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Ruben Tejada Rumors
The Mets are happy with Ruben Tejada as their starting shortstop, special assistant J.P. Ricciardi tells WEEI's Rob Bradford and John McDonald (yes, that John McDonald). "I think in Ruben’s case, he got a lot early in his career and I think he’s starting to realize that he has to work a lot harder than he has in the past, and he has," Ricciardi says. "I think next year he’s going to be a better player than he was this previous year."
Stephen Drew remains a free agent and would provide an immediate upgrade at shortstop. While Ricciardi doesn't go into details about Drew in particular, he makes clear that the shortstop market is not what the Mets would like it to be. "I think in this case there’s a lot of shortstops that are already in place," says Ricciardi.
Last week, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets were also exploring trade possibilities at the position, but that there was a greater chance than there was at the beginning of the offseason that Tejada would open 2014 as the team's starting shortstop.
While it doesn't necessarily sound like the Mets will be big players for Drew, who rejected a qualifying offer from the Red Sox, Ricciardi notes that, in general, he thinks the issue of draft pick forfeiture is only a minor consideration. The Mets' first-round pick in 2014, No. 10 overall, is protected, but the team already gave up its second-round pick to sign Curtis Granderson. "One of the things that is happening in baseball right now, that I scratch my head with [is that] young players are so overvalued right now, and I think falls in with the draft picks, too," Ricciardi says. "No one builds through the draft. You add through the draft." Ricciardi says that, to him, proven big-league players are more valuable.
Earlier today, the Yankees reached agreements with both Brian Roberts and Matt Thornton.They're likely to continue adding pieces, however. A source confirmed to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter link) that the Yanks have spoken to Mark Reynolds' agent, though nothing is close on that front. Here's the latest on Reynolds, the Yankees and the Mets…
- The Yankees are in on Reynolds, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, but they'll face competition from the Twins, Angels and others in their attempt to land him.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have also expressed interest in Jeff Baker as a potential right-handed bat to get some time at second base and third base (Twitter link). Baker mashed against lefties in 2013, posting a .314/.407/.667 batting line with 10 homers.
- Daniel Murphy has seen his name in trade rumors this offseason, but he says his agents came away from the Winter Meetings with the impression that he'll be with the Mets in 2014, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Sources tell Rubin that the Mets continue to listen on Murphy, but the asking price is high.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson says that two to three teams are potential trade partners at shortstop, although the chances of Ruben Tejada starting Opening Day at the position are much better than at the end of the season, Rubin writes. "Well, I think it is more likely certainly than it was a couple of months ago, let's say," the GM said. "But we've improved the team at other positions. And so giving Ruben a chance to reestablish himself as an everyday player isn't such a bad thing. But we'll continue to monitor what's there from the trade market and conceivably free agency, although there really isn't much left there. There are two or three teams that are possibilities."
- Alderson also suggested he would be looking for an equivalent return to what others have received for trading first basemen. The Marlins got 23-year-old Carter Capps from the Mariners for Logan Morrison last week.
- The Mets GM expects a fifth-starter candidate to be signed on a minor-league deal. That would allow Jenrry Mejia, Jacob deGrom, and Rafael Montero to compete for a spot out of spring training and help ensure that top prospect Noah Syndergaard would not be blocked from a summer promotion.
- While it's not a huge surprise, Alderson downplayed the Mets' odds of landing Masahiro Tanaka.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
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.
