Tag:

Zack Wheeler

New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the fifth inning at Oracle Park. (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the fifth inning at Oracle Park. (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

From the time Noah Syndergaard rather famously added muscle during the winter of 2017 with the stated intention to throw even harder than 100-101 mph, I heard from pitching coaches past and present who feared this day was coming. 

So on a day when the Mets announced Syndergaard will undergo Tommy John surgery, perhaps only the timing was a shock, considering spring training has been shut down for nearly two weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler
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Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen swung back at Zack Wheeler on Friday, a day after the former Met took a shot at the team for not trying harder to re-sign him this offseason before he went to the Phillies.

"Our health and performance department, our coaches all contributed and helped him parlay two good half seasons over the last five years into $118 million, Van Wagenen said, according to David Lennon of Newsday. "So I'm proud of what our group was able to help him accomplish. I'm happy he was rewarded for it."

Van Wagenen, who said he was "surprised" and "disappointed" by Wheeler's comments, also disputed the notion from Wheeler that there were "crickets" coming from the Mets' side this offseason, telling SNY's Steve Gelbs that the Mets had contact with Wheeler's agent up until a week before Wheeler signed with Philadelphia.

Tags: Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Sep 10, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) goes to the dugout between innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Sep 10, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) goes to the dugout between innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

On Wednesday, former Met Zack Wheeler talked about his Cy Young and World Series aspirations with the Phillies.

But on Thursday, Wheeler seemingly took a parting shot at the Mets.

According to Greg Joyce of the New York Post, Wheeler said he wasn't surprised to not hear back from the Mets before signing with the Phillies "because it's them. It's how they roll."

Wheeler, who played his first seven years in the big leauges with the Mets (though he missed two seasons due to injury), signed a lucrative five-year, $118 million deal with Philadelphia in December, joining Aaron Nola at the top of the Phillies' rotation.

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This past offseason, Zack Wheeler signed a big contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, and on Wednesday he explained that his goals with his new team are just as big.

Wheeler, who spent his seven big-league seasons as a Met (though he missed two full seasons due to injuries), signed a five-year, $118 million deal with the Phillies, and he wants to take his game to the next level with the Mets' NL East rivals.

"I just want to go out there and do the best I possibly can. I think I've done well over the past few years, but I think I could take that next step, and that's the ultimate goal," Wheeler said at Phillies spring training. "I want to go out there and win a Cy Young or two and make the All-Star team and carry us into the playoffs. That's my goal now. 

"What happened this offseason has sort of passed. I've reached that level of my career and now that's past and I want bigger and better things. Like I said, Cy Youngs, going to the playoffs, winning the World Series and that type of stuff. It's a good group here to do it with, and I think we have the opportunity."

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John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

So the Josh Donaldson domino finally fell on Tuesday night, and by landing in Minnesota it didn't tilt the balance of power in the NL East, after all. Or my offseason grades, for that matter.

Either the Nationals or the Braves could have separated themselves by signing -- or re-signing -- the power-hitting third baseman. Instead, there's not much to separate the work the four contenders did this offseason, and even the Marlins at least warrant a grade this time for spending a little dough to upgrade their roster.

Last season, the division was the toughest in the majors, producing the 97-win Braves, the World Series-winning Nationals, a Mets team that went 46-26 in the second half (falling just short of a wild-card berth), and the dangerous-but-flawed Phillies who faded down the stretch but at least finished at .500.

Tags: Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo, Starlin Castro, Travis d'Arnaud, Wilson Ramos, Zack Wheeler, John Harper
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Mets' Jacob deGrom (Treated Image by SNY)
Mets' Jacob deGrom (Treated Image by SNY)

We've collected some of our end-of-year content as we approach 2020. A version of this story originally published on Dec. 11, 2019.


Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

In the wake of baseball's winter pitching splurge, a popular social media hot take around the Mets goes something like this: Jacob deGrom is a bargain, even at $27.5 million per year! 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Anthony McCarron
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 (Treated Image by SNY)
(Treated Image by SNY)

The Mets finished 86-76 in 2019 while the Braves won the NL East and the Nationals secured a Wild Card spot and went on to win the World Series. 

