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thebaron98

Brian D, a reader of MetsBlog, asked:?Zack Wheeler pitched as many games this season as he did the entire 2013 season. Overall, he hasn't necessarily improved his record. He tosses way too many pitches an inning in my opinion...

I personally don't think he's going to be as promising as everyone seems to think.

I?m willing to be patient with Wheeler, Brian. I also don?t worry about a pitcher?s record when he is subject to pitch limits, depends on run support, and a bullpen to not blow leads for him. I am more concerned about other statistics and what the eyes and ears are telling me about progress...

Tags: matthewcerrone, MetsBlog, thebaron98
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6:00 p.m.: Jeurys Familia, Jenrry Mejia and Diasuke Matsuzaka are all closer candidates, Terry Collins said on Tuesday.


4:15 pm: The Mets do not have a set closer, Collins told reporters before Tuesday's game.

According to Collins, he will decide the night's closer on a game-by-game basis, choosing between Kyle Farnsworth, Jose Valverde, Jeurys Familia and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

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Michael Baron: It?s been a tough stretch to start the year. How do you mitigate a slump like this during the game?

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MetsBlog's Michael Baron was at Citi Field this past weekend, including Saturday's walk-off win.

Here are a collection of his best photos, including some unique shots in the dugout during the game...

[gallery link="file" type="rectangular" ids="217017,217019,217020,216992,216990,216980,216974,216964,216945,216948,216931,216960,217028,216988" orderby="rand"]

Tags: matthewcerrone, MetsBlog, thebaron98, Matthew Cerrone

Terry Collins used six relief pitchers during Monday's game. They?allowed five earned runs, including two inherited runs?from Dillon Gee in the seventh inning.

"We ran into some of that in spring training,? Collins said about his bullpen?s struggles. "If you?re going to pitch here, you?ve got to be able to throw strikes, and you can?t walk guys.?

Carlos Torres - who walked only 27 batters in 86 innings last year - never landed a?strike against Nate McClouth, the only batter he faced.

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On Monday, the Mets optioned LHP Josh Edgin to minor league camp.?Later in the day, Terry Collins told reporters LHP John Lannan will still work as a starting pitcher this spring, but he is also being considered as a second left-handed reliever for the bullpen.

LHP?Scott Rice?is on the 40-man roster and expected to make the Opening Day roster.

Tags: avsny, matthewcerrone, MetsBlog, thebaron98
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On Sunday, Terry Collins suggested to reporters only Eric Young Jr. and Chris Young are being considered as the team's leadoff hitter heading into the regular season.

Collins said, if Juan Lagares is the center fielder, Chris Young would be the leadoff hitter and left fielder. Otherwise, Eric Young Jr. would be the everyday left fielder hitting in the leadoff spot, with Chris Young in center.

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Mets RHP?Jeurys Familia?is at a similar stage in his career to where?Bobby Parnell?was when he was finding his way with the Mets in 2009. Back then, Parnell had no choice but to transition from a?thrower?into a?pitcher.

Parnell still struggles with it at times, but he's come a long way from where he was when he only had 23 big-league innings under his belt, which is what Familia enters the season with in 2014.

Tags: avsny, matthewcerrone, MetsBlog, thebaron98
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According to MiLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, Mets 1B prospect?Dominic Smith?is the second-best first baseman in the minor leagues.

Smith, who was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2013 draft, played just 51 games in his first professional season, but hit .301 with a .398 OBP and a .837 OPS.

?He looks like the total package at first base, combining solid athleticism and defense with a sweet left-handed swing,? Mayo said of the 18 year old.

Tags: avsny, matthewcerrone, Q&A, thebaron98, Matthew Cerrone
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The Mets signed relievers?Kyle Farnsworth?and?Jose Valverde?to minor league contracts earlier this month. The two veteran pitchers?come with question marks, though both have a lot of upside and the kind of experience the team had been searching for to anchor their young bullpen.

Historically, the Mets have preferred to send healthy veterans north on Opening Day. Not only do they seem to have more confidence in veterans, but there tends to be more roster flexibility with the younger arms, which allows the team to easily send them back to Triple-A. But, it?s hard to envision both Farnsworth and Valverde making the club for Opening Day, especially considering they want to give opportunities to some of the younger relievers in camp.

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710 WOR Radio will broadcast their first Mets game on Feb. 28 (WOR, Feb. 10), though they have still not officially announced their broadcast team.

