Jenrry Mejia Rumors
The Mets will be in on Seattle ace Cliff Lee - that appears certain. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Omar Minaya has notified Jack Zduriencik of his interest, and the Mets are scouting Lee's starts.
Contrary to a Kevin Burkhardt report last night, Sherman says the Mets "would not need a negotiating window to sign Lee long-term even if it includes top prospect Jenrry Mejia in a package." However, between the injuries to potential trade chips Mejia and Angel Pagan and the ownership approval needed to pull the trigger, Minaya faces hurdles in acquiring Lee.
Sherman writes "the Mets have little interest" in Roy Oswalt and Fausto Carmona. Instead, Cubs southpaw Ted Lilly might head up their list of Lee alternatives. Lilly has been excellent since signing a four-year, $40MM deal with the Cubs in December of '06. The contract has about $6.4MM remaining. Though Lilly profiles as a Type A free agent after the season, an arbitration offer is in question. I doubt Lilly's limited no-trade provision will be an obstacle, as he's probably eager to return to the playoffs. The Cubs have about a month to decide whether to cash in their chips, and Lilly is their best one.
The Mets aren't ready to deal Jenrry Mejia in a package for Cliff Lee unless Lee gives them a negotiating window, according to Kevin Burkhardt of SNY (via Twitter). Recently, it was reported that the Mets would be unlikely to deal Mejia, Jonathon Niese, or Ike Davis for the 2008 Cy Young winner.
Burkhardt adds (also via Twitter) that the Mets could change their minds on the matter. However, if Seattle is willing to deal Lee sooner rather than later, there may not be much time to have a change of heart. The Twins and Dodgers are also said to be in the mix for Lee and could beat GM Omar Minaya to the punch. Many feel that Minnesota is the front-runner in the Lee sweepstakes.
The Mets are willing to deal for Cliff Lee without requiring a negotiating window to sign him to an extension, a source with knowledge of the team's thinking told Mark Hale of the New York Post. Two years ago, when the Mets agreed to trade for Johan Santana, they secured a 72-hour negotiating window with the ace.
The source also told Hale that the club would be unlikely to trade Jenrry Mejia, Jonathon Niese, or Ike Davis for Lee. Without those three in a deal, the Mets could offer the M's a package built around prospects such as Ruben Tejada, Fernando Martinez, Wilmer Flores, Jeurys Familia, and Josh Thole.
Meanwhile, several Mets officials said that the Mariners have not yet made Lee available, according to Andy Martino of the Daily News. The same officials say that there are no untouchables in the minor league system, though Angel Pagan is now "virtually untouchable" with Carlos Beltran's health so uncertain.
While we ponder if the Jerry Seinfeld/Lady Gaga feud will reach the heights of Seinfeld's rivalry with Newman, here are a few news items concerning the Big Apple's NL side...
- Bob Klapisch of FOXSports.com wonders if the Mets should be worried about Johan Santana given a few shaky starts and some declining peripheral numbers. Klapisch notes that the Mets might look at Cliff Lee if they're worried about not having a top-tier ace to match against other clubs' best arms. It's way too soon to panic about Santana given his still-solid 3.31 ERA and 2.00 K-BB ratio, though when a team has at least $88MM invested in a pitcher through 2013, it's probably not wrong to be concerned about any dip in form.
- Klapisch also quotes senior team officials who say that Jon Niese wouldn't be moved in a hypothetical Lee deal, and an unnamed Mets player who doesn't think adding Kevin Millwood or Jake Westbrook would help the team.
- ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand writes that with Angel Pagan playing so well in place of the injured Carlos Beltran, the dispute between the Mets and Beltran's agent Scott Boras over "the timing and authorization of Beltran's offseason knee surgery" could be "a converging storm." Beltran is owed approximately $28MM over the rest of this season and 2011, and it was announced today that he is expected back playing by July 15.
- Jenrry Mejia's demotion to Double-A and conversion back into starting pitching means the Mets will probably get an extra year of control over his rights, says Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
Mejia, still just 20 years old, worked exclusively as a starter across two minor league levels last season, posting a 3.14 ERA in 94.2 innings (19 starts) and notching an 8.7 K/9 to go along with a 3.7 BB/9. So far, pitching out of the New York bullpen in 2010, he's held his own, though he hasn't pitched quite as well as his 3.25 ERA following today's game suggests. He's allowed 15 free passes in just 27.2 innings of work, while striking out 17.
Much has been made of the Mets' starting pitching woes. After receiving next to nothing from the combination of Oliver Perez and John Maine, they've turned to Hisanori Takahashi and R.A. Dickey, both of whom have excelled to this point in their respective rotation roles. However, it's likely a tall order to expect those trends to continue.
Mejia certainly has the makings of a successful major league starter. Baseball America ranked him as the Mets' top prospect coming into the 2010 season, and ranked him as the #56 prospect in all of baseball. So far this season, he's averaged 95.1mph on his fastball, and has a 66.7% ground-ball rate.
Those numbers mesh with this report from Baseball America's Ben Badler last November, stating that Mejia routinely sat in the mid-90's with a fastball that he could both cut and sink. That same pitch helped him induce grounders on 71% of his outs on balls in play during the 2009 minor league season.
We've heard the Mets mentioned in connection with available starters such as Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee, but stretching out Mejia gives them added depth in the event that their current starters falter, or Omar Minaya is unable to facilitate a trade.
Links for Sunday....
- ESPN's Adam Rubin tweets that the Mets have optioned Jenrry Mejia to Double-A Binghamton, where he will start their game on Wednesday.
- Jeff Zrebiec tells us that Buck Showalter will interview for the Baltimore managerial job this week, and Eric Wedge will likely receive a second interview. The club has yet to ask the Mets for permission to interview Bob Melvin.
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian quotes Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos saying that despite first-round pick Deck McGuire's lack of participation in a media conference call, he's excited to have been drafted by Toronto. Anthopoulos says that negotiations, however, could go down to the wire as they did in 2009 with Chad Jenkins.
- Rangers manager Ron Washington feels that his team could use another front-line starting pitcher, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Texas has recently seen both Derek Holland and Rich Harden land on the disabled list.
- Nick Piecoro tweets that the D'Backs offered Jose Valverde a two-year deal worth about $10MM before he signed for two years and $14MM with Detroit. The story spawns from some heated comments that were exchanged between Valverde and former teammate Miguel Montero.
- Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times thinks Dan Haren would be a "perfect fit" for the Angels.
- The Cubs will soon face a decision on whether to become buyers or sellers, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
- Within a mailbag for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Paul Hoynes says that a little salary relief is the best the Indians could hope for in a Kerry Wood trade.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch details how the Cardinals will handle their starting rotation for the time being. Even after signing Jeff Suppan, the club will be short-handed while they wait for Brad Penny to get healthy.
- The Tigers should exercise patience when it comes to acquiring a shortstop, according to Lynn Hennig of the Detroit News.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Tigers will have to think about trading for a starting pitcher, with Rick Porcello heading to Triple-A.