarzak, Jose Reyes, and Adrian Gonzalez.

It has been a very good offseason. It would have been great to add Eric Hosmer or J.D. Martinez, but, according to projections by Steamer, only the Giants did more than the Mets this winter to improve their team.

I'd happily settle for a very, very good season, though, which is well within reach by signing a reliable, undeniable No. 3 starting pitcher, such as Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb

The buzz in baseball is that Lynn and Cobb are beginning to see interested teams offering more money per year, but for less seasons, than they had been looking to get at the start of the winter.



For instance, whereas both once had been asking for five-year deals worth around $15 million each season, teams are rumored to now be offering two- and three-year contracts worth around $18-to-20 million each season. The pitch to both men being the opportunity to be overpaid in the short term, while getting to camp now and no longer having to stress and wait on Darvish and Jake Arietta to set the top-tier pitching market...

The thing is, while I think the Mets might be willing to expand their 2018 budget to add pitching depth, I get no sense from insiders that they're willing to expand it by $18-20 million.

In other words, I expect Sandy Alderson to skip the above, also balk at Jason Vargas, Jaime Garcia and Andrew Cashner, and instead hook someone like Ubaldo Jiminez, Jeremy Hellickson, or R.A. Dickey with a minor-league deal.

The reality is that neither FanGraphs nor PECOTA see a significant difference between many of the above names, including between Jimenez, Lynn, and Vargas, all of whom would put the team's combined projected win total around 82 or 83, as opposed to the current 81...



This is because, to get over the top, the difference will almost certainly be less about the final pitcher added this winter and more about how the other 20 or so guys from last year's roster perform this summer.

Remember, though the standings say the Mets lost 92 games in 2017, the truth is that a combination of Triple-A Las Vegas, scrap-heap talent and a handful of actual big-league Mets lost those 92 games. 

"You can handle it if (players are injured and) only out two weeks, but they were out four months," Terry Collins told WFAN in November about how injuries hurt his team last season. "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 Yoenis Cespedes for a long time, which was a pretty big hole to fill."

The same two systems above projected the Mets to win 87 games last season, which is the same number they actually won in 2016 that enabled them to win the top Wild Card spot.

Next week, the Mets will officially kick off Spring Training with 20 of the 25 guys that were projected to be on last season's Opening Day roster, which, to repeat, was projected to win 87 games.

The difference next week will be in replacing Lucas Duda with either Adrian Gonzalez or Dominic Smith, replacing Addison Reed with Swarzak, and essentially swapping Neil Walker and Reyes for Frazier and Amed Rosario. Otherwise, the same outfield, rotation, closer, catcher, middle relief, and bench that were projected to win 87 games last season will hit St. Lucie with a projected win total of just 81.

This is confusing to me. 

In 2016, when the Mets won 87 games and the Wild Card, Bartolo Colon, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz accounted for 60 percent of the team's starts. 



With this in mind, last spring, had I told you that those same starts in 2017 would instead be made by Robert Gsellman, Rafael Montero, Tommy Milone, Chris Flexen, Tyler Pill, and Adam Wilk, how many games would you have projected the Mets to win?

Would you have said, '87,' like they accomplished with Harvey, Syndergaard, Matz and Colon? Or, would you have said, '70.' I'm pretty sure you, like me, would have said, '70.'

By the way, Jeurys Familia pitched 15 percent of the team's relief innings during the first half 2016, at which time the Mets were 46-38. In comparison, Familia handled less than one percent of the work during the same span in 2017, at which point the Mets were well under .500 and Harvey, Cespedes, and Syndergaard were already on the DL.

At the same time, while the Mets stay on field, perform to expectation and get themselves in position to win more games based on their own talent, 60 percent of the teams in the NL East are still in rebuilding mode.

Frankly, by doing nothing other than watch Derek Jeter destroy the best outfield in the National League, the Mets might have seem themselves improve by five or six games next season anyway. The Mets were 7-12 against the Marlins last season. I see no reason why Callaway's pitching staff can't flip that number in 2018.



Injuries destroyed Alderson's team in 2017, after which he further destroyed them by trading away most of his veterans. I realize injuries happen and will again happen in 2018. However, the level with which they happened to the Mets (and the amount of work that Triple-A players were asked to do) in 2017 is something no team can overcome. The people that played 162 games for the Mets in 2017 should have lost 70 games. It makes sense.

