New York Mets – MLB Trade Rumors Fri, 20 Jul 2018 05:17:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Latest On Mets' Trade Chips Thu, 19 Jul 2018 18:43:48 +0000 While the Mets have received substantial interest in both Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, a trade of either still seems unlikely to happen, per James Wagner of the New York Times (all links to Twitter). The Mets are seeking elite prospects and/or young MLB-ready talent for both pitchers, and it’s been tough to find a fit. Contending clubs, such as the Braves and Yankees, have that type of talent but are reluctant to include it in deals. Other contenders, like the Giants and Diamondbacks, don’t necessarily have the type of pieces the Mets are seeking in return. As Wagner notes, many of the best prospects in baseball are on non-contenders/rebuilding teams, such as the White Sox, Blue Jays and Padres — clubs that are spending more effort to trade pieces away at the moment. Wagner adds that he hears the Padres like Syndergaard, though, and hope to contend in the near future, so they could pursue him this offseason. For now, however, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jeurys Familia and Zack Wheeler are the likeliest Mets to be moved.

Agent: Mets Should “Consider Trade Opportunities” If They Do Not Plan To Pursue deGrom Extension Mon, 16 Jul 2018 19:26:53 +0000 Over the past few seasons, there’s been occasional talk of a potential long-term deal between the Mets and ace Jacob deGrom, though clearly nothing between the two sides has ever come together. With that in mind, deGrom’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA Baseball, offered a candid take on his client’s future to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic today (Twitter links).

“We have discussed Jacob’s future with the Mets at length,” said Van Wagenen. “Jacob has expressed interest in exploring a long-term partnership that would keep him in a Mets uniform for years to come. If the Mets don’t share same interest, we believe their best course of action is to seriously consider trade opportunities now. The inertia of [the] current situation could complicate Jacob’s relationship with the club and creates an atmosphere of indecision.”

Van Wagenen adds in a followup to Joel Sherman of the New York Post that his statement is “not a demand for a trade” and is in fact more an expression on his client’s behalf that he’d like to remain with the organization for the long term (Twitter link). Nonetheless, the public nature of those comments only puts further pressure on the current iteration of the Mets’ front office to act in a more decisive manner. And it only furthers the already strong likelihood that if deGrom is not traded in the next couple of weeks that he’ll be a prominent trade target for teams in the 2018-19 offseason — adding another layer of complexity to a winter that will feature one of the more impressive free-agent classes in recent memory.

However, while Van Wagenen’s comments are fairly straightforward and aggressive in tone, deGrom himself unsurprisingly struck a softer tone at today’s All-Star festivities (Twitter links via Anthony DiComo of Asked about Van Wagenen’s statements, deGrom replied:

“We’ve been open to discussing long-term deals with the Mets. There’s been no numbers discussed, and I’ve enjoyed my time here. … I would love it to be here with the Mets. We’ll just have to see what happens. … I would love to play here for my whole career. I think it’s just kind of deciding what we see as the future. It’s something that’s in the Mets’ control, and kind of out of mine.”

It’s certainly telling to hear deGrom himself flatly state that the two sides have never even progressed to the point where they’ve talked about even loose parameters of a contract. Certainly, it’s not likely that the Mets and deGrom will hammer out what would assuredly be a nine-figure extension in the next couple of weeks. Such negotiations would be complex, and the Mets’ front-office trio of John Ricco, J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya will be dedicating a considerable amount of time and energy to trading other players even if the plan is to eventually talk long-term deal with deGrom.

It should be noted, of course, that these types of comments from agents don’t always serve as a catalyst to facilitate a deal. While Christian Yelich was moved this offseason not long after agent Joe Longo made comments similar in tone to those of Van Wagenen today, that wasn’t the case for J.T. Realmuto. In fact, Realmuto is also repped by CAA, and agent Jeff Berry told the Miami Herald back in February that Realmuto preferred to be moved. Realmuto, of course, is still in Miami and enjoying the best season of his career.

The 30-year-old deGrom is under club control, via the arbitration process, through 2020. He’s already earning $7.4MM, and with one of the strongest arb cases in quite some time taking shape, he could find his salary to be pushing $20MM by the end of those remaining arbitration years. It stands to reason that any extension talks would have to be of at least five years in length, though presumably deGrom’s camp would push for a lengthier pact, given the six- and even seven-year deals landed by some of the game’s top pitchers in recent seasons. Locking up deGrom could quite likely push the Mets into a new franchise-record contract; David Wright currently holds that distinction at $138MM (over an eight-year term).

