New York Mets – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-03-24T12:10:47Z Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[No Link Between Mets, Ubaldo Jimenez]]> 2018-03-23T14:03:55Z 2018-03-23T13:41:02Z
  • The Mets haven’t seriously discussed the possibility of signing Ubaldo Jimenez, Heyman hears from a person connected with the team.  The past relationship between Jimenez and Mets manager Mickey Callaway (Jimenez had a strong 2013 season with the Indians when Callaway was Cleveland’s pitching coach) led to some rumors that New York could consider adding the veteran right-hander as rotation depth.  Jimenez is coming off rough seasons in both 2016 and 2017 with the Orioles, and as a result has drawn no known interest all winter as he tries to catch on with another club.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rafael Montero Will Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Miss 2018 Season]]> 2018-03-23T13:25:41Z 2018-03-23T13:25:29Z TODAY: Montero is headed back to New York this weekend and will undergo Tommy John surgery soon,’s Anthony DiComo tweets.

    YESTERDAY: Mets righty Rafael Montero has been diagnosed with a complete UCL tear, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports on Twitter. It is expected that he’ll require Tommy John surgery.

    The news represents the latest disappointment for a pitcher who was once viewed as a future part of the New York rotation. Entering the coming season without an option year remaining, Montero had been fighting for one of the final bullpen slots this spring. He has allowed an earned run for each of the nine Grapefruit League innings he threw and therefore was already at risk of being outrighted.

    To this point, Montero has worked to a middling 5.38 ERA in his 192 1/3 MLB innings. But he had earned his most extensive action to date in 2017 as the club dealt with a bevy of injuries, and there were some positive signs. Montero sat at 94 mph with his fastball, recorded a personal-best 10.1% swinging-strike rate, and drew groundballs at a 48.1% rate. He was likely unlucky to have surrendered a .366 BABIP, too, with Statcast showing a big split in his xwOBA (.316) and wOBA (.362).

    For Montero to earn another shot at the majors, he’ll first have to undergo an extensive rehab process. The 27-year-old will accrue a full season of MLB service time while recovering, meaning he’ll be eligible for arbitration next fall. Though Montero likely won’t command a terribly steep rate of pay, salary and roster pressures may well compel the Mets to remove him from the 40-man at some point.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[NL East Notes: Thompson, Ruiz, Gonzalez, Flores, Wheeler, Lugo]]> 2018-03-23T19:29:25Z 2018-03-23T04:45:34Z It appears that the Phillies are transitioning right-hander Jake Thompson into a relief role, writes Todd Zolecki of Once part of the six-player return for Cole Hamels, Thompson has only made four relief appearances in his professional career (majors and minors included). Three of those appearances came last year, however, and he’s been used largely out of the bullpen in Grapefruit League play. Thompson says that nobody has directly told him he’ll become a reliever, but believes it to be the case. “They think the slider and split can work in short periods, miss bats and get ground balls,” Thompson said of Philadelphia’s coaching staff. “They’ve built up my pitch count a little bit, so if something happens I can still do both. I’m fine with it. Anything that can get me in the big leagues and stay I’d be willing to do.”

    Other news from some of baseball’s Eastern teams…

    • It wasn’t long ago that Braves third baseman Rio Ruiz was struggling with a new swing and seemed destined to start the season in the minors, David O’Brien writes in a piece for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That outlook has changed dramatically, as Ruiz’ offensive output has been a lot more impressive over the past couple weeks. The 23-year-old’s uptick in production coincides with an injury to Johan Camargo, who’s set to open the season on the disabled list. Though the organization seems to believe Camargo can return as soon as he’s eligible, manager Brian Snitker left room for interpretation on whether Ruiz can stick at the position even then. ““Rio has worked his ass off the last couple of years. He’s getting better,” said Snitker. “You never know, situations happen, door gets opened and a guy doesn’t give it back. You never know.”
    • Mets manager Mickey Callaway says he doesn’t expect Adrian Gonzalez to play every day, and not even against every right-hander (h/t Anthony DiComo of That likely means more playing time for Wilmer Flores“Wilmer deserves to play, and not just against lefties,” said Callaway. That’s not the only interesting comment Callaway made today, as he confirmed that Seth Lugo is being considered as a rotation candidate following an excellent Grapefruit League outing in which the right-hander struck out five while allowing no runs across four innings. The presence of Lugo in the rotation would likely make Zack Wheeler, who had another rough showing today, the odd man out. “”We have some big decisions to make,” Callaway said on the subject.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Zack Wheeler Not Guaranteed Last Rotation Spot]]> 2018-03-22T00:15:17Z 2018-03-22T00:14:58Z
  • Having allowed six earned runs on 15 hits in eight innings this spring, Mets righty Zack Wheeler isn’t a lock to be part of the team’s season-opening rotation, Mike Puma and Fred Kerber of the New York Post report. If Wheeler doesn’t show well against Washington on Thursday, the Mets could elect to give the fifth spot in their starting staff to Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo, the reporters add. But any of Wheeler, Gsellman or Lugo would likely be a placeholder, as the Mets just need a fill-in while Jason Vargas recovers from surgery on his non-pitching hand. The other four spots in their rotation belong to Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mets Kept In Contact With Neil Walker During Offseason ]]> 2018-03-20T22:33:09Z 2018-03-20T22:33:09Z
  • Neil Walker kept the idea of a return to the Mets open until the team signed Todd Frazier, Walker tells Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media.  The infielder and the Mets “just kept in touch about interest levels, so on and so forth,” Walker said.  “They were just checking in to see if I was willing to come back and things like that. I certainly was.  But, really, when Frazier came in, we kind of felt like it wasn’t a possibility.”  The Mets were known to be exploring a wide range of options at second and third base, ranging from everyday players to utility options, and they eventually struck on both fronts by re-signing Jose Reyes for a backup role and signing Frazier for more or less everyday duties at the hot corner.  Walker ended up signing with New York’s other team, inking a one-year $4MM deal with the Yankees
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Mets' Pitching Plans]]> 2018-03-20T18:40:10Z 2018-03-20T16:02:56Z
  • Tim Britton of The Athletic (subscription link) examines the Mets’ pitching plans, focusing on the multi-inning capabilities of anticipated relievers Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. Skipper Mickey Callaway explains that “to put a [starter] in the bullpen and all of a sudden start using him like a traditional reliever would be a mistake,” so there are elements of both need and opportunity in the approach that the organization seems to be lining up. The practicalities will also impact the precise way the staff is deployed, as Britton explores in detail, with Callaway emphasizing that it’ll ultimately be a process that unfolds as the season goes on with “constant communication” between coaches and pitchers.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jason Vargas Could Be Ready For Start Of Season]]> 2018-03-19T20:11:59Z 2018-03-19T20:11:35Z
  • Even though Mets left-hander Jason Vargas will undergo surgery on his right hand Tuesday, he might not miss any regular-season time, Tim Britton of The Athletic tweets. It’s not as if the soft-tossing Vargas is going to have to regain lost velocity, manager Mickey Callaway noted – “It’s not going to be too hard to go back and get his 84 again,” he said – while GM Sandy Alderson essentially expressed no concern over the situation. “If he can catch the ball coming back from the catcher, he’s probably good to go,” Alderson offered.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets’ Jason Vargas Suffers Fracture To Non-Pitching Hand]]> 2018-03-18T23:07:35Z 2018-03-18T23:06:35Z 6:06PM: Vargas will indeed undergo surgery to remove his hamate bone, with the Mets announcing that the procedure will take place on Tuesday.

    9:22AM: Mets left-hander Jason Vargas suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right hamate bone during his outing Friday, the team announced. It’s unclear how long Vargas will be on the shelf, though Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News estimates two to six weeks, depending on whether he undergoes surgery. General manager Sandy Alderson told Tim Britton of The Athletic and other reporters Sunday that surgery is an option for Vargas, who will see a hand specialist Sunday.

    “He’ll either pitch through it or he’ll have it surgically repaired,” Alderson said.

    Vargas’ injury is the latest in a run of poor health for Mets starters, who suffered through a disastrous 2017. Jacob deGrom was the only member of the group to get through the season unscathed, while ace Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman each sat out significant periods of time. The only member of that injury-plagued group who delivered a high-end performance was Syndergaard. The rest struggled mightily when they stepped on the mound, contributing to the Mets’ unexpected fall from grace in 2017. Mets starters finished 17th in the majors in fWAR (8.8, exactly half of which came from deGrom) and 27th in ERA (5.12).