As the Mets have been largely silent this offseason, the Braves, Nats, and Phillies -- who finished in fourth place in 2019 -- have all made big moves to strengthen their positions for 2020.

Here's where things stand in the NL East...

Tags: Curtis Granderson, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, Edwin Diaz, Jeff McNeil, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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Sep 15, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 15, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Brodie Van Wagenen said multiple times this offseason that the Mets would maintain dialogue with free agent Zack Wheeler. But when Wheeler's camp came back to the Mets before agreeing to a deal with the Phillies, New York did not make an official offer.

Wheeler then signed a five-year deal with Philadelphia worth $118 million, with Van Wagenen saying that it exceeded what the Mets' internal projections for Wheeler were. 

"I think the value for what we thought the investment [was] didn't line up," Van Wagenen explained on Dec. 9. "The projections that we had for Zack, both short-term and long-term, didn't quite match up to the market that he was able to enjoy. ... We maintained dialogue with Zack's agent up until the last week. I think that both sides had expressed interest in potentially finding a way to have a reunion, but I think over the course of the last six weeks it started to become more clear that the price point was going to go beyond how we valued him."

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Aug 3, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Mets won 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Aug 3, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Mets won 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

he Winter Meetings are in full swing in San Diego, and the Mets still have a lot they need to accomplish if they hope to be one of the top contenders for the NL East title in 2020.

As Brodie Van Wagenen hopes to check off some of the Mets' needs, MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone dipped into his mailbag...


Joyce Kanopka (via e-mail): I don't understand why the Mets aren't trading Edwin Diaz. What evidence is there that he can ever get back to pitching like he did for the Mariners?

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets' Jacob deGrom (Treated Image by SNY)
Mets' Jacob deGrom (Treated Image by SNY)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

In the wake of baseball's winter pitching splurge, a popular social media hot take around the Mets goes something like this: Jacob deGrom is a bargain, even at $27.5 million per year! 

Yes, the Mets are getting their money's worth out of the five-year, $137.5 million extension they gave their ace before last season, especially since he won a second consecutive National League Cy Young Award in 2019. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Anthony McCarron
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For the second straight day during the MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen met with the media.

Tuesday's topics included how the team will respond to other moves being made within the division, players have specific nutrition plans, and how the team may use their 26th spot on the active roster.

Here are four takeaways from Tuesday's availability:

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, Yoenis Cespedes, Zack Wheeler
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Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen helped kick off the MLB Winter Meetings on Monday, meeting with members of the media in San Diego.

Van Wagenen was asked about the team's priorities at this point in the preseason, how the team's rotation may look without Zack Wheeler, and much more. Here are five takeaways from Van Wagenen's media availability:

On Jake Marisnick

The Mets have already made one notable move this offseason, acquiring outfielder Jake Marisnick from the Houston Astros.

Van Wagenen wouldn't lock in Marisnick as the team's everyday starting center fielder, but he said the outfielder gives the Mets a lot of options moving forward.

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes, Zack Wheeler
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After his new club officially announced the signing of former Met Zack Wheeler on Monday, Phillies manager Joe Girardi was on hand at the Winter Meetings in San Diego to give his thoughts on, among other things, the addition of the starting pitcher. 

In his mind, there's an awful lot to be excited about.

 

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Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen speaks with reporters at the GM Meetings. (SNY)
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen speaks with reporters at the GM Meetings. (SNY)

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen heads down to San Diego on Sunday for his second stint at the Winter Meetings, and SNY's Andy Martino knows what he'll be looking to come back to Flushing with. 

Martino has the Mets looking to add a back end starter as well as bullpen help. Van Wagenen is looking to fill the void left by Jason Vargas, who was traded to the Phillies before the deadline last season. Zack Wheeler is also a Phillie now after signing his multi-year deal this past week. 

Rick Porcello is a man on their list, according to Martino. But if Van Wagenen can't add someone, there is the possibility that Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman could be starting for the Mets instead of coming out of the bullpen. 

