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 (Charles LeClaire)
(Charles LeClaire)

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. 


deGrom ready to go in 2016 00:00:28
Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom talks about building off a successful 2015 season as he gets set for 2016.

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."

Tags: Jacob deGrom , Andrew Vazzano

New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning in Game 4 of the NLDS at Citi Field. (Anthony Gruppuso/USATSI)
New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning in Game 4 of the NLDS at Citi Field. (Anthony Gruppuso/USATSI)

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. 

Tags: Kevin Plawecki , Michael Conforto , Noah Syndergaard , Steven Matz , Tim Reilly

New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard throws during the first inning of Game 2 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015, in New York. (Julie Jacobson/AP)
New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard throws during the first inning of Game 2 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015, in New York. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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. 

Andrew Vazzano, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard


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 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: Jenrry Mejia , Matthew Cerrone

GEICO SportsNite: Wilmer Flores 00:00:58
New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores reflects on a strong 2015 season.

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.


Matthew Cerrone
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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.

Tags: Wilmer Flores

New York Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia throws during the eighth inning of Game 1 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum/AP)
New York Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia throws during the eighth inning of Game 1 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum/AP)

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."

Tags: Jeurys Familia , Matthew Cerrone

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

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


Tags: Kevin Plawecki , Travis d'Arnaud

 (Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE)
(Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE)

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.

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

New York Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki (22) bats against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin)
New York Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki (22) bats against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin)

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. 

Tags: Kevin Plawecki , Lucas Duda , Travis d'Arnaud , Tim Reilly

New York Mets' Travis d'Arnaud hits a home run during the sixth inning of Game 1 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)  (David J. Phillip/AP)
New York Mets' Travis d'Arnaud hits a home run during the sixth inning of Game 1 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip/AP)

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.


Matthew Cerrone Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | About Me

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.

Tags: Kevin Plawecki , Travis d'Arnaud

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.

Tags: Ruben Tejada , Matthew Cerrone

A general view of Tradition Field during the game between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees. (Scott Rovak)
A general view of Tradition Field during the game between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees. (Scott Rovak)

What Mets questions are on your mind a week before Spring Training? 

Leave your questions in the comments...


Binghamton Mets manager Pedro Lopez (New York Mets)
Binghamton Mets manager Pedro Lopez (New York Mets)

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.

Tags: Andrew Vazzano

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.


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

 (Jeff Curry)
(Jeff Curry)

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



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

 (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.


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
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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
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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
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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.

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