Lucas Duda Rumors
Mets GM Sandy Alderson met with reporters in Orlando on the eve of the Winter Meetings. Here are the highlights (all links go to Twitter):
- Alderson acknowleded the Mets will not add another free agent of Stephen Drew's caliber and price tag unless a contract is moved, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets the Mets are telling clubs any other noteworthy deals will come via trades, not free agency.
- The Mets are bracing themselves for the possibility Ruben Tejada will be the Opening Day shortstop, tweets the New York Post's Mike Puma.
- "If we have to go into the season with Tejada as our shortstop, we need to make sure we're happy with that given what else we've done," Puma quoted Alderson as saying.
- Alderson wouldn't say how far along the Mets are in resolving their first base situation, Rubin tweets. Sources tell Martino the Mets' strong preference remains trading Ike Davis and keeping Lucas Duda and a deal could happen this week. In a separate tweet, Martino adds the Mets feel Davis could have more trade value in January, but are eager to settle the matter now.
- Alderson isn't totally comfortable with having two prospects in the starting rotation, tweets Rubin.
- Alderson indicated Eric Young, Jr. is more than a reserve leading Rubin to believe Daniel Murphy could still be traded. Martino tweets one team has already been told the Mets are willing to move Murphy this week.
If the Rays do end up trading David Price, it won't be their first trade of a young starter. The Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin revisits four trades of relatively high-profile deals -- those of James Shields, Matt Garza, Scott Kazmir and Edwin Jackson. The Rays got useful players in all four. The Shields deal, of course, produced AL Rookie of the Year winner Wil Myers, and the Garza deal returned Chris Archer. Kazmir brought back utilityman Sean Rodriguez, while the Rays got Matt Joyce back for Jackson. Fans will likely use the Shields deal (which could continue to pay dividends for the Rays as Jake Odorizzi emerges) as a barometer for a potential Price trade, whether that's fair or not. As FanGraphs' Dave Cameron recently pointed out, the Shields trade shouldn't set the market for deals involving frontline starting pitchers. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- The Phillies are looking for a starting pitcher, and they pursued Scott Feldman and Ryan Vogelsong before those two players signed with other teams, CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury reports. (The Phils extended a two-year offer of about $15MM to Feldman before he ultimately signed with the Astros, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.) Salisbury notes that the Phillies' interest in Feldman and Vogelsong is indicative of the sort of mid-grade starter they'll continue to pursue -- don't expect them to make a splash.
- In the wake of the signing of Curtis Granderson, the Mets could redouble their efforts to trade Ike Davis or Lucas Duda, writes Newsday's Marc Carig. Since there isn't much besides Stephen Drew (who should be relatively expensive) on the free-agent shortstop market, and since the Mets' budget will only allow them to spend about an extra $13MM, Carig writes that the Mets are likely to try to find a shortstop via trade.
- Five or six teams have inquired about Davis and/or Lucas Duda, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports. Duda is considered by some AL teams to be a fit as a designated hitter, Carig tweets.
- Peralta appears to be the Mets' top free agent target, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. The club "really likes" Peralta but they don't know if he intends to sign soon or later in the offseason.
- The Mets have talked to free agent Corey Hart, but Martino gets the sense that they either don't identify him as a top target or aren't that eager to get a deal done with him. Carig (link) also hears from a source that the Mets aren't close to a deal with the Brewers first baseman. "We haven't discussed him in depth enough to say where we'd put him if we got him," the source said.
- The Mets have plans to meet with Curtis Granderson's agent this week, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (on Twitter). The outfielder is turning down the Yankees' $14.1MM qualifying offer.
- The Mets have touched base with Marlon Byrd's representatives in the last few days, according to Carig (link). Recently, Steve Adams examined the market for Byrd and concluded that he could fetch a deal in the neighborhood of $16MM over two years.
- A source suggested to Carig (link) that it would make sense for the Mets to take their time in trading Davis and take advantage of a market that is starved for power. Carig (link) hears that the Mets might do just that and hang on to him until later in the offseason when teams will be seeking out less costly alternatives to add power.
- The Mets aren't actively talking to Mike Pelfrey about a possible reunion, but they are open to it, a team official tells Adam Rubin. "I know he is on a long list of guys just like him," the team insider said. The Mets non-tendered the hurler after he earned $5.7MM in 2012.
- The Mets' top priority is shortstop, but they're hardly alone in that, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Possible options for the Mets include Peralta, Erick Aybar, Didi Gregorius, Rafael Furcal, and Jed Lowrie.
The Orioles announced yesterday that they have hired Dave Wallace as their new pitching coach. Wallace, 66, has 10 years of experience as a Major League pitching coach and filled that role for the 2004 World Series Champion Red Sox. He has served as pitching coach for the Dodgers (1995-97), Mets (1999-2000), Red Sox (2003-06) and Astros (2007) prior to Baltimore's hiring. Here's more out of baseball's Eastern divisions...