    In response to last season’s issues in their rotation, the Mets added Vargas on a two-year, $16MM guarantee over the winter with the hope he’d competently eat innings. The 35-year-old did just that in 2017 as a member of the Royals, logging a 4.16 ERA (with a much less encouraging 4.67 FIP) over 179 2/3 frames. Now, it seems the beginning of his second stint with the Mets, with whom he previously pitched in 2007, will be delayed. If that ends up being the case, the Mets will likely plug Wheeler into their rotation to join Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey and Matz, Mike Puma of the New York Post suggests.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets Notes: Montero, Vargas, Flores]]> 2018-03-18T03:30:07Z 2018-03-18T03:29:41Z
  • The Mets are considering trading out-of-options right-hander Rafael Montero, who’s drawing some interest from other teams, Matt Ehalt of The Record reports. A deal is not imminent, though, according to Ehalt. The 27-year-old struggled in the majors last season during his first extensive action in the bigs, with a 5.52 ERA and a 5.07 BB/9 over 119 innings (34 appearances, 18 starts). He did strike out 8.62 batters per nine and log a 4.37 FIP, though, to go with a 48.1 groundball percentage.
  • Mets southpaw Jason Vargas took a line drive off the right hand Friday, and now his status for the start of the season is in question, per Tim Healey of Newsday. X-rays came back negative, but Vargas noted that “it’s sore,” and he’s set to see a hand specialist (though he seems largely unconcerned). Manager Mickey Callaway added that he’s “not quite sure” whether the Mets will be able to open the year with Vargas, who’s currently in line to start their third game of the season. The Mets added Vargas on a two-year, $16MM deal in the offseason, hoping he’d provide a competent innings eater to a rotation that lacked those during an injury-plagued 2017.
  • More on the Mets, who utilized infielder Wilmer Flores in left field on Saturday. If the Mets are serious about Flores as an outfield option, it could benefit the rest of their roster, Tim Britton of The Athletic observes (subscription required). Flores as a fifth outfielder would give the Mets the ability to assemble a 13-man pitching staff, including eight in the bullpen, Britton notes. Regardless, Callaway is intent on finding at-bats for Flores, who was an above-average hitter from 2016-17. “You saw why he needs to be playing multiple positions, because the kid can hit,” Callaway said. “We need to get him as many at-bats as we can this season.”
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Walker, Mets Reportedly Discussed Three-Year Extension]]> 2018-03-15T17:03:05Z 2018-03-15T16:54:39Z Neil Walker’s one-year, $4MM deal with the Yankees seems like one of the better bargains achieved by a team in an unprecedentedly slow offseason for free agents, and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post looks back to last offseason when the infielder was discussing a longer-term pact with the Mets. At some point last winter, the Mets floated a three-year extension for Walker that would’ve been worth “about” $42MM, per Davidoff. Presumably that would include the 2017 season, during which he was already set to be paid $17.2MM, as it seems unlikely both that the Mets would offer three new years with Walker returning from back surgery and equally unlikely that Walker’s camp would reject said notion (though that’s just my own speculation). If that number is indeed accurate, Walker will obviously come out behind ($21.2MM over the first two of those three seasons), though certainly no one saw this type of free-agent freeze coming. Davidoff adds that Walker’s camp tried to reignite those “contentious” discussions later in the winter, but the Mets declined.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Juan Lagares Still Drawing Trade Interest]]> 2018-03-13T22:34:20Z 2018-03-13T22:32:27Z 5:32pm: The A’s don’t have interest in Lagares at this time, tweets the Post’s Joel Sherman, removing one speculative partner from consideration.

    4:20pm: The Mets have received recent trade interest in Juan Lagares and “haven’t ruled out” a trade of the defensively gifted center fielder, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post. Per Puma, at least one AL club has maintained interest in Lagares into the middle portion of Spring Training.

    Lagares, who turns 29 on Saturday, is guaranteed $6.5MM in 2018 and $9MM in 2019, plus a $500K buyout of a $9.5MM option for the 2020 season. While his bat has been a negative asset since he signed his $23.5MM extension prior to the 2015 season, his glove remains superlative; over the past three seasons, Lagares has amassed 1914 2/3 innings in the outfield (nearly all in center field) and delivered 25 Defensive Runs Saved and 22.1 Ultimate Zone Rating. Statcast’s OOA metric pegged him at seven outs better than an average defender in 2017.

    Moving Lagares would obviously thin out New York’s outfield mix, though Puma notes that Brandon Nimmo could be leapfrogging Lagares on the depth chart with a strong spring showing while Lagares struggles at the dish. Michael Conforto is expected to man center field upon his return — which Puma notes could come by early May — with Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce lining up in the corners. Conforto’s return would push Nimmo and Lagares further down the depth chart. Cespedes, it should be noted, is being slowed by a sore wrist, though’s Anthony DiComo tweets that X-rays on the wrist came back negative.

    The Mets are currently set to open the 2018 season with a club-record payroll of more than $152MM, and the fact that they already have $95MM+ on the payroll for the 2019 season creates some further impetus for moving Lagares if he’s been pushed to fifth on the outfield depth chart. The Mets figure to get some of those projected Opening Day figures back in the form of an insurance policy on David Wright’s salary — he’s expected to be shut down from baseball activity for eight weeks — but it obviously stands to reason that no team would relish the notion of paying a fifth outfielder at that relatively lofty rate.

    Speculatively looking around the American League, the A’s, Tigers, White Sox and Rangers were among the clubs that received questionable defensive ratings from their center field contingents in 2017, and the Royals lost Lorenzo Cain to free agency (though they’ve since added Jon Jay on an affordable one-year deal). The Mariners, meanwhile, are dealing with a thin outfield mix that is being slowed by injuries and have placed a premium on defensive value under GM Jerry Dipoto, who is never shy about making trades.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL East Notes: Phillies, Conforto, AGon, Robles]]> 2018-03-13T16:16:24Z 2018-03-13T16:16:24Z As the Phillies introduce Jake Arrieta today, the organization is now much more clearly in a competitive posture than it was at the outset of the winter. But the pedal won’t be fully pressed down, it seems, despite the presence of a few other notable free agents who’d improve the near-term outlook in Philadelphia. GM Matt Klentak says that he does not anticipate any further additions before the start of the season, as’s Todd Zolecki tweets.

    More from the NL East:

    • The Mets continue to have cause for optimism on outfielder Michael Conforto, whose scary shoulder injury made for quite an offseason concern. He’s now nearing game readiness, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets, and anticipates getting into a spring game next week. That doesn’t mean that Conforto will be on the Opening Day roster, but certainly suggests he’s on track to return relatively early in the season. In other injury news, via’s Anthony DiComo (Twitter links), the Mets say that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has a sore wrist. Though there’s no indication at present that it’s a worrying injury, he has undergone an x-ray and is waiting for the results. Meanwhile, veteran third baseman David Wright is no closer to a return; rather, he’ll hold off on baseball activities for at least eight weeks after being examined recently.
    • New Mets first baseman Adrian Gonzalez discussed his fresh start and unusual offseason with Mike Puma of the New York Post. Notably, Gonzalez says he was initially resistant to the Dodgers’ request that he waive his no-trade protection to go to the Braves in a contract-swapping move that ultimately left him landing in New York. But Los Angeles “sweetened the deal every single time” he met with the team, says the veteran, who acknowledged there was compensation involved.
    • Pete Kerzel of examines the Nationals’ decision-making process with top prospect Victor Robles, who is impressing in camp despite a middling stat line in Grapefruit League action. The 20-year-old is ready for the majors, by all accounts, though the organization certainly has plenty of good reasons not to carry him out of camp. First and foremost, the organization has a solid center field combo already lined up in Michael Taylor and the out-of-options Brian Goodwin; in that sense, then, promoting Robles would mean parting with depth. Service-time considerations are also a factor; since Robles picked up 25 days of service last year, he’s just 147 days away from a full year of service. If the Nats wish to delay Robles’s eventual entry onto the open market, they’ll need to keep him down until early May; keeping him from potential Super Two status would likely mean waiting to bring him back up until the middle of the summer.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Mets' Catching Plans]]> 2018-03-10T04:02:14Z 2018-03-10T03:43:33Z
  • Kevin Plawecki could receive the lion’s share of the time behind the dish for the MetsTim Healey of Newsday writes. New skipper Mickey Callaway says it will often come down to platoon splits in deciding whether Plawecki or Travis d’Arnaud is behind the dish, with the former’s advantage against right-handed pitching perhaps leading to greater opportunities. Surely performance levels over the course of the season will weigh into the calculus, but Callaway clearly indicated that the organization is disinclined to match up their backstops with particular starters.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Rosario, deGrom]]> 2018-03-08T19:23:00Z 2018-03-08T16:08:06Z
  • Amed Rosario apparently overcompensated for his ailing knee to the point where he developed some tightness in his hamstring and groin, writes Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. None of the issues facing Rosario seem especially serious, as Mets manager Mickey Callaway suggested that the Rosario’s absence from the lineup for the past few days “probably” won’t jeopardize his Opening Day readiness. That said, Callaway did note that it’s at least somewhat of a concern that Rosario is missing some “valuable reps and playing time.” Ackert also notes that Jacob deGrom is set to make his first spring start on Sunday. That may not be soon enough to be ready for Opening Day, but it seems likely to have him on track to start one of the team’s early regular-season games.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[East Notes: Rays, Wright, Goodwin, Orioles]]> 2018-03-08T01:31:27Z 2018-03-07T19:22:15Z The Rays are preparing to utilize a four-man rotation for the entirety of the coming season, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes, with the expectation being that the club will load up the bullpen with multi-inning-capable arms. Topkin covers a wide range of possibilities for the relief corps and details the club’s thinking behind the unusual move. The plan is to utilize a string of relievers to work the fifth rotation spot, rather than designating a single pitcher to take that job. That approach seems designed both to take advantage of the organization’s options and to incorporate some analytical lessons on platoons and pitchers facing an order multiple times.