Thankfully, by adding Frazier and others, plus bringing in a new, progressive manager, a new coaching staff, a new head trainer, and finally hiring a Director of High Performance to oversee health and wellness, it's hard for me accept that what happened in 2017 will happen again in 2018.

The point is, while I have nothing against Triple-A players, I'm looking forward to actually watching Syndergaard, Matz, Cespedes, Harvey, Bruce, Familia, and the real Mets. Because, even if the statistical projections expect less, I know the real Mets have the talent to win at least 87 games (if not more). I've seen most of the same people on this year's roster do it before and, with Frazier and hopefully another starting pitcher, I expect they'll do it again in 2018.


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!


Jul 15, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; USA infielder Peter Alonso (34) hits a two run home run in seventh inning against the World Team during the 2018 All Star Futures Game at Nationals Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)
Jul 15, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; USA infielder Peter Alonso (34) hits a two run home run in seventh inning against the World Team during the 2018 All Star Futures Game at Nationals Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)

Top Mets prospect Peter Alonso has enjoyed success at the plate during his time in the Arizona Fall League so far, and though he went 1-for-6 on Saturday, his one hit may not have landed yet. 

Alonso crushed a two-run, ninth-inning homer that solidified a win for the Scottsdale Scorpions. The 23-year-old now has three homers in 36 at-bats.

CLICK BELOW TO SEE THE HOMER

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Feb 15, 2018; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals director player development Gary LaRocque uses his cell phone during workout drill at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 15, 2018; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals director player development Gary LaRocque uses his cell phone during workout drill at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The list of candidates for the Mets new head of baseball operations has shortened, with Cardinals director of player development Gary LaRocque and former Diamondbacks SVP of baseball operations De Jon Watson out of the running, SNY's Andy Martino confirmed on Friday. 

According to Martino, the list is now shortened to that of Kim Ng, Chaim Bloom, Doug Melvin, Brodie Van Wagenen and Casey Close.

LaRocque, in particular, had the scouting background that is in owner Fred Wilpon's favor. However, some believe he was using the Mets' GM interview as leverage to get the Cardinals to offer a contract extension.

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Feb 14, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view of a New York Mets hat and glove on the grass during a workout at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 14, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view of a New York Mets hat and glove on the grass during a workout at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets have not yet made a final determination of which candidates will advance to the second round of interviews for the GM/head of baseball operations job, but as they deliberate, several people both inside and outside the organization are advocating for longtime Texas and Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin.

Melvin, 66, carries a reputation vastly different from controversial Cardinals farm director Gary LaRocque. 

Melvin is known as a consensus-builder, and is "open-minded," in the words of one significantly younger baseball official who is more analytically inclined.

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There is no offseason for Shea Anything, and in this all-new episode, Doug Williams and Andy Martino tell you what you need to know about all the candidates in the Mets GM search. They also look for learnings in the MLB Playoffs, and wonder whether defense will matter more to the Mets moving forward.

Don't forget - we want hear from you! Go to SNY.tv/SheaAnything and upload a video or audio clip of your take on the Mets. Keep it to 30 seconds or less, make it good, and you may be on the show!

Click below to listen...

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The Mets finally have enough young talent to trade for an impact hitter, according to multiple talent evaluators. And if they include a big-league pitcher in the deal, such as Noah Syndergaard or Zack Wheeler, they have enough talent to pull off a blockbuster...

The current price to trade for an elite hitter requires at least one of your top 20 prospects, including two of your team's top 10, who is also among the overall Top 100 in the league.

The Mets have four top-100 prospects, according to MLB.com -- 19-year old Jarred Kelenic, 20-year-old Andres Gimenez, and 23-year olds Peter Alonso and Justin Dunn...

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It was 12 years ago today that Mets OF Endy Chavez made his legendary, snow cone catch to rob Cardinals 3B Scott Rolen of what would've been a go-ahead home run during Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS at Shea Stadium.

"It was very special for me," Chavez told NJ.com's Matt Ehalt in 2016. "People are still talking about it like it was last season. I'm very grateful because I have very good support from the fans, especially from Mets fans. I remember every second of that moment."

Click below to watch...