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun thinks the Wallace hiring to be somewhat of a surprise, if only for the reason that many felt he ultimately wouldn't take the job. Wallace was serving as the Braves' minor league pitching coordinator and was known to be content with his job. Of leaving his post with the Braves, Wallace told Connolly: "As a teacher, it’s kind of tough sometimes to walk away from those students. But you are also proud because you’ve had somewhat of an influence on what they’ve been able to accomplish in the last few years."
- It remains likely that the Mets will trade either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda this offseason, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, but team insiders tell him that it's too soon to tell which player will have more value on the market. COO Jeff Wilpon said yesterday that the team has already begun to receive calls from teams with a need for first base help.
- Martino also points out that Wilpon identified just four players as "solidified" for next year: David Wright, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler. Notably omitted is Daniel Murphy, who could find himself on the trading block with the Mets looking to move Eric Young Jr. to second base on a permanent basis. Martino opines that because of the team's desire for Young to man the keystone, it's actually a good thing that he didn't win a Gold Glove for his work in left field, as it would've made the decision tougher to justify to fans.
- The Blue Jays announced yesterday that they have extended their player development contract with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats through the 2016 season. The Fisher Cats have been the Jays' Double-A affiliate since 2004, winning a pair of Eastern League titles in that time.
- Earlier today, MLBTR's Mark Polishuk peeked into Baltimore's future with the Orioles edition of our Offseason Outlook series.
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 game of baseball seems to have entrenched competitive parity, writes MLB.com's Mike Bauman. He cites the Pirates, A's, Rays, Indians, and Royals as examples of small-market clubs having successful seasons, and notes that the Dodgers are currently the only team that lead a division in both the standings and media market size. Of course, that doesn't mean that salary capacity is without importance: The Tigers and Red Sox rank in the top five of MLB payrolls along with the Dodgers, and other likely playoff teams like the Cardinals, Reds, and Rangers are in the top half. And several other teams with top-15 payrolls -- the Orioles, Yankees, and Nationals -- are also still in the hunt. Let's take a look at some of the big-budget squads from the league's eastern divisions:
- The Yankees' injury woes are well-documented, and now seem a good bet to pervade the season. Alex Rodriguez is set for DH duties with a balky hamstring, the team just learned that an oblique injury will sideline Brett Gardner for a decent stretch, and now the Yanks have scratched Alfonso Soriano from today's game with a thumb sprain. New York's bullpen situation is arguably still more pressing than the outfield, however, and time is short to add temporary fill-ins. The club recently made one September-only acquisition to fill a gap with shortstop Brendan Ryan, and is just two games out of the Wild Card. It is possible, if unlikely, that GM Brian Cashman could look to add yet another replacement from the group of players that have cleared waivers.
- Still basking in his game-winning grand slam last night, Red Sox backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia could be a candidate to receive a qualifying offer, writes John Tomase of the Boston Herald. With a top-10 OPS among catchers and an improving skill set behind the dish, says Tomase, Salty should be considered for a QO among the Sox' other candidates -- Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, and Stephen Drew. Of course, even if Boston decides it wants Saltalamacchia back, it is an entirely separate question whether to run the risk of a qualifying offer. The Munsey Sports Management client would seem likely to accept the offer if it is extended, as he would risk a tough market if signing teams had to sacrifice a draft pick to get him. Though the 28-year-old figures to be among the most desirable catchers available after Brian McCann, moreover, demand will be diluted somewhat by other established, power-hitting options like A.J. Pierzynski and Carlos Ruiz.
- Lucas Duda of the Mets is getting an unexpected opportunity to showcase himself for his club, writes Matt Ehalt of ESPNNewYork.com. As MLBTR's Mark Polishuk recently explained, Duda has a chance to snare a first base gig with the Mets or make himself a reasonably attractive trade commodity. The New York brass seems glad to give him the chance after watching Ike Davis struggle and ultimately go down with a season-ending injury. "Here's his shot to say, 'Hey, look, I'm going to be a legitimate candidate, you're going to have to think about me at that spot,'" explained manager Terry Collins. "That's why we're hoping as we finish the season out that Lucas does what we know he can do."
- Two young, NL East aces -- Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg -- have become emblematic of baseball's long struggle with the stress put on its best arms. But relief could be on the way, according to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince, who explains that promising new conditioning methods could be employed to limit the occurrence of catastrophic arm injuries.
Scott Kazmir will take the mound for the Indians on Friday night in his first career start against the Mets, the team that originally drafted him 15th overall in 2002 and infamously traded him for Victor Zambrano in July 2004. ESPN New York's Adam Rubin talks to Kazmir about the trade, his brief tenure with the Mets and his comeback with Cleveland. Here are some items about the Amazins...