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Jason Vargas, Noah Syndergaard, Wilson Ramos, Zack Wheeler
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Aug 5, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello (22) pitches during the third inning against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)
Aug 5, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello (22) pitches during the third inning against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)

With Zack Wheeler heading to the Phillies on a five-year deal, the Mets find themselves with a spot open in their starting rotation.

Could Rick Porcello be the answer?

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the Mets are talking to Porcello, who won the AL Cy Young Award in 2016.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler
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Jul 16, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Blake Treinen (39) pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the ninth inning at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)
Jul 16, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Blake Treinen (39) pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the ninth inning at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Sure, you're hyped for some Mets free agent or trade action at the upcoming Winter Meetings. But unless the club pulls off a surprise blockbuster move, the most newsworthy Mets stuff coming out of San Diego might be the first public appearance by a club bigwig since the announcement of sale negotiations with billionaire Steve Cohen.

When Brodie Van Wagenen steps in front of cameras and reporters, there will be lots to discuss, far beyond how to fix that horrid bullpen.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, Noah Syndergaard, Robinson Cano, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Yoenis Cespedes, Zack Wheeler, Anthony McCarron
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Anthony Rendon (Thomas B. Shea)
Anthony Rendon (Thomas B. Shea)

With baseball's Winter Meetings just a few days away, the MLB hot stove continues to burn, and one of the Mets' divisional foes is reportedly set to pursue some of the biggest names on the market.

The Phillies have already signed Zack Wheeler away from the Mets, agreeing to a five-year, $118 million deal with the right-hander, and now they're reportedly pursuing both Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg, perhaps the two biggest names on the market outside of Gerrit Cole

MLB.com's Jon Heyman has reported that the Phillies have shown interest in both Strasburg and Cole, though the team is "especially interested" in Strasburg.

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen will soon be in San Diego with his contingent and representatives from the 29 other clubs as the annual Winter Meetings begin.

The meetings officially start on Monday, Dec. 9 and conclude on Dec. 12. But things could start percolating as early as Sunday, when many of the most important movers and shakers start to arrive.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Aug 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman (7) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Aug 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman (7) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

The Mets need and are looking to add more starting pitching. However, the team's path to the postseason in 2020 may rest more on what they get from Steven Matz and Marcus Stroman than what the Mets get from the hot stove market this winter.

Zack Wheeler is officially gone, having signed a five-year deal to join the Phillies. The pitcher replacing him will either be Seth Lugo or someone specifically acquired to be their fifth starter. In all likelihood, whomever it is will almost certainly not translate into 15-16 team wins like Wheeler did the past two seasons.

Sure, the Mets could score more and/or not allow as many runs late in games so they're more successful when Jacob deGrom is regularly brilliant. For instance, despite winning his second straight Cy Young Award with a 2.53 ERA, the Mets were 14-18 in games that he started in 2019. That stat is painful every time I see it.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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Aug 1, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) delivers the ball in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports (Quinn Harris)
Aug 1, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) delivers the ball in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports (Quinn Harris)

The Phillies have yet to officially announce the addition of Zack Wheeler, though multiple reports have confirmed that the 29-year-old will join the Phillies on a five-year, $118 million deal.

New Phillies skipper Joe Girardi was asked about Wheeler on Thursday in Philadelphia, and while Girardi was only willing to speak in generalities, he did touch on what Wheeler brings to a pitching staff.

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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Jul 28, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitchers Steven Matz (32), Noah Syndergaard (34) and Zack Wheeler (45) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Jul 28, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitchers Steven Matz (32), Noah Syndergaard (34) and Zack Wheeler (45) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Whether the Phillies doling out $118 million for five years of Zack Wheeler turns out to be an overpay or not, one thing that is certain is that Wheeler fleeing the Mets for a division rival that is trying to leapfrog them is bad for New York.

Shortly after Wheeler agreed to sign in Philly, Noah Syndergaard weighed in -- happy for his friend but conflicted as he posted on Twitter:

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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 (Troy Taormina)
(Troy Taormina)

According to a report, the Yankees met with free agent right-hander Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday.