Red Sox Interested In Jeurys Familia Sun, 15 Jul 2018 23:29:38 +0000
  • Reports from earlier today listed the Giants and Phillies as two of the teams interested in Mets closer Jeurys Familia, and Sherman adds the Red Sox to that list.  Boston is known to be looking for a significant bullpen addition, so it isn’t any surprise that the Sox have checked in on Familia as they explore the relief market.  As Sherman notes, the Red Sox and Mets combined on a notable bullpen trade at last year’s deadline when Addison Reed was sent to Boston.

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    Phillies, Giants Among Teams Interested In Jeurys Familia Sun, 15 Jul 2018 19:40:56 +0000 Mets soon-to-be free-agent closer Jeurys Familia is drawing trade interest primarily from National League teams, Buster Olney of ESPN reports. The Phillies and Giants are among those clubs, per Olney, who notes that Philadelphia might wait to see whether it acquires Manny Machado and Zach Britton from the Orioles before embarking on an earnest pursuit of Familia.

    Familia was one of the game’s best relievers from 2014-16, a stretch in which he pitched to a 2.20 ERA and saved 99 of 114 opportunities, but he took steps backward during an injury- and suspension-shortened 2017. The 28-year-old now looks closer to his top form, having recorded a 2.88 ERA/2.52 FIP with 9.52 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 50.5 percent groundball rate in 40 2/3 innings this season. Along the way, Familia has saved 17 of 21 opportunities for the out-of-contention Mets.

    The Phillies, as an NL East rival of the Mets, are quite familiar with Familia, and they’ve seen their bullpen turn in a middle-of-the-pack performance during a first-place season. The Phillies only lead their division by a game and a half, though, and their relievers entered Sunday 17th in the majors in ERA and 15th in fWAR. However, they have received strong production from youngsters Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos.

    The Giants, on the other hand, are out of the playoffs right now, sitting three games back of a wild-card spot and 3 1/2 behind NL West-leading Los Angeles. Statistically, the Giants’ bullpen has outdone the Phillies’, ranking 10th in ERA and an even more impressive sixth in fWAR. Familia would further strengthen a group that has seen Will Smith, Tony Watson and Reyes Moronta, among others, turn in absolutely great showings. San Francisco’s bullpen did lose closer Hunter Strickland to a fractured hand less than a month ago, but he should be back within a few weeks.

    Any team acquiring Familia would be taking on a rental, as mentioned earlier. He’s owed the balance of a $7.925MM salary.

    Mets "On The Fence" About Trading Zack Wheeler Sun, 15 Jul 2018 13:41:30 +0000
  • Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler has drawn trade interest of late, though the club’s not dead set on moving him prior to the July 31 non-waiver deadline. Rather, the team’s “on the fence” about whether it will deal Wheeler, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets. The 28-year-old has seen his stock rise, Puma notes, during a season in which he has pitched to a 4.44 ERA/3.73 FIP and amassed 107 1/3 innings – his most since 2014. Wheeler’s slated to go through arbitration for the final time next winter.
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    Sherman On Mets' Deadline Plans Sat, 14 Jul 2018 21:59:35 +0000
  • The Mets are unlikely to trade any of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz prior to the deadline, Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears. That in itself isn’t surprising, but the Mets’ valuation of Matz is arguably eyebrow-raising. They’re treating Matz more like an ace “than an oft-injured, No. 3 starter” in discussions with other teams, Sherman writes. Assuming Matz stays along with the Mets’ co-aces, the likelihood is that their most valuable trade chips will be righty Zack Wheeler, closer Jeurys Familia and infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, per Sherman.
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    Mets Notes: Rivera, Cespedes Sat, 14 Jul 2018 17:12:29 +0000
  • Rehabbing Mets infielder T.J. Rivera suffered a setback in the minors on Friday, Betsy Helfand of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Rivera, who’s working back from September 2017 Tommy John surgery, exited Triple-A Las Vegas’ game early on account of “discomfort” in his right arm, Helfand writes. “His arm was not feeling the way it should have so we’re going to reevaluate him tomorrow, see what the plan is,” manager Tony DeFrancesco said. Rivera hasn’t appeared in a major league game in nearly a year (July 26, 2017).
  • In better news for the Mets, manager Mickey Callaway told reporters (including Tim Britton of The Athletic) on Saturday that left fielder Yoenis Cespedes could make his long-awaited return as early as next weekend. Cespedes, who has been out with a hip strain since mid-May, “could ramp up his rehab in the coming days,” Anthony DiComo of tweets.
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    Mets Activate Noah Syndergaard Fri, 13 Jul 2018 18:44:19 +0000 The Mets announced today that they’ve activated right-hander Noah Syndergaard from the 10-day disabled list. Left-hander P.J. Conlon was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas in order to open a spot on the active roster.