    More from the east:

    • Joel Sherman of the New York Post checks in on Mets third baseman David Wright, who is still plugging away in a comeback effort that seems unlikely to succeed. He says he wants to give it everything he can so that his “head can hit the pillow and I know I made every effort to play.” But that doesn’t mean it’s easy for the 33-year-old to be a part of a team that’s likely never to put him back on the field. “The mental part of coming in and knowing you bring nothing to the table as far as helping the team get ready for the season and helping the team win, for me, is the hardest part,” says Wright, “as hard as physical part of the rehab process.” Wright’s devastating combination of injuries is well-documented, of course. Remarkably, he was still capable of productive hitting when he briefly appeared on the field in 2015 and 2016, but Wright was only able to suit up for three High-A contests last year.
    • The Nationals don’t have a particularly clear role for outfielder Brian Goodwin, but as Pete Kerzel of writes, new skipper Davey Martinez intends to find ways to utilize Goodwin. The 27-year-old doesn’t exactly sound like he’s excited by the organization’s plans after he turned in a solid 2017 campaign. “I don’t think my role is defined, or ever has been since I’ve been in camp,” Goodwin said. “I come into camp and I feel like I’m trying to earn a spot, trying to find somewhere – a home, where I can play every day, start 162 games and play every day for somebody whether it’s here or anywhere.”
    • Speaking of lefty hitting outfielders, the Orioles came into the offseason badly needing one. The club erred in its approach to filling that need, Dan Connolly of argues. Baltimore ended up drawing Colby Rasmus back out of retirement with a deal that could actually exceed the one that Jon Jay just signed with the Royals. The issue, says Connolly, is that Jay suits the O’s needs much more than does Rasmus — and also was the desired target of team leaders Adam Jones and Manny Machado. It’s an interesting look at the team’s decisionmaking process.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets Notes: Rosario, A-Gon]]> 2018-03-04T05:04:44Z 2018-03-04T05:04:44Z
  • Mets shortstop Amed Rosario exited their game Saturday with left knee irritation, but it seems he dodged a serious injury, Tim Healey of Newsday relays. Both manager Mickey Callaway and Rosario indicated afterward that pulling the 22-year-old was merely a precautionary measure. Relatively minor injuries have been the story early this spring for the Mets, who have seen a few key players (including Rosario, Jacob deGrom, Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares) deal with various issues. The team as a whole trudged through a disastrous, injury-plagued campaign in 2017, during which the highly touted Rosario debuted with a .248/.271/.394 showing across 170 plate appearances.
  • Like his new team, Mets first baseman Adrian Gonzalez went through a season to forget in 2017. Back problems limited the then-Dodger to 252 PAs and a .242/.287/.355 batting line. Despite his recent struggles and his age (he’ll be 36 in May), Gonzalez said he drew interest from other teams and had “secure options” before signing a low-cost deal with the Mets in January, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Gonzalez is the Mets’ top first base choice for now, but if he gets off to a slow start, that might not last for long, Sherman notes. In the event Gonzalez doesn’t rebound, the Mets could shift outfielder Jay Bruce to first once Michael Conforto comes back from shoulder surgery. Bruce hasn’t worked at first this spring, though, and he doesn’t believe he’d be be adept at the position without getting more practice there. “I believe I can be a quality first baseman,” Bruce said. “Do I think I am right now? Absolutely not.”
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[DeGrom Questionable For Opening Day]]> 2018-02-28T02:35:46Z 2018-02-28T02:35:46Z
  • Jacob deGrom’s availability for Opening Day is in question, writes Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. While the back stiffness that’s been hampering deGrom in the past few days isn’t believed to be serious, the Mets would prefer deGrom to make five starts to ramp up for the regular season. In order to make that schedule, he’d need to start a game by Sunday, and he’ll likely need to complete two bullpen sessions before he’s cleared to do so. The New York Post’s Mike Puma takes things a bit further, suggesting that deGrom may not be ready for the first week or so of the season (Twitter link). It’s understandable that the Mets would prefer to proceed with caution after the rampant injuries that ran through their pitching staff last season, though, and it doesn’t sound at present that deGrom is in danger of missing any significant time once the regular season rolls around.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mets Sign A.J. Griffin To Minor League Deal]]> 2018-02-28T01:56:25Z 2018-02-28T01:45:44Z Feb. 27: Griffin would earn $750K in the Majors and have the opportunity to earn another $500K via incentives, tweets FanRag’s Jon Heyman. His contract also comes with opt-out dates in the event that he’s unlikely to make the big league roster.

    Feb. 26: The Mets are in agreement with free-agent right-hander A.J. Griffin on a minor league deal, tweets James Wagner of the New York Times. He’ll report to Major League camp with the team shortly. Griffin is represented by the Legacy Agency.

    Grffin, 30, has spent the past two seasons in the Rangers organization, where he’s soaked up 196 1/3 innings over the course of 41 games (38 starts) for an oft-injured Texas staff. While he’s turned in passable K/BB numbers in that time (7.7 K/9, 3.4 BB/9), however, Griffin has been baseball’s most homer-prone pitcher over the past two seasons, averaging 2.2 long balls per nine innings pitched. Griffin has posted just a 29 percent ground-ball rate in that time, and his extreme penchant for fly-balls is magnified by the fact that 15.6 percent of flies against him have cleared the fence for homers.

    At one point, Griffin looked to be emerging as a solid long-term piece for the A’s. He debuted in Oakland as a 24-year-old back in 2012 and went on to post a 3.60 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 across 282 1/3 innings from 2012-13. However, he underwent Tommy John surgery the following spring and was away from a big league mound for two full seasons as a result.

    Griffin doesn’t seem especially likely to crack the Mets’ Opening Day rotation, but he could remain on hand as a valuable depth option early in the season. Jacob deGrom had a terrific season atop the Mets’ rotation in 2017, but Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo all missed significant time on the disabled list last season.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Gurriel, Frazier, Gausman, Stroman, Thornburg, Eaton]]> 2018-02-28T04:47:58Z 2018-02-27T19:13:14Z The Astros have shipped first baseman Yuli Gurriel to Houston so his injured hand can be evaluated, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reports (Twitter link). At this point, the situation is more or less a mystery, with no real indication how the issue arose or just what the club is concerned about. Clearly, though, the team’s training staff has found cause to get a closer look from a specialist.