12:30 am: Casey Stern is expected to be the new pre- and and post-game host for Mets radio broadcasts, according to multiple sources (Capital New York, Fed. 11).

I hope this is true. Stern is a good guy and a smart and passionate Mets fan, who actually got his start winning a contest with the old MLB Radio. I met him a long time ago when I interned there. He now does terrific work hosting a show on MLB Network Radio with SiriusXM. He's a perfect choice and a great way to get the broadcast team a bit younger, while further adding to what is essentially a team of Mets fans broadcasting Mets games. I like it!

Tags: matthewcerrone, MetsBlog, thebaron98, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets LHP prospect?Jack Leathersich?is focused on making the big league club on Opening Day.

?That?s the mindset for everybody here," he said (Rubin, Feb. 10). "I?m just going to go out there and give it my all and see what happens.?

It?s possible Leathersich?or RHP prospect?Jeff Walters?could end up on the Opening Day roster, according to a one team official (Rubin, Feb. 7).?Starting pitchers?Rafael Montero?and?Cory Mazzoni?could be considered for the big-league bullpen as well, the team official added.

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The Mets were pleased to see their 2009 first-round pick, Steven Matz, return from Tommy John surgery and exceed 100 innings last year?(Carig, Feb. 8).

"We were thrilled with just that alone," Paul DePodesta said. "And then you put the results on top of it, and we were ecstatic about the year he had."

Matz?went 5-6 with a 2.62 ERA in 106 innings for Single-A Savannah, allowing 38 walks with 121 strikeouts in 21 starts.

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Mets senior vice president of player development Paul DePodesta believes the organization has taken significant steps forward toward becoming a consistent contender (Carig, Feb. 8).

"Ultimately, our job as an organization is to win at the big-league level," DePodesta said. "And that's where these successes need to manifest themselves. But there's a road that you have to take to get there. I think we are passing significant markers in that road. That's exciting."

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Last week, Terry Collins said he planned to give 1B Ike Davis 80 - 100 at-bats during Spring Training (Rieber, Feb. 8).

"I think it's very, very important to try to get him in midseason form when the season starts," Collins explained. "A lot of guys leave spring training and have 50, 60 at-bats. I might get him 80 to 100 this spring just to make sure he's ready to go when we start."

Last spring, Davis got 55 at bats and hit .327 with an .885 OPS. He went on to hit .205 with a .661 OPS, 9 HR and 33 RBI during the regular season.

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The Prates could look to trade for Mets 1B Ike Davis, Rangers 1B Mitch Mooreland or?Blue Jays 1B?Adam Lind, instead of signing free-agent 1B Kendry Morales (Cafardo, Feb. 9).

Despite continued attempts to trade Davis this winter, Sandy Alderson said last month he expects Davis and Lucas Duda to compete for the starting first base job in camp (SNY, Jan. 30).

In the event the Mets don?t want Davis or Lucas Duda on the Opening Day roster, both players can still be sent to Triple-A to start 2014 since they each have an option and would not need to pass through waivers (Rubin, Jan. 21).

Tags: Lucas Duda, matthewcerrone, thebaron98

The Mets remain the best bet for free agent SS Stephen Drew, although he's being encouraged by his former Boston teammates to rejoin the Red Sox (Cafardo, Feb. 9).

The Mets might be willing to offer Drew a three-year deal, but the third year has not yet become necessary, Sandy Alderson told a group of season-ticket holders Thursday at Citi Field.

However, Drew?s agent, Scott Boras, had been seeking an opt-out clause after the first year of any deal, something the Mets view as a deal breaker (Rubin, Feb. 6).

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Mets scouts watched free agent RHP Joel Hanrahan throw a light bullpen session in Texas on Friday (Carig, Feb. 7).

The session was intended to gauge Hanrahan's progress in his recovery from surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon muscle, and Hanrahan's agents intend to showcase him for multiple clubs in early March. He is expected to be fully recovered by May.

Hanrahan, 32, went 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA in only nine games for the Red Sox in 2013.

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It's possible one of Mets pitching prospects LHP Jack Leathersich or RHP Jeff Walters could end up on the Opening Day roster, according to a one team official (Rubin, Feb. 7).

Starting pitchers Rafael Montero or Cory Mazzoni could be considered for the big-league bullpen as well, the team official added.

