New York Mets Rumors

New York Mets trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Mets Could Shop Bartolo Colon

The Mets will listen to offers for Bartolo Colon and could even start openly shopping the veteran right-hander, team sources tell Mike Puma of the New York Post.  There is no indication a deal would happen soon, however, as the team could wait until after the July 31st deadline since GM Sandy Alderson “has no pressure” to trade Colon.  (Puma points out that Alderson waited until late August 2013 to make the Marlon Byrd trade with the Pirates).

Colon turned 41 years old in May and his late-career renaissance is still going strong.  The veteran has posted a 3.88 ERA and a 5.27 K/BB over 106 2/3 IP as a Met, with 79 strikeouts and a league-low 1.3 walks per nine innings.  Those numbers do carry some heavy ballpark splits, as Colon has a 2.11 ERA in six Citi Field starts and a 5.06 ERA in 10 road starts.

Despite Colon’s age, the two-year, $20MM contract he signed with New York last winter is considered to be “relatively friendly,” an AL executive tells Puma.  Colon is owed roughly $4.4MM for the remainder of this season and is owed $11MM for 2015.

Moving Colon would line the Mets up for a full-scale pitching youth movement in 2015.  Jon Niese and Dillon Gee would be the most experienced members of a projected rotation that would also include a returning Matt Harvey and the likes of Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, while prospects Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard could also be candidates to win jobs.  In this situation you could also expect the Mets to sign at least one veteran arm for depth purposes during the offseason, a la their addition of Daisuke Matsuzaka last winter.

Also from Puma’s piece, he notes that the Mets are “reluctant” to trade Niese, which fits with Alderson’s recent statements about Niese’s availability (or lack thereof).  Niese, for his part, tells Puma that he wants to remain with the Mets.


Mets Haven’t Had Recent Talks On Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy‘s name has been featured frequently pages of MLBTradeRumors in recent weeks, but it sounds like he probably won’t be changing uniforms in the next few days.  Mets assistant GM John Ricco told Tim Rohan of the New York Times that the club hasn’t had any recent talks on the second baseman.

We haven’t specifically talked about Dan recently,” Ricco said. “He is one of the more valuable guys we have. He leads the league in hits. He’s settled in as one of the best second basemen in the game, certainly offensively, and is a leader on our team.”

When asked if the Mets were worried about the perception if they traded Murphy, Ricco said, “It depends what the return is,” which Rohan takes to mean that a deal would be better received if they got more immediate help rather than prospects who are a few years away.  The 29-year-old is enjoying his best season to date, hitting .300/.351/.421 with seven homers through 83 games.

Ricco also indicated that the Mets have yet to decide if they’ll be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.  However, comments from GM Sandy Alderson yesterday seemed to indicate that a sell off could be close as he said the next 10-12 days will be vital to that assessment.  If they do sell, however, Alderson says that they’re not likely to move left-hander Jon Niese.

Of course, the Mets could instead lock up their second baseman for the long haul.  Our own Steve Adams recently looked at what a new deal for Murphy might look like.


Mets Notes: Niese, Conforto, Syndergaard, Collins

The Mets have yet to determine whether they’re buyers or sellers at this year’s trade deadline, GM Sandy Alderson tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The next 10 to 12 days will be vital in making that assessment, Alderson said, but he made it clear that regardless of the way they go, the team isn’t likely to deal left-hander Jon Niese. Given the fact that the Mets can control Niese, who has a 2.88 ERA in 103 innings, through 2018, that stance isn’t entirely surprising. Niese is guaranteed $16.5MM through the 2016 season, and his contract contains a $10MM club option for 2017 and an $11MM club option for 2018. That would be tremendously difficult to part with, though it would also be highly appealing to other clubs and carry a great deal of trade value.