    Here’s more on some injury situations from around the game:

    • Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier has been diagnosed with a concussion, tweets’s Bryan Hoch. Frazier made a leaping catch in yesterday’s Grapefruit League game against the Pirates and stumbled a bit before falling backwards and hitting his head against the base of the left-field wall (video link). Manager Aaron Boone said Frazier will be down for “a few days” and acknowledged the seemingly optimistic nature of that timeline. Frazier is far from a lock to make the Opening Day roster in New York with Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Jacoby Ellsbury all on the roster, but he remains a key potential long-term piece for the Yanks.
    • It seems that Orioles righty Kevin Gausman has largely shaken off a home-plate collision yesterday, Roch Kubatko of writes. The young starter, who is a key factor in the team’s hopes for the coming season, says he “feel[s] pretty good” on the whole despite slamming into Tigers youngster Jeimer Candelario. For the time being, at least, Gausman is expected to take the ball for his next scheduled spring outing.
    • The outlook is at least a bit more worrisome for Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman. Per’s Gregor Chisholm, shoulder inflammation is holding Stroman back. Though he has already been cleared by an MRI of structural concerns, Stroman will rest up in hopes of moving past a problem that has evidently been going on for a few weeks. The key Jays hurler says he’s hoping to be fully ramped up for “the very beginning of the start of the season,” even if it’s not Opening Day, though surely the organization will proceed with caution.
    • The Red Sox will welcome reliever Tyler Thornburg back to the hill for the first time since he underwent surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports on Twitter. A bullpen session is just one of many steps back, of course, and Thornburg still has some hurdles to clear. He has yet to pitch competitively for the Boston organization (excepting brief spring action last year) since coming over in a trade in advance of the 2017 season.
    • Indications are that Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton is largely progressing well after a long layoff for a torn ACL. As Mark Zuckerman of writes, though, Eaton has yet to appear in game action. That appears to be less a reflection of Eaton’s surgically repaired joint than it is a planned effort to build him up deliberately. “We’re going to take it and be methodical and do it right for the first time and make sure I’m overcooked, so to speak, before I go out there.” While it’s surely tempting to max out Eaton’s reps after a lost season, skipper Davey Martinez emphasized the primary goal is to have Eaton at full speed come Opening Day.
    • The rival Mets are reporting shoulder and back soreness for Yoenis Cespedes and Jacob deGrom, respectively, but those don’t seem to be real concerns at this point, as’s Anthony DiComo reports. However, the New York organization is likely to hold back first baseman Dominic Smith for a while after he was diagnosed with a strained quad. He already seemed to face a difficult task of cracking the Opening Day roster, so this setback is not likely to help the cause. (New reliever Anthony Swarzak just left his relief appearance with an apparent calf injury, as Mike Puma of the New York Post was among those to tweet, though details are sparse at this time.)
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets Notes: Smith, Bruce]]> 2018-02-25T20:50:04Z 2018-02-25T20:50:04Z
  • Mets first baseman Dominic Smith suffered a strained quad and will undergo an MRI on Monday, Anthony DiComo of writes. Smith isn’t worried, though, as he said Sunday “there’s no real concern” that it’s a major problem (Twitter link via DiComo). Meanwhile, outfielder Jay Bruce downplayed the plantar fasciitis in his left foot, calling it a “non-issue” (via David Lennon of Newsday, on Twitter).
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mets Notes: Spending, Flores]]> 2018-02-20T07:03:27Z 2018-02-20T06:00:45Z
  • With Jose Reyes back in the fold and new additions Todd Frazier and Adrian Gonzalez helping to fill out the infield, the Mets are planning to see whether Wilmer Flores is capable of contributing on occasion in the corner outfield, David Lennon of Newsday writes. The idea is to create some more opportunities for getting Flores in the lineup against lefties. Though it’s anybody’s guess how he’ll fare on the outfield grass, Flores says he’s more than willing to give it a try if it means potentially expanding his role.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mets Sign Jason Vargas]]> 2018-02-19T17:56:06Z 2018-02-19T16:40:04Z Feb. 19: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that Vargas will earn $6MM in 2018 and $8MM in 2019. The option year is valued at $8MM and comes with a $2MM buyout.

    Feb. 18: The deal is official, Mark Feinsand of tweets. Along with the previously reported incentives, it includes a $250K assignment bonus if the Mets trade Vargas, according to Heyman (Twitter link). To make room for Vargas, the Mets placed infielder T.J. Rivera on the 60-day DL. Rivera underwent Tommy John surgery last September.

    Feb. 16, 1:20pm: Heyman tweets that Vargas will earn an additional $250K for reaching 160, 170, 180, 190, 200 and 210 innings in each season of the deal.

    10:15am: The option year is worth an additional $8MM, DiComo reports (on Twitter).

    9:55am: Puma tweets that Vargas’ contract also contains an option for a third year. Jerry Crasnick of tweets that Vargas will be guaranteed $16MM. Heyman adds that Vargas’ deal also contains incentives that will allow him to earn an additional $1.5MM per season, based on his innings totals.

    9:44am: The Mets are in agreement with free-agent lefty Jason Vargas, pending a physical, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (via Twitter). It’s a two-year deal, according to Anthony DiComo of (Twitter link). Mike Puma of the New York Post had recently reported that the Mets were maintaining “solid interest” in Vargas, who is represented by CAA Baseball.


    Vargas, who turned 35 two weeks ago, will add some much-needed stability to a Mets rotation that has been devastated by injuries in recent seasons. Last year alone, the Mets saw Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman all combine to spend significant time on the disabled list, with only Jacob deGrom remaining healthy to shoulder a full season’s workload.

    The 2017 season, meanwhile, served as a platform for the veteran Vargas to prove that he was healthy after Tommy John surgery wiped out most of his 2015-16 campaigns. It was a rather dichotomous season for Vargas, who surged to a 2.22 ERA through his first 101 innings of the season, earning a deserved All-Star berth in the process. Vargas’ early success was buoyed by an unsustainable 86 percent strand rate, however, and that figure cratered over the final three months as his control took a turn for the worse. After that sparkling 2.22 ERA through the end of June, Vargas limped to a 6.66 ERA in his final 16 starts.

    It’s possible, of course, that some fatigue in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery impacted Vargas. Control has never been an issue for him, after all, but he nonetheless averaged nearly four walks per nine innings pitched over the final three months of the season. Overall, though, the results on the year were solid. Vargas totaled a 4.16 ERA while averaging 6.7 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9 with a 40.3 percent ground-ball rate.

    That body of work lines up fairly closely to the 4.01 ERA he turned in over 1082 2/3 innings from 2009-15 — the stretch from which he established himself as a viable Major League starter up until he underwent Tommy John surgery as a member of the Royals.

    While the yearly breakdown of the contract remains unclear, the addition of Vargas should push the Mets’ payroll north of the $150MM mark for the second consecutive season, though that number includes David Wright’s $20MM salary, 75 percent of which is covered by insurance should the oft-injured former star head back to the 60-day DL. Vargas’ two-year deal pushes the team’s 2019 commitments well beyond $90MM more than a year in advance as well (though, again, 75 percent of Wright’s $15MM salary next season is covered by insurance).

    This will mark the second stint with the Mets for Vargas, who was traded to New York from Miami in the 2006 deal that sent Matt Lindstrom to the Marlins. Vargas only pitched 10 1/3 innings in the Majors with the Mets the first time around and was ultimately traded to the Mariners in the 2008, three-team J.J. Putz swap. He’ll be reunited with former Royals pitching coach in Queens, giving him some added familiarity as he re-acclimates to his new surroundings.

    For the Mets, the Vargas addition is somewhat surprisingly the third multi-year free-agent pickup that has transpired after reports suggesting that the team had limited remaining funds. After signing Anthony Swarzak to a two-year, $14MM deal back in December, the Mets have now added Jay Bruce (three years, $39MM), Todd Frazier (two years, $17MM) and Vargas, in addition to more modest one-year commitments for Jose Reyes ($2MM) and Adrian Gonzalez ($545K).

