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David Wright Rumors
Mets third baseman David Wright injured his hamstring on a stolen base attempt in the ninth inning of tonight’s contest against the Phillies and appears DL-bound. The team has announced that Eric Campbell is on his way to New York in case a roster move needs to be made, and both ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin (link) and Newsday’s Marc Carig (link) have indicated that a trip to the DL seems inevitable. Wright will have an MRI tomorrow morning before a decision is made, but he sounds likely to join a growing list of injured Mets. Michael Cuddyer, who left tonight’s game after being hit on the hand by a pitch, sounds like he may return to the lineup as soon as tomorrow, via Rubin (on Twitter).
More NL East news as today’s games come to a close…
- Denard Span is on the comeback trail to the Nationals, as the team announced today that he began a rehab assignment at Double-A Harrisburg tonight. Span was expected to be sidelined until mid-May following core muscle surgery, but he’s ahead of schedule in his rehab. Teammate Nate McLouth also received some positive news, as an MRI showed no structural damage in his surgically repaired shoulder, tweets CSN’s Mark Zuckerman. McLouth has been cleared to resume a throwing program.
- The reworked delivery of Marlins right-hander Carter Capps has caused some controversy, as the home plate umpire in his first appearance at Triple-A this year deemed it illegal and negated his first two pitches, stating that Carter broke contact with the pitching rubber too soon. As the Miami Sun Sentinel’s Juan C. Rodriguez writes, the issue has been resolved, as the Marlins have contacted Major League Baseball to receive clarification, and Capps will be allowed to continue on with his delivery. The 24-year-old was recalled by the Marlins yesterday and made his 2015 debut with the team last night. (Those interested in seeing Capps’ delivery can check out this video from last night’s game coverage, in which the Braves commentators liken the delivery to that of former Atlanta righty Jordan Walden.)
- Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron also examined Capps’ delivery and likened it to that of Walden, though he rightly notes that Capps’ hop-step brings him even closer to the mound than Walden does. Cameron points out that it doesn’t seem that there’s anything in the rulebook’s definition of “legal pitches” that would prevent Capps from doing this. Capps has long struggled against lefties, Cameron notes, and he wonders if the change in delivery will help with that problem, as his 97 mph average velocity, released closer to the plate, will certainly make it more difficult to pick up. Cameron speculates that if Capps can have success against lefties with this type of delivery, it may not be long before some fringy relief prospects begin emulating Capps and Walden, making the delivery more common.
The Marlins plan to offer Giancarlo Stanton a deal that would make him the highest-paid player in team history, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported back in August that Miami would try to lock up its 24-year-old star for the long term, though the team was not necessarily optimistic of reaching agreement. For his part, Stanton tells Nightengale that he is willing to hear offers, but still wants to see “some progression moving forward.” “It will be interesting to hear what they have to say when the time comes,” he said, “but right now, I’m not worrying about it. I mean, we’re still in this season. When this season is over, then we can start thinking about 2015.”
Here’s more from the National League:
- Mets third baseman David Wright will be shut down for the rest of the year but is not expected to require surgery on his left shoulder, Adam Rubin of ESPN.com reported (via Twitter) on in advance of a team announcement. The club says that Wright has experienced persistent inflammation in his left shoulder, which may go some way to explaining his uncharacteristically average .269/.324/.374 slash this year. The star 31-year-old is owed $107MM over 2015-2020.
- Ryan Braun of the Brewers has seen his ongoing thumb issues expand to become a broader problem with his right hand, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Though surgical options have been explored, it was determined that none seemed sure enough to warrant the risk. Since a hot start, Braun has seen his numbers dwindle and then fall off a cliff of late. He is still owed $12MM on an earlier extension next year before his five-year, $105MM pact kicks in starting in 2016.