More from Heyman and other reporters on the Mets…

  • From that same piece, Alderson notes that Daniel Murphy‘s name has come up “periodically” in trade talks. Heyman suggests that Alderson’s statement includes the mention of a Murphy in trade that would net Jonathan Villar and others, which appeared in the recent Astros’ data leak. Heyman adds that Alderson didn’t deny anything that was mentioned in those notes.
  • In a second piece, Heyman reports that the Mets’ deal with top pick Michael Conforto still isn’t quite done. Alderson tells Heyman that the two sides are still working out three or four mostly non-financial clauses. The two sides remain in agreement on a $2.97MM signing bonus.
  • While he was once thought to be on the Matt Harvey/Zack Wheeler summer promotion track, top prospect Noah Syndergaard now might not even be called up in 2014 at all, manager Terry Collins told reporters yesterday (including Mike Puma of the New York Post). One club source told Puma that team officials have struggled to get a read on Syndergaard, and some feel he would benefit from a full year at Triple-A. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News wrote earlier today that a club official recently told him Syndergaard is “not even on our radar” at this point.
  • Martino also tweets that Alderson recently lamented the team’s run differential (a point he touched on with Heyman as well) but firmly stated that he doesn’t feel Collins is the cause for that issue.
  • The Mets announced the signings of 11 international free agents today, and MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo runs down the list, noting that Venezuelan shortstops Yoel Romero and Edgardo Fermin received respective bonuses of $300K and $250K. None of the 11 signed by the Mets ranked among the Top 30 lists compiled by MLB.com and Baseball America.


NL International Signings: Cuadrado, Gonzalez, Rosario

Here are the day’s most notable international prospect signings from the National League (rankings via MLB.com and Baseball America):

  • The Dodgers have signed Venezuelan corner outfielder Romer Cuadrado and given him a $750K signing bonus, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America. Cuardado didn’t crack either Top 30 list, though Badler did note in a report (subscription required) that he has an “extra-large frame” for a 16-year-old (6’4″, 195 pounds) with room to add size. Badler noted that Cuardado has projectable raw power from the right side.
  • Shortstops Pedro Gonzalez ($1.3MM) and Yeremy Rosario ($800K) have agreed to terms with the Rockies, according to Dionisio Soldevila of ESPNDeportes.com (via Twitter) and MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (Twitter link), respectively. Gonzalez was rated the 12th-best prospect available by both Baseball America and MLB.com. Rosario, meanwhile, landed at 22nd on the MLB.com list, with opinions varying on whether he is a top young player or instead lacks the ability to stick up the middle.
  • Shortstop Kenny Hernandez has signed with the Mets for $1MM, Sanchez reports on Twitter. Hernandez was the 27th-rated prospect by MLB.com but rose all the way to 13th on the Baseball America board.
  • The Giants have inked outfielder Sandro Fabian for $500K, reports Sanchez (via Twitter). Fabian hails from the Dominican Republic and can generate hard contact but needs to work on his plate discipline and will likely need to move from center to left field, according to Badler (subscription required).
  • The Phillies have signed shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa to a $900K bonus, reports Sanchez (via Twitter). The switch-hitting Venezuelan checked in at eighth on BA’s list and 15th on that of MLB.com. His value appears to be in his legs and defensive ability, though Gamboa is said to be a capable contact hitter. Philadelphia has also inked fellow Venezuelan shortstop Daniel Brito, who was rated 29th overall by BA, according to a report from Badler. Brito receives a healthy $650K bonus, according to Badler.
  • The Padres have agreed to terms with catcher Ricardo Rodriguez, who came in at the very bottom of MLB.com’s top-30 prospect list, tweets Sanchez. San Diego also landed a $500K contract with shortstop Elvis Sabala, per another Sanchez tweet.
  • Outfielder Christian Capellan has agreed to a $500K deal with the Marlins, tweets Sanchez. The club has also inked Venezuelan outfielder Anderson Castro for $650K, according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (via Twitter). Miami is expected to land as many as twelve players today while wielding a bonus that is triple the club’s previous levels, tweets Frisaro. The Fish have just over $4.6MM in available pool space, second-most in the league.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Astros’ Trade Discussion Notes Leaked

4:30pm: The Astros have issued the following statement regarding the leaked notes:

“Last month, we were made aware that proprietary information held on Astros’ servers and in Astros’ applications had been illegally obtained. Upon learning of the security breach, we immediately notified MLB security who, in turn, notified the FBI.  Since that time, we have been working closely with MLB security and the FBI to the determine the party, or parties, responsible.  This information was illegally obtained and published, and we intend to prosecute those involved to the fullest extent.