These guys have all been repeatedly mentioned this winter by Terry Collins, Alderson and other team officials, as possible solutions for the bullpen. They're all going to be in camp. They're all intriguing. However, Walters is the only one of the bunch on the 40-man roster, so I assume he has a slight leg up. In any case, this will be among the better competitions to watch during spring training, since so much of this team's future rests on the shoulders of these top, young arms...

Tags: avsny, matthewcerrone, MetsBlog, thebaron98, Matthew Cerrone

This past week I was a guest on Desert Island Mets, a unique Mets podcast that talks with different fans about their experience growing up rooting for the Mets...

In this episode, I talk about why I chose the Mets, how I started MetsBlog, my life growing up, and what one player I would steal from another ?team, among countless other topics I've never openly discussed before. It's an interesting show, check it out here...

Tags: Audio, avsny, matthewcerrone, MetsBlog, thebaron98, Matthew Cerrone
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The Mets are willing to offer three years to free-agent SS Stephen Drew, Sandy Alderson told a group of season-ticket holders Thursday at Citi Field, but so far that has not been necessary.

However, Drew's agent, Scott Boras, is seeking an opt-out clause after the first year of the deal, which the Mets view as a deal breaker (Rubin, Feb. 6).

WFAN?s Mike Francesa said earlier this week that the Mets made an offer to Drew, but that was refuted by the New York Post, Daily News, WEEI in Boston and former-GM Jim Bowden, all citing sources aware of the situation.

Tags: matthewcerrone, MetsBlog, Stephen Drew, thebaron98, Matthew Cerrone
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The Mets will have scouts watching free-agent RHP Joel Hanrahan?at a showcase in Texas on Friday,?Sandy Alderson told a group of season ticket holders on Thursday.

Hanrahan, 32, went 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA in only nine games for the Red Sox in 2013.

He had season-ending surgery last May to repair a torn flexor tendon muscle in his right arm.

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Longtime Mets broadcast Ralph Kiner has passed away. He was 91.

Kiner started broadcasting Mets games in 1962 on WOR-TV, alongside Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy. Kiner has continued calling Mets games up through the 2013 season, making occasional appearances on SNY. He also hosted "Kiner's Korner" after Mets home games, interviewing players and coaches.

His broadcasting career came after a 10-year playing career with the Pirates, Cubs and Indians. He hit 369 home runs in his career, including a 54 home run season with Pittsburgh in 1949. He led Major League Baseball in home runs from 1947 through 1952.

Tags: adamrotter, avsny, matthewcerrone, MetsBlog, thebaron98, Andrew Vazzano
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The Mariners have signed free agent RHP Fernando Rodney to a two-year, $14 million deal (Keri, Feb. 6).

Rodney can earn an additional $1 million in incentives during the life of the contract.

The Mets and Orioles both showed serious interest in Rodney (Nightengale, Feb. 4).

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MLB Network's Peter Gammons said Tuesday that he believes free-agent SS Stephen Drew will eventually sign with the Mets.

Last week, Sandy Alderson said he's continuing to monitor Drew's situation, but signing the shortstop remains unlikely (DiComo, Jan. 29).

It was reported late Tuesday that the Red Sox made a two-year offer to Drew?(Bowden, Feb. 3). However, according to Gammons, Boston is asking Drew to essentially be a utility infielder, playing shortstop, third and second base.

Tags: avsny, matthewcerrone, Stephen Drew, thebaron98
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The Mets have signed RHP Kyle Farnsworth to a minor-league deal with an invite to Major League spring training, the team announced.

Farnsworth, 37, will earn $1.5 million if he makes the club in 2014, and can earn an additional $1.5 million in incentives (Heyman).

He had a 4.70 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 38 1/3 innings last year. He has?54 career saves, including a season-high 25 with the Rays in 2011.

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Juan Lagares has joined Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada and Lucas Duda in Michigan for fitness training, according to Tim Rohan of the New York Times.

The fitness program in Michigan is voluntary, with the cost split between the team and any player.

"Sandy Alderson and other team executives decided after the 2013 season that they wanted to offer a more regimented offseason training program for some of their younger players," Rohan said.

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The Royals have designated Emilio Bonifacio for assignment, the team announced on Saturday.

They have 10 days to trade or release him.

Bonifacio, 28, hit .243 with a .295 OBP, 22 doubles, three triples and 28 stolen bases with the Royals and Blue Jays in 2013. He hit .285 with a .352 OBP in 42 games after being acquired by Kansas City.