- Left-handed starter Jon Lester makes sense as a free agent target for the Cubs, argues Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com. He is young and sturdy enough to warrant a significant investment, says Rogers, though Chicago can also choose to forego an overpay given the number of solid arms that could be had on the open market in 2016.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro says to expect “significant changes” to the team’s roster, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. “I think we need it,” says Amaro. “I think we need it because what we have on our roster right now is not working.” The timing of Amaro’s comments is a bit odd, given that he spent both the July and August deadlines mostly declining to trade veterans (although he did ship John Mayberry Jr. to the Blue Jays yesterday). Perhaps, though, there are big moves coming in the offseason. Last week, former GM Pat Gillick took over as interim team president while David Montgomery went on medical leave. Amaro says that the Phillies will not replace him or manager Ryne Sandberg while Gillick is running the team. Here’s more from the National League.
- Mets manager Terry Collins is surprised that there wasn’t more interest in pitcher Bartolo Colon before the August deadline, Marc Carig of Newsday reports. “I was a little surprised that there wasn’t more activity,” says Collins. “But I’m happy he’s still here.” Colon cleared waivers despite his respectable performance this season, probably due primarily to his $11MM salary in 2015.
- The returns of Matt Harvey and Bobby Parnell and improvements by Lucas Duda would suggest that the Mets are trending upward, but the David Wright and Curtis Granderson contracts could become a problem, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York writes. Wright is signed through 2020, and his .264/.324/.364 line this season is way off his career norms. Granderson, meanwhile, hasn’t hit well in the first season of his four-year deal. If those players don’t improve, and if the Mets don’t significantly increase spending, they’ll be stuck paying a large percentage of their team payroll to two relatively unproductive players.
- Jonathan Broxton was surprised the Reds traded him to the Brewers, Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel reports. “I didn’t see it coming at all, especially with an extra year (remaining on his contract) in there,” Broxton says. Broxton will make $9MM in 2015, plus a $2MM buyout or a $9MM mutual option in 2016. He will pitch in the eighth inning for the Brewers, Haudricourt writes.
- The Brewers’ September call-ups will likely include players who aren’t already on their 40-man roster, Haudricourt tweets. That means they’ll have to make moves involving players already on the 40-man. The Brewers have already selected the contract of catcher Matt Pagnozzi, moving Jeff Bianchi to the 60-day DL.
The Mets made Daniel Murphy available this past offseason but put a high price on the second baseman's services, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports, including asking the Orioles for top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy. Murphy has been working hard this spring to increase his value to the Mets, focusing on making more contact at the plate and reaching base more often (Murphy only had a .319 OBP last season). "On-base and slugging, this is what teams want," Murphy said. "This is what drives the offensive market now. They want you to be able to get on base, and when you do get base hits, they want them to be doubles. So I think that our game is heading in that direction. I think (the Mets are) probably a little bit farther, maybe out in front a little bit of the curve."
Here's some more from the Amazins' camp…
- "I'm not a mercenary," David Wright tells Bob Klapsich of the Bergen Record, as the Mets third baseman insisted that he has no regrets over staying with the team through their ongoing rebuilding process. "If my goal was to win right this second, then obviously, I would've been a free agent," Wright said. "To me, it was important to show loyalty to the Mets. I grew up rooting for them, they drafted me when I was 18, they're the only team I've ever played for." Klapisch, however, opines that the Mets haven't shown that same loyalty to Wright by not spending more to make the team competitive.
- The Mets' rebuild could be spurred by making trades rather than free agent signings, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that if the Mets are willing to expand their payroll, they have the minor league depth to acquire expensive star players from teams who are themselves looking to rebuild or unload salaries.
- After eight seasons in the minors, 31-year-old Anthony Seratelli is still looking for his first taste of the majors, and now the New Jersey native has a chance close to home after he signed a minor league deal with the Mets earlier this offseason. MLB.com's Anthony DiComo profiles Seratelli's career, his video-editing talents and how he is inspired to keep playing by the tragic losses of his father and grandmother.