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USA infielder Peter Alonso hits a two-run home run in seventh inning against the World Team during the 2018 All Star Futures Game at Nationals Park. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)
USA infielder Peter Alonso hits a two-run home run in seventh inning against the World Team during the 2018 All Star Futures Game at Nationals Park. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

At times Peter Alonso has been portrayed via scouting reports as the worst defensive first baseman since Mike Piazza, if you remember how that ill-fated -- and brief -- position switch went for the Hall of Fame catcher late in his Mets' career.

In that case it would make sense to dangle Alonso, the 23-year old slugger, as trade bait to American League teams this winter to help fill immediate needs elsewhere, notably at catcher or in the bullpen.

Except the Mets insist it's not the case at all...

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Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) reacts after the top of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) reacts after the top of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Chipper Jones almost sounds like a Mets fan as he discusses Jacob deGrom's magical 2018 season, gushing how the righty's performance was "Maddux-esque."

"I saw utter domination," Jones says. "I mean, you're talking about an all-time type season."

Jones, the Hall of Fame third baseman who tormented the Mets during his playing career in Atlanta, isn't trying to make up all that history to Flushing faithful with a few kind words. No, the former Braves' star is "a baseball fan. I'm a baseball realist and a baseball historian, to a certain extent...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Anthony McCarron
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Feb 15, 2018; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals director player development Gary LaRocque uses his cell phone during workout drill at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 15, 2018; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals director player development Gary LaRocque uses his cell phone during workout drill at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets are just about done speaking to new candidates to lead baseball operations at a crucial time for the franchise. The time for brainstorming is over, and the team is now scrutinizing individuals, and what kind of leader each person would be.

Each of the six known interviewees brings questions, as anyone would. Kim Ng, Chaim Bloom, De Jon Watson are impressive in different ways, but have never done the job. Dave Littlefield's record in Pittsburgh was uninspiring at best. Doug Melvin is not exactly new school, though his reputation as a "great guy, and open minded," in the words of one baseball official makes him intriguing in this field.

I've been asking executives around the league for opinions on these people for weeks, and Cardinals director of player development Gary LaRocque has easily raised the most questions among those who have worked with or around him.

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The Amazin' Life: Season Finale! 00:02:47
On a new episode of The Amazin' Life presented by Coca-Cola, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling deliver a season finale, and a cliffhanger?

On an all-new episode of The Amazin' Life presented by Coca-Cola, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling deliver a big season finale the only way they should, by making fun of other famous season finales!

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Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Mets have interviewed Tigers' vice president of player development Dave Littlefield for their open GM role, SNY's Andy Martino confirmed on Wednesday. 

Martino noted the list of GM candidates was incomplete on Tuesday, and it appears that is the case with the Littlefield interview. The 58-year-old joined the Pirates in 2001, serving as its senior vice president. He also worked as their GM on a temporary basis in 2007. 

After the 2007 season, Littlefield joined the Cubs as a scout, and would later hold the same role with the Tigers in 2014. In 2015, he was promoted to his current position. 

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Oct 16, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado (8) celebrates with catcher Yasmani Grandal (9) after scoring on an RBI single by center fielder Cody Bellinger (not pictured) defeat the Milwaukee Brewers in the thirteenth inning in game four of the 2018 NLCS playoff baseball series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports (Richard Mackson)
Oct 16, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado (8) celebrates with catcher Yasmani Grandal (9) after scoring on an RBI single by center fielder Cody Bellinger (not pictured) defeat the Milwaukee Brewers in the thirteenth inning in game four of the 2018 NLCS playoff baseball series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports (Richard Mackson)

With the Mets clearly in need of adding a veteran catcher, I expect to soon hear a lot of rumors connecting them to current Dodgers catcher and soon-to-free-agent Yasmani Grandal.

Similarly, Mets fans and media will spend the next month or two pressuring the team to break the bank for current Dodgers third baseman Manny Machado, who will be the most prized free agent of the winter.

Interestingly, the above players are a hot topic in the baseball world Wednesday, both which should be of particular interest to Mets fans given the potential demand for their services in Queens...

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The Mets' top two prospects -- 1B Peter Alonso and SS Andres Gimenez -- are repping the team in the Arizona Fall League, the October-November league run by MLB featuring many of the top prospects in the game.

Alonso is expected to be promoted to the Mets at some point after next May, after which calls by fans for Gimenez will begin to grow in volume.