    Syndergaard, 25, has been out since late May with a ligament injury in his right index finger, but he’ll now rejoin the rotation just weeks before the non-waiver trade deadline. In his absence, the Mets have declared themselves to be sellers and will reportedly at least entertain trade offers on both Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, though the asking price on either hurler is assured to be staggering. Syndergaard, after all, is controlled through the 2021 season and is still plenty affordable, earning $2.975MM this season after avoiding arbitration as a Super Two player in the offseason.

    Though he’s missed ample time due to a lat tear and the aforementioned finger injury over the past two seasons, Syndergaard has been nothing short of dominant when healthy enough to take the hill. He boasts a 3.06 ERA with 10.6 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 0.7 HR/9 and a 47.7 percent ground-ball rate through 64 2/3 innings so far in 2018. Dating back to his debut season in 2015 (when he finished fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting), Syndergaard has a career 2.92 ERA with 10.4 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, a 13.6 percent swinging-strike rate and an average fastball velocity of 97.6 mph through 428 2/3 innings.

    D-backs, Reds, Yankees Have Varying Levels Of Interest In Zack Wheeler Fri, 13 Jul 2018 17:00:57 +0000 July 13: The Yankees’ interest in Wheeler, at this point, is considered to be “mild,” Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports in a deeper look at the right-hander’s market. Scouts from at least eight teams watched Wheeler’s most recent start, and of that group, Ackert lists the Diamondbacks as a club that came away from the outing with interest in the righty. The Reds, despite their rebuilding status, are planning to watch him again this weekend.

    The D-backs’ interest is easy to parse. Arizona has lost Taijuan Walker for the season and is now once again concerned over the right elbow of Shelby Miller, who only recently returned from Tommy John. The resurgent Clay Buchholz is currently on the disabled list as well. Beyond that, Arizona could lose Patrick Corbin to free agency this winter, and Miller’s future is currently anything but certain. Wheeler, controlled through 2019, would give them an affordable arm to add not just for this season but also next year.

    As for the Reds, their inclusion is a bit more surprising. Cincinnati has played considerably better in recent months, but their rotation picture still looks to be largely a mess. President of baseball ops Dick Williams said recently, though, that the team plans to up its payroll in 2019. Adding Wheeler now could amount to doing a bit of their offseason shopping in advance, and his modest price tag would allow the team to pursue more costly rotation upgrades this winter, with the goal of pairing those arms with an increasingly encouraging core of position players.

    July 12: Though Yankees fans might prefer a different target from the Mets’ rotation, the Bronx Bombers have “recently inquired” into the availability of right-hander Zack Wheeler, according to Marc Carig of The Athletic (via Twitter). While Carig cautions that the contact may mostly be a matter of conducting due diligence, it’s still a notable potential connection between these infrequent trade partners.

    The thought long has been that the Yankees would pursue starters, but the level of quality they’ll ultimately end up achieving is still in doubt. Many would argue that the team needs to chase a top-end arm to pair with Luis Severino at the top of its staff in order to take down the rival Red Sox and make a lengthy postseason run.

    With no rental arms available that meet that description — unless buyers are fully ready to believe in Nathan Eovaldi, at least —  the attention has been on more controllable pitchers. That may suit the Yanks just fine, as they could well end up considering rotation upgrades at season’s end regardless.