“If my goal was to win right this second, then obviously, I would’ve been a free agent,” Wright said. “To me, it was more important to show loyalty to the Mets. I grew up rooting for them, they drafted me when I was 18, they’re the only team I’ve ever played for.” – See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/sports/Klapisch_Mets_rebirth_vital_for_David_Wright.html?c=y&page=1#sthash.2fJKHX8T.dpu
As you can tell from MLBTR's Reverse Standings page, the Mets currently don't have a protected first round pick in the 2014 amateur draft. Their 73-85 record puts them in line for the 12th overall pick, and only the teams with the 10 worst records (plus the Blue Jays' 11th overall pick, stemming from 2013 compensation) will have their picks protected. Though an unprotected first-rounder could hurt the Mets' plans to delve into the free agent market this winter, GM Sandy Alderson tells Mike Puma of the New York Post that he's just happy to see his team win. “I don’t view the draft-pick situation as relevant to what we’re doing here,” Alderson said. “We’re trying to win every game we play. We’re trying to build the credibility of the franchise and that goes beyond where we’re picking in the draft.”
Here's the latest from Queens…
- The Mets are "likely" to shop both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda this winter and possibly deal the one that commands the higher trade package, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports. Rubin also polls nine scouts about which of the two first baseman they would prefer to have, with seven picking Duda.
- David Wright expects the Mets to be a much better team in 2014, telling reporters (including MLB.com's Anthony DiComo) that he expects improvement from players currently on the club's roster and also believes some external acquisitions are on the way. "Everybody’s been saying that this is the year with the money coming off the books, with some of the free agents that are out there, with some of the possible trade candidates given some of the younger pitchers and players we’ve developed. It seems like it’s all kind of culminating into this offseason to try to go out there and make this team better," Wright said.
- The recently-acquired Vic Black is likely the Mets' backup plan at closer if Bobby Parnell isn't ready to start the 2014 season, manager Terry Collins told reporters (including DiComo). Parnell underwent neck surgery earlier this month and is expected to be ready for Spring Training. Black, a rookie right-hander, has a 3.27 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 11 relief innings since joining the Mets. You can keep up on the Mets' closing situation and more by following @CloserNews, MLBTR's sister Twitter feed for save-related news.
- Mike Baxter's possible Super Two status could make him a non-tender candidate this winter, DiComo writes. He could be expendable once the Mets add an outfielder or two, though Baxter could be helped by a relative lack of left-handed bats amongst the current Mets outfield options. Baxter has only a .190/.303/.256 line over 142 PA this season.
The Mets have been one of baseball's worst teams thus far: they currently outpace only the Astros and Marlins with a 17-27 record. While the team's weak start hardly qualifies as a major surprise, the club certainly hoped to remain in contention and see more development from several promising youngsters. Already staring at a ten-game deficit in the NL East, attention has turned to the future …
- The future could come early for one piece of the Mets' long-term plans, as we learned yesterday that top minor league arm Zack Wheeler is firmly expected to be called up sooner rather than later. With the club hoping to avoid handing Wheeler an extra year of arbitration, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com took a look yesterday evening at different teams' projections of the "safe" date for avoiding Super Two status. He reports that the Mets appear to have an earlier target than other teams; while some executives quoted a mid-to-late June timeline, New York seems to feel comfortable with a range between early June and June 10. This leads Rubin to project that Wheeler could come up to face the Cardinals at home on June 12, or could be held back until a road start against the Cubs on the 17th.
- MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently explained the Super Two cutoff projection for players who could qualify following this season. Mets outfielder Lucas Duda is among those who figure to obtain a fourth year of eligibility.
