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Mets Hot Stove at 6PM
Mets Hot Stove at 6PM
Four Mets prospects -- 1B Dominic Smith (29th), LHP Steven Matz (37th), SS Amed Rosario (42nd), and SS Gavin Cecchini (89th) -- are on ESPN's Top 100 Prospects list (Feb. 11)
Keith Law, who compiled the list, says Smith is "one of the best pure hitters in the minors" but worries about his conditioning, noting that his body has gotten "far too big" recently.
Law notes that Matz (who didn't make ESPN's preseason Top 100 list last year) will likely wind up being a mid-rotation starter and says Rosario could be a Top 10 prospect in the game by next season.
Regarding Cecchini, Law says that he profiles as a regular who can play above average defense at shortstop.
Smith, 20, was named the Florida State League MVP last season and will likely open this season with Double-A Binghamton.
Rosario, 19, could return to High-A St. Lucie to open the season or receive an assignment to Binghamton.
The 22-year-old Cecchini, who ended last year with Binghamton, will likely open this season with Triple-A Las Vegas.
Matz, 24, still has prospect eligibility since he didn't accrue enough innings in the majors last season.
SNY, the official television home of the New York Mets, New York Jets and all things New York sports, today announced its comprehensive spring training coverage for the 2015 National League Champion New York Mets. SNY will provide exclusive daily coverage of the Mets in Port St. Lucie as the team prepares to defend its NL crown. Citi will be the presenting sponsor of SNY's spring training coverage.
As part of its coverage, SNY will produce 14 live telecasts during spring training led by SNY's Emmy Award-winning broadcast team of Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, and Gary Cohen. The trio will return for its eleventh season, while Steve Gelbs will begin his second year as the network's full-time on-field reporter. The broadcast team will make its 2016 debut Friday, March 4th at 1:10 p.m. as the Mets host slugger Giancarlo Stanton and division rival Miami Marlins in the network's broadcast opener. Coverage begins from Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie with SNY's Mets Preview Show at 12:30 p.m. Host Gary Apple will be joined by network analyst Nelson Figueroa and Steve Gelbs to preview the upcoming season and to set the stage for the day's spring training action.
SNY will also debut the all-new interactive daily show Mets Talk Live. The program will gather a panel of team insiders together in-studio to tackle recent club news and to recap the latest Mets performances featuring exclusive post-game sound and highlights. The program will also answer fans' burning questions submitted via social media and video message. Mets Talk Live will air daily at 6:30 p.m. beginning Monday, February 29th before moving to its regular timeslot at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 4th. Mets Talk Live joins SNY's daily entertainment programming lineup, delivering extensive coverage of the Mets in Port St. Lucie, which also includes Daily News Live at 5:00 p.m., Loud Mouths at 5:30 p.m., and GEICO SportsNite from 10:30 p.m. - 1:30 a.m.
The network's website - www.sny.tv - will provide the most comprehensive, exclusive online coverage of the Mets, as MetsBlog.com, the premier Mets news source on the web, temporarily relocates its operation to Port St. Lucie for wall-to-wall spring training coverage. Some of the unique web enhancements that SNY.tv and MetsBlog.com will feature throughout spring training include:
► Posts and blogs - including exclusive video - updated throughout the day.
► Exclusive one-on-one interviews with players and coaches.
► Daily, in-depth video diaries and photo-blogs recapping the day's activities.
► Live chats from the team complex discussing that day's happenings
Mets RHP Jacob deGrom said he may be more willing to sign a long-term deal to stay in New York since he is older than the other pitchers in their rotation.
"I'm a little bit older so I might be more willing to do something like that,'' deGrom, 27, told the New York Post's Kevin Kernan. "You just have to look at what is fair so both sides get a decent deal. It's something I'd have to look into and make sure I agree with it.''
While deGrom also talked about his hair -- "I don't want to mess with it." -- and the possibility of meeting Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax later this week, deGrom said he is focused and ready for the 2016 season.