    That said, the asking prices for the very best assets figure to be astronomical. That’s no doubt the case for Wheeler’s teammate, Jacob deGrom, whose name has already made the rounds in the rumor mill as a crosstown trade candidate. His complete dominance — 1.68 ERA in 123 1/3 innings — and two remaining seasons of arbitration control make deGrom arguably the very top deadline pitching target in the game. Though indications are that the Mets will at least be open-minded, they’ll understandably be holding out for a truly compelling trade package.

    Under the circumstances, it’s not surprising to learn that the Yankees are at least taking a closer look at Wheeler. True, Wheeler owns only a modest 4.42 ERA over his 99 2/3 innings on the year. But he’s carrying a solid 8.9 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9 and, more importantly, has shown some other interesting trends.

    Wheeler is working at the top of his career velocity levels (96.2 mph average fastball), getting more swings and strikes (11.0%) than ever, and permitting an average exit velocity lower than all but seven other pitchers in baseball. And the results have improved quite a bit of late, coinciding with a rise in Wheeler’s velocity and a steady reduction of his fastball usage in favor of his slider.

    The 28-year-old would not necessarily be an instant upgrade to the team’s anticipated playoff rotation, though perhaps there’d be some hope that he’d further establish himself down the stretch. Regardless, there would clearly be value in having him on hand to help a tough AL East battle. And even if he doesn’t currently project to be a postseason ace, Wheeler might be an interesting arm to deploy creatively — say, in a pairing with veteran lefty CC Sabathia, to offer one hypothetical possibility.

    There’s added value in Wheeler’s contract rights, though that’s also countered by his spotty health history. He’s earning just $1.9MM this season before qualifying for arbitration a final time this coming offseason. The low cost may also be a factor as the Yankees contemplate other upgrades — including, perhaps, other hurlers — as it’d leave plenty of room left to work with under the luxury tax line.

    Minor MLB Transactions: 7/13/18 Fri, 13 Jul 2018 16:49:09 +0000 We’ll track Friday’s minor moves from around the league here…

    • Right-hander Chris Beck cleared waivers after being designated for assignment by the Mets and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Las Vegas, Erin Fish of reports (via Twitter). Claimed off waivers out of the White Sox organization earlier this year, Beck tossed 10 1/3 innings for the Mets and allowed six runs on 10 hits (three homers) and more walks issued (nine) than strikeouts recorded (five). The former second-rounder once rated as one of the more promising arms in the White Sox’ system, but he’s struggled to a 5.88 ERA with 6.0 K/9, 5.1 BB/9, 1.87 HR/9 and a 43.1 percent ground-ball rate in 130 Major League innings.
    Mets Rumors: deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, Asdrubal Fri, 13 Jul 2018 03:48:32 +0000
  • One more from Heyman, who notes that the Mets aren’t especially anxious to listen to offers on lefty Steven Matz. New York will certainly entertain offers on its entire roster, as they’re at least listening on Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, but it sounds like Matz is closer to that pair than to the more available Zack Wheeler. The report also indicates that offers for Asdrubal Cabrera, to this point, have been underwhelming and that the Mets have actually received some inquiries about Jose Bautista, who was hitting .230/.389/.425 in 144 PAs for the Mets before homering in tonight’s contest.
  • Sticking with the Mets, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that the team actually hasn’t received much in the way of inquiries on eiher deGrom or Syndergaard as of late (Twitter link). The general sense that the asking price would be overwhelming could be a factor; as Puma terms it, some teams may have sticker shock “without even seeing the sticker.” Puma also tweets, though, that the Mets are “confident” they’ll find a trade partner for Cabrera. That, he adds, would open a spot for 26-year-old Jeff McNeil — a potentially late-blooming prospect who has batted a combined .346/.417/.634 with 18 homers in 336 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A.

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    Mets Release Marcos Molina Wed, 11 Jul 2018 22:36:49 +0000 The Mets have released right-hander Marcos Molina in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster for the previously announced selection of outfielder Matt den Dekker, tweets Tim Britton of The Athletic. He’d recently been placed on the disabled list in Double-A, which prevents the Mets from placing him on outright waivers or designating him. The organization could yet try to re-sign Molina to a new minor league pact to keep him in the organization while clearing some 40-man space; such moves are fairly common practice throughout the league.