According to MLB.com, Gimenez is considered the Mets top' prospect, followed by Alonso, with both checking in on the site's Top 100 at No. 55 and No. 58 respectively...

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Jul 15, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; USA infielder Peter Alonso (34) hits a two run home run in seventh inning against the World Team during the 2018 All Star Futures Game at Nationals Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)
Jul 15, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; USA infielder Peter Alonso (34) hits a two run home run in seventh inning against the World Team during the 2018 All Star Futures Game at Nationals Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)

Top Mets prospect Peter Alonso homered in the Arizona Fall Leauge on Tuesday night while playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions. It was his second homer in six AFL games.

Alonso, the 58th-best prospect in baseball according to MLB.com, also doubled in a run and drew a walk on Tuesday night as he went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.  

Overall in the AFL he is hitting .435/.500/1.283 with two homers, two doubles, three walks, two stolen bases, and five strikeouts.

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Jun 23, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; A general view of the field prior to the game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jun 23, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; A general view of the field prior to the game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets have interviewed more than the five candidates known in the first round of their search for a new head of baseball operations, and plan to speak to one or two more before determining finalists, according to major league sources.

The team is being extremely secretive about this initial phase of the process, refusing to confirm or deny that they spoke with any individuals. But according to other league sources, the known list of Kim Ng, Gary LaRocque, Chaim Bloom, De Jon Watson and Doug Melvin is incomplete.

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The Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs will become the Triple-A Syracuse Mets starting in 2019, it was announced Tuesday at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse, New York. 

New home and road uniforms were unveiled along with the new primary logo that features the words "Syracuse Mets" emblazoned over the State of New York. The team will wear a new "S" in a nostalgic font on their hats.The Mets announced the purchase of the Syracuse affiliate last October, setting in motion the Mets' Triple-A team relocating from Las Vegas to Syracuse for the start of the 2019 season. 

In addition to the name-change, new uniforms, and improvements and upgrades being made to NBT Bank Stadium, it was announced by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that the Mets and Onondaga County are close to finalizing a lease extension that will keep professional baseball in Syracuse for the next 25 years. Check out the new uniforms and stadiun upgrade plans below...

 

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It has become an annual tradition here to write about how the Mets must improve their bullpen during the offseason. For what it's worth, this same article is often written about most teams in baseball. It's hardly exclusive for the Mets. Nevertheless, nearly every winter and trade deadline for the past decade we all push our respective teams to add relievers...

The thing is, this cycle is in constant replay because bullpens are notorious for being inconsistent and rarely do what is expected of them when on paper the previous winter.

For instance, while it's easy to forget given how the staff performed for much of the spring and early summer, the Mets were considered to have a pretty good bullpen entering 2018. MLB.com went so far as to rank them as the fifth-best bullpen in the National League prior to the start of the season. The opposite occurred, though, with the Mets finishing this past season with the second-worst bullpen...

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Tom Seaver speaks during a ceremony for Members of the 1969 New York Mets baseball team before the Mets play the Phillies Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009,  in New York.  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Tom Seaver speaks during a ceremony for Members of the 1969 New York Mets baseball team before the Mets play the Phillies Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Mets beat the Orioles, 5-3, at Shea Stadium on today's date in 1969 to win their first World Series title when the final out was squeezed by Cleon Jones in left field after a drive off the bat of Davey Johnson

The Miracle Mets, with a starting rotation anchored by Tom Seaver and Jerry Kossman, had never won more than 73 games during the first seven years of their existence. Then 1969 happened, when they overtook the Cubs late in the season and won the NL East. After a 100-win regular season, the Mets swept the Braves in the best-of-five NLCS. 

The Orioles were heavily favored in the World Series, but after losing Game 1 in Baltimore, the Mets reeled off four straight wins to hoist the trophy... after some absoloute bedlam on the field. Click below to see...

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Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

A week into the Mets' process of interviewing for Sandy Alderson's replacement as the head of baseball operations, there truly seems to be no frontrunner. The Mets are considering candidates with backgrounds as disparate as Gary LaRocque and Chaim Bloom, and are still weighing which direction to go.

You can find people in the organization advocating for a more traditional approach, and those who are more enthusiastic about analytics. Others are moderates on this issue. Therefore, the only credible answer to the question of what the team is going to do is "not sure yet, because they're not, either."

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Mets C Travis D'Arnaud had Tommy John surgery this past April, which means the starting catcher job in 2019 is now wide open.