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The Mets have signed IF/OF Matt Clark to a minor league contract and have invited him to Major League Spring Training, the team announced.

Clark, 27, hit .238 with a .328 OBP and .785 OPS, with 25 home runs and 70 RBI, for the Chunichi Dragons in Japan in 2013.

Clark - a left-handed hitter - has never played above Triple-A in the United States, last appearing Tucson Padres in the Pacific Coast League in 2012. He hit .290 with a .367 OBP and .872 OPS, 22 home runs and 77 RBI that season, and he's a career .282 hitter with an .852 OPS in five minor league seasons.

Tags: avsny, MetsBlog, thebaron98

ESPN.com's Keith Law puts five Mets in his list of the top 100 prospects in baseball, with Noah Syndergaard the highest ranked at No. 24.

Travis d'Arnaud (36), Dominic Smith (37), Rafael Montero (60) and Brandon Nimmo (92) round out the list.

Smith is the highest ranked first baseman on Law's list and the only first baseman to appear in the top 50.

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In a report for MLB.com, Bernie Pleskoff said Mets RHP Jeurys Familia is one of the more promising and intriguing pitchers the Mets have in their organization.

"One has to look past Familia's Fall League numbers to realize the upside and potential in his strong right arm," Pleskoff said. "If he can control his best pitches, two-seam and four-seam fastballs and a slider, he will make a tremendous impact at the end of a ballgame."

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The A's and Twins have emerged as possible landing spots for free-agent SS Stephen Drew (Martino, Jan. 27), who could be willing to play multiple positions, according to his agent Scott Boras (Gammons, Jan. 15).

The Mets continue to see Drew as worth only a one-year deal (Martino, Jan. 27). Similarly, Red Sox are still considering re-signing Drew, but prefer to give him just a one or two-year deal (Martino, Jan. 27).

Drew has been reportedly seeking a three- or four-year contract worth as much as $12 million a season.

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The Mets are done adding to the starting rotation, according to people with direct knowledge of the team's thinking (Martino, Jan. 27).

This offseason, the Mets signed Bartolo Colon and added Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan to compete with Jenrry Mejia and other young pitchers for the final spot in the rotation.

Sandy Alderson had also reportedly shown interest in Johan Santana?(Lennon, Dec. 10),?Jerome Williams?(DiComo, Dec. 7), Bruce Chen,?Paul?Maholm?(Heyman, Dec. 10), Bronson Arroyo and?Freddy?Garcia?(Puma, Dec. 10).

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Sam Dykstra of MiLB.com says Mets RHP prospect Rafael Montero is the most underrated prospect in MLB.com's top 100 prospects list.

"Any talk about Montero, who owns a plus fastball with an improving breaking ball and changeup, starts with his control," Dykstra said. "I?m not saying Montero deserves a top-50 spot, but I?d take him over [Brewers' Jimmy] Nelson and [Cleveland's] Trevor Bauer at this point."

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Josh Satin is continuing his work as an outfielder at his home this winter, according to Tim Rohan of the New York Times.

Satin says he has consulted with former Met Marlon Byrd about improving as an outfielder after struggling to catch balls over his head during drills.

Satin wants to show he can play the outfield in an effort to become a more versatile utility player for the Mets in 2014.

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Mets OF Curtis Granderson said he does not regret saying, "true New Yorkers are Mets fans," noting he meant no harm to the Yankees with his remarks.

?My comment wasn?t a dig at anybody, it was just some things that people said to me on a consistent basis,?? Granderson said, according to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. ?I?m excited to see the New York sports fans that are Mets fans come out in droves. I?ve heard great things about the past, and now to get a chance to be a part of it in the present and the future, I?m very optimistic about it."

Sandy Alderson liked what Granderson had to say about Mets fans as well.

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The Mets have recently expressed interest in free agent RHP Fernando Rodney (Rubin, Jan. 24),

However, while the team has engaged Rodney's agent, a team official has indicated signing Rodney is a long shot (Martin, Jan. 25).

The Mets, Orioles and two other teams are interested Rodney (Brown, Jan. 24), although Baltimore?s interest in Rodney is only, ?lukewarm? at the moment (Ghiroli, Jan. 24).

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The Mets signed RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, the team announced Friday.