    Molina, 23, has battled arm injuries throughout his career, most notably missing the bulk of the 2015-16 seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He returned with a solid effort in 2017, pitching to a 3.21 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and 0.5 HR/9 to go along with a 46 percent ground-ball rate through 106 2/3 innings between Class-A Advanced and Double-A.

    Heading into the 2018 season, in fact, Molina ranked seventh among Mets farmhands, per Baseball America, and eighth per But he’s struggled through a disastrous year between Double-A and Triple-A, as opponents have hammered him for a combined 6.94 ERA (with the vast majority of that work coming at the lower of those two levels). Molina had never averaged higher than 2.4 BB/9 prior to the 2018 season, but he’s issuing 3.7 walks per nine frames in the minors in 2018 (15) than he had in his entire professional career combined prior to this season (13). There’s been no announcement as to exactly what injury had landed Molina on the DL, though his results are certainly indicative of a pitcher who hasn’t been fully healthy.

    Mets Select Matt den Dekker Wed, 11 Jul 2018 19:25:53 +0000 The Mets have selected the contract of outfielder Matt den Dekker, per a club announcement. The club also recalled righty Jacob Rhame while optioning outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski and righty Drew Gagnon.

    It’s a homecoming for den Dekker, who’ll soon turn 31 years of age. A 2010 fifth-round pick, den Dekker broke into the majors with the Mets in 2013. He was shipped out in the early-2015 deal that brought Jerry Blevins to New York but rejoined the organization on a minor-league deal this winter.

    Thus far on the season, through 249 plate appearances at Triple-A Las Vegas, den Dekker has turned in a .286/.336/.524 slash line with 11 long balls. He’ll line up in center field and bat sixth for the Mets tonight.

    Mets Stance On deGrom, Syndergaard Has Not Changed Tue, 10 Jul 2018 15:45:20 +0000
  • In that same post, Rosenthal dedicates significant space to the Mets’ situation. He advises not to be distracted by reports suggesting shifting winds on the team’s stance regarding controllable aces Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. The organization, Rosenthal suggests, must be and is willing to consider offers on either hurler. Of course, there’s also no need to strike a deal and the Mets have little cause to discount hefty sticker prices on both pitchers. This assessment of the circumstances aligns with common sense. After all, if a rival organization dangles a truly compelling trade package, the Mets could certainly face some tough choices. But there’s no reason to forego the opportunity to make those determinations before they’re even presented.
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    Dodgers Looking Into Multiple Potential Infield Targets Tue, 10 Jul 2018 01:38:18 +0000 The Dodgers are widely rumored to be a major suitor for Orioles star Manny Machado. But they are also looking at multiple other possibilities for improving their lineup, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).

    Per the report, the Los Angeles organization has not only “stepped up” its efforts to boost its infield mix, but has inquired into at least three specific options beyond Machado. Passan links the Dodgers to the Reds’ Scooter Gennett, the Twins’ Brian Dozier, and the Mets’ Asdrubal Cabrera. And Josh Harrison of the Pirates is also of some interest, per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (Twitter link). (He also notes that the Dodgers are interested in some of Minnesota’s veteran relievers.)

    The precise interest level in each of those players isn’t clear. Needless to say, the Dodgers are not limiting themselves to a single option — or, really, even a single type of player. While Machado has spent his entire career on the left side of the infield, the other players now reportedly in the mix could fit in at second base.

    Indeed, both Gennett and Dozier have more or less exclusively played at second in the majors. Though the latter did break in as a shortstop, he hasn’t lined up there since 2012. Cabrera has more extensive time at short and third, while Harrison has also played all over. Gennett swings from the left side, Dozier and Harrison the right. Cabrera is a switch-hitter. Both Dozier and Cabrera will be free agents after the season, while Gennett and Harrison can be controlled for one and two additional years, respectively.

    This slate of candidates includes quite a lot of MLB experience, of course. All are relatively low-strikeout, contact-oriented hitters. Gennett and Cabrera have outproduced the others offensively this year, but there are other things for the L.A. brass to consider. Dozier has an excellent track record, a history of second-half productivity, and an explanation (.247 BABIP) for some of his woes. Harrison is surely the least-accomplished hitter of the bunch, but adds more value on the bases and in the field.