D'Arnaud, who will be 30 years next February, is expected to be out through the first few months of next season. He's also eligible for arbitration this winter and could end up earning as much as $4 million next season, after which he can be a free agent for the first time in his career.

My hunch is the Mets will cut d'Arnaud loose and use the saved money to hopefully help in acquiring a more -productive, proven, everyday starting catcher. Even if cut, I expect d'Arnaud will sign a lesser deal to remain with the Mets, with whom he can continue his rehab with trainers that know in St. Lucie.

Tags: Kevin Plawecki, Travis d'Arnaud, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets legend and current SNY announcer Keith Hernandez will headline the 2019 Queens Baseball Convention (QBC), it was announced Monday.

Hernandez will take part in an hour-long panel discussion that will include questions from attendees, and will be taking part in an autograph session.

The fan-run QBC, presented by SNY, is taking place on January 19, 2019 at Katch Astoria. 

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Cleveland Indians General Manager Mike Chernoff answers a question at an Indians end of season news conference in Cleveland, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Phil Long) (Phil Long/AP)
Cleveland Indians General Manager Mike Chernoff answers a question at an Indians end of season news conference in Cleveland, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Phil Long) (Phil Long/AP)

Indians GM Mike Chernoff, who the Mets have interest in for their top baseball operations job, is now viewed as being less likely to interview, league sources told SNY's Andy Martino. 

Chernoff, 37, has worked in Cleveland with former team president and current Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro, and current Indians president Chris Antonetti. Both are close with Omar Minaya. Chernoff is the son of Mark Chernoff, VP of programming for WFAN.

This first round of "interviews" has taken many forms -- from sit-downs in New York to informal telephone conversations, notes Martino.

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Jul 15, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; USA infielder Peter Alonso (34) hits a two run home run in seventh inning against the World Team during the 2018 All Star Futures Game at Nationals Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)
Jul 15, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; USA infielder Peter Alonso (34) hits a two run home run in seventh inning against the World Team during the 2018 All Star Futures Game at Nationals Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)

Every Sunday, we'll be taking a look at how notable Mets prospects are faring in the Arizona Fall League. The AFL features some of the best prospects in baseball and its regular season runs through Nov. 15. The Championship Game is Nov. 17. 


Peter Alonso, 1B

The 23-year-old Alonso, the No. 58 prospect in baseball according to MLB.com, has played four games and is hitting .500 with one homer and one double -- good for a 1.306 OPS in 16 at-bats.

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Oct 17, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; A general view during the playing of the national anthem before game one of the NLCS between the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 17, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; A general view during the playing of the national anthem before game one of the NLCS between the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Mets continue to search for their new head of baseball operations or GM to replace Sandy Alderson, and though it is the early stages, the candidate list is starting to fill out. 

New York has already spoken to a few potential baseball execs, with SNY's Andy Martino saying "sit-downs in New York to informal telephone conversations" have made up the first rounds of the search. Their candidate list is wide-ranging as well. 

Here's a look at where things stand in the search so far, and which candidates are at the top of the heap...

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Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports  (Brad Penner)
Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the seventh inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

A look at where Mets ace Jacob deGrom's dominant season ranks in the top 10 of the last 50 years.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Here are the key 2018 MLB offseason dates, and how they impact the Mets...


Day after World Series ends (Between Oct. 28 and Nov. 1) : Free agency begins

The Mets should be making their GM hire right around the time free agency begins, meaning immediate pressure on whoever gets the gig to come up with a plan and start executing it. Outfielder Bryce Harper and shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado headline the free agent class. The Mets may look for a new catcher, and Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos will both be available. Among the top tier starting pitchers available are Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel. When it comes to relievers, Craig Kimbrel, Adam Ottavino, and old friend Jeurys Familia are among the headliners.

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On the latest episode of Shea Anything, Doug Williams and Andy Martino are joined by former New York Mets catcher Anthony Recker! They discuss the dominance of Jacob deGrom, what deGrom is like behind the scenes, and what it's like to catch all the hard-throwing starting pitchers in the Mets rotation. The guys also chat about David Wright, and the potential role he could have in a future Mets front office.  

Don't forget - we want hear from you! Go to SNY.tv/SheaAnything and upload a video or audio clip of your take on the Mets. Keep it to 30 seconds or less, make it good, and you may be on the show!