“It is unfortunate and extremely disappointing that an outside source has illegally obtained confidential information.  While it does appear that some of the content released was based on trade conversations, a portion of the material was embellished or completely fabricated.”

2:29pm: Extensive trade discussion notes, apparently logged by Astros executives about their talks with other teams, have been leaked onto the site AnonBin here and here, with Deadspin breaking the story and Yahoo’s Jeff Passan verifying the authenticity of the logs.  The earliest notes are from June 2013, and the latest are from March of this year.  The Astros have yet to comment on the leak, which provides unprecedented detail into how the team values players and approaches trade discussions.  According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Astros have been reaching out to people around baseball apologizing for the leaks, and plan to issue a statement soon.

A March feature by Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle outlines Ground Control, the Astros’ confidential internal database from which the trade discussion notes were likely taken.  At this time, it’s unclear whether the information reached the Internet via a rogue employee of the team, or by some kind of security vulnerability in Ground Control.  The trade discussion information, mostly from last summer and offseason, is somewhat dated in the fast-moving baseball hot stove world.  The larger ramification is the breach of trust experienced by the many non-Astros executives cited in the notes.  It’s unlikely any team would rule out the Astros as a trading partner based on this breach, but some teams could approach talks with added caution.  Additionally, I imagine the many other teams with such highly sensitive material online are doubling down on security right now.

The Astros’ trade notes from last summer and offseason range from the blockbuster to the mundane; here are some highlights.

  • On November 15th, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow expressed interest with Marlins GM Dan Jennings in slugger Giancarlo Stanton.  From the notes: “[Jennings] said he doesn’t think he’ll trade Stanton and the only deal he could think of from us that would work would be [George] Springer and [Carlos] Correa. [Luhnow] said that would not work. [Luhnow] posited a deal around [Jarred] Cosart and [Delino] DeShields.”  It’s not a big surprise that Luhnow rejected Jennings’ proposal out of hand, as Correa and Springer were ranked #4 and #19 on Keith Law’s top 100 prospects list for ESPN, and are major building blocks for Houston.  That Luhnow didn’t appear to offer either player suggests he was mostly gauging Stanton’s price after an off-year with three years of control remaining.  UPDATE: Jennings has commented to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, saying it’s fabricated that they ever offered Stanton to the Astros or any other team, also using the word “laughable.”
  • Interest in Astros catcher Jason Castro was strong last offseason, with a few surprising suitors.  The Blue Jays and Rangers reached out in mid-October to gauge Castro’s price, the White Sox had “definite high interest,” and Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told Luhnow in November that he was getting calls from other teams asking if he could get Castro from the Astros for those teams.  Zduriencik offered Dustin Ackley and was turned down.
  • Notes for the Astros’ summer trade discussions begin at June 17th, 2013.  The team ultimately went on to acquire Ronald Torreyes from the Cubs in June, and also dealt veterans Jose Veras, Bud Norris, and Justin Maxwell near the July deadline.  The Astros did not end up acquiring any top 100-type prospects, but they sure did ask for the moon.  For Norris, the Astros sought Kyle Crick and Clayton Blackburn from the Giants, Dylan Bundy or Kevin Gausman from the Orioles, Marcus Stroman and more from the Blue Jays, Xander Bogaerts, Allen Webster, Jackie Bradley Jr., or Garin Cecchini from the Red Sox, and Tyler Glasnow plus Luis Heredia or Nick Kingham from the Pirates.  The Red Sox offered Ryan Lavarnway or Deven Marrero for Norris and were turned down.  In the end, the Astros traded Norris and an international draft slot to the Orioles for L.J. Hoes, Josh Hader, and a 2014 competitive balance pick.
  • When Nationals GM Mike Rizzo called to express interest in middling Astros starting pitcher Lucas Harrell, who had a 5.17 ERA at the time and nearly as many walks as strikeouts, “[Luhnow] told him we would still need a headliner like [Lucas] Giolito because we still value Harrell highly. Rizzo did not respond immediately.”
    Harrell was designated for assignment, outrighted, and traded for a pittance nine months later, so the Astros might have overplayed their hand.
  • “Untouchable” players from other teams were revealed through conversations with their executives.  White Sox GM Rick Hahn wouldn’t consider trading Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Jose Abreu, or Avisail Garcia.  Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos considered Brett Lawrie off-limits.  Pirates outfield prospect Gregory Polanco came up as well, in that GM Neal Huntington wouldn’t include him in any Norris deal.  In December talks regarding Harrell, the Giants said they would not discuss Brandon Belt.
  • More random notes: Mets executive Paul DePodesta asked Luhnow if the Astros would consider trading shortstop Jonathan Villar in a Daniel Murphy deal in December…the Marlins expressed interest in Jose Altuve, Matt Dominguez, and others in December.

