CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Mets Hot Stove: Zack Wheeler 00:04:56
Gary Apple interviews Zack Wheeler, who is in Port St. Lucie rehabbing and preparing for his return at some point during 2016.

Noah Syndergaard and the New York Mets watch from the dugout in Game 5 of the World Series at Citi Field. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
Noah Syndergaard and the New York Mets watch from the dugout in Game 5 of the World Series at Citi Field. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

When the New York Mets face the Kansas City Royals to open the 2016 season, the Royals will celebrate their World Series victory twice, according to MLB.com's Jeffrey Flanagan.

In a rematch of last year's Fall Classic, the Royals will raise their World Series banner on opening night, April 3, on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. For their second game of the season, the Royals will hold a ring ceremony on April 5, at 4:15 p.m. for their local partner, FOX Sports Kansas City, to air.

"We decided to move the ring ceremony to the second game of the season so our entire fan base could feel like they are a part of it," Royals Senior VP of Business Operations Kevin Uhlich said in a statement, as reported by KMBC. "While it's great that ESPN has selected our season opener for their first primetime telecast, only our fans in attendance would have the opportunity to witness the entire ring ceremony. By moving the ceremony to Tuesday, our partners at FOX Sports Kansas City can carry the ring presentation in its entirety for all fans to see."

After opening the season with two games in Kansas City, the Mets will host the Royals for a two-game series at Citi Field on June 21 and June 22.

Tags: Kansas City Royals

The Mets have signed outfielder Roger Bernadina to a minor league deal with an invite to major league spring training, the team announced.

Bernadina, 31, played in parts of seven major league seasons, from 2008-2014, with a majority of those years spent with the Washington Nationals.

In 2015, Bernadina played in 119 games and batted .276 with 18 doubles, 15 home runs, 62 RBI and 20 stolen bases with Triple-A Albuquerque of the Colorado Rockies organization. 

He last played in the majors in 2014, with the Cincinnatti Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers, where he hit .167 with a .304 OBP and .258 SLG over 80 plate appearances.


 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

RH reliever Tyler Clippard has agreed to a two-year deal with the Diamondbacks worth $12.25 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (Feb. 8).

Clippard, 30, was acquired by the Mets from the A's last July in exchange for RHP prospect Casey Meisner.

Clippard had a 3.06 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 32 1/3 innings (32 games) with the Mets during the 2015 regular season, but he struggled in September and in the postseason.

After posting a 6.59 ERA in September, Clippard had a 6.75 ERA in eight postseason appearances.

The Mets reportedly had some interest in bringing Clippard back, but GM Sandy Alderson said last week that the team was done handing out major league deals this offseason.

Tags: Tyler Clippard

 (Justin Kase Conder-US PRESSWIRE)
(Justin Kase Conder-US PRESSWIRE)

Yulieski Gurriel and Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. have defected from Cuba in order to pursue contracts with major league teams, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com (Feb. 8).

Yulieski and Lourdes, who are brothers, were viewed as two of the top players in Cuba.

Before being able to sign in the majors, both players will need approval by the league.

Yulieski, a 31-year-old third baseman who is viewed as an above average defender, has hit .333 with a .414 OBP and .577 SLG during his career in Cuba.

Lourdes, a 22-year-old who plays shortstop and the outfield, has hit .269 with a .355 OBP and .414 SLG in 1,036 plate appearances in Cuba.

Andrew Vazzano, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

In December 2014, Sandy Alderson said he might soon look to test the international free agent waters (MetsBlog, Dec. 2014).

"We haven't been in that category, but I expect we will be in that category soon," he said.

Over a year later, the Mets are still yet to dip into that category -- and I wouldn't expect them to do so anytime soon.

Alderson & Co. seem content on sticking to the draft and trades for adding and developing players. They've since gone out and added to the team with major league free agents, over the last year, but the international market is still -- sorry -- foreign to them.

If the Mets did look at either of them, the younger Gurriel might be a great fit for them, with the ability to play shortstop for New York longterm. But, again, I wouldn't hold your breath.


MetsBlog Round Table: Young Guns 00:06:24
In the latest installment of The MetsBlog Round Table, brought to you by RAM, the guys discuss the future of the Mets starting rotation.

In the latest installment of The MetsBlog Round Table, brought to you by Ram, the guys discuss the future of the Mets starting rotation.

For Part I, on the team's payroll and Matt Harvey, click here.

Tags: Jacob deGrom , Matt Harvey , Noah Syndergaard , Steven Matz , Zack Wheeler

Baseball Night in NY: Questions 00:08:22
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson answers questions from Mets fans.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson spoke about how the Mets will likely handle the team's young pitching staff coming off a World Series appearance, the acquisition of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and more on "Baseball Night in New York" on Friday.

After the Mets pitched into November for the first time in franchise history, Alderson said it's likely the coaching staff will ease pitchers like Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom into the swing of things for the first few spring training games so they can approach the regular season differently.

While Harvey and his innings limit were a significant topic last season, Alderson said the team won't focus on the quantity of innings each pitcher throws this season.

"We don't really have innings limits on our guys going into next season, but I think we need to be mindful of their health so it's not just a matter of counting innings," Alderson said. "It's really about keeping guys healthy and strong with the possibility they'll go late in October."

In addition to talking about how Cespedes will fit into the lineup, Alderson said it's more likely the Mets will add bullpen arms internally rather than signing a free agent.

"I don't think we'll be seeing additional major league contracts over the next couple of weeks," Alderson said.


Toby Hyde and Rob Brender are joined by Jonathan Mayo from MLB.com to talk about the four Mets prospects recently ranked in MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospect List. 

They break down Steven Matz, Dominic Smith, Amed Rosario and Gavin Cecchini, as well as other players who will be on the team's upcoming Top 30 List later this month.