"I haven't thought that much about it and I have to talk to my agents and stuff and look at the numbers and decide what was favorable,'' said deGrom, who earned $556,875 last season and may not be arbitration-eligible until 2018, according to Spotrac.
DeGrom followed his Rookie of the Year season in 2014 with an All-Star Game appearance in 2015, going 14-8 with a team-best 2.54 ERA in the regular season.
In the playoffs, he went 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA, pitching in the NLDS opener and the clinching NLDS game, but his outing in Game 2 of the World Series -- five innings, four runs and six hits in a 7-1 loss -- sticks with him.
"I wasn't really happy with how that went,'' deGrom said. "Hopefully I get a chance to get back there and kind of redeem myself. You never know how many starts you are going to have in the World Series and to not have a very good one, definitely makes you want to get back and improve on that.''
RHP Noah Syndergaard is at risk of suffering from the "Year After Effect," according to Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated >> Read more
INF Wilmer Flores wants to remain with the Mets for the rest of his career >> Read more
The Mets' farm system ranked 16th in ESPN's annual rankings >> Read more
Former Mets OF Carlos Beltran thinks Terry Collins wanted to remove RHP Matt Harvey prior to the ninth inning during Game 5 of the World Series >> Read more
The Braves signed RHP Carlos Torres, whom the Mets recently designated for assignment, to a minor league deal >> Read more
RHP Jacob deGrom is ready for the 2016 season >> Read more
Former Mets OF Carlos Beltran, now with the Yankees, thinks Terry Collins wanted to remove RHP Matt Harvey prior to the ninth inning during Game 5 of the World Series (Feb. 10).
"He was looking down and I felt that in his mind he wanted to take [Harvey] out,'' Beltran said. "But at the same time, Harvey was pitching such a good game and Harvey wanted that moment. He went with what Harvey showed him and not what he was thinking."
"That's an experience for him," Beltran continued. "Later on [taking Harvey out] will happen. He will say, 'My friend, I will give you a kiss if I have to, but I have to get my closer.' It was a bad decision to leave him in, but in his heart I felt that he wanted to make a different move.''
Beltran also said he was happy for Collins, who he recalled hearing bad things about when the Mets first hired him.
"I was very happy for Terry Collins," Beltran said. "When I had him as a manager, he was a great manager. When I first heard he was going to come to the Mets, you heard a lot of bad things about Terry Collins and his previous experience when he managed the Astros and Anaheim."
"When I first got him as a manager he was the best manager I ever had in my career," Beltran continued. "He communicates, is very intense and that is what you look for in a manager. I am very happy he had the opportunity to experience the World Series.''
RH reliever Carlos Torres has agreed to a minor league deal with the Braves, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Feb. 10).
Torres, 33, elected free agency earlier this month after being designated for assignment by the Mets and clearing waivers.
Torres posted a 4.68 ERA and 1.37 WHIP while striking out 48 batters in 57 2/3 innings (59 appearances) for the Mets in 2015. He suffered a calf injury in September, ending his season.
In six seasons with the White Sox, Rockies, and Mets, Torres has a 4.26 ERA and 1.35 WHIP.
Jacob deGrom said he's ready to go for the 2016 season.
Speaking from the team's spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, deGrom said that his experince in the playoffs last season will benefit him moving forward.
"It took a lot of years to make it there," deGrom said. "Getting that in my second year, I'll be more prepared for next time."
He went 14-8 with a 2.54 ERA and 0.979 WHIP over 191 innings in the regular season. He struck out 205 and walked 38 in 30 starts.
In the playoffs and World Series, deGrom posted a 2.88 ERA and 1.160 WHIP, with 29 strikeouts, over 25 innings.
DeGrom also praised his fellow rotation mates as a "fun group of guys to be around."
Toby Hyde and Rob Brender are closing the book on the offseason by opening up the show to the fans.
Toby and Rob answer mailbag questions about the starting rotation, the farm system, the role of Wilmer Flores, Zack Wheeler's return, and much more as spring training approaches.