NL Central Notes: Weeks, Cardinals, Davis

After covering some Cubs Notes earlier today, let’s take a look around the rest of the NL Central…

  • The Blue Jays haven’t shown any interest in Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks since they’re looking to land a better defender at the keystone, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports.  (Similar defensive concerns were also the reason for Toronto’s lack of interest in Daniel Murphy, as Heyman reported over the weekend.)  Weeks is hitting .263/.344/.463 in 90 PA against left-handed pitching this season, and would make sense on paper for a Jays team that is need of both second base help and a right-handed bat.
  • The Cardinals are open to acquiring a second or third baseman and have also considered adding a “complement upgrade” for their lineup, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.  Padres outfielder Seth Smith is cited by Goold as an example of the type of complementary player the Cards are discussing, though Smith himself isn’t necessarily being targeted by the team.  If the Cardinals do add a 2B or 3B, Matt Carpenter would play the other position.
  • The Piratestrade for Ike Davis is over two months old, and Tim Rohan of the New York Times checks in to see how both the Bucs and Mets have progressed since the deal.  The Mets have been very pleased by how Lucas Duda is hitting as the new regular first baseman, and while Davis hasn’t been hitting quite as well (.250/.359/.364 in 217 PA as a Pirate), he mentioned in a recent WFAN interview that he enjoys playing for a team that expects to contend.

AL East Notes: Yankees, Sox, Hazen, Jays, Murphy

In his latest piece, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News looks at some of the Yankees’ most tradeable assets and discussed their stock with scouts around the league. Martino notes that many scouts aren’t high on Gary Sanchez due to a lack of fire, questionable defense and the fact that he doesn’t do early work before games. Right-hander Luis Severino, on the other hand, is seeing his stock rise. The Class-A Advanced hurler threw six no-hit innings Wednesday and drew praise from a scout who spoke with Martino. He also notes that catcher Peter O’Brien and second baseman Rob Refsnyder have been knocked for their defense. A scout Martino spoke with shared the opinion of many in stating that O’Brien doesn’t really have a position.