Tags: Steven Matz

Second baseman Neil Walker (18) takes batting practice before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)
Second baseman Neil Walker (18) takes batting practice before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

New Mets second baseman Neil Walker consider himself a "grinder" in the vein of Daniel Murphy, he told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post (Feb. 5).

"My style of baseball is kind of similar to Murph's,'' Walker said. "I've always considered myself as an athlete and a guy who pays attention to the small details. My game is not the prettiest.''

Walker also discussed his football-playing days, where he had offers from Division I schools to play.

Andrew Vazzano, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

It seems that Mets fans who have grown accustomed to Murphy manning second base over the last decade will be in familiar territory when Walker takes the field this season.

In Walker, they'll find a Murphy with less consistency at the plate, but more power. They'll also find a more refined defender in the field, as Walker has played almost exclusively at second in the majors, and the majority of the time in the minors.

So... Who's with No. 20?

Tags: Daniel Murphy

MetsBlog Round Table: Payroll 00:08:23
On the first installment of The MetsBlog Round Table, the guys discuss the club's payroll situation and the financial future of Matt Harvey.

In the first installment of The MetsBlog Round Table, brought to you by Ram, Matthew Cerrone, Marc Carig, Pete McCarthy and Anthony DiComo discuss the club's payroll situation and the financial future of Matt Harvey.

Tags: Matt Harvey

Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (18) fields a ground ball during the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. (Chris Humphreys)
Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (18) fields a ground ball during the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. (Chris Humphreys)

Neil Walker has been ranked the seventh-best second baseman in the Major Leagues by the MLB Network.

The rankings take into account both offensive and defensive metrics, along with 2016 projections.

Walker, 30, was acquired this offseason from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Jon Niese.

Last season he hit .269 with 16 home runs and 71 RBIs with Pittsburgh.

Manager Terry Collins recently stated that he has Walker penciled in to bat fifth for the Mets this upcoming season. 

Jose Altuve, Robinson Cano, Joe Panik, Ian Kinsler, Josh Harrison and Ben Zobrist ranked above Walker. Daniel Murphy, whom Walker is replacing, did not rank in the top-10. 

Tags: Tim Reilly

 (Brad Barr)
(Brad Barr)

The Mets are eyeing July 1 as RHP Zack Wheeler's return to the majors from Tommy John surgery >> Read more

Catchers Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki will likely get time at other positions during Spring Training >> Read more

The Mets are willing to consider long-term contract extensions for their young starting pitchers >> Read more

The Mets plan to use a sixth starter occasionally this season >> Read more

RHP Matt Harvey said that Jayson Werth is the Bane to his Batman >> Read more

LH reliever Antonio Bastardo said that he'll pitch whenever Terry Collins wants >> Read more


Tags: Kevin Plawecki , Matt Harvey , Travis d'Arnaud , Zack Wheeler

Players would not be able to bring smokeless tobacco at Citi Field if a New York City councilman gets his way. (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)
Players would not be able to bring smokeless tobacco at Citi Field if a New York City councilman gets his way. (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)

Smokeless tobacco would be banned at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium under a bill that will be introduced Friday at a New York City Council meeting, according to the New York Times (Feb. 6).

New York would join Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston, all of which have banned smokeless tobacco both on the field and in the clubhouse.

Councilman Corey Johnson will introduce the bill.

"If New York passes this bill, and I think it will, it moves us dramatically closer to the day when smokeless tobacco is prohibited in all major league cities," said Matthew Myers, the president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The Times reported the Yankees and Mets have told Johnson that they would support the bill, and the councilman is confident that the full Council will support it. 

Johnson is pushing to have the bill quickly approved so it could be signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in time for Opening Day.

Major League Baseball has long tried banning smokeless tobacco, but the players' union has opposed doing so during collective bargaining. The union did not comment; MLB said in a statement  it supports the legislation.

The Mets' David Wright, who does not use smokless tobacco, told the Times: "On one hand, I would argue we are adults and that's a choice we choose to make. On the other hand, we are role models and the last thing we want is for an underage kid to begin using because they watched their favorite players do it."


Mets Hot Stove: Antonio Bastardo 00:05:08
Mets reliever Antonio Bastardo speaks with Gary Apple about his relationship with Jeurys Familia and the club's heightened expectations.

In January, the Mets gave a two-year, $12 million deal to free-agent LH reliever Antonio Bastardo, who told the NY Post's Kevin Kernan that he's willing to pitch whenever he is needed.

"I know the Mets needed help and that is why I signed here,'' Bastardo, 30, told Kernan on Wednesday. "I want to make it so Jeurys Familia is fresh in the ninth inning. Four outs is a lot of work for the closer. You want him fresh for that winning situation in the ninth.''

Bastardo was 4-1 with a 2.98 ERA last season, during which left-handed batters hit .138 against him, while righties hit just .210.

"I'm totally fine facing lefties or righties,'' he told Kernan. "I feel the more I pitch the better I get. During the season you never know what situation you can face.''


To read more about his no-nonsense approach, his history with Familia, and working out with Steven Matz in Port St. Lucie, check out Kernan's article for the Post.


Brian ErniTwitter | Archive Posts

What's up with all the hate for Lucas Duda? I keep reading how he's unstable and he regressed last year. He was slowed down by an unsightly June and July, where he hit below the Mendoza line, but there was practically no one else in the lineup. And, in August and September, once the Mets started trotting out real MLB players, he hit .259 with a.380 OBP, nine HR, and 28 RBIs. I know he's streaky, but I feel like if he was on any other team we'd be figuring out how the Mets could trade for him instead of counting down the days until Dominic Smith replaces him.