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets Notes: Offseason Work, Tebow]]> 2018-02-18T22:51:13Z 2018-02-18T22:51:13Z
  • The Mets’ Jason Vargas signing will likely conclude their heavy lifting for the offseason, general manager Sandy Alderson suggested Sunday (via Anthony DiComo of, on Twitter). “With Jason’s signing, we’re pretty much where we want to be,” said Alderson, who has been rather active in free agency since last season ended. Vargas was the sixth big league signing of the offseason for the Mets, who previously added or re-upped Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Anthony Swarzak, Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Reyes.
  • The Mets actually have “modest expectations” that minor league outfielder Tim Tebow will eventually earn a major league call-up, Alderson revealed (Twitter link via James Wagner of the New York Times). “He’s great for baseball. He was phenomenal for minor league baseball last year,” Alderson said of the former Denver Broncos starting quarterback and ex-University of Florida football star. Prior to last season, which the 30-year-old divided between Single-A and High-A and hit .226/.309/.347 in 486 PAs, Tebow hadn’t played organized baseball since high school.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[New York Notes: Mets, Yankees, Wright, Lincecum]]> 2018-02-18T01:45:45Z 2018-02-18T01:45:45Z Some items from both of the Big Apple’s teams…

    • David Wright still doesn’t know when, or even if, he’ll be able to play again, though the Mets captain told’s Anthony DiComo and other reporters that he is still determined to return to the field.  “It would be easy if I didn’t have that drive to get back out there,” Wright said.  “If I didn’t love what I did, that would certainly make things easier.  But I do love what I do….When it’s all said and done, I want to be able to say I did everything I could.  If it works, that’s obviously the goal.  And if it doesn’t work, then I’ll rest easy knowing I gave it my best shot.”  Wright played 75 games total in 2015-16 and then missed all of last season due to various surgeries stemming from spinal stenosis.  For their part, the Mets are fully supportive of Wright’s efforts, and manager Mickey Callaway told the third baseman that the team still values his clubhouse leadership.
    • Though the Mets’ offseason lacked any headline-grabbing signings or trades, the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff is still giving the team an A (albeit “graded on a curve”) for its winter moves.  Davidoff feels the Mets did well in adding quality talent and depth without committing too much in long-term salary to the likes of Jay Bruce, Jason Vargas, Todd Frazier, Anthony Swarzak, Adrian Gonzalez, and Jose Reyes.  As well, all of those players were signings, so the Mets didn’t have to trade from their already-thin minor league system.
    • The Yankees seem likely to save most of their remaining payroll space to address pitching needs at the trade deadline, Joel Sherman of the New York Post opines.  In the short term, the Yankees will look to trade for a low-cost third baseman to bolster their infield.  The team is looking to be as flexible as possible given its desire to stay under the luxury tax threshold while still filling any remaining roster holes, and I agree with Sherman that the Bronx Bombers have more fill-in pitching depth than infield depth.  It doesn’t make sense for the club to spend much on an infielder since Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar are seemingly on the cusp of regular duty at second and third base.
    • “A source with knowledge of the [Yankees’] personnel decisions” told NJ Advance Media’s Brendan Kuty that Tim Lincecum looked “fine” in his recent showcase for scouts and that Lincecum will likely receive a minor league contract offer from a team.  The implication, however, was that New York wouldn’t be the team in question.  The Yankees were one of between 15-20 teams who sent evaluators to watch Lincecum throw on Thursday.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mets Had Interest In Jaime Garcia]]> 2018-02-16T15:16:28Z 2018-02-16T15:16:28Z
  • The Mets had interest in Jaime Garcia before he signed with Toronto on Thursday, per Mike Puma of the New York Post. The Mets are focusing their efforts on adding a starter that won’t come with draft/international forfeitures (i.e. Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, Jake Arrieta). Puma reported yesterday that Jason Vargas remains on the Mets’ list of targets, noting that he was briefly with the organization back in 2007-08 and has spent the past four seasons working with new Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland, who formerly held that same position with the Royals.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 2/15/18]]> 2018-02-16T03:23:14Z 2018-02-16T03:23:14Z Here are the latest minor moves from around the game:

    • The Mets announced today that they have signed Matt den Dekker to a minor-league deal. He’ll be reunited with the organization that originally drafted him in the fifth round in 2010 and gave him his first MLB promotion in 2013. Though he has touched the majors in each of the past five seasons, opportunities have been fleeting for the 30-year-old. He spent most of 2017 at Triple-A with the Tigers and Marlins organizations, slashing a combined .250/.322/.441 in 288 plate appearances.
    • Lefty Tyler Matzek has signed a minors deal with the Mariners, per an announcement from the California Winter League. It includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training. Once a top prospect, Matzek had been unable to overcome anxiety problems and a related collapse in his control. Though he worked to a 4.05 ERA in 117 2/3 MLB frames in 2014, Matzek issued more walks than strikeouts at all levels over the following two seasons. He was released by the White Sox after participating in camp with the organization last spring.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mets Maintaining Interest In Jason Vargas]]> 2018-02-15T16:20:38Z 2018-02-15T16:20:38Z The Mets are maintaining “solid interest” in free-agent lefty Jason Vargas, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post. The 35-year-old Vargas should would give the Mets some much-needed stability at the back of the rotation and could presumably be had on a short-term commitment.

    Vargas recently wrapped up a four-year, $32MM contract with the Royals that featured a pair of healthy seasons in the first and last years of the contract, while the middle two (2015-16) were largely wiped out by Tommy John surgery. In his first full season back from surgery, Vargas made 32 starts for Kansas City, totaling 179 1/3 innings and being named to the All-Star team for the first time in a career that has spanned parts of 12 seasons.

    That All-Star berth came on the heels of a 2.22 ERA through the season’s first three months, though Vargas achieved that mark by stranding an unsustainable 86 percent of the baserunners he allowed. That number came crashing back to Earth in the season’s second half (69.3 percent), and the pristine control that Vargas showed through the season’s first 101 innings eluded him, as he averaged 3.9 walks per nine innings pitched over his final 16 starts.

    Vargas pitched to a 6.66 ERA in those 16 starts, leaving his final 2017 numbers looking solid but not especially impressive. The lefty turned in a 4.16 ERA with 6.7 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.35 HR/9 and a 40.3 percent ground-ball rate. That work is a fairly close match for the 4.01 ERA he turned in over 1082 2/3 innings from 2009-15 upon establishing himself as a big league regular up until his 2015 Tommy John procedure.

    Suffice it to say, Vargas wouldn’t give the Mets a massive boost at the top of their rotation. He would, however, be a fairly reliable source of innings in the middle of their rotation, and few teams could use stable innings to round out their starting corps more than the Mets. Only Jacob deGrom managed a full, healthy season in the Mets’ once-vaunted rotation last year, as Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman all saw significant time on the disabled list. Mets starters posted a collective 5.14 ERA and totaled just 865 2/3 innings in 2017, both of which were the fourth-worst marks among all 30 Major League teams.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mets Notes: Norris, Lagares]]> 2018-02-15T00:00:16Z 2018-02-15T00:00:16Z
  • The Mets had Bud Norris “on their board” before the veteran right-hander signed with the Cardinals, The Athletic’s Marc Carig reports (Twitter link).  Norris’ versatility as both a reliever and a potential swingman or spot starter intrigued the Mets, who may or may not be still looking for rotation depth.
  • Juan Lagares’ name has surfaced in some trade rumors over the offseason, though’s Anthony DiComo (Twitter link) doubts the Mets would part with the defensively-gifted outfielder.  The team is thin on outfield depth as it is, and Lagares is penciled in as the starting center fielder until Michael Conforto is healthy.  Dealing Lagares (who is owed $15.5MM over the next two seasons) would free up some payroll space for the Mets, and he hasn’t hit much over the last three years, with injuries playing a role in his struggles at the plate.  Nevertheless, DiComo writes that “the Mets are super bullish on” Lagares and even plan to use him against both left-handed and right-handed pitching.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mets Reportedly Will Not Attend Lincecum Showcase]]> 2018-02-14T05:02:07Z 2018-02-14T04:55:29Z
  • More than 10 teams are set to attend Tim Lincecum’s showcase on Thursday, it seems. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, Rhett Bollinger of and Roch Kubatko of respectively report that the Tigers, Twins and Orioles will have scouts in attendance (all Twitter links). Heyman adds another handful of clubs, listing the Rangers, Phillies, Dodgers, YankeesRed Sox, Brewers, Padres and Braves as attendees (links to Twitter for the last three), in addition to the previously reported Giants. If anything, it’s perhaps more notable which clubs have elected not to attend the showcase, as there’s no real downside to at least taking a look and the showcase is shaping up to be reasonably well-attended. To that end, the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan wrote over the weekend that the Mets aren’t planning to have a scout in attendance.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Nationals Acquire Matt Reynolds]]> 2018-02-13T02:13:39Z 2018-02-13T02:06:42Z The Nationals have acquired utilityman Matt Reynolds from the division-rival Mets, per a club announcement. Cash considerations will go to New York in the agreement for Reynolds, who had been designated for assignment recently.

    Reynolds, 27, has struggled in his limited MLB opportunities and was squeezed off of the Mets roster as the team has continued to add infielders. The Nats had an unexpected opening arise recently when young catcher Raudy Read was hit with a PED suspension.

    Though he has accomplished little in limited MLB time, Reynolds has shown an ability to line up all around the infield and in the corner outfield. And he has posted a solid (albeit PCL-aided) .289/.348/.419 slash in over a thousand career trips to the plate at Triple-A.

