NL East Notes: Nitkowski, Lannan, Nickeas, Harper

Earlier today, we learned that the Mets may look into dealing righty reliever D.J. Carrasco. Here are a couple more notes on the Amazin's within this batch of NL East links …

  • The Mets like what they saw out of C.J. Nitkowski's audition on Thursday and are working to sign him to a minor league deal, writes Ken Davidoff of Newsday.  An agreement seems likely between the club and the 39-year-old.
  • The Nationals are taking offers on lefty John Lannan, but they're not desperate to trade him, as his $5MM salary for this season is manageable, tweets Jim Bowden of The Red Sox have made an offer for Lannan, but it wasn't close, Bowden adds.
  • Mets catcher Mike Nickeas may not necessarily be a lock to nab the team's backup catcher role despite already being on the 40-man roster, writes Adam Rubin of The Mets may instead go with Rob Johnson, in which case Nickeas would be placed on waivers and be expected to clear.
  • Nats prized prospect Byrce Harper will likely begin the season in the minor leagues despite manager Davey Johnson's desire to have the right fielder break camp with the big club, tweets Jon Heyman of However, a midseason callup is possible for Harper, Heyman adds. Harper turned 19 in October and has a full season of minor league experience under his belt after being the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2010.
  • Mets skipper Terry Collins acknowledged to Joel Sherman of the New York Post that he may in fact be only a transitional manager for the club, perhaps being replaced when the team is ready to compete again: “I realize the possibilities,” Collins said. The Mets have already exercised Collins' 2013 option, however.