Matthew Cerrone
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | About Me

It's purely emotional and slightly irrational. And, I'm as guilty as the next guy. I know you're right, Brian. Duda is valuable, has power and he works hard to always be better. It's also worth noting he has a good sense of humor -- often at the expense of Curtis Granderson.

He's just so hit or miss in the batter's box, and it's frustrating.

It's not just last season, but also the year before. It 'feels' like he's either on fire for a few weeks or ice cold for months. I have no idea if that's true, but it's what I think when I see him.

It probably also doesn't help that we constantly hear Terry Collins and SNY announcers -- and Duda himself -- talking about how he's always searching for his timing, or how he's out of rhythm. Yes, when he finds it, he can hit a dozen home runs in a week. But during the time in between he is totally missing in action. Anyway, again, this may not be as drastic as the actual statistics bear out, but it's almost certainly why some fans -- myself included sometimes -- question whether he's the long-term answer at first base.


Maggie Wiggin Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | About Me

Despite Duda's reputation, he has emerged as one of the top power hitters of the past two seasons, with his 57 home runs ranking fourth in the National League during that stretch. He'll never hit for average, that's just not part of his game, but he maintains a high walk rate even during bad stretches, which means he is rarely a black hole at the plate.

As Matt mentioned, the argument against Duda is his streakiness in 2015, but some really interesting research over at Fangraphs suggests that a streaky season does not mean the next season will also be streaky. In fact, the evidence shows that streakiness may be entirely random, and not a trait specific to certain hitters.

Streaky or not, players who hit 60 extra-base hits a year are rare in baseball these days (even more rare are those who do it while missing 25 games). One year ago, Pablo Sandoval received a contract for $95 million despite falling short of Duda in nearly all respects simply because of the potential he'll display the kind of power Duda has already displayed.

Duda is at his physical peak and coming off two straight .800+ OPS seasons. Instead of counting the days until he goes on the market and starts hitting 30 homers a year for someone else, worried fans should enjoy the show!

Tags: Lucas Duda , Brian Erni , Maggie Wiggin , Matthew Cerrone

 (Jeff Curry)
(Jeff Curry)

The Mets plan to use Sean Gilmartin and/or Logan Verrett as a sixth starter occasionally during the first half of the season, GM Sandy Alderson told reporters on Wednesday.

Alderson said that no one in the starting rotation is under a pitch limit or innings restriction, but noted that it's wise to space out starts and get extra rest when possible for the staff.

Including the postseason, of the Mets' expected starting rotation in 2016, all but Bartolo Colon reached career-highs in innings last season.

Matt Harvey, in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, had 216 innings pitched, as did Jacob deGrom. Noah Syndergaard tossed 198.2 innings between Triple-A Las Vegas and the Mets, and Steven Matz had 155.2 innings combined between Double-A Binghamton, Triple-A, and the Mets.

 

Tags: Jacob deGrom , Logan Verrett , Matt Harvey , Noah Syndergaard , Sean Gilmartin , Steven Matz

Matt Harvey told NBC's Seth Myers that Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth is his biggest nemesis on a baseball field.

"It was before I ever made the team during Spring Training and Jayson Werth hit one of the biggest and longest home runs off of me that I've ever seen," Harvey explained on air to the late-night host. "It still hasn't landed. … I think that's one my teammates will remember for a long time. He's probably my Bane."

Harvey did not shy away from reports that he frequently goes on dates with models.

"Every married guy on my team asks me to tell them my stories," he said. "I pitch once every five days, and they want to know what I do on my other four. I'm young and I'm having fun."

Tags: Matt Harvey

Mets pitchers Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. (Jeff Curry/USATSI)
Mets pitchers Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. (Jeff Curry/USATSI)

Now that most of this offseason's business is complete, the New York Mets may turn their attention to long-term deals for the hard-throwing young starting pitchers who helped the team reach the World Series last year for the first time since 2000.

Matt HarveyJacob deGromNoah Syndergaard and Steven Matz brought excitement back to Citi Field, and Zack Wheeler is expected to return to the Mets around July 1 following Tommy John surgery.

"When you're talking about long-term deals with younger players, there needs to be sort of a mutual interest in doing so," general manager Sandy Alderson said Wednesday. "And typically we find out about that mutual interest a little bit later, closer to spring training or even in spring training. So, we'll just see if that happens."

Harvey, who turns 27 in March, was the only one of the young starters eligible for arbitration this winter and agreed to a one-year deal for $4,325,000. He can become a free agent after the 2018 season.

His agent, Scott Boras, usually recommends his clients become free agents and let the market set their value.

"I'm Dumbo the elephant when it comes to listening to ideas. I've got big ears," Boras said. "We've seen in the last 18 months starting pitching reach new values that are in the 30s and now in the mid-30s (million dollars) in average annual value."

Zack Greinke agreed to a $206.5 million, six-year contract with Arizona, and David Price got a $217 million, seven-year deal with Boston. Both were free agents

Jacob deGrom, the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, turns 28 in June. He could be eligible for arbitration next winter and could become a free agent following the 2020 season.

Noah Syndergaard (24 in August) and Steven Matz (25 in May) could become free agents after the 2021 season. Wheeler (26 in May) could become a free agent following the 2019 season.

"We'd love to keep them all, and we just have to make sure that we're providing for that as we go forward," Alderson said. "We recognize there's a `quote' window, but we want to have a sustainable operation beyond that. So this is not about being all in in a three- or four-year cycle and then back to bust."

Alderson spoke at a news conference where outfielder Yoenis Cespedes discussed his decision to stay with the Mets for $75 million over three years. He can choose to opt out and become a free agent again next offseason after earning $27.5 million this year.

Cespedes said several teams were willing to offer him a five-year deal.