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand has reported that the meeting between the two sides went well, and that while the Yankees tried to sell the righty on their organization and the New York market, exact dollars were not discussed.

The Bombers have also met with Gerrit Cole, with Jon Heyman reporting that the two sides had a "very nice" first meeting. 

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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Seth Lugo
Seth Lugo

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Phillies are buying into the same obvious potential in Zack Wheeler that convinced me last winter he'd turned a corner in 2018 and blossomed into an elite starter, so I can understand why they gave him $118 million to upgrade their starting rotation. 

But here's the thing: Wheeler didn't turn that corner, as it turned out, and while brilliant at times in 2019, he was plagued by inconsistent command and mistake-pitch home runs that negated his dominant stuff too often, especially early as he pitched to a 4.96 ERA over the first 15 starts of the season.

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler, John Harper
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Aug 13, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) throws against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)
Aug 13, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) throws against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)

The Mets are open to a reunion with Zack Wheeler, who is an unrestricted free agent. Here's the latest...


Dec. 4, 2:21 PM:

SNY's Andy Martino has reported that Wheeler has reached an agreement with the Phillies. Many were getting the feeling that Wheeler's market was heating up to the highest degree before Winter Meetings, and that's exactly what happened as he joins the Mets' NL East rival. 

According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, Wheeler's deal is five years and worth more than $100 million. 

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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In a nightmare outcome for the Mets, free agent Zack Wheeler has agreed to a five-year deal with the Phillies worth $118 million, SNY's Andy Martino confirmed.

Wheeler's camp circled back with the Mets before he agreed to sign with the Phillies, but the Mets did not make an offer, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post.

While Wheeler got paid handsomely, he actually turned down more money from the White Sox due in part to his desire to remain in close proximity to New Jersey -- where his wife is from -- reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Tags: Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Sep 26, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) pitches against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) pitches against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are interested in signing free agent starting pitcher Zack Wheeler. Here's the latest...


Dec. 4, 2:21 PM:

SNY's Andy Martino has reported that Wheeler has reached an agreement with the Phillies. Many were getting the feeling that Wheeler's market was heating up to the highest degree before Winter Meetings, and that's exactly what happened as he joins the Mets' NL East rival. 

Martino adds that the official deal is five years, worth $118 million over that span. So the Yankees have one top pitching target off the board, and now crunch time begins.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Rick Porcello (Treated Image by SNY)
Rick Porcello (Treated Image by SNY)

There is mutual interest between the Mets and free-agent Rick Porcello, according to insiders aware of his offseason goals. This is good news because he's a perfect fit for the Mets.

As I wrote two weeks ago, the Phillies and Braves are among several teams that have been more aggressive than the Mets when it comes to signing Zack Wheeler. Insiders predicted to me weeks ago that Wheeler will get five years and $100 million, which at this point appears to be a foregone conclusion.

The same people also keep saying the Mets are more likely to let Wheeler walk in favor of a less expensive, more reliable, consistent, veteran starting pitcher to join the back of their rotation.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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Stephen Strasburg (Tommy Gilligan)
Stephen Strasburg (Tommy Gilligan)

The Yankees will be sitting down with free agent right-hander Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday, reports Jon Heyman.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported on Monday that in addition to Strasburg, the Yankees will also meet with Gerrit Cole.

According to Rosenthal, Strasburg and Cole -- who are both represented by Scott Boras -- have been meeting with interested teams in California.

"We're going to talk to Strasburg. We're going to talk to Cole," Yankees GM Brian Cashman said earlier this offseason. "We're going to talk to the higher-end guys and talk to some surprise guys I'm sure. It's hard to predict, but obviously anybody would have interest in players like that."

Tags: Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Gerrit Cole (SNY)
Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Gerrit Cole (SNY)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Since the beginning of the offseason, the Yankees have made Gerrit Cole their top free agent target, without knowing if Cole wants to play closer to his West Coast roots.