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

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The way I've heard it, the Mets hiring a new GM and front office personnel is not being done in preparation of the team ripping down the roster and going through another rebuild. Instead, the goal is to install people with experience winning so they can build on what exists and and get the Mets back to the World Series sooner than later.

If that's the case, the answer to the question in the headline is simple...

To best way for the team to gain trust and show full-force commitment to winning is to sign free-agent-to-be Manny Machado...

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Top Mets prospects Peter Alonso and Andres Gimenez both homered in the Arizona Fall Leauge on Wednesday night while playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Alonso, the No. 58 prospect in baseball according to MLB.com, finished a triple shy of the cycle. He had an infield single in the first inning, doubled to left in the third, homered to left in the sixth, and walked in the eighth. The 23-year-old went 2-for-4 on Tuesday in what was his first game with Scottsdale. 

After doing work on Wednesday, Alonso took time out to meet some of his smallest fans... 

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Dominic Smith (22) Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
Dominic Smith (22) Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

Players in a local softball league game at DeWitt Clinton Park in Manhattan were greeted by a surprise guest on Tuesday night:  Dom Smith.

The 23-year-old Smith met the players, signed autographs, took photos, and even had pinch-hit in the softball game, reports Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. 

Click below to see...

Tags: Dominic Smith
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Cleveland Indians General Manager Mike Chernoff answers a question at an Indians end of season news conference in Cleveland, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Phil Long) (Phil Long/AP)
Cleveland Indians General Manager Mike Chernoff answers a question at an Indians end of season news conference in Cleveland, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Phil Long) (Phil Long/AP)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | As the Mets continue to speak with people about replacing Sandy Alderson as head of baseball operations -- some in person this week in New York, and some less formally -- multiple major league sources said that Cleveland GM Mike Chernoff is among the candidates.

Chernoff, 37, has worked in Cleveland with former team president, and current Toronto Blue Jays president, Mark Shapiro, and current Indians president Chris Antonetti. Both are close with Omar Minaya. Chernoff is the son of Mark Chernoff, VP of programming for WFAN.

This first round of "interviews" has taken many forms, from sit-downs in New York to informal telephone conversations. Mets brass has been very active in pursuing conversations with many people in the game, soliciting thoughts about their direction.

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BNNY interviews for Mets GM 00:06:49
Doug Williams and Jim Duquette interview Sal Licata and Jon Hein for Mets GM, to see if their visions are the right ones for the Mets

The Mets have been actively seeking a new GM to take over for next season and beyond, and the "Baseball Night in New York" crew wanted to take their shot at winning the job. 

Sal Licata and Jon Hein met with Doug Williams and former Mets GM Jim Duquette to discuss what they believe is the path the Mets must take to return to a championship contender....

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Aug 18, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores (4) puts the ball in New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) glove after the last out in the ninth inning of the game at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
Aug 18, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores (4) puts the ball in New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) glove after the last out in the ninth inning of the game at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

The Mets have nine arbitration-eligible players this offseason. Six of them are locks to be offered arbitration, and three of them have a more uncertain Mets future.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, here's what they're projected to make if offered arbitration, and what the rest of their contract situation is. We'll first tackle the locks to be offered arbitration, followed by the question marks...

Locks

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New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)

Before their season-ending 4-3 loss to the Red Sox Tuesday night in Game 4 of the ALDS, the Yankees put out a call for the 'Avengers' on Twitter, saying it was 'all on the line.'

Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard (AKA Thor), who has been voyaging around Europe -- where he became a Viking -- had a response to the Yankees on Wednesday morning.

Click below to see...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Luis Severino, Noah Syndergaard, Danny Abriano
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Feb 15, 2018; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals director player development Gary LaRocque uses his cell phone during workout drill at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 15, 2018; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals director player development Gary LaRocque uses his cell phone during workout drill at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Hall of Fame manager and current Red Sox executive Tony La Russa recently called the Mets to give a strong endorsement for Gary LaRocque, who the team is considering to fill their GM or president of baseball operations role.

"I don't want to disrespect anyone who is being considered, but there isn't going to be anyone who is better than [LaRocque]," La Russa told Mike Puma of the New York Post. "Whoever the best candidates are, he is right there at least tied with them."