"Sometimes we have a habit - we do in an organization and fans as well - of thinking about the guys we have now, but thinking more about when we're going to lose them than enjoying the moment," Alderson said. "That moment hopefully lasts two, three, four, five years. But I think maybe if the Cespedes signing says anything, is that there are no possibilities that will be dismissed out of hand strictly for financial reasons."

Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press

 

Tags: Jacob deGrom , Matt Harvey , Noah Syndergaard , Steven Matz , Zack Wheeler

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) and New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) walk in from the bullpen before the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. (Brad Penner)
New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) and New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) walk in from the bullpen before the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. (Brad Penner)

Matt Harvey went on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Wednesday and said he sometimes mistakes Jacob deGrom for a woman in the locker room.

"When he first got called up, we were locker mates, and I would walk into the locker room ... and then seeing just hair over the back of the chair, I was getting a little concerned that there was a lady sitting next to my locker," Harvey said. 

"He's got good flow," Harvey said of deGrom.

 

Tags: Jacob deGrom , Matt Harvey

GEICO Sportsnite: Mets 00:00:18
Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud reacts to the team's re-signing of Yoenis Cespedes and looks forward to the 2016 season.

Mets catchers Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki will test out playing other positions during spring training, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters on Wednesday.

Alderson expects both players to get work at first base, where Wilmer Flores is expected to be the primary backup to Lucas Duda.

"I can see d'Arnaud playing one or two other positions," Alderson said. "If you look at the team that we had (before signing Cespedes), it was predicated on depth and flexibility, matchups, taking advantage of strengths, minimizing weaknesses. So using those two catchers in a couple of other positions potentially would fit into that scheme."

Plawecki played first base 20 times in the minor leagues, including 18 starts. D'Arnaud has mostly played catcher, though he did get two starts at first base during a brief assignment in Triple-A.

Tags: Kevin Plawecki , Travis d'Arnaud , Matthew Cerrone

The Mets are eyeing July 1 as a return date for Zack Wheeler, Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters Wednesday.

Wheeler underwent successful surgery to repair the flexor pronator tendon and reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow last March.

"It could accelerate a little bit, but we feel real comfortable with that," Alderson said. "He felt that he could have come back sooner than that, but we backed him off. So, he really hasn't thrown off a mound. He hasn't thrown off a slope. We just said, 'Let's cool it.'"

Wheeler has repeatedly told media this winter that he expects to be back pitching for the Mets as early as June.

However, thanks to lessons learned from Matt Harvey's experience returning from a similar surgery, Alderson said the organization plans to adhere to a similar 15-month rehab program for Wheeler.

According to Alderson, Wheeler should advance to throwing off a mound sooner than later.

Tags: Zack Wheeler , Matthew Cerrone

 (Dale Zanine)
(Dale Zanine)

The Mets introduced recently-signed OF Yoenis Cespedes during a press conference at Citi Field >> Read more

The Mets avoided arbitration with RH reliever Jeurys Familia, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $4.1 million >> Read more

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said the team has room in its budget to add payroll during the season >> Read more

Alderson said that both Michael Conforto and Alejandro De Aza will likely see time in right field during Spring Training >> Read more

The Mets will wear their 1986 uniforms as alternates multiple times in 2016 >> Read more


Tags: Jeurys Familia , Michael Conforto , Yoenis Cespedes

 (David Goldman/AP)
(David Goldman/AP)

The Mets have avoided arbitration with RH reliever Jeurys Familia, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $4.1 million, according to Jon Heyman (Feb. 3)

With Familia under contract, the Mets have settled with all of their arbitration-eligible players.

Familia, 26, had a 1.85 ERA and 1.00 WHIP last season while saving 43 games and striking out 86 batters in 78 innings pitched.

In four seasons with the Mets, Familia has posted a 2.42 ERA and 1.17 WHIP while striking out 8.9 batters per nine innings.

Familia will be arbitration eligible during the next two offseasons and is eligible for free agency in 2019.

Tags: Jeurys Familia

Mets C Plawecki ready for 2016 00:01:22
Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki speaks with SNY about the team's World Series run and preparing for the 2016 season.

Kevin Plawecki, already down in Port St. Lucie for spring training, talked about the team's run to the World Series in 2015 and what he's looking forward to in this upcoming season.

Plawecki, along with Travis d'Arnaud, may see some time at other positions outside of catcher, GM Sandy Alderson said on Wednesday.


In honor of the 30th anniversary of their last World Championship, the Mets will wear their 1986 uniforms multiple times throughout this season, according to ESPN New York's Adam Rubin.



Matthew Cerrone
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | About Me

This is great news. The thing I love about the '80s racing stripes were how they highlighted player movement. As a kid trying to learn the game, seeing that zigging and zagging outside line, like a border, down the shoulder, over the belt loop, down the leg, all one edge, helped to crystallize how these men created power, speed and precision. It made for a trackable line to follow, which was burned in to my memory.

Last year, I learned that artist and Mets fan Joe Petruccio, who most Mets fans know from his work on NY Mets Journal, is the man who designed the iconic uniforms. He is also an outstanding painter, doing official work for Muhammed Ali and others, which you can see and purchase here.

"That first I year I started going to Spring Training, Mookie Wilson was there as a rookie. And, I noticed the speed of this guy. He would just go down the line and I'd watch him from the side and he looked like a gazelle, like a jaguar, the way he ran, the way his form was so unbelievable. I had never really been that close to somebody who ran that fast before," Petruccio explained to me. "I thought to myself, the line his body creates when he runs is beautiful. That's why I put that line there. I didn't want to stray too far from the classic uniform. So, I thought, if I put this line down the side it will give them a sense of speed and lengthen their body and make them look real long when they're running or leaping or throwing it will give a whole line to the body. It really worked nicely."