There's been a lot of talk about the Mets following the "Red Sox model" of signing multiple mid-tier free agents to shorter-term deals without sacrificing draft picks this season, but Matt Meyers of ESPNNewYork.com writes that this model won't work for the Mets. New York doesn't have a positional core like Boston had in Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz, nor can the team match Boston's $150MM payroll. Meyers feels that the Mets should follow the Indians' model this winter and look at the Pirates' philosophy long-term. To fans clamoring for big free agent spending, Meyers points out that such actions are precisely what dug the team into its current hole. More Mets links for your Tuesday afternoon…
- David Wright appeared on ESPN New York radio recently, stating that he's not worried about the team's slow start to the offseason and adding that he thinks GM Sandy Alderson "has some tricks up his sleeve." (ESPN's Adam Rubin has some quotes transcribed) Wright elaborated: "In all reality, I think that the offseason doesn't really necessarily kick off until the winter meetings, and that starts right after Thanksgiving … have some faith because, like I said, I fully expect us to be a much better team moving forward. Hopefully that will begin at the winter meetings or shortly after Thanksgiving."
- Barring a surprise signing of Stephen Drew, it's looking more and more like the Mets will open 2014 with Ruben Tejada as their shortstop, writes MLB.com's Anthony DiComo in his latest Mets Inbox. DiComo points to Cardinals GM John Mozeliak's comments about how steep the prices are for shortstops on the trade market in suggesting that such a move isn't likely to occur. Rafael Furcal may be an upgrade, but as DiComo points out, he's far from a sure thing.
- The large number of holes the Mets have to fill puts Daniel Murphy "at risk of being elsewhere" next season, DiComo adds. The Mets could move Eric Young to his natural position, second base, and address a different hole by trading Murphy.
- Also from DiComo, the Mets would like to find a veteran backup catcher, but that's low on their list of priorities at this point. He tells a reader that while John Buck would likely be a nice it, Buck probably prefers to find a larger role with a team than the Mets can offer.
- The Mets did indeed check in on Ryan Braun, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, though the inquiry consisted of four words, Alderson told Heyman: "What's up with Braun?" Alderson asked Brewers GM Doug Melvin before finding him to be unavailable. The Mets are continuing to pursue corner outfielders Nelson Cruz and Curtis Granderson, however, Heyman writes.
Joe Nathan agreed with Jim Bowden's suggestions of the Tigers, Angels and Yankees as good fits for his services, the veteran closer told Bowden and Casey Stern on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM. Nathan said that finding a winning team was more important to him than location, he's prepared to be patient and see how his market develops, and he revealed that his old teammate Torii Hunter was trying to recruit him to come to Detroit. Tip of the cap to MLB.com's Jason Beck for providing an audio link to Nathan's interview and a partial transcript.
Here's some more news as we wrap up a busy day around baseball…
- The Phillies have a long-standing interest in Peter Bourjos and would love to have him, but they don't have the young pitching the Angels would want back in a trade, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports. The Phils would have to get a third team involved to work out a deal, or forget Bourjos entirely and focus on other outfield candidates; Rosenthal suggests Grady Sizemore as a bench possibility.
- Also from Rosenthal, rival scouts figure the Yankees will make a big push to sign international talent since they're already over the bonus pool limit for international signings and will be penalized anyway. It's worth noting that Joe Pawlikowski of the River Ave Blues blog believes Rosenthal may have miscalculated some figures and is actually saying the Yankees will overspend during the next international signing period, which opens on July 2, 2014.
- MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez lists 10 teams who could possibly be trade partners for the Angels in their search for young, controllable pitching.
- Ruben Tejada's possible grievance against the Mets is just the latest sign of strained relations between the shortstop and the team, and Andy Martino of the New York Daily News figures the two sides are close to parting ways.
- The Rays plan to rotate Wil Myers, Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce and David DeJesus at DH this season, a move that will help keep the players fresh and also allow the club to save money on signing a designated hitter, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune writes.
- Five teams have shown interest in Yuniesky Betancourt as a second or third baseman, agent Alex Esteban tells Sportsnet.ca's Ben Nicholson-Smith (Twitter link).
- The White Sox aren't used to picking as high as third overall in the amateur draft, MLB.com's Scott Merkin writes, but the club is hoping to use the high pick and larger draft bonus pool to fuel GM Rick Hahn's plan to restock the farm system.