    To crack the Nationals’ active roster, Reynolds would likely need to beat out Wilmer Difo for an infield reserve spot. Of course, he could instead be optioned to Triple-A to serve as affordable and versatile depth, or the Nats could attempt to sneak him through waivers at some point.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mets Notes: Lincecum, Swarzak, Callaway]]> 2018-02-12T02:45:37Z 2018-02-12T01:44:50Z
  • The Mets have shown some interest in free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum this offseason, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.  It’s possible they’ll be on hand for Lincecum’s upcoming showcase, though Heyman notes that it’s unclear which teams will join the previously reported Giants in attendance.  Lincecum didn’t pitch at all in 2017 and it has been some time since he has been both healthy and effective, though scouts from several clubs are expected to check out the former two-time Cy Young Award winner.
  • Anthony Swarzak’s two-year, $14MM contract from the Mets might not have been possible without some advice from Mickey Callaway, Swarzak tells the New York Daily News’ Peter Botte.  The right-hander and his new manager first crossed paths in 2015 when Swarzak was pitching for the Indians and Callaway was the team’s pitching coach, and it was Callaway who pressed upon Swarzak the importance of better conditioning.  “Most of [Callaway’s advice] was in the weight room and really dedicating myself off the field,” Swarzak said.  “I didn’t really want to hear it at the time. But I took his advice and here we are three years later and I’m better than ever and throwing harder and doing things athletically in my delivery that I couldn’t do before. I know that’s what he was trying to get at, and I thank him now.”  A major velocity boost helped Swarzak post a career year in 2017, with a 2.33 ERA, 10.6 K/9 and a 4.14 K/BB rate over 77 1/3 IP with the White Sox and Brewers.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz Optimistic About Health]]> 2018-02-11T18:42:16Z 2018-02-11T18:42:16Z
  • Injuries have beset promising Mets starters Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz during their careers, but they’re both optimistic heading into the new season, Kevin Kernan of the New York Post details in a pair of articles. Wheeler missed all of 2015-16 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and then threw just 86 1/3 innings of 5.21 ERA ball in his return last year. His season ended in July on account of a stress reaction in his right arm, but he now “feels great.” Wheeler explained his recovery process to Kernan, saying: “It needed two full months of rest. I got that, and then I’ve been taking these shots every day for the past six months. The medicine is called Forteo and it is supposed to strengthen your bones, so hopefully that helps.” The left-handed Matz logged a mere 66 2/3 frames of 6.08 ERA pitching in 2017, which concluded for him in August when he underwent surgery to reposition the ulnar nerve in his elbow.“They moved the nerve over, they take it out of the groove and they sew it down, basically they moved it out of the way,” Matz said of the procedure. “I feel really good this season,” he added.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets Asked About Brandon Drury Earlier This Offseason]]> 2018-02-11T04:10:03Z 2018-02-11T02:33:03Z
  • In addition to the previously reported Yanks, the Mets asked the Diamondbacks about utilityman Brandon Drury at some point this offseason, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. Drury is still with the D-backs, though a deal could still come together before the season, Piecoro suggests. It probably won’t be with the Mets, though, considering they’ve signed third baseman Todd Frazier, outfielder Jay Bruce and infielder Jose Reyes in recent weeks.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Eduardo Nunez]]> 2018-02-09T00:44:23Z 2018-02-09T00:44:15Z Feb. 8: Jesse Sanchez of tweets that the Braves can be counted among the teams that have “serious” interest in Nunez. Atlanta has something of an opening at third base, where Johan Camargo is presently projected to serve as a bridge to prospect Austin Riley.

    However, there have also been multiple reports that the Braves aren’t likely to make a big splash at the hot corner; David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution recently characterized any such addition as unlikely, and FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported earlier today that the Braves would primarily be open to a one-year deal with any third base target. Given the fairly robust level of interest in the versatile Nunez, it seems unlikely that he’d command only a one-year pact.

    Feb. 6: Veteran infielder Eduardo Nunez has long seemed likely to command fairly broad interest, though his market got underway only recently since he spent the early part of the offseason recovering from a knee injury (though he was able to avoid surgery). It still seems that there’s some room for development in his market, as interest continues to percolate.

    According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, via Twitter, the Rays have joined the division-rival Red Sox and Yankees with interest. Tampa Bay, according to Rosenthal, is generally gauging the market for right-handed bats while simultaneously fielding interest in some of its presently more expensive assets, including Jake Odorizzi and Alex Colome. In theory, either or both could be traded for younger, more controllable assets while clearing some salary for a free-agent addition such as Nunez.

    Nunez has been tied most closely in recent weeks to Boston (see here and here), and Rosenthal wrote again tonight that the Red Sox have shown interest in re-signing him. But he has also been connected to both New York organizations and a host of other possible destinations given his experience at third base, shortstop, second base and in left field. While Nunez doesn’t thrive at any one position and grades out below average at several, the ability to place him at multiple spots on a short-term basis holds plenty of appeal all the same. He’s also taken his offensive game to a new level in recent seasons, slashing .296/.332/.443 in 1290 plate appearances for the Twins, Giants and Red Sox dating back to the 2015 campaign.

    Of course, the Mets are no longer a reasonable possibility; per John Harper of the New York Daily News, the club believed it could’ve signed Nunez for approximately the same price it paid Todd Frazier (two years and $17MM). After some internal debate, though, the club opted for Frazier’s power and glovework at the hot corner over Nunez’s superior batting average and baserunning prowess but weaker contact profile and glovework.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Mets' Search For Rotation Depth]]> 2018-02-08T23:06:57Z 2018-02-08T23:06:57Z As the Mets have now managed to check off their most pressing needs at fairly reasonable prices, some attention has turned to the question whether the organization might now go on to spend on a starter. GM Sandy Alderson noted that “some opportunities arose for us that probably would not have been expected right after the end of the World Series,” as James Wagner of the New York Times reports. Given the noted health questions for the talented Mets pitching staff, the thinking goes, perhaps the team will look to score some rotation value and thrust itself into clear contention status. To this point, though, the Mets “have yet to engage in meaningful discussions” with free agent hurlers Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links). Rather, the focus seems still to be on finding some pitching depth.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Zack Wheeler Defeats Mets In Arbitration]]> 2018-02-08T18:08:56Z 2018-02-08T18:08:56Z Mets righty Zack Wheeler has won his arbitration case against the team, according to Jerry Crasnick of (via Twitter). Wheeler, a client of Jet Sports Management, will earn the $1.9MM he requested rather than the $1.5MM figure the team sought.

    Obviously, the arbitration panel’s decision won’t have a drastic impact on the New York balance sheet for the coming season. And it won’t mean much for the future, either, as Wheeler only has one additional season of arbitration eligibility remaining.

    Still, this is a relatively substantial victory — certainly, from Wheeler’s perspective but also for a union that’s currently engaged in a larger rhetorical battle as the free agent market limps along. As MLBTR’s 2018 MLB Arbitration Tracker shows, the players have thus far taken seven of ten arbitration cases, with thirteen still left to be decided.

    Wheeler, 27, returned from a long Tommy John layoff to make 17 MLB starts last year. He still has a ways to go, though, to regain his former trajectory, as he ended the year with a 5.21 ERA and 8.4 K/9 against 4.2 BB/9 over 86 1/3 frames.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mets To Designate Matt Reynolds For Assignment]]> 2018-02-07T23:37:38Z 2018-02-07T22:52:11Z The Mets have designated infielder Matt Reynolds for assignment in order to clear a spot on the roster for newly signed Todd Frazier, tweets Anthony DiComo of

    The 27-year-old Reynolds (not to be confused with the veteran lefty reliever of the same name) has appeared in parts of two seasons for the Mets, hitting a combined .228/.300/.351 with four homers in 226 plate appearances. While he’s never provided much value with the bat, he’s provided some defensive versatility by appearing at all four infield positions and in both outfield corners (with the bulk of his work coming at third base and shortstop).

    Reynolds has a much better track record in Triple-A, albeit in a hitter-friendly environment (Las Vegas / the Pacific Coast League). Through 1234 PAs in Triple-A, Reynolds has slashed .289/.348/.419 — including an impressive .320/.396/.484 line this past season in limited action (144 PAs).

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mets Sign Todd Frazier]]> 2018-02-07T19:17:57Z 2018-02-07T19:17:43Z WEDNESDAY: The Mets have announced the deal.

    TUESDAY: Frazier will earn $8MM in 2018 and $9MM in 2019, Rosenthal tweets.

    MONDAY:The Mets have struck a two-year deal with third baseman Todd Frazier, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). If he passes a physical, Frazier will receive a $17MM guarantee. The deal includes a $500K assignment bonus in the event that Frazier is traded, Jim Bowden of The Athletic tweets. Frazier is represented by Creative Artists Agency.