New York Mets' Juan Lagares (12) and Curtis Granderson (3) celebrate after Game 1 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in New York. (David J. Phillip/AP)
New York Mets' Juan Lagares (12) and Curtis Granderson (3) celebrate after Game 1 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in New York. (David J. Phillip/AP)

New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson spoke with the media following a press conference to formally announce the re-signing of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. He fielded questions as to how the Mets will use their outfield corps next season.

The Mets projected outfield has Michael Conforto in left, Cespedes in center and Curtis Granderson in right. With outfielders Juan Lagares and Alejandro De Aza serving as the fourth and fifth options off the bench.

Aldserson was asked who would serve as the teams other options in right field behind Granderson. He replied that they will "play it by ear," but did add that Conforto and De Aza will see time there during Spring Training.

While Lagares is expected to serve as a late-inning defensive replacement in center and as a spot starter this season, De Aza's role is less uncertain. Alderson said that De Aza's role with the Mets became "a little less clear" with the addition of Cespedes and that the possibility of him being traded is still "conceivable." 

Cespedes said that the Mets have not approached him about the possibility of playing some right field this season. However, he stated his willingness to do whatever is deemed best for the team.

"I'll do whatever the team asks of me," Cespedes said regarding where he will play in the field.

De Aza leads the group with 74 career games played in right field, while Lagares has appeared in only 16 games there. Cespedes and Conforto have never played right field before. 

Tags: Curtis Granderson , Juan Lagares , Michael Conforto , Yoenis Cespedes , Tim Reilly

Cespedes on new deal with Mets 00:03:24
Doug Williams speaks with Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes about his new contract and what led him back to the team.

The Mets welcomed Yoenis Cespedes back to the Mets at a press conference at Citi Field on Wednesday. 

"The foundation of the agreement we reached was his very strong desire to come back to New York," Alderson said. "In that sense, he's the MVP of this entire transaction."

Cespedes, 30, and the Mets agreed to a three-year, $75 million deal that includes a player opt-out clause for 2016. 

"I'm very happy to be putting my Mets jersey on again," he said through an interpreter. "I know that this team has everything it needs to continue what we started last season."

In the event Cespedes opts out of his contract after this season, he will earn $27.5 million. However, if he doesn't opt out, his salary becomes $25 million for all three seasons.

"I'm really excited to be here for the next three years," Cespedes said.

Here are a few things learned during today's event with Cespedes, Alderson and Wilpon...

  1. Cespedes said he knew he wanted to return to the Mets from the minute he arrived, especially given the support he saw from his teammates and fans.
  2. Cespedes said he no longer feels much difference playing in the National League compared to the American League.
  3. It's important to him that he and his teammates finish what they started in 2016.
  4. The team has all the tools needed to get back to the World Series.

In 57 games with the Mets last season, after being acquired at the trade deadline, Cespedes hit .287 with a .604 slugging, 17 home runs, 14 doubles and 44 RBI.

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes

Sandy's expectations for 2016 00:03:09
Doug Williams speaks with Mets general manager Sandy Alderson about re-signing Yoenis Cespedes and his expectations for the upcoming season.

Mets ownership has told its front office that there is room in their budget to make acquisitions during the season, Sandy Alderson told SNY on Wednesday.

By agreeing to pay at least $25 million to Yoenis Cespedes for 2016, Alderson pushed his team's spending on players back to where it was before he joined the franchise in 2011.

Alderson later said that it may depend on how the Mets play during the season to see if they're willing to add to payroll with an addition through a trade.

Last season, the Mets added around $15-20 million to their payroll throughout the year, including trading for Cespedes, Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, Tyler Clippard and others.


Steven Matz talks 2016 00:01:31
Mets left-handed pitcher Steven Matz looks to improve upon a strong 2015 season.

Mets rookie LH starting pitcher Steven Matz recently arrived in Port St. Lucie where he plans to work on remaining healthy in 2016, he told the NY Post's Kevin Kernan earlier this week.

Matz, 24, debuted with the Mets last season going 4-0 in six regular season starts, during which he missed time with a torn lat muscle, back stiffness and a blister on his finger.

He returned to make one start in each round of the postseason, allowing just six runs in 14 innings, while striking out 13 batters.

According to Matz, in addition to conditioning, he's also working to hold runners better, while mastering his pitches from the stretch.

"We all want to get back to the World Series, but you really have to take it one step at a time,'' Matz told Kernan.


Matthew Cerrone
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | About Me

Matz has a real good chance to win this year's NL Rookie of the Year award. I expect him to win at least 10 games with an ERA under 3.00. This, plus continuing to strike out 20 percent of the batters he faces, should at least put him in the conversation. Also in his favor is that he shouldn't be on any sort of innings limit, despite it being his first full season in the big leagues. Last year he tossed 155 innings, so he should be able to touch 200 innings if he remains healthy and successful.



I'm very interested to see how this team handles the rotation if Zack Wheeler looks good when returning from the disabled list in July. It's very unlikely everyone stays healthy. But if they are, if they're rolling, if by July the Mets have access to six starting pitchers (Matz, Wheeler, Bartolo Colon, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom), what will they do? Will they stick, go with six guys, give them rest and cover themselves in case of emergency? Or, will they pull the trigger on a trade to help another area of need? For instance, do they deal Colon, who is a free agent after this season, for a bullpen arm? Or, perhaps Colon simply slides to the bullpen? Or, do they circle back with interested teams and talk Matz or Wheeler for an impact hitter?



To read more about Matz's life-changing charity trip to Honduras, and the country music career of his girlfriend, Taylor Cain, check out Kernan's report in the NY Post.