The New York Mets farm system ranked at No. 16 in the Major Leagues, according to ESPN's Keith Law.
Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto and Kevin Plawecki each lost prospect status last season after seeing significant time with the Mets.
Last season the Mets we're ranked as having the No. 4 farm system in baseball. Law notes that New York parted ways with some of the depth within their farm system, most notably pitching prospects, at the trade deadline when they acquired Yoenis Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson.
Within the NL East, Atlanta ranked at No. 1, Philadelphia No. 6, Washington No. 15 and Miami came in at No. 29.
According to Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, Noah Syndergaard is among a group of young Major League pitchers that are at an increased risk of suffering an injury this season from what he refers to as "the year after effect."
The theory takes into account Major League pitchers that are 25-years-old or younger and increased their previous high of innings thrown in a season by more than 30 percent.
Verducci points out that each pitchers case is unique and that it is not a definite fact an injury will occur, rather situations like Syndergaard's are worth keeping an eye on after increasing his workload by such a high rate at a young age.
Syndergaard, 23, threw 29 innings in Triple-A before being promoted in May to the Majors. He then made 24 regular season starts with the Mets and registered 150 innings pitched. Syndergaard also threw another 19 innings during New York's postseason run. Making his 2015 total 198 innings pitched.
In 2014 Syndergaard threw only 133 innings with the Mets Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.
Syndergaard saw his total innings increased by 65 last season.
We all used to put a lot of stock into "The Verducci Effect," but that time has since passed.
With teams gaining a greater understanding of pitcher's arms -- especially elbows -- along with increased knowledge of what or how could cause injury, teams are more careful than every with young, and old, pitcher arms.
As Baseball Prospectus broke down in painstaking detail, The Verducci Effect is based on little more than speculation and bad math.
That's not to say that having a young pitcher overthrow from one year to another isn't a bad thing, it's just that inning counts are far from the best data point to try and identify future injuries.
Tom, a reader of MetsBlog: Will Jenrry Mejia be eligible to pitch in the postseason this year? I recall he wouldn't have been able to pitch last year prior because it was his second offense. So, I was curious if that would be the case in 2016?
He'll be in camp this spring, and able to return from suspension after July 26. According to a recent AP report, yes, despite the suspension, he will be eligible to pitch during the postseason in 2016. However, he can't if he's suspended again...
I'm curious to see how he is treated in St. Lucie. His teammates were pretty angry with him last summer, when he failed his second PED test. Frankly, they were so disappointed, I'm surprised the organization tendered him a contract. That said, the kid still has a ton of talent, he served his suspension and if everyone is cool with his return, I understand why he's back in the mix. The fact is, he'll only cost them around $1.5 to $2 million, because his salary is prorated. Also, because he is currently on the suspended list, the Mets can carry him without using a 40-man roster spot.
So, for now, no harm no foul. They have him under contract and can keep an eye on him during extended spring training. And, if he looks healthy and clean, they can promote him in early August. Again, assuming he's effective and clean, at that salary, he's a huge addition at a time when most contending teams are searching for help in the bullpen.
The point is, despite a rocky road, Mejia's story is still being written with the Mets and it's up to him whether it includes the postseason.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | About Me) started 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.
Wilmer Flores wants to be with the Mets for the rest of his career, he recently told NY Post reporter Kevin Kernan.
"The fans tell me they want me to be a Met forever," he told Kernan. "Playing baseball somewhere else would be tough. I'm very proud to be a Met. ... If I get traded, I will be sad. I will probably cry again. But hopefully not on the field."
Flores and Zack Wheeler were nearly dealt to the Brewers for Carlos Gomez last July. Flores learned of the rumored trade while in the field, at which point he began to cry over the idea of leaving the Mets. Similarly, fans at Citi Field cheered in support of Flores.
Instead, the trade fell through and both remained with the Mets. When Flores next took the field -- July 31 against the Nationals -- he received a large ovation each time he stepped to the plate and hit a walk-off home run.
"What I learned is that New York has a lot of love," Flores said. "They are real fans. The love that I feel from the fans is amazing. It makes you feel at home. It makes you feel like you belong here."