The issue stems from a late promotion from Triple-A Las Vegas in September. Las Vegas was eliminated from the Pacific Coast League playoffs on September 7. The Mets waited to promote Tejada until September 10, and that left him with two years and 171 days of playing time. The Mets had promoted several players the previous day.
Another day of service time would have given Tejada three full years, thus potentially making him eligible for free agency after the 2016 season. As it stands, the earliest he can be eligible for free agency is after the 2017 season. He will, however, be arbitration-eligible this offseason as a Super Two player.
It is not uncommon for teams to time promotions based on service time considerations. Passan suggests, however, that they are not typically quite as obvious about it as the Mets were in Tejada's case.
If Tejada were to receive the extra day of service time, Passan writes, Charlie Furbush of the Mariners would become eligible for arbitration as a Super Two player. Super Two status is determined by a percentage of players with less than three years of service time, and Furbush would take Tejada's place among that group of players in such a scenario.
Tejada hit .202/.259/.260 in 227 plate appearances for the Mets last season. He currently appears to be in line to start at shortstop in 2014, although the Mets could pursue other shortstops in the offseason.
Here's a look at the latest on the Mets and Yankees..
- The Mets and Johan Santana are very likely to part ways this winter but team insiders say that the door is open a sliver of a crack for a return, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. When Martino suggested to one team source that the Mets would definitely cut bait with the left-hander, the person said, “that’s probably fair, but it’s premature to say never.”
- A source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com not to expect multi-year deals this offseason for notable players under the Mets' control. The Mets' best candidates for a deal like Jonathon Niese's five-year, $25.5MM pact from last offseason would be the arbitration-eligible Daniel Murphy, Dillon Gee, and Bobby Parnell.
- Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com asks if the Yankees should make a play for Chase Headley this winter. The Padres third baseman could be moved for the right package, but a baseball official familiar with the team's thinking says they'll need a "compelling offer" and the Bombers don't really have the necessary talent in their farm system to do that.
- Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada has returned to The Legacy Agency as a client after spending time with Praver/Shapiro, tweets Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal. You can keep track of everyone's representation with the MLBTR Agency Database.
Tim Beckham, the first overall pick in the 2008 Draft, entered the Rays' game as a pinch-hitter against the Rangers Thursday night and singled in his first big-league at-bat. It marked a milestone for the infielder, who crawled through the minor leagues, never hitting all that impressively at any level, before posting a line of .276/.342/.387 in 2013 for Triple-A Durham. All of the 20 players drafted immediately after Beckham made it to the big leagues before he did. (Many, of course, were drafted out of college; Beckham came out of high school.) Remarkably, as Baseball America's John Manuel notes (via Twitter), Beckham is the first player drafted by the Rays since 2007 to make it to the big leagues with them. That's surprising, given how vital young players are to a low-payroll team like the Rays and how successful they've been in recent years. Here are more notes from around the Majors.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has implied to first baseman Adam Lind that there's a good chance the team will pick up Lind's 2014 option, but nothing is certain yet, SportsNet.ca's Shi Davidi reports. "You know Alex pretty well, it’s pretty much the explanation I anticipated," says Lind, who will get either $7MM to play for the Jays or a $2MM buyout. The Jays also have options on Lind's services for 2015 and 2016. Lind has hit .282/.352/.486 so far this season. The team isn't required to make a decision about his option until shortly after the World Series ends.
- Mets manager Terry Collins wants Ruben Tejada to take command of the shortstop position next season, Anthony DiComo and Chris Iseman of MLB.com write. "My message is real simple: this job is his," says Collins. "But he's got to show everybody that he wants it desperately." That doesn't rule out the possibility that the Mets could pursue a shortstop from outside the organization. The offseason free-agent market isn't a strong one, but a trade might be a possibility. Tejada has hit .202/.259/.260 in 227 plate appearances this season.