    Sep 30, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier (29) throws out Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (not pictured) on a ground ball during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    MLBTR predicted this match, but expected the veteran to take home a significantly bigger contract (three years and $33MM). The market for third basemen certainly hasn’t developed as the players might have hoped. Long-time shortstop Zack Cozart moved to the hot corner upon joining the Angels on a three-year, $39MM deal. The Giants filled their own need by acquiring Evan Longoria via trade. The Yankees have an ongoing opening but little to spend if they are to stay beneath the luxury tax line.

    That situation had left Frazier, Mike Moustakas, and others without as much interest as had been anticipated. Indeed, in this case, it seems that some developments had to occur before the match could come together. Mets infielder Asdrubal Cabrera had seemingly been set to move to third. But he indicated recently he’d actually prefer to move to second base, leading GM Sandy Alderson to note that the flexibility might open up some new avenues for the organization.

    New York held an obvious draw for Frazier, a New Jersey native who got a taste of playing near his home town last year with the Yankees. As Jon Heyman of Fan Rag notes on Twitter, that geographic preference seemingly played a role in the agreement that has now come together. It may have helped the Mets land a solid player at a reasonable price.

    [RELATED: Updated Mets Depth Chart]

    On the one hand, Frazier has not shown of late the kind of well-above-average offensive output he did at his peak with the Reds. At his best, Frazier produced about twenty percent more offense than the average hitter, with significant home run output and even some value on the basepaths offsetting subpar on-base abilities.

    Frazier has been unable to produce both significant power and a useful OBP over the past two seasons. In 2016, he tallied forty long balls but only a .302 on-base mark. Last season, he rode a personal-best 14.4% walk rate (and personal-low 9.3% swinging-strike rate) to a .344 OBP but managed only 27 dingers and a .428 slugging percentage. While Frazier still generated a strong .215 isolated slugging mark, his batting average (.213) and batting average on balls in play (.226) remained at the sorts of low levels he has sported in recent campaigns. (For what it’s worth, there may well be at least some poor fortune in Frazier’s lowly BABIP; he carried a .352 xwOBA that lagged his .340 wOBA in 2017.)

    Even if the Mets can anticipate only slightly above-average offensive work from Frazier, the deal holds plenty of promise. He has long graded as a quality performer with the glove and turned in one of his best-ever seasons in 2017. Both DRS (+10) and UZR (+6.7) credited him with saving plenty of runs as a full-time player at third base. Frazier also has an excellent track record of durability, having suited up for an average of 154 games annually since the start of 2013.

    As an above-average regular for each of the past six seasons, Frazier surely anticipated a bigger contract entering the winter. At the same time, his earning power was always limited by his age. The somewhat late-blooming slugger will turn 32 years of age in a week. With teams seemingly more hesitant than ever to lock in commitments to aging players, and the league as a whole hewing younger, Frazier always seemed unlikely to drive a massive bidding war.

    Still, this contract seems likely to deliver the Mets some quality infield value, much as Cabrera did on a similar contract (two years, $18.5MM plus an option that was exercised for 2018). While Frazier could conceivably also spend time at first base, the likelihood is he’ll be the primary third baseman. In that sense, perhaps, the move all but formalizes the already evident fact that the chronically injured David Wright is unlikely to factor again at the hot corner for New York.

    As he reunites with his former Cincinnati teammate Jay Bruce, Frazier will hope to be part of a resurgent Mets roster. The club has brought back most of the band despite a disappointing 2017 campaign, with a few modifications. New York has now filled its most glaring needs and certainly has the talent to compete in the coming season, though the organization still faces its fair share of uncertainty — particularly in the injury department.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Should Mets Consider Pursuing Lance Lynn?]]> 2018-02-07T16:19:31Z 2018-02-07T16:01:23Z
  • Of course, other organizations are arguably in a similar position with regard to Lynn. Even taking a pessimistic view of his future, he profiles as a quality back-end starter that would upgrade just about every rotation in baseball. Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch argued recently that the Cardinals ought to be ready to grab Lynn — at least, if he can be had for a cheaper-than-expected contract. A similar sentiment has been batted around by Mets writers. (See, e.g., this post from John Harper of the New York Daily News and this Twitter exchange between’s Anthony DiComo and Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal.) No doubt an argument for the pursuit of Lynn could also be constructed for quite a few other teams, which is the sort of reasoning that supports at least some reason to believe that he and other mid-level free agents can still find significant contracts.
  • David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution breaks down the current Braves thinking at third base. Many have wondered why Atlanta did not beat the offer made by the division-rival Mets for third baseman Todd Frazier, but O’Brien notes that the team would likely have had to dangle quite a bit more money to lure Frazier from his home town to play for an organization with a less experienced roster. Of even greater interest, O’Brien says the Braves front office likely doesn’t have much free cash to work with, making a pursuit of Mike Moustakas unlikely as well. The team’s contract swap with the Dodgers moved payroll forward to the 2018 balance sheet, so the odds are at this point that the club will simply allow its array of young infielders to sink or swim in the majors.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mets Could Pursue Rotation Addition]]> 2018-02-07T06:25:11Z 2018-02-07T05:45:12Z After being quiet for much of the offseason, the Mets have been more active in recent weeks, bring Jay Bruce back to Queens on a three-year deal and reportedly agreeing to a two-year pact with Todd Frazier. And now that they’ve satisfied their needs in the infield and outfield for the most part, the team could turn its focus to the starting pitching. Both’s Anthony DiComo and the New York Daily News’ John Harper reported Tuesday that the Mets could look to the open market for some support in the rotation.

    DiComo suggests that the Mets are keeping an eye out for rotation help but don’t consider it as much of a priority as an infielder was, whereas Harper characterizes the need a bit more aggressively, writing that a source told him that the Mets are “serious” about looking at rotation possibilities. Meanwhile, the Record’s Matt Ehalt suggests that if the team adds a rotation arm, it’ll likely be an affordable source of innings rather than a top starter with draft compensation attached (Twitter links). Ehalt also notes that a lefty reliever is another area of focus for the Mets.

    Starting pitching was a strength during the Mets’ 2015 World Series run, as the team rode strong performances from Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey plus veterans Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon to an NL pennant that season. Steven Matz made his big league debut that season as well and impressed in six starts.

    However, the Mets’ rotation was in shambles for much of the 2017 season, with Syndergaard, Harvey, Matz, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo among the rotation pieces that missed significant time due to injury. Only deGrom held up and made a full season’s worth of starts, logging 201 innings over the course of 31 trips to the hill.

    All of the team’s rotation options that were limited in 2017 are expected to be healthy for Spring Training, but the general lack of stability surrounding them is an unequivocal cause for concern. Harvey has undergone both Tommy John surgery and thoracic outlet surgery in recent years. Matz’s career, both in the minors and Majors, has been punctuated by shoulder and elbow troubles. Wheeler was torched for an ERA north of 5.00 in his first season back after two years lost to Tommy John surgery. Syndergaard pitched just 30 1/3 innings last year due to a torn lat muscle.

    The question for the Mets, at this point, is one of how much ownership will be willing to spend to bolster the starting corps after already signing Frazier, Bruce, Anthony Swarzak and Jose Reyes this offseason. The Mets still project for a payroll that comes in south of last year’s Opening Day mark, and as was the case in 2017, they’ll recoup $15MM or so of the $20MM owed to David Wright this year by virtue of the insurance policy on his contract (assuming that Wright once again is relegated to the 60-day DL for much, if not all of the season).

    Harper, within his column, opines that Lance Lynn would be an ideal fit for the Mets, though there’s been no serious indication to this point that the Mets would play for any of the top four starters on the market, particularly those wiho rejected a qualifying offer. In addition to Ehalt’s report, GM Sandy Alderson recently expressed reluctance to pursue Mike Moustakas in part due to draft compensation, and the team ultimately elected to bring Frazier into the fold instead.