In his first full season with the Mets, Flores hit .263 with a .295 OBP, .408 SLG, 16 home runs and 59 RBIs in 137 games while playing shortstop and second base.
Terry Collins recently said Flores will be his primary option to back up Lucas Duda at first base. In other words, Flores is about to become the team's super-utility guy, playing all four infield positions, specifically spotting David Wright at third base and getting occasional starts at second base against left-handed pitching. If he can handle this job in the field and produce at the plate like he did in 2015, he'll be a huge asset for the Mets this season.
My concern is that his offense will struggle as a result of so much instability in the field, adjusting to rarely-played positions and entering every day as a mystery. There are players who handle this well, and there are players that do not. I suspect Flores will do fine, because it's not like last season was the most predictable of seasons for him. But we won't know until the bell rings.
To read more about Flores, his offseason, and how last year's non-trade impacted him during the year, check out Kernan's report in the New York Post.
Mets closer Jeurys Familia sees his World Series struggles -- three blown saves -- as a learning experience that will help make him better in 2016.
"I think that affected me in a positive way," Familia said Tuesday after receiving a Thurman Munson Award in Manhattan. "Being so early on in my career, to have that experience, I feel like it's really prepared me. So I was really appreciative for it."
Familia said newly-acquired set-up man Antonio Bastardo has been a close friend since 2010, and thinks he will be a big addition to this year's bullpen.
"He was one of the first people that approached me," Familia said, according to MLB.com. "He's just a really special person for me because he was always there for me. Part of who I am now as a pitcher is because of him."
Familia believes the Mets now have the talent and experience to at least get back to the World Series.
"In the end, even though it was second place, we were proud to win the National League championship," he said. "I think all the moves that they've made for us have been really good moves. They're really setting us up to do what we did last year, but do it even better this time around."
C Kevin Plawecki had sinus surgery in December >> Read more
C Travis d'Arnaud thinks the Mets are "going to be great" in 2016 >> Read more
Former Braves third baseman Chipper Jones praised the Mets' pitching and said the team should be World Series favorites >> Read more
MLB and the MLBPA are close to agreeing on a rule change regarding slides at second base >> Read more
Pedro Lopez will remain the manager for Double-A Binghamton this season >> Read more
Former Braves third baseman Chipper Jones had tons of praise for the Mets' starting pitchers during an interview on MLB Network Radio (Feb. 9).
"The blueprint is kind of what the New York Mets are doing right now," Jones said. "Obviously it's hard to come up with three or four guns like the Mets have. Whether it's [Matt] Harvey or [Jacob] deGrom, [Zack] Wheeler coming back, [Noah] Syndergaard. They've got the lefty, [Steven] Matz. They've got a whole entire rotation that lives at 94, 95 (MPH) plus and has an idea what they're doing with their breaking stuff."
Jones went on to note that the rebuilding Braves should follow the Mets' example and said the Mets are his preseason World Series favorite.
"They're really setting the bar and I think they're my early-season pick to probably go all the way," Jones said. "Having made it to the World Series last year, just coming up short, I think they'll probably be the early-season favorite to push over the top this year. That's the way I would want to build it (with the Braves)."
Jones, who retired after the 2012 season, hit .309 with a .406 OBP and .543 SLG to go along with 49 HR and 159 RBIs for his career against the Mets.
New York Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki hopes he solved his dizziness issues from last season after undergoing sinus surgery in December, according to Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News.
"It was almost like a drunk feeling without having anything to drink, that's the best description," said Plawecki. "Makes you very uneasy. It's scary, really, too, because you can't pinpoint why."
Plawecki, who will soon turn 25, battled this sinus issue for a large chunk of last season. He is expected to serve as the Mets backup catcher this year behind the oft-injured Travis d'Arnaud. Given d'Arnaud's injury history, a clean bill of health for Plawecki is good news for the Mets.
Although he is known more for his bat, Plawecki struggled at the plate last season. In 73 games played he hit just .219 with three home runs and 21 RBI.