Here’s more out of the AL East…

  • Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy appeared on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show yesterday morning, and Conor Ryan of WEEI.com has the highlights from the discussion. Kennedy said it’s too early to determine whether they’re buyers or sellers, but it’s certainly possible that the ultimate plan of action is to trade veteran pieces and promote prospects like Mookie Betts, Christian Vazquez and Garin Cecchini. He added that he feels Boston’s fans are knowledgeable enough to understand, should that approach necessitate itself.
  • Kennedy also discussed the possibility of Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen drawing interest for the Padres‘ GM opening. While he joked that they weren’t interested in helping out former BoSox COO and current Padres CEO Mike Dee, he acknowledged how desirable Hazen is to other clubs: “I think [Hazen] will definitely be a candidate atop any club’€™s list who might need a general manager. … Hopefully, Mike Hazen will be with us for a long time, but we are realistic and recognize that when you have talented people, other organizations come knocking.”
  • WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes that it’s time for the Red Sox to make changes. The team cannot keep relying on struggling veterans Jake Peavy and A.J. Pierzynski, he opines. Rather than “grasp[ing] at what might possibly pan out” with their veterans, they should be embracing young talent. He notes that while there are more apparent replacements for Peavy than Pierzynski, Vazquez could be given a trial and at least provide strong defense if he doesn’t hit.
  • The Blue Jays continue to monitor the trade market for infielders, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). While the team would like to add a starting pitcher, they’re open to upgrades at any position. Specifically, the Jays are looking at second basemen and third basemen, knowing that Brett Lawrie can man the position that isn’t addressed via trade once he is healthy.
  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports adds, also via Twitter, that while the Blue Jays are looking at second base options, they’re not considering Daniel Murphy of the Mets. Toronto is looking for more defense that Murphy offers at the position. It’s been reported that the Mets could extend Murphy rather than trade him. I examined what a Murphy extension might cost the Mets yesterday.

Examining A Potential Daniel Murphy Extension

It’s been reported that the Mets, who have shown a reluctance to move veteran pieces under GM Sandy Alderson, could work out an extension with second baseman Daniel Murphy rather than trade him for prospects at this year’s deadline. The natural reaction to that news, particularly for Mets fans, is to wonder what an extension would cost the team.

Murphy entered the year with four years, 109 days of service time and a $5.7MM salary in his back pocket after avoiding arbitration with the team for the second time this past winter. He’s under control through next season and is due one more raise in arbitration before being scheduled to hit the open market for the first time in his career.

Using MLBTR’s Extension Tracker to look at extensions for second basemen with between four and six years of service time, Martin Prado jumps out as a strong comparable for Murphy both in terms of service time and in terms of production. Here’s a look at Murphy’s career to date alongside Prado’s career through the time he signed his four-year, $40MM deal with the D’Backs:

From an offensive standpoint, the two are very similar. Even when adjusting for ball park, Murphy has a 110 OPS+, where Prado’s was at 109 heading into the 2013 season. The big difference between the two, of course, is defense. Murphy, drafted as a third baseman, learned to play second base on the job and was a liability there early in his career. Defensive metrics have come around on his glovework at the keystone, but Defensive Runs Saved still pegs him as below-average, and Ultimate Zone Rating feels he’s average at best.

Prado, meanwhile, was considered a standout defender at third base and in left field at the time of his extension, and he was also capable of sliding over to second base or shortstop if needed. That’s versatility that Murphy simply doesn’t have to offer, and it’s a large reason for the fact that Fangraphs valued Prado’s career at 14.2 WAR when he signed his deal, while Murphy’s career to date is pegged at 11.1 fWAR.

However, Prado’s contract was signed 18 months ago, and his $4.75MM salary in 2012 was lower than Murphy’s current $5.7MM mark. It stands to reason that Murphy would earn more next season in arbitration than Prado would have in his final arb year, and we’ve seen the price of extensions grow over the past few seasons. Additionally, if the Mets feel that Murphy has progressed to the point where he’s at least an adequate defender at second base, they’ll likely be willing to pay for his future defensive value rather than ding him for his past struggles.

Murphy himself mentioned the possibility of a four-year deal multiple times in the report from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, and if that’s the target window for an extension, something in the neighborhood of $9MM in 2015 and $12-13MM annually for his first three free agent seasons could work for both sides. That’d put his deal in the $45-48MM range over four years, beginning in 2015.

Murphy could also follow the route of Brett Gardner — another above-average player who was never seen as a star prior to his offseason contract extension. Gardner agreed to his final arbitration salary and then signed a four-year deal that began in 2015 and covered only free agent years. Were Murphy to go that route, an additional year at $12-14MM could be added to Murphy’s deal (which would then begin in 2016), meaning he would earn roughly $9MM in 2015 and earn something in the $48-52MM range for his age-31 through age-34 seasons (2016-19).


Extension Possible For Mets, Daniel Murphy

While a great deal of focus has been placed on whether or not the Mets should trade second baseman Daniel Murphy, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that a long-term deal between the two sides isn’t out of the question either.