New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) in the top of the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (David Zalubowski/AP)
New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) in the top of the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (David Zalubowski/AP)

Yoenis Cespdes will address the media at a 1 p.m. news conference today at Citi Field.

It will be the first time he has talked with reporters since signing with the Mets.

Cespedes and the Mets agreed last week to three-year, $75 million deal that includes an opt-out after 2016. He will earn $27.5 million this season.


The press conference will air live on SNY.


Earlier this week, Toby Hyde and Rob Brender celebrated the signing of Cespedes by talking with WFAN's Ed Coleman, who joined the show to talk about the big news, how it shapes the clubhouse and a whole new outlook for the 2016 season.

"There is a misconception about why Cespedes has played for four teams," Coleman said. "Cespedes was never a problem in the clubhouse last season; he got along very well with everybody on the team."

 

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes

GEICO SportsNite: Steven Matz 00:01:02
GEICO SportsNite catches up with Mets pitcher Steven Matz in Port St. Lucie as he prepares for the 2016 season.

 (Anthony Gruppuso)
(Anthony Gruppuso)

RH reliever Vic Black said in a note posted on Twitter that his time with the Mets is over, but thanked the fans and the city of New York for the experience (Feb. 2).

"I didn't play for 10 years nor was I an All-star or contributor to last seasons amazing run BUT I'll never forget my time playing for the greatest fans/city in baseball," Black wrote. "From walking the streets of Manhattan, to riding the 7 Line daily to Citi Field I was given moments I'll remember for my lifetime."

Head here to read Black's note in full.

Black, 27, struggled with a variety of injuries last season while posting a 7.09 ERA and 2.18 WHIP in 26 2/3 innings for Triple-A Las Vegas.

In 2014, Black had a 2.60 ERA and 1.29 WHIP to go along with 32 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings for the Mets.

Black was acquired by the Mets from the Pirates in 2013 along with Dilson Herrera in exchange for Marlon Byrd and John Buck.


Wally Backman will return as manager of the Las Vegas 51s, New York's Triple-A affiliate, the team announced.

Frank Viola will again serve as Backman's pitching coach, with Jack Voigt returning as hitting coach.

"I'm excited to return to Las Vegas for my fourth season," Backman said. "I enjoy working with everyone in the 51s front office and look forward to another successful season in the Pacific Coast League. We have the potential to field another exciting team for the fans to watch and enjoy."

Backman, 56, is entering his fourth season in Las Vegas, where he was 77-67 last season. He was named the Pacific Coast League's Manager of the Year last in 2014. 

In his 13-year minor-league career, Backman is 840-757 (.525) with the Mets, White Sox and D-Backs organizations.

He has repeatedly told reporters that, while he's thankful to be managing at Triple-A, he still hopes to eventually become a big-league manager.

Tags: Matthew Cerrone

May 31, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pinch hitter Darrell Ceciliani (1) flies out during the seventh inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
           (Anthony Gruppuso)
May 31, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pinch hitter Darrell Ceciliani (1) flies out during the seventh inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

The Mets have traded OF Darrell Ceciliani to the Blue Jays for cash considerations.

Ceciliani, 25, had been designated for assignment last week to make room on the 40-man roster for Yoenis Cespedes.

He hit .206 with two extra base hits in just 75 at bats last season for the Mets.

Cecliani was selected by the Mets in the 4th round of the 2009 MLB amateur Draft.

In seven minor-league seasons, he hit .290 with a .354 OBP, .423 slugging and 125 stolen bases in 531 games, while playing mostly center field.



On the night of July 30, 2006, one day before that season's trade deadline, Mets reliever Duaner Sanchez suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during a late-night cab accident while traveling to a restaurant in Miami.

"I guess if I could do it again, I'd convince him to eat at the hotel," Mets assistant GM John Ricco recently told MLB.com's Anthony DiComo.



Sanchez emerged early in 2006 to be one of the league's elite set-up men with a 2.60 ERA in 49 appearances, including a 21-inning scoreless streak to start the season.

"Our bullpen was among the best in baseball at that point, and Duaner was a huge part of that," Ricco explained to DiComo. "Not only did we lose him, but it kind of changed our whole view of what we needed to do."

According to reports at that time, the Mets had been working to acquire another starting pitcher. However, after learning of Sanchez's accident, they reversed course and tried to find a new set-up man instead.

In the end, they acquired reliever Roberto Hernandez and starting pitcher Oliver Perez from the Pirates for outfielder Xavier Nady.

Sanchez returned to pitch in 2008. However, he struggled before retiring the following season, going 6-2 with 5.08 ERA and just 46 strike outs in the 69 innings after the car accident.


Matthew Cerrone
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | About Me

The Mets were trying to trade for Jason Schmidt, Roy Oswalt and Barry Zito, while offering Nady, Lastings Milledge, Aaron Heilman and others. I have no idea who was next on the list, but any would have been helpful later in the year when Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez were limping down the stretch.

Of course, Hernandez did well. And, though his name and contract eventually became a source of several headaches, Perez played an important role that postseason. So, it kind of, sort of worked out. But, there is no way to know if it would have gone better had that irresponsible drunk driver didn't sideswipe his journey to a restaurant the night before an off day.


Sep 2, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy (20) drives in two runs with a base hit in the fourth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports (Benny Sieu)
Sep 2, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy (20) drives in two runs with a base hit in the fourth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports (Benny Sieu)

The Nationals have reportedly expressed interest in trading for Brewers C Jonathan Lucroy, who recently said his team might be better served by dealing him for prospects.

However, according to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, the Nationals are on Lucroy's no-trade list, meaning he would have to approve a deal in order to play in Washington, DC.

Lucroy, 29, hit .264 with a .326 OBP, .391 slugging, seven home runs and 43 RBI in 103 games last season.