While many in the industry believe that Cole prefers California, the Yankees don't have any information to that effect from the agent, Scott Boras, or the player. They are left to prepare to meet with Cole this week, as The Athletic first reported they would.

According to people familiar with the Yankees' thinking, the team is trying to balance the Cole pursuit with engagement in at least two other free agent starting pitchers, Madison Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler. They see flaws and concerns with both, but they see upside, too, and will stay engaged.

Tags: Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Gerrit Cole (SNY)
Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Gerrit Cole (SNY)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Chew on this while you chew on a turkey leg. 

We know you're not supposed to bring up politics or religion at Thanksgiving Dinner. But what about predictions for Major League Baseball free agency? 

Even your eccentric uncle likes those tasty morsels.

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, Zack Wheeler, Anthony McCarron
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Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Gerrit Cole (SNY)
Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Gerrit Cole (SNY)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Chew on this while you chew on a turkey leg. 

We know you're not supposed to bring up politics or religion at Thanksgiving Dinner. But what about predictions for Major League Baseball free agency? 

Even your eccentric uncle likes those tasty morsels.

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, Zack Wheeler, Anthony McCarron
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 (Treated Image by SNY)
(Treated Image by SNY)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Nationals may have won the World Series but the Braves were the best team in the NL East over 162 games last season, totaling 97 wins, and they could be better in 2020 considering: 

They have the best core of age 25-and-under players in the division, as well as a Top Five farm system, and they've moved quickly this off-season to load up in the bullpen, signing Will Smith, the top reliever on the free agent market, and re-signing Chris Martin.  

All of which sets an awfully high bar for the Mets next season if they're going to deliver on the win-now expectations that have defined Brodie Van Wagenen's actions as GM.

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Wilson Ramos, Zack Wheeler, John Harper
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Sep 15, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 15, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

After signing catcher Yasmani Grandal on Wednesday, the White Sox are expected to pursue free agent pitcher Zack Wheeler, according to major league sources.

Wheeler, who has spent his entire big league career with the Mets, is also on the Yankees radar -- though the team seems initially lukewarm on him, at least compared to the big prize of the pitching market, Gerrit Cole.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Brian Cashman has made it known that the Yankees will be pursuing Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg this offseason. But landing either of them could be an uphill climb.

There is no mandate for the Yanks to get under the $208 million luxury tax threshold, so they should conceivably be able to outbid any team for Cole or Strasburg. But will that matter? Cole is rumored to prefer a team on the West Coast and the Nationals are expected to aggressively move on trying to retain Strasburg

Perhaps money conquers all and the Yankees get their man. But if they don't -- and they still want to add a pitcher with ace-level upside -- they'll need to have fallback options. Here they are, ranked...

Tags: Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Cubs LHP Cole Hamels (Jake Roth)
Cubs LHP Cole Hamels (Jake Roth)

To date, sources aware of the situation say the Braves have so far been more aggressive than the Mets when it comes to signing free-agent RHP Zack Wheeler. 

It's their contention the Mets are more likely to let Wheeler walk and instead sign a reliable, consistent, veteran starting pitcher to join their rotation.

MLB people I know all expect Wheeler to field multiple offers of five years and $100 million.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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Yankees' Miguel Andujar (Treated Image by SNY)
Yankees' Miguel Andujar (Treated Image by SNY)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Brian Cashman said last week he has received numerous inquiries from teams about trading Miguel Andujar, and while Gio Urshela's emergence makes that idea tempting for the Yankees, the pros and cons of it lean toward such extremes that finding the right deal could be difficult.

Consider, for example, these contrasting points of view from two scouts I talked to this weekend:

"Andujar's ceiling as a hitter is so high that I'm not sure the Yankees could get anywhere near the value they should for him," one scout said. "He's got an innate ability to make contact, square the ball up and hit it hard, which everybody saw in his rookie year, and he'll only get better as he continues to see major-league pitching."

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aroldis Chapman, Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Zack Wheeler, John Harper
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Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Mets have given every indication that improving the bullpen is going to be the priority for them this offseason, though to what extent is quite fuzzy as Brodie Van Wagenen has been making the case that he's counting on Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz to have bounce-back seasons.