Along with LaRocque, MLB executive Kim Ng, Nationals special assistant De Jon Watson, and Doug Melvin are being interviewed during Round 1 of the process. According to SNY's Andy Martino, the Mets are still open to agents Brodie Van Wagenen and Casey Close for one of the roles, along with at least one other unidentified candidate whose name has not been reported. 

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The Mets would be wise to sign at least one elite power hitter to play corner outfielder or third base, while also adding a top-tier relief pitcher to their bullpen. I talked with three insiders (currently working for teams that aren't the Mets) to better understand how this winter's top free agents at the above positions will be valued on the open market...

Manny Machado (Third base, shortstop)

As a third baseman and shortstop, Machado can expect to see offers worth as much $35 million per season, as opposed to $5 million less had be been marketing himself at only the hot corner. This is why he and his agent were so adamant about his playing shortstop this past season...

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Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | As the Mets interview candidates to lead their baseball operations department, they remain secretive about the early stages of their process. The view from here is that the situation will yet contain surprises, and what the team has called "outside the box" candidates -- and that a top agent like Brodie Van Wagenen or Casey Close is uniquely positioned to provide what the organization needs.

When Sandy Alderson stepped aside in June, the team lost a leader who brought together different departments, and served as a credible, articulate face of the team. That's why it would be wise to replace him with a person who has gravitas, a strong reputation in the game, and the ability to balance analytics with traditional scouting, rather than acting as a partisan to either side.

Both Van Wagenen and Close bring those qualities. The former is not only respected within the industry, but also enjoys a strong relationship with Mets hierarchy. A leading CAA agent, he represents Jacob deGrom, Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, Tim Tebow and Todd Frazier, and knows the organization well. He has been able to navigate negotiations without conflict or grudge, and communicate with the public smoothly, when appropriate...

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Ron Darling (AP)
Ron Darling (AP)

John Harper, for SNY.tv | Twitter | 

A day later, despite denials from all involved on the Yankees' side, Ron Darling is standing by his comments that Luis Severino appeared to be late for his warm-up before Monday night's ALDS Game 3 loss to the Red Sox. 

"It seemed unusual to me," Darling told SNY by phone on Tuesday. "That's why I brought it up. A lot of people can disagree, but, really, I don't know how they could."

Darling, the former Met who does analysis on Mets' games for SNY, told a national audience during TBS' broadcast that he saw Severino begin throwing off the bullpen mound at 7:32 p.m., eight minutes before the game was scheduled to start. 

Tags: Luis Severino, John Harper
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SNY, the home of all things New York sports and the cable home of the New York Mets, will be expanding their sponsorship of The Queens Baseball Convention (QBC), the fan-run event taking place on January 19, 2019 at Katch Astoria.

For the first time, SNY will bring Baseball Night in New York to the QBC, doing a live version of the show in front of Mets fans from across the region. Also making their debut at the QBC will be SNY's Shea Anything podcast.

In addition to SNY panels, the QBC will host player Q&A sessions, autograph signings, games, vendors, and mascot appearances.

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Oct 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer shakes hands with staff members before game three of the 2016 World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)
Oct 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer shakes hands with staff members before game three of the 2016 World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)

In the days after Sandy Alderson stepped down as GM due to health reasons, I mentioned how the Mets should not just hire a GM, but also hire a President of Baseball Operations to set short-term goals for the GM and staff, all of which should be based on a clear, longer-term strategy.

Four of the five teams currently using this hierarchy (Red Sox, A's, Dodgers and Cubs) made the postseason this year. It's a successful structure because it separates the day-to-day networking, media updates, transaction management and paperwork from the big picture concepts, communicating with ownership and the restructuring and overseeing of all new and existing departments.

The other advantage to interviewing for a more senior-level position is that it more or less assures the Mets the opportunity to talk with current lower-level executives from with other teams...

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Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; St. Lucie Mets pitcher Justin Dunn (19) delivers a pitch. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; St. Lucie Mets pitcher Justin Dunn (19) delivers a pitch. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Mets right-handed pitching prospect Justin Dunn rebounded from a rough 2017 season, dominating in High-A St. Lucie before a promotion to Double-A Binghamton this past season, and is now ranked as one of the Top 100 Prospects (No. 89) in baseball, according to MLB.com

So what was the difference for the 23-year-old?

John Sickels of SB Nation points to Dunn's improved strikeout-to-walk rate and the advancement of his secondary pitches...