    While Lynn, Alex Cobb, Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish aren’t in the fold (Darvish due to general price tag, the others due to price and draft compensation), the market for starters has scarcely moved at all this winter, so Alderson & Co. have plenty of alternatives. Other available options for the club would include Jaime Garcia, Andrew Cashner and old friend Jason Vargas. Bounceback candidates still exist in the form of Chris Tillman and Hector Santiago, while less exciting but durable innings eaters still available include Ricky Nolasco and Wade Miley.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets Notes: Moustakas, Wright]]> 2018-02-05T02:53:58Z 2018-02-05T02:53:58Z Third baseman Mike Moustakas ranks among most prominent victims of this year’s abnormal offseason, having not landed a contract three months after hitting free agency as one of the top players available. It’s unlikely Moustakas’ next deal will come courtesy of the Cardinals, according to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, even though they’ve been in on third basemen this offseason (trade targets Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson in specific). It appears the Cards will use Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter at third, per Ortiz, who adds that the team has informed Carpenter he’ll fill a super-utility role. The Cards are the second potential landing spot for Moustakas that has been downplayed in the past few days; Mets GM Sandy Alderson suggested on Thursday that a match with Moustakas didn’t seem likely for a variety of reasons.

    • The Mets will be able to place David Wright on the 60-day disabled list as soon as Feb. 14, notes Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, which could be advantageous given the glut of free agents that remain unsigned and the number of players that’ll be jettisoned from 40-man rosters throughout the league as free agents (presumably) begin to sign at some point in the coming weeks. New York can’t and won’t simply release Wright, as doing so would cancel their insurance policy on the remaining $47MM of his contract (which reportedly covers 75 percent of his salary) and because Wright continues to strive for an improbable comeback. If Wright ultimately decides he’s no longer able to continue his career, the Mets and the insurance company could work out a settlement, but that doesn’t seem likely for the current season, it seems. Wright is owed $47MM through 2020 — $20MM in 2018, $15MM in 2019 and $12MM in 2020.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Puma On Why Mets, Eduardo Nunez Might Not Be A Match]]> 2018-02-04T03:42:33Z 2018-02-04T03:42:33Z
  • The Mets are reportedly interested in free agent infielder Eduardo Nunez, but Mike Puma of the New York Post wonders (on Twitter) if the organization’s hitting philosophy may ultimately prevent a signing from occurring. The club “emphasizes selectivity,” Puma points out, and that’s not the case with Nunez. Among hitters with at least 400 plate appearances last year, he had the seventh-lowest walk percentage (3.7) and the 14th-highest chase rate (39.6 percent).
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[East Notes: Marlins, Arroyo, E-Rod, Mets]]> 2018-02-03T15:03:40Z 2018-02-03T15:03:40Z A 2008 agreement between Miami-Dade county and Jeffrey Loria (and his partners) saw the county fund most of the $515 million government-owned Marlins stadium in Little Havana. In exchange, the county was promised the right to 5 percent of any profits Loria & co. earned if they sold the team within 10 years. Yet Loria’s lawyers have released documents telling the county not to expect any money at all from last year’s $1.2 billion sale of the Marlins, Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald writes. The reasoning from Loria’s camp is that his accountants claim the sale amounted to a net loss of $141MM. The breakdown they offer begins with a $625MM agreed-to underlying value of the franchise, $280MM in debt, circa $300MM in taxes tied to the sale and a write-off of the $30MM fee paid to financial advisors. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez says that the city may sue to collect the taxpayers’ fair share of that $1.2 billion. My message is that this community really allowed you to make a lot of money,” he said on Friday. “He should do the right thing. He made profits, and he made big profits. He should share that with the people who allowed him to do that.”

    Here are a few other tidbits from around the league’s Eastern teams…

    • Newly-acquired Rays infielder Christian Arroyo was working out at Tropicana Field on Friday morning, Bill Chastain of writes. MLB Pipeline’s 81st overall prospect saw his 2017 season end due to a broken hand, but surgeon Donald Sheridan cleared him for baseball activities after a visit on January 9th. “The hand is great,” Arroyo said. “Right now, it’s about getting back into baseball shape.” The 22-year-old came to Tampa Bay in this winter’s trade that sent Evan Longoria to San Francisco. He hit .192/.244/.304 across 135 plate appearances with the Giants last year in his first taste of big-league action, and figures to be in the Rays’ infield mix for the coming season.
    • Speaking of young players returning from injury, Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez could potentially miss a few starts at the beginning of the season after undergoing right knee patellofemoral ligament reconstruction surgery, Ian Browne of writes. “[The injury] happened, like, three times already,” Rodriguez pointed out. “I was just trying to fight to pitch with a knee like that. And I did it. Sometimes there would be ups and downs. Now it’s time to get back to the guy I was before I got the surgery.” The 24-year-old southpaw’s had his share of ups and downs across parts of three seasons with the Red Sox. Last season, he put up 137 1/3 innings for the club while striking out 9.83 batters per nine and posting a 4.19 ERA overall.
    • Eduardo Nunez and Todd Frazier are currently the Mets’ leading choices in their search for an infielder, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports via Twitter. They’re apparently leery of getting “used” by Frazier (presumably for leverage) if he prefers the Yankees as his ultimate destination. In addition, the Mets are reportedly reluctant to bring back second baseman Neil Walker, and aren’t getting any traction in their efforts to acquire Josh Harrison from the Pirates. Lastly, Rosenthal adds that the team is interested in signing Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn out of free agency if their prices dip low enough.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets Notes: Catchers, Collins]]> 2018-02-03T03:57:45Z 2018-02-03T03:57:45Z
  • The Mets plan to continue with a timeshare at catcher consisting of Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki in 2018, Anthony DiComo of writes. Although there may be an upgrade available in free agency (past Mets target Jonathan Lucroy, to be specific), GM Sandy Alderson is inclined to stick with with his in-house tandem. “At that position, I think it would be difficult for us to find a pair that we like appreciably better,” he said. “I think we’ve been generally happy with our catching play.” The 28-year-old d’Arnaud and Plawecki, 26, represent a pair of former top 100 prospects who haven’t delivered as hoped in the majors (injury woes are partly to blame in the former’s case), but they each posted passable offensive numbers a season ago. D’Arnaud also graded as one of the majors’ top pitch framers in 2017, per Baseball Prospectus (though StatCorner saw things differently).
  • Former Mets manager Terry Collins is now working as a special assistant to Alderson, and he explained what some of his new role will entail to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. “I will be another set of eyes, and one of the things is to make sure the instruction at the minor league level is efficient,” revealed Collins, a former minor league manager. “We have to make sure, when they call up a player, he’s ready. I think I still have something to give to the game.” On whether he’d like to manage in the majors again, the 68-year-old Collins said,  “I would, but I don’t think with the new era of stuff that would happen.”
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Alderson On Mets’ Offseason, Moustakas, Asdrubal, Colon, Bullpen]]> 2018-02-02T00:02:18Z 2018-02-02T00:02:18Z Speaking to fans and media (including the New York Post’s Mike Puma and’s Anthony DiComo) today at Citi Field, Mets GM Sandy Alderson addressed several questions about his team’s winter moves and what might still be yet to come.  Some highlights…

    • Alderson downplayed the idea of signing Mike Moustakas, noting that “the draft-choice compensation and the loss of international pool money, both are key to us improving what is now a less-than-robust farm system, so we have to be careful there.”  As per the rules of the new CBA, the Mets would have to give up $500K in international bonus pool money as well their second-highest pick in the 2018 draft to sign a free agent (like Moustakas) who has rejected a qualifying offer.  Alderson also noted that the Mets are looking for multi-position versatility, whereas Moustakas only plays third base.
    • To that same end, Alderson was “glad to hearAsdrubal Cabrera’s recent comments about preferring to play second base rather than his currently-intended third base position.  “We thought he played pretty well [at third], we wanted to try to anchor that position in the event David Wright can’t come back,” Alderson said. “So we were a little reluctant to approach him about moving off of third if we were to find somebody to play third, so now that we know he would be happier at second, it broadens the scope of what we might be able to do.”  While the Mets have largely been focused on second base targets this winter, many of the players linked to the team (such as Josh Harrison or Eduardo Nunez) can play more than one position.  The re-signed Jose Reyes is also available as an option at multiple infield positions.
    • A reunion with Bartolo Colon doesn’t seem likely, even on a minor league contract for the veteran right-hander.  Colon has expressed interest in returning to his former team, to the point that the Mets are reportedly the only club Colon would consider accepting such a minors deal to pitch for, though it doesn’t seem as if there’s any present interest on the Mets’ side.
    • Alderson feels there could be quite a bit of further player movement at both the top and bottom of the free agent market in the coming weeks as teams drop players off their 40-man rosters to accommodate new signings.  Like other clubs, the Mets will monitor the market, with Alderson noting that they could pursue a veteran left-handed reliever.  The Amazins are notably short on southpaws, as Jerry Blevins and Steven Matz are the only left-handed pitchers on their entire 40-man roster.