And, oh by the way, Will Smith -- arguably the best reliever on the market -- signed with the Braves on Thursday as the NL East champs took a big step to strengthen what was an area of weakness for them in 2019.

Smith got $39 million over three years, and the Mets apparently weren't willing to spend that much, at least in part because they're already paying Familia $10 million a year for two more years.

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler, John Harper
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John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

So Theo Epstein is open for business, seemingly determined to shake up a roster that has fallen short of expectations since the Cubs' curse-busting championship in 2016.

He told reporters at the GM Meeting in Arizona this week that "change is not always easy but it's necessary," and declared "there are no untouchables" when it comes to the possibility of a trade this offseason.

Yes, with his once-youthful core of position players now speeding toward free agency, and a payroll that went over the luxury-tax threshold this season, Epstein apparently is ready to consider any and all deals that could save the Cubs some money while still giving them a shot in 2020 at another championship.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brandon Nimmo, Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Jeff McNeil, Miguel Andujar, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Zack Wheeler, John Harper
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Stephen Strasburg (Tommy Gilligan)
Stephen Strasburg (Tommy Gilligan)

Yankees GM Brian Cashman updated the team's pursuit of free agents Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg on Thursday night, and detailed his approach when it comes to how the Yanks hope to attract their targets to the Bronx.

"Everything we're getting right now is information, we're either providing (or) expressing interest," Cashman said while preparing to sleep outside Yankee Stadium to bring attention to Covenant House. "You get some definition of -- depending on the agent -- of what might be."

But it's so early in the process in my conversations with personnel that obviously, clearly, the bigger the name -- and they've earned the right -- the bigger the contract, the bigger the expectation, the bigger the money. There's gonna be some opportunities for people to take advantage of their great performance, obviously, in this marketplace. And they're gonna come out really well."

Cashman said on Monday at the GM meetings that the Yanks would pursue Cole and Strasburg, adding on Tuesday that he has "no mandate" from ownership to get under the $208 million luxury tax threshold.

Tags: Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

So Theo Epstein is open for business, seemingly determined to shake up a roster that has fallen short of expectations since the Cubs' curse-busting championship in 2016.

He told reporters at the GM Meetings in Arizona this week that "change is not always easy but it's necessary," and declared "there are no untouchables" when it comes to the possibility of a trade this offseason.

Yes, with his once-youthful core of position players now speeding toward free agency, and a payroll that went over the luxury-tax threshold this season, Epstein apparently is ready to consider any and all deals that could save the Cubs some money while still giving them a shot in 2020 at another championship.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brandon Nimmo, Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Jeff McNeil, Miguel Andujar, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Zack Wheeler, John Harper
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Sep 15, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 15, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

What has been expected is now official: Zack Wheeler has rejected the qualifying offer from the Mets and will test the free agent market.

By having extended the one-year qualifying offer that is worth $17.8 million to Wheeler, the Mets will receive a compensatory pick in June's MLB Draft if he signs elsewhere.

While it seems likely that Wheeler won't return, it hasn't been ruled out.

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen reiterated on Monday what he said last week: the Mets will keep having dialogue with Wheeler regarding a potential multiyear contract -- something they engaged his camp on during the season.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Red Sox OF Mookie Betts
Red Sox OF Mookie Betts

MLB executives believe at least one of Mookie Betts, Francisco Lindor or Kris Bryant will be traded this offseason, according to MLB.com's Jon Morosi.

The way I see it, of the three, Betts is most likely to find a new home. And he's a good fit for the Mets.

Bryant fits the Mets, too. I'm not convinced Chicago will end up trading him, though. Like with Lindor, while it's worth it for each team to listen to offers, the Cubs and Indians have these players under contract for more than just next season.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Robinson Cano, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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Free agent reliever Daniel Hudson (Troy Taormina)
Free agent reliever Daniel Hudson (Troy Taormina)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When Brodie Van Wagenen suggested last week that Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman might be in the 2020 rotation, he appeared to telegraph that the Mets were more likely to play in the free agent reliever market this offseason than sign a starter.