- The Mets heavily scouted other organizations for power-hitting prospects earlier this season, a rival executive tells Newsday's Marc Carig. The Mets will put a priority on obtaining some big bats this winter, as manager Terry Collins admitted the team is lacking in power.
- Some of that power could come from internal options like Lucas Duda, who has hit well since taking over the first base job from the injured Ike Davis. Metsblog.com's Maggie Wiggin thinks Duda could be a cheap and potentially very productive first base option for New York next season. Duda has hit better over his career when playing first, possibly due to being freed from the pressure of playing the outfield, where Duda is a major defensive liability. If nothing else, Wiggin thinks Duda's September audition could make him a trade chip for an AL team looking for first base or DH help.
- The Mets could look across New York for help on the free agent market this winter, as ESPN New York's Mark Simon lists Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain as possible fits for the Mets in 2014.
It was on this date in 1871 the Boston Red Stockings incorporated giving birth to today's Atlanta Braves. Let's take a look at the news from the 21st century Braves and the rest of the National League:
- The Braves have enough payroll space to add one significant salary and have yet to rule out Michael Bourn or Justin Upton, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. O'Brien adds GM Frank Wren has spoken with Bourn's agent Scott Boras, but they didn't start any negotiations. O'Brien also has been told manager Fredi Gonzalez contacted Bourn within the past few weeks. In regards to Upton, O'Brien sees the Braves and Rangers as the last two teams standing, but neither seems willing to match what the Mariners offered in their failed bid to acquire the outfielder.
- O'Brien, via Twitter, discounts the suggestion the Braves have yet to acquire Bourn or Upton to save payroll in order to sign Martin Prado to a long-term deal.
- It's been nearly a decade since the Reds had to go to an arbitration hearing, but this year could be different, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. "We're hopeful we can get something done," Reds GM Walt Jocketty said of the six players with whom salary figures were exchanged. "Some of the spreads were significant. We'll see how it proceeds the next week or two." The Reds' arbitration class is headlined by Mat Latos, whose case was analyzed by MLBTR's Matt Swartz last week. You can keep track of all of the Reds' arbitration cases with MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker.
- With the Red Sox still seeking a left-handed hitting first baseman/left fielder, Tom Singer of MLB.com wonders if the Pirates will make another run at Jose Iglesias, as the starting point of a bigger deal involving Garrett Jones (Twitter links).
- There is still no clear-cut answer as to whether Francisco Liriano will be with the Pirates in 2013, tweets Singer. The Pirates and Liriano agreed to a two-year, $12.75MM contract in December, but the deal was put on hold earlier this month when it was discovered the left-hander injured his right arm.
- Lucas Duda told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com his surgically repaired right wrist feels great and he has started hitting off a tee. Duda is projected to man left field for the Mets.
- Chipper Jones was honored at the New York BBWAA dinner last night and confessed to the audience he was starting to get the itch to go back to Spring Training, Rubin reports. "I was on the Braves' web site, just kind of messing around on my computer," said Jones. "I was thinking to myself, 'You know what? I think I'm going to go down and get me a workout in, see how everything feels.' I was down there for about five minutes and I figured I'd go to Hawaii instead."
The Mets aren't inclined to trade Lucas Duda, believing that his upside outweighs what they could net in a deal, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. A report earlier this month indicated that the Mets would be open to the right deal for either Duda or Ike Davis to address other needs.
Dealing Davis would open up the first base position for Duda, making him a natural fit for the 2013 club. However, if the Mets do not find the right deal for Davis, the club seems willing to stick with Duda in the outfield and hope for the best.
Davis, 25, shouldn't be too hard to move as he has climbed back from a slow start to hit .224/.304/.454 with 31 homers in 566 plate appearances this season. The Red Sox, Indians, Rays, and Marlins are among the teams that could have interest in him this winter.
9:00am: The Mets won't shop either Davis or Duda aggressively, but they'll be open to the right deal for either player, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports (on Twitter).
8:26am: The Mets will consider trading Ike Davis as a way of addressing other needs this offseason, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports. There’s no guarantee Davis will be moved, but it’s at least “a very plausible option,” Rubin writes.
The Mets are disappointed with Davis’ attitude toward coaching advice and they worry that he’s out too late after games, according to Rubin. Trading Davis would open up first base for Lucas Duda, who’s viewed as an inferior defender to Davis.
Davis, 25, has rebounded from a slow start to post a .223/.302/.444 batting line with 27 home runs in 529 plate appearances. The left-handed hitter will be first-time arbitration eligible as a super two player this coming offseason and he's under team control through 2016. The Indians, Rays, Red Sox and Marlins are among the teams that could be interested in first basemen this coming offseason.