Matsuzaka was 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA and 1.241 WHIP with the Mets in seven starts in 2013.

He was 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA with a 0.8355 WHIP in his last four starts.

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The Mets are talking to free agent RHP Fernando Rodney (Rubin).

The Mets, Orioles and two other teams are looking at Rodney (Brown), although Baltimore's interest in Rodney is only, "lukewarm" at the moment (Ghiroli).

Sandy Alderson has been reportedly trying to find veteran bullpen help as well as a possible backup plan at closer in case Bobby Parnell is not ready for Opening Day.

Tags: avsny, MetsBlog, thebaron98, Andrew Vazzano
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The Mets, Yankees and Red Sox have all reportedly shown interest in free agent SS Stephen Drew this winter.

The Yankees were supposedly done with major player acquisitions this winter after signing RHP Masahiro Tanaka? earlier this week (Reiber, Jan. 22). However, now that they've breached the $189 million luxury tax threshold, they're weighing whether or not to pursue Drew (Heyman, Jan. 23).

Drew's agent, Scott Boras, has said his client is willing to play other positions, which might make him more attractive to the Yankees (Gammons, Jan. 15).

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The Tampa Bay Rays signed free agent RHP Grant Balfour to a two-year, $12 million deal (Topkin).

Before he signed with Tampa, the Mets offered a similar deal to Balfour, but he preferred to sign with the Rays and be closer to his home in Clearwater, Florida (Rosenthal, Rubin). However, a Mets official denied they made such a bid for Balfour (Puma). Balfour told reporters that there "was more money elsewhere," but wanted to return to Tampa and Joe Maddon (Topkin).

Balfour originally agreed to sign with the Orioles earlier in the off-season, but Baltimore reportedly had concerns over his medical reports and they decided not to sign him.

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Reese Havens, the first-round pick of the Mets in 2008, has retired (Rubin).

Havens played six seasons in the minors, finally making it to Triple-A in 2013. He was rarely healthy, playing in only 345 games over his six years of pro ball.

He posted a .252 batting average with a .355 OBP over his career, hitting .237/.312/.330 in just 38 games in 2013.

Tags: avsny, MetsBlog, thebaron98, Andrew Vazzano

The Mets have signed LHP John Lannan to a minor-league contract with an invite to major league spring training, the team announced.

Jan 21.: Lannan's deal is for $1.5 million if he makes the major league team, and could earn another $2 million in innings pitched bonus. He can opt-out of his contract if he's not on the MLB team by June 15 (Sherman).

In 14 starts with the Phillies in 2013, Lannan, 29, went 3-6 with a 5.33 ERA, allowing 86 hits and 27 walks with 38 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings. He underwent knee surgery in late August and missed the remainder of the season.

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The Mets and WOR radio plan to speak with former Met Cliff Floyd about a possible role on their radio broadcast, although it is unclear whether or not Josh Lewin will return in 2014 (Puma).

Jan. 21: Darryl Hamilton is also a possibility to join the broadcast (Puma).

In addition, Ed Coleman will stay with WFAN as their beat reporter for the Mets, and not join the broadcast team on WOR (Raissman).

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Assistant GM John Ricco said the team could still sign additional starting pitching depth (Rubin, Jan. 20), even though they recently?signed LHP John Lannan to a minor-league contract.

Lannan is reportedly healthy, but he is coming off knee surgery ?that cut short his 2013 season. That - along with concerns about Jenrry Mejia's health - make it somewhat necessary to bring more options to camp.?Minor leaguer pitchers?Jacob deGrom?and?Rafael Montero will be considered, but it seems more likely they will start the season at Triple-A Las Vegas with a promotion waiting until mid-season.

Tags: avsny, matthewcerrone, MetsBlog, thebaron98

Lucas Duda could get work in the outfield in 2014, according to Sandy Alderson?(Rubin, Jan. 20).

"As of today, I would expect Lucas to get some time in the outfield, but that will be decided just before spring training," Alderson said.

Duda played in 58 games in the outfield in 2013 and posted a UZR of -12 with -11 defensive runs saved.

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The Mets have re-signed SS Omar Quintanilla to a minor league deal.

Jan. 20, 6:00 PM: The Mets officially announced they have re-signed Quintanilla to a minor league deal.

In 95 games for the Mets in 2013, Quintanilla hit .222 with a .589 OPS, two home runs and 21 RBI in 359 plate appearances.

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