- The Cubs aren't ready to say whether Dale Sveum will remain their manager in 2014, but the notion that the Cubs would fire Sveum is "laughable," says Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times. Morrissey raises the possibility that the Cubs hesitation on Sveum may have something to do with big-name managers like Joe Girardi and Ron Gardenhire being free agents this offseason. He argues that Sveum shouldn't be blamed for the struggles of Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro this season, suggesting that the pair might simply not be as good as the Cubs and their fans hoped.
- The Brewers claimed pitcher Josh Ravin off waivers from the Reds today, and MLB.com's Adam McCalvy compares Ravin to Joe Nathan, noting that Ravin can throw in triple digits (Twitter link). Ravin wouldn't be the first player to find success as a reliever in the Majors after an unimpressive minor-league career, but Joe Nathan is a lofty name to drop when discussing a 25-year-old who posted a 5.82 ERA with 6.7 BB/9 in the minors this year.
- Dodgers lefty Onelki Garcia is now represented by BHS Sports Council, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter). Garcia posted a 2.90 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in the upper levels of the minors in 2013, and he made his big-league debut last week.
It seems to be a fait accompli that Ryne Sandberg will have his interim tag removed and be named full-time manager of the Phillies sometime in the next week or so, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Whether the announcement happens in a matter of days, after the season finale against the Braves on September 29th, or shortly thereafter, the smart money is on Sandberg taking the full-time gig. Here's more on the Phillies and the latest out of the NL East..
- More from Salisbury, who wonders if Larry Bowa could be joining Sandberg on his staff for next season. Bowa was in the Phillies’ dugout before Wednesday’s game and the idea of adding the 67-year-old has been discussed within the organization.
- Braves catcher Brian McCann may not be back in Atlanta next season, but his focus is on the team's current run as they near the postseason, writes MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Many have speculated that McCann will find a big payday elsewhere this winter.
- Mets skipper Terry Collins wants to see Ruben Tejada take control of the shortstop position in 2014. "My message is real simple: this job is his," Collins said of next year's starting shortstop role. "But he's got to show everybody that he wants it desperately." Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com recently wrote that the Mets could look out-of-house for their next shortstop and may even consider trading Tejada.
- Peter Gammons of MLB.com (on Twitter) notes that Ed Lucas, who belted his fourth homer of the year for the Marlins last night, was a Winter Meetings job seeker last season. The Dartmouth grad spent nine seasons in the minor leagues before getting called up by Miami in late May.
Yesterday it was reported that the Mets are likely to target Shin-Soo Choo as a free agent this offseason. Choo projects as one of the top names available and would serve as a long-term upgrade in right field, should the Mets be able to entice him more than the host of other suitors Choo figures to have. Here's more on Choo and other Mets-related issues…
- General manager Sandy Alderson told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that he "certainly [hasn't] ruled out a big-ticket item" on the free agent market this winter, though he didn't mention Choo by name. One Mets-connected person told Heyman, however, that Choo "fits the bill" in terms of what the team is looking for.
- Also in that piece, Heyman adds that Jacoby Ellsbury isn't likely to be a prime target for the Mets because they're pleased with the emergence of Juan Lagares in center. While Lagares' .264/.301/.385 batting line has hardly set the world on fire, he's been worth three wins above replacement, per Fangraphs, due to his incredible center field defense.
- Finally from Heyman's article, one top Mets executive expressed relief that the team didn't end up signing Michael Bourn last offseason. The Mets, of course, pursued Bourn heavily and lobbied to be able to keep their No. 11 overall pick in signing him, but Cleveland swooped in with a four-year, $48MM offer and landed the speedster.
- Ruben Tejada's play for the remainder of the season rest is important, because it might mean one less position that needs to be filled this winter, writes Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog. Yesterday, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com wrote that the Mets are likely to explore external options this winter and they may even shop Tejada.
- Matt Harvey told reporters, including Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, that he's optimistic about his chances to avoid Tommy John surgery. Harvey is slated to receive a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews next week, after which Andrews will confer with Dr. David Altchek on the best course of action for the Mets ace.
Zach Links contributed to this post.