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Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Mets will interview Nationals special assistant De Jon Watson for their GM job next Wednesday, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Watson joined the Nats as part of their pro scouting department in January of 2017 as a special assistant to GM Mike Rizzo.

Prior to joining the Nats, Watson was the senior vice president of baseball operations for the Diamondbacks, where he oversaw their scouting and player development departments while working in tandem with Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart.

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SS Andres Gimenez (No. 55), 1B Peter Alonso (No. 58), OF Jarred Kelenic (No. 62), and RHP Justin Dunn (No. 89) all moved up on MLB.com's new Top 100 prospects list.

Gimenez was No. 60, Alonso No. 65. Kelenic No. 69, and Dunn No. 100 on the midseason list. 

In the middle of the season, Baseball America's new farm system rankings had the Mets as the No. 19 overall system in baseball, up from No. 27 before the season...

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Feb 14, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view of a New York Mets hat and glove on the grass during a workout at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 14, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view of a New York Mets hat and glove on the grass during a workout at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets will begin interviewing candidates to succeed Sandy Alderson as head of baseball operations early next week, according to a major league source. The team has received permission to speak to enough candidates to begin the process.

COO Jeff Wilpon and assistant GM John Ricco will conduct the first round of interviews.

As of late Thursday, the only interview scheduled was with Cardinals executive Gary LaRocque. Former Brewers GM Doug Melvin will also get an interview.

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Dan Duquette, who was dismissed Wednesday as GM of the Orioles (along with manager Buck Showalter) will not receive an interview to be the Mets' GM/president of baseball operations, according to SNY's Andy Martino.

The 60-year-old Duquette's name is one that had been floated in recent months as a potential replacement for Sandy Alderson. 

Duquette had been GM of the Orioles since 2011, after stints as GM of the Red Sox (1994-2002), Expos (1987-1994) and Brewers (1980-87).

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Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Mets ace Jacob deGrom was unanimously named 2018's Baseball Digest Pitcher of the Year, it was announced Thursday.

"It's a great honor," deGrom said in a press release. "I had a simple philosophy this season - to take it pitch-by-pitch and inning-by-inning. It was my job to put up zeros and that's what I tried to do. I tried to control what I could control. What I'm most proud of this year was my consistency."

DeGrom received all 15 first place votes while racking up 45 points. Max Scherzer was his closest competition (with 18 points), followed by Blake Snell, Justin Verlander, Aaron Nola, and Chris Sale

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Danny Abriano
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Oct 10, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington watches the team during a workout at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)
Oct 10, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington watches the team during a workout at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter | Almost immediately after Sandy Alderson stepped aside as Mets GM in June, speculation began that former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington would become a leading candidate. But as the Mets begin their interview process, Cherington is not expected to be a part of it, according to major league sources.

Cherington did not respond to a request for comment, and the Mets are not confirming or denying any names. People in the game who know Cherington say that he is happy in his job in the Toronto Blue Jays front office, and not eager to leave it.

The Mets have already scheduled several interviews. Their first round of candidates could include as many as a dozen people.

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Jun 23, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; A general view of the field prior to the game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jun 23, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; A general view of the field prior to the game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

As the early rounds of the baseball postseason occupy most of our attention, the Mets will quietly begin meeting with candidates for their next head of baseball operations. As we've previously reported, they are not necessarily looking for a general manager, but possibly for a president or executive vice president of baseball ops.

Here's how the process will work, according to sources: The team will soon begin interviewing candidates, but does not plan to announce names or publicize this round of interviews, which could grow to include nearly a dozen people.

A second round of interviews is expected to follow, as it did in 2010, when the Mets narrowed their search to Sandy Alderson and Josh Byrnes. By then, the process will be more public.

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New York Mets' Noah Syndergaard (34) delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (AP)
New York Mets' Noah Syndergaard (34) delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (AP)

Noah Syndergaard is frolicking around Ireland, and he gave Mets fans a shock Wednesday when he posted a photo on Instagram of him in the barber's chair.

Before Syndergaard could reveal the finished result -- he got a bit taken off the sides as he prepares for a role as a Viking in a History Channel show (yes, that's really happening), fans took to Twitter to freak out over the possibility that Thor was having all of his locks chopped off.

Click below to see...

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Danny Abriano
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