That makes sense, when you consider that a better bullpen would likely have delivered the team to the postseason.

That bit of context helps to inform our understanding of the first li'l nugget of the team's post-managerial search offseason, that the front office met Monday morning with the agency that represents both Zack Wheeler and World Series champion reliever Daniel Hudson.

Tags: Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino
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Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen

The annual GM Meetings take place from Nov. 11-14 in Scottsdale, Ariz. On hand will be Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen and his staff, along with representatives from the 29 other teams.

While the big event of the offseason is the Winter Meetings each December, things often start to take shape at the GM meetings.

Van Wagenen discussed the Mets' offseason plans while introducing Carlos Beltran as manager last Monday, but he didn't go into detail. Here are five questions Van Wagenen should be asked as the GM Meetings begin...

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Edwin Diaz, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Yankees GM Brian Cashman
Yankees GM Brian Cashman

The annual GM Meetings take place from Nov. 11-14 in Scottsdale, Ariz. On hand will be Yankees GM Brian Cashman and his staff, along with representatives from the 29 other teams.

While the big event of the offseason is the Winter Meetings each December, things often start to take shape at the GM meetings.

Here are five questions Cashman should be asked as the GM Meetings begin...

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Cubs LHP Cole Hamels (Jake Roth)
Cubs LHP Cole Hamels (Jake Roth)

If Zack Wheeler departs via free agency, the Mets will have a hole to fill in the starting rotation. Should they consider filling it with a former bitter rival?

Cole Hamels, who will turn 36 years old before the 2020 season, had a 3.81 ERA (4.09 FIP) and 1.39 WHIP with 143 strikeouts in 141.2 IP (27 starts) this past season for the Cubs.

At this stage, Hamels -- who spent the first nine years of his career with the Phillies -- is looking to land with a contender. And he's open to inking a one-year deal, he told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Brodie Van Wagenen
Brodie Van Wagenen

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

MLB free agency is officially underway, and while there is a steep dropoff after the triumvirate of Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg, there are still dozens of quality players available.

For the Mets, there are solid options on the market who could help them address their three biggest needs: The bullpen, center field, and the starting rotation. New York also has the option of going the trade route to fill some or all of their needs, but with the team in need of restocking their farm system (instead of further diminishing it), the wiser play would be to fill most of their needs via free agency.

Along the above lines, here are five free agents the Mets should consider pursuing...

Tags: Brett Gardner, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Michael Pineda, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler
Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler

GM Brodie Van Wagenen said Monday that he considers Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman possible options next year to join the team's starting rotation.

Technically, this is true. Van Wagenen is simply stating reality. However, I find it hard to believe this is the preferred outcome given how well Lugo pitched in relief this past season.

Similarly, because of his limited repertoire, Gsellman has long proven he's much more effective pitching in relief than in the starting rotation. In either case, as Van Wagenen said, they are options.

Here are four potential scenarios for how things could shake out with the starting rotation in 2020...

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
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Mets manager Carlos Beltran and Brodie Van Wagenen (SNY)
Mets manager Carlos Beltran and Brodie Van Wagenen (SNY)

The Mets made things official on Monday, introducing Carlos Beltran as the 22nd manager in team history during a press conference at Citi Field.

In addition to Beltran's introduction and his thoughts on taking over the reins, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen spoke about the hiring process and what could be in store for the team this offeason.

Here's what happened, in case you missed it...

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Yoenis Cespedes, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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Anthony Rendon (Thomas B. Shea)
Anthony Rendon (Thomas B. Shea)

As they build for the 2020 season, the Mets could have a gaping hole in the starting rotation and badly need to improve their team defense. Meanwhile, Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon are free agents. Could the Mets be players for them? 

Asked directly about whether the team can add a top flight free agent without reducing payroll, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen danced around the question.

"At this point, we're going to explore all options with the roster," Van Wagenen said on Monday after introducing Carlos Beltran as the team's new manager. "Once we find the right fit, we'll try to make that a reality."

Tags: Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Jacob deGrom, Jeff McNeil, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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