Matthew Cerrone Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | About Me

This would be a nice upgrade for the Nationals, who have struggled to significantly improve their team this winter. In fact, they've been spurned a lot, with Yoenis Cespedes, Jason Heyward and others all passing up their top offer. And, though this would be a trade, it seems Lucroy has a decision to make as well, since he would have to waive his no-trade clause and accept the deal.

The thing is, to do this, usually a player wants something in return, such as a new contract or extension. It's possible he simply asks Washington to rip up his option so he can become a free agent after this season. Or, he could look for them to create a totally new deal that lets him avoid the open market. In either case, it's not a simple trade, especially since his value has dropped after a down year.


Mets Hot Stove: Neil Walker 00:07:06
Neil Walker calls in to Mets Hot Stove to discuss his trade to New York and the upcoming 2016 season.

Mets 2B Neil Walker said dealing with media could be his biggest adjustment going from Pittsburgh to New York.

"I can remember in 2009, 2010, 2011, when in Pittsburgh there were probably two or three people covering the team," Walker told SNY's Mets Hot Stove on Monday. "That will be something that is eye opening for me, but I'm looking forward to it."

Here are five other things learned from Walker during his conversation with SNY...

  1. Walker spent the offseason near Pittsburgh, where he was born and raised.
  2. He said he has never played with anyone on the Mets.
  3. He has exchanged text messages and phone calls with hitting coach Kevin Long.
  4. He looks forward to playing behind Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, rather than facing them at the plate.
  5. He expects the team's success last season will motivate them to be even better in 2016.

Walker, 30, was acquired by the Mets from the Pirates in exchange for Jon Niese in December.

Last season he hit .269 with 16 home runs and 71 RBI. He is due to become a free agent at the end of this season.


Wheeler feels good in rehab 00:01:38
Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler talks about his rehab from Tommy John surgery and where the Mets are headed in 2016.

Zack Wheeler expects to throw off a mound sooner than later, as he returns from last year's Tommy John surgery, he recently told NY Post reporter Kevin Kernan.

"I was supposed to be on the mound the beginning of January, but the doctors have decided 15 months is the new 12 months so they pushed me back about a month," Wheeler explained.

In 285 career innings, Wheeler is 18-16 with 3.50 ERA and 271 strikeouts.

He told Kernan he is focused on improving his mechanics during his rehab, because he'd like to throw more inside, improve his health and pitch deeper in to games.

"Some days you don't feel like going in that weight room, but you have to remind yourself where you want to be once you do get back up there," he said. "In the past I was just throwing and saying, 'Here it is.' My ball moves a lot, and that's what got me in trouble."

Tags: Steven Matz , Zack Wheeler

 (Jerry Lai)
(Jerry Lai)

The Mets are still interested in adding to the bullpen and have not ruled out bringing back RH reliever Tyler Clippard >> Read more

RH reliever Carlos Torres, who the Mets designated for assignment on Jan. 22, cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent >> Read more

The Mets signed C Raywilly Gomez to a minor league contract that includes an invite to major league Spring Training >> Read more


Tags: Carlos Torres , Tyler Clippard

 (Andrew Fielding-US PRESSWIRE)
(Andrew Fielding-US PRESSWIRE)

The Mets have signed C Raywilly Gomez to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to major league Spring Training, the team announced.

Gomez, 26, hit .291 with a .385 OBP and .336 SLG in 73 games for Double-A Arkansas -- an Angels affiliate -- last season.

Gomez has hit .284 with a .367 OBP and .362 SLG in eight minor league seasons.

Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki are the only catchers currently on the Mets' 40-man roster, but Johnny Monell and Nevin Ashley are in the organization at the minor league level.


General manager Sandy Alderson speaks to the media ahead of the Mets' NLDS matchup against the Dodgers. (AP)
General manager Sandy Alderson speaks to the media ahead of the Mets' NLDS matchup against the Dodgers. (AP)

By agreeing to pay at least $25 million to Yoenis Cespedes for 2016, Sandy Alderson essentially pushed his team's spending back to where it was before he joined the franchise in 2011.

Similarly, for the first time since Alderson took control, the Mets will spend more on players than the average team and along the same lines as the Cardinals, Rangers, Nationals and Cubs...

The funny thing is, he's been telling us for years that this is what he was going to do...

In 2011, one year after he'd been hired, and after cutting the team's payroll from $142 million to $95 million, I had the following conversation with Alderson about his budget and spending strategy...

Matthew Cerrone: Why can't or won't you spend as much as the Phillies and the Red Sox, let alone the Yankees? Is it a business strategy? Is it a limitation? Or, just a general philosophy? What's the reasoning behind it?

Sandy Alderson: Well, considering where we are with respect to revenues, in order for us to approach a break even proposition, we have to keep our payroll within a lower range than it has been in the last few years. Now, as the team performs better and the revenues increase there is an opportunity to increase payroll. And so, where we are now is at a point of trying to bring our expenses, including most importantly payroll, in to line with our revenue. And, once that's done, and if we improve our performance, we'll see a higher payroll.

Matthew Cerrone: I think what people assume is that you should spend first, build a winner and the revenue will follow. Personally, I don't see the evidence for that. For instance, I look at the Phillies and the Red Sox and I see their core as homegrown players. And then, when they started winning, they started to spend. Is that what you're hoping to do?

Sandy Alderson: Yes. I think what any team would prefer is that they begin to win with a more modest payroll and then you sustain that cycle of winning by increasing your payroll to accommodate the players that are gaining in experience -- and thus becoming more costly -- that are already with your team, and at the same time participating in the free-agent market. Now, what the Mets had done in the past was participate pretty extensively. So, in part, we have to rebalance, because you can only have so many players on your team making $15 to $20 million, which is why the farm system becomes so important to the success of any team, including teams in 'big markets.'