Martino spoke to a Mets insider who said an extension is a possibility, and Murphy himself noted that agents Seth and Sam Levinson of ACES “know how I tick and have discussed it.” Murphy went on to note that while the money would be an important factor, the bigger appeal of a long-term deal to him would be a team making that level of commitment to him:

“The money is nice … I couldn’t spend that in four lifetimes. I’ll let my son try to do it, but I couldn’t do it. So it’s just — if somebody comes up to you and says, hey we think you’re good enough to be in this league for the next four years — I have never approached it this way. And I don’t think that would change the way I work, it’s just, hey, that’s a nice feeling. And it’s four years worth of at-bats. They’re not just passing those things out in this league.”

Murphy is earning $5.7MM this season after avoiding arbitration with the Mets for a second time this past offseason. He’s off to the best start of his career, as he entered today’s game with a .300/.355/.418 batting line, six homers, 11 steals and improved defense, per Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved. Murphy would be eligible for free agency following the 2015 season.


Trade Deadline Notes: Colon, McCarthy, Phils, Angels, Mariners, White Sox

In an Insider piece yesterday, ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden listed 21 hitters who could change hands over the trade deadline and handicapped their odds of doing so. Bowden says it is 50/50 whether the following players are dealt: Daniel Murphy, Michael Cuddyer, Josh Willingham, Seth Smith, and Gerardo Parra. He puts better than even money on Chris Carter of the Astros (60%), Alex Rios of the Rangers (65%), and Ben Zobrist of the Rays (70%) landing in new uniforms.

Here’s the latest trade deadline chatter …

  • Though he has increased his value with a recent string of outstanding starts, Mets hurler Bartolo Colon is not likely to be dealt, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. The club is disinclined to sell, says Martino, and expects to have plenty of need for the veteran next year — even with the expected return of Matt Harvey and rise of younger arms.
  • Brandon McCarthy of the Diamondbacks could be the ideal buy-low starting pitching  target, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. While McCarthy’s results have not been encouraging (5.38 ERA), the opposite holds true of his peripherals (80:18 K:BB ratio, 56% groundball rate). In large part, McCarthy has been hurt by a bloated home run rate and batting average on balls in play. The righty could prove a bargain, says Nicholson-Smith, because he won’t require a major prospect return and Arizona may even need to pay part of his $9MM salary.
  • The Phillies may ultimately decide to part with some veterans, but David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News questions whether they will get much in return. Marlon Byrd has a lower OPS and less home runs — and is owed a lot more money — than was the case last year when he was dealt for a less-than-overwhelming return. John Mayberry Jr. has been on the block for some time, and his hot start does not mean he’ll suddenly bring back a haul. And even Cliff Lee is not nearly as valuable as one might think, says Murphy, owing to his significant remaining guarantee and current arm issues.
  • We heard recently that the Angels were looking to add a lefty and perhaps a closer to their bullpen. According to MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez and Matthew DeFranks, the club has or will look into Huston Street and Joaquin Benoit of the Padres, Jonathan Papelbon and Antonio Bastardo of the Phillies, and Jim Johnson of the Athletics“There are pieces here that are very functional in getting to a good bullpen, and I believe that we’ll get there,” said GM Jerry Dipoto. “But we are going to have to address some of that in July and help this group out.”
  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said yesterday that he would be surprised if the club did not swing at least one deal in advance of the trade deadline, in an appearance on 1090 The Fan’s Steve Sandmeyer Show (Twitter links via co-host Jason Churchill). The club’s head baseball decisionmaker also left the impression that the club will be able to achieve some payroll flexibility in weighing acquisitions.
  • One club with whom the Mariners are “expected to talk” is the White Sox, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Some or all of Adam Dunn, Alexei Ramirez, and Dayan Viciedo could hold appeal to Seattle, Morosi suggests. Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com tweets that the M’s, who have scouted the South Siders recently, are intrigued by Ramirez and have had targeted Viciedo in the past.