- One major component of the Mets' current and future success, of course, is star third baseman David Wright, who signed a major extension (eight years, $138MM) over the off-season. With the team not only off to a poor start but featuring several struggling younger players, Mark Hale of the New York Post posed the question whether Wright regrets committing to New York. The 30-year-old insists that he has "zero" regrets, and believes in the vision laid out to him by GM Sandy Alderson. "As far as specifically what Sandy and I talked about and I guess the plan moving forward, a big part of that plan is pieces we have in the higher minor leagues," said Wright. "I'm disappointed in our performance as a team. I'm not disappointed in [what] I believe what the plan is going forward and what I believe this organization is capable of doing in the near future." The six-time All-Star also expressed confidence in some of the younger major league players, such as Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada, who are off to slow starts: "I've seen Ike at a ridiculously high level. I've seen Ruben be a very, very solid shortstop. … They have a track record of being able to produce at this level."
- Whatever happens the rest of the way this season, Rubin notes on Twitter that the Mets figure to flash big money after the year. In fact, the club only has $25MM committed in salary next year to two roster spots (Wright and pitcher Jon Niese), although it is also on the hook for a $5.5MM buyout of the last year of Johan Santana's deal. Its payroll has hovered in the low-$90MM range the last two years after sitting well over $100MM (and as high as $149MM) over the preceding five seasons. The Mets also have several players with arbitration eligibility, in addition to the aforementioned Duda. Tejada joins Dillon Gee, Justin Turner, and Mike Baxter as first-time eligible players, while Davis will reach his second year of arbitration along with Daniel Murphy, Bobby Parnell, and Scott Atchison. In addition to assessing whether or not to tender contracts to its slate of arbitration-eligible players, the club should have substantial flexibility to pursue some of the top available free agents and/or take on payroll via trade.
Third baseman David Wright signed an eight-year, $138MM extension with the New York Mets last December. Months earlier, agents Sam and Seth Levinson of ACES faced a PED-related investigation from MLB. Wright recently spoke about his relationship with the Levinson brothers, what intrigued him about the ACES group coming out of high school and why he remained loyal to his agency last fall:
On how he first came in contact with representatives from ACES…
“I guess just like any other agent, they have guys in the agency that come out and scout some of these tournaments and stuff and try to set up interviews with players to have them, I guess you can’t have an agent before the draft but an advisor, and I remember I just clicked with the guys from ACES and in particular Keith Miller. I remember he came down and watched a couple of my high school games and we hung out and talked and obviously I had quite a bit of respect because I knew who Keith Miller was, he was a former player, a former Met, and it opened up my eyes that this guy played, he knows what it’s about.
“Then he sat with my family and I at home and he showed us some arbitration briefings and just how much work they put into free agency and what they do for their players during arbitration and stuff and that obviously opened my eyes and being fans of some of the players they represented, it seemed like they were a big enough company where they could throw their weight around and people knew them and respected them but at the same time, they were small enough where you got a lot of individual attention and they’ve lived up to that and more.”
On when Sam and Seth Levinson came into the picture…
“It was after I got to know Keith quite a bit, I had kind of narrowed my choices and agents down and that’s when Sam and Seth got involved and like I said, just the work ethic, it was something that attracted me to them. Just hearing them talk for the first time. It wasn’t so much a sales pitch. They were going over what they do for players as far as marketing, endorsements, obviously contract stuff. I was just really impressed with not only their body of work but also just their enthusiasm for what they do. It just seemed like they are very loyal and enthusiastic for representing baseball players and kind of drew me to them.
On staying with ACES despite the PED rumors and links to them last fall…
“I think for me I wanted to hear it from Sam and Seth’s mouth exactly what was going on before I even talked to the union or anybody else. I called those guys up and asked them point blank what was going on and they’ve always been open and honest to me. It’s easy to make assumptions or believe everything you read in the paper but I’ve known these guys for 12-13 years now and the only thing I can go on is the track record for how they’ve treated me and what they’ve done for me and there’s been no complaints on my end and no blemishes on their end. I’m very appreciative of everything they’ve done for me and I think they’ve done a terrific job.