Matthew Cerrone: There is also the assumption that, because of the legal situation and financial limitations surrounding the franchise and ownership, that this is why you're cutting payroll. It sounds to me like what you're saying is that, regardless of that, you'd be doing this anyway, because this is your approach.

Sandy Alderson: Well, it's not my approach. It's the typical approach. And, I think if you go back to the teams that have sustained their success over a period of time -- even teams with access to big revenues -- that's the model. And, we're in the early stages of implementing that same approach.


In regards to spending as a percentage of revenue, the Mets have been toward the bottom when compared to top rivals the last few years. However, this year, according to Forbes, the Mets project to be in the upper half, spending around 50 percent of revenue on player salaries and roughly the same as the Nationals and Cubs.

I never wanted the Mets to give Cespedes a guaranteed five-year deal, which is what he rejected from the Nationals. And, had he taken it, Mets spending in 2016 would likely have been exactly as it was in 2015 -- and the yelling and screaming about spending by fans and media would have raged on. However, thankfully, Cespedes took a lesser guarantee -- though roughly the same money -- to rejoin the Mets. And, with that, the payroll argument is less heated...at least for now.

It remains to be seen if signing Cespedes still leaves room in the budget to improve the roster this summer. Last season, the Mets added around $15-20 million to their payroll throughout the year, including trading for Cespedes, Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, Tyler Clippard and others. I don't think they'll need as much help this time around... at least I hope not. I think they addressed their roster depth quite well, specifically with Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera. If they're looking for anything in July, I bet it's a bonafide reliever or another corner infielder.

The good news is that Alderson has shown this winter that he's not allergic to spending money and increasing payroll. This is no longer the debate. Instead, the new debate will center around how far he and ownership are willing to go to retain his young players, specifically his top pitchers. In the above quote from 2011, he mentions creating room in future budgets to be able keep impact, homegrown players. So, we know it's in his plan. However, has it played out in a way that it's also in his budget?

Thankfully, we don't need to answer this question for at least another year or two. 

Matt Harvey is under team control through 2018, after which he can become a free agent. Zack Wheeler can be a free agent after 2019, and Jacob deGrom the season after that. Noah Syndergaard and Steve Matz will not be free agents until 2021. 

In the next year or so, I suspect we'll get a clue or two about how Alderson intends to handle this pending situation. In the case of deGrom, will he offer a cost-controlled contract extension? In the case of Harvey, will he try to trade him before he gets to free agency? Time will tell...

In the meantime, I'm happy to exhale, end arguing about finances and simply enjoy the show. In 12 seasons writing MetsBlog, I can't remember a time like this, when most fans are essentially on the same page, accepting reality and looking forward to baseball. This is a fun looking team that I expect a lot from in 2016. And, I'm glad it's getting off to a peaceful and positive start.



Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | About Mestarted MetsBlog.com as a project in college, generated 300,000,000 page views and 30,000 posts in 10 years, partnered with SNY and turned his hobby into a career. In 2011, SNY hired him to be Executive Editor and Dir. of Digital Content for their network of team sites, video content and podcasts.

Tags: Matthew Cerrone

May 23, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Carlos Torres (52) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fifth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
May 23, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Carlos Torres (52) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fifth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Mets RH reliever Carlos Torres has cleared waivers and elected free agency, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN (Feb. 1), who notes Torres joining a team in Asia is a possibility.

Torres had recently been placed on waivers after being designated for assignment in order to clear room on the 40-man roster for Antonio Bastardo.

The Mets had been in trade talks with multiple clubs about the 33-year-old Torres. However, after significant progress had not been made toward a deal, the Mets placed him on waivers.

In 241 innings for the Mets since 2013, Torres posted a 3.59 ERA while inducing a ground ball 46 percent of the time.

Tags: Carlos Torres

Last winter, before the 2015 season, the Mets and 1B Lucas Duda talked at length, but could not reach agreement on a three-year extension worth roughly $30 million, according to multiple reports.



The deal being discussed a year ago would have locked in a salary during the two seasons Duda is already under team control (2016 and 2017), during which he'll likely have his salary determined through the arbitration process. It also would've covered 2018, which is the first year he's eligible for free agency.

This season, Duda was able to avoid arbitration by agreeing to a $6.7 million salary. If Duda regresses, the Mets will likely come out ahead by having those talks break down a year ago and not having Duda under contract for 2018. If Duda has a good season in 2016, he'll probably get close to $10 million in 2017, after which he'll be a free agent. And, of course, if he is terrible this year, the Mets can non-tender him after the season and not have to pay him.

The Mets are probably hoping Dominic Smith, who will be 22 years old at that point, will be ready to take over at first base when Duda is able to test the open market. I suppose it's possible the Mets begin considering whether to move David Wright to first base, as well.

In a perfect world, Smith is ready sooner than later as Duda is playing well and can be traded for prospects to help restock the farm system. However, I think the more realistic outcome for the Mets and Duda will resemble something similar to the Daniel Murphy storyline...

In regards to Duda and Lagares making the front office gun-shy about giving up override deals, no, I don't think they roll like that. Instead, this group will also play the percentages as it pertains to their value set. If they think it's a smart deal, they'll do it. If they don't, they won't. I don't know them to let emotions and precedent impact their decisions.

Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | About Mestarted MetsBlog.com as a project in college, generated 300,000,000 page views and 30,000 posts in 10 years, partnered with SNY and turned his hobby into a career. In 2011, SNY hired him to be Executive Editor and Dir. of Digital Content for their network of team sites, video content and podcasts.

Tags: Lucas Duda , Matthew Cerrone
Login with Facebook Login with Twitter Login with SNY.tv