"I was pleased with the way it turned out last year, defensively," Plawecki said. "Offensively, I want to do better. I'm not going to put it on the way I was feeling, but that didn't help. I learned a lot along the way with K-Long [Kevin Long, the Mets' hitting coach] and we worked on my swing, trying to use my legs more."
Earlier this offseason GM Sandy Alderson stated that Plawecki will see time at first base during Spring Training. This could help increase his value and playing time if he is able to become a right-handed hitting option to spell Lucas Duda against tough lefty-handed pitching.
Mets C Travis d'Arnaud has the highest of expectations for 2016, he recently told the New York Post's Kevin Kernan.
"I think we're going to be great,'' d'Arnaud told Kernan at Tradition Field. "The goal this year is World Series again and this time win it.''
D'Arnaud believes the experience gained from last season will help make his teammates, especially the pitching staff, better than they were in 2015.
"The experience was huge for us,'' d'Arnaud told Kernan. "To not only gain a whole year of baseball, but to be able to play in those prestigious months - October and November was tremendous.''
D'Arnaud suffered multiple injuries last season, forcing him to play just 67 regular-season games, during which he hit .268 with 12 home runs and an .825 OPS.
Kevin Plawecki is important, because d'Arnaud has never played a season when he didn't at least miss some time due to injury. I mean, who knows, maybe this is the year he does it! Maybe this is the season he starts 120 games, hits .280, 20 HR and drives in 80 runs. He's capable of it, but has provided no evidence he can do it for a full season. And that's where Plawecki comes in...
The Mets have said Plawecki will get work at first base during Spring Training. However, he'll primarily serve as d'Arnaud's back-up behind the plate. Together, they should combine to hit around .265 with 20-25 HR, roughly 80 RBI and give the Mets above-average production behind the plate. Hopefully having Plawecki on the roster will allow Terry Collins to give d'Arnaud more time off, helping to reduce his aches, pains and injuries.
To read more about d'Arnaud's plan, and how he traveled by RV from California to Port St. Lucie, check out Kernan's article in the Post.
MLB and the MLBPA are making progress on a rule change for how players can slide into second base, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.
"Although the union wants to improve safety for middle infielders, it does not want to eliminate players' aggressiveness on slides or the ability to break up a double play," sources told Olney. "However, there is a desire on both sides to eliminate slides on which a baserunner goes beyond the effort to reach second to make contact with middle infielders."
In Game 2 of last year's NLDS, Dodgers 2B Chase Utley essentially tackled Ruben Tejada at second base in an effort to break up a potential double play. Utley was initially called out, but a replay review ruled him safe because Tejada never touched second base.
Pedro Lopez will return for his fifth season as manager of the Double-A Binghamton Mets, the team announced.
Lopez, the winningest coach in B-Mets history, will also see the return of his pitching coach, Glenn Abbott, and hitting coach, Luis Natera.
The B-Mets won the Eastern League Championship in 2014 under Lopez.
Lopez has previously been the manager of the Kingsport, Brooklyn, Savannah and St. Lucie teams in the Mets organization.
Abbott will return for his fifth season with Binghamton, while Natera enters his second year with the Double-A team.
Binghamton opens their season on April 7.
The Mets have signed outfielder Roger Bernadina to a minor league deal with an invite to major league spring training, the team announced.
According to Jon Heyman, Bernadina can earn $750,000 in the major leagues. If he's not on the roster by June 15, he will have to be released (Feb. 9).
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.
The Mets signed OF Roger Bernadina to a minor league deal that includes an invite to major league spring training >> Read mors
RH reliever Tyler Clippard, who the Mets acquired last July, agreed to a two-year deal with the Diamondbacks >> Read more
3B Yulieski Gourriel and SS/OF Lourdes Gourriel, Jr. have defected from Cuba with the intent of signing major league deals >> Read more
The Royals will hold two separate World Series celebrations during the opening series of the season against the Mets >> Read more
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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."
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.
"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.
"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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.