On how they’ve been compared to what he hoped they would be when he signed…
“That and more. I never would have thought that when I was talking to Keith Miller back home in Chesapeake, Virginia, that I would get a chance to participate in six All-Star Games and go from start to finish of my career with one team. I never would have thought that. They have far exceeded the expectations that I had. It’s tough, you’d like to think that when you are 18 years old that you’re going to become an All-Star and be able to sign a nice deal but realistically I always tried to be more realistic than that. They have done a terrific job for me and I’m thrilled.”
The NL East includes a broad range of payrolls, from the Phillies at $150MM-plus to the Marlins below $40MM. Here's are some notes from the division…
- Carlos Beltran told Mike Puma of the New York Post that David Wright should be able to handle the pressure that comes with a nine-figure contract. "He’s been with the organization a long time, so there is nothing he needs to change,” said Beltran, who signed a seven-year $119MM deal with the Mets as a free agent following the 2004 season.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said newcomer Adeiny Hechavarria has Hanley Ramirez’s endorsement, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. “When Hanley tells you ‘He is better than I am, you’ve got a great guy with great hands,’ it’s amusing to listen to,” Loria said. The Marlins, who traded Ramirez to Los Angeles last summer, acquired Hechavarria from Toronto in a blockbuster deal with the Blue Jays in November.
- Reliever Mike Adams would likely be with a different team had the Phillies completed their deal with the Astros for Wilton Lopez, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledged that the Phillies "probably would not have" signed Adams had the club not pulled back from trading for Lopez (since dealt to the Rockies) for undisclosed reasons following his physical.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner addressed reporters at Mets camp today, discussing draft pick compensation and the Mets’ franchise player. Here are some details (all Twitter links)…
- Weiner said he expects to discuss draft pick compensation with MLB before the current collective bargaining agreement expires, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. It sounds as though the MLBPA would like to consider changes to the system that affected the leverage ofplayers such as Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse. "The compensation affected those guys fairly dramatically this year, and we would like to try to address that,” Weiner said.
- Weiner said he hopes the Mets spend more, as chairman & CEO Fred Wilpon has said they will (via Mike Puma of the New York Post). "I think everybody would like to see the Mets as a competitive team, and it's going to require a higher payroll,” Weiner said.
- David Wright knew that he would have been a highly coveted free agent if he didn’t sign with the Mets long-term, Weiner said (via Anthony DiComo of MLB.com). "David understood that if he went out to market he’d probably make more money, and perhaps substantially more money," Weiner said. Wright signed an eight-year, $138MM extension with the Mets in December.
- Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com notes that MLBPA exec Bobby Bonilla collects more money from the Mets than any of their current outfielders. Bonilla, who spent parts of five seasons with the Mets, still collects deferred payments from the club.
Mets chairman & CEO Fred Wilpon offered an optimistic vision of his team’s finances today, suggesting that payroll could soon rise well above $100MM (via Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com). Wilpon said he could see the Mets spending as much as they did under general manager Omar Minaya, who operated with a budget of $140MM-plus. The Mets will spend big in free agency next winter if that’s “appropriate,” according to Wilpon, who added that his past financial problems are behind him.
Here are some more Mets-related notes…
- GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets made a "strong effort" to sign free agent outfielder Michael Bourn, Rubin reports (on Twitter). Alderson said the Mets wouldn’t consider offering a vesting option for a fifth year, as the Indians ultimately did.
- The Mets aren’t actively shopping for relief help, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports (on Twitter).
- Wilpon doesn’t expect to address the contract status of manager Terry Collins until after the season, Rubin reports (on Twitter). Collins’ contract expires following the 2013 campaign. However, Wilpon strongly endorsed Collins and Alderson, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).
- Wilpon said he wasn’t going to lose David Wright if at all possible, Marc Carig of Newsday reports (Twitterlinks). "To me, he's our Jeter," Wilpon said, in reference to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
- Wilpon noted that all surprise teams get great pitching and said he believes the Mets are in position to get that type of pitching, according to Carig.
- The Mets say they are aiming to break even financially this season. Wilpon added that the team must be competitive on the field to accomplish that goal, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (on Twitter).
Zach Links contributed to this post.