    All things considered, it’s not strictly evident just what the Dodgers are most interested in finding beyond adding a player they like to their infield mix. The team has not received much from Logan Forsythe and Chase Utley, but those two have combined to take the lion’s share of time at second. Adding Machado might well mean bumping Chris Taylor to the other side of the bag, or to the outfield. If that fails, a different addition intended to address second base more directly could instead be pursued.

    Of course, it’s somewhat debatable whether this is even an area the Dodgers really ought to be focused, even with Corey Seager gone for the year. Forsythe and Utley haven’t been great, true, but the entire rest of the lineup (excepting backup catcher Austin Barnes) has been excellent. Ensuring there’s a place for Max Muncy’s bat to play is perhaps the more pressing need. Most recently, he has slotted in at second, though perhaps that’s not the club’s ultimate preference. In any event, it seems the L.A. front office is interested not only in maximizing depth, but also in guarding against any downturns in its potent lineup.

    Mets To Designate Chris Beck Tue, 10 Jul 2018 00:06:08 +0000 The Mets have designated righty Chris Beck for assignment, Tim Healey of Newsday reports on Twitter. That creates a roster opening for the activation of lefty Jerry Blevins, who had been on the bereavement list.

    Beck, 27, landed with New York in a mid-season waiver claim after opening the year with the White Sox. He has worked to a cumulative 4.50 ERA in 34 MLB frames on the season, his fourth-straight campaign with some time in the bigs.

    Though the bottom-line results have been better this year than in prior efforts — Beck entered the season with a 6.38 ERA in 96 career innings — the 2018 showing has not really been all that promising. He has allowed eight long balls already on the year while handing out twenty walks against just 21 strikeouts.

    Mets Place Todd Frazier On DL Amid Series Of Roster Moves Mon, 09 Jul 2018 18:38:34 +0000 The Mets announced a series of roster moves today, most notably placing third baseman Todd Frazier on the disabled list due to a left rib cage strain. Additionally, the Mets recalled left-hander P.J. Conlon and right-hander Ty Kelly from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned righty Chris Flexen to Vegas. Right-hander Jacob Rhame is also up with the team as the 26th man for today’s twin bill, and Tim Britton of The Athletic further reports that right-hander Drew Gagnon will have his contract selected tomorrow and start Tuesday night’s game.

    It’s the second DL stint of the season for Frazier, 32, who previously missed nearly a month due to a hamstring strain. It’s not clear just how long he’ll miss at present, but the injury certainly won’t do any favors for Frazier’s already limited trade stock. Through 260 plate appearances on the season, Frazier is hitting .217/.300/.385 with 10 homers. As James Wagner of the New York Times points out (via Twitter), Frazier’s second trip to the DL in 2018 comes after a previous seven-year run in which he avoided the DL entirely.

    Frazier has played solid defense at third base, per both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating, but Frazier’s walk rate has dropped from 14.4 percent in 2017 to 10.4 percent in 2018, leading to sub-par OBP contributions despite his still-strong power output (.239 ISO). He’s in the first season of a two-year, $17MM contract with the Mets.

    The 28-year-old Gagnon will be making his MLB debut when he takes the mound for the Mets on Tuesday. The longtime Brewers farmhand is in his first season with the Mets organization and has pitched to a 4.40 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 with a ground-ball rate just shy of 50 percent. Gagnon’s K/BB numbers and ground-ball tendencies are encouraging, but he’s been plagued by the long ball — perhaps not entirely surprising given the hitter-friendly nature of both the Pacific Coast League in general and his home environment.


    Quick Hits: Puig, Sandoval, G. Hernandez, Indians, Mets Mon, 09 Jul 2018 02:39:07 +0000 Congrats to all the players who were named 2018 All-Stars tonight, including 14 players who will be making their first-ever appearances at the exhibition game! The Red Sox, Astros and Indians lead the way with five All-Stars apiece, while Mike Trout, Craig Kimbrel, Chris Sale and Justin Verlander lead all players in this years cast in experience; it’s the seventh selection for each of those veterans.

    The All-Star selections aren’t the only news of tonight, though. Here are a few other quick hits to take note of…

    • Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig departed tonight’s game after experiencing pain in his side during an at-bat. According to J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group, the team is calling it a “right intercostal oblique strain.” It’s not clear yet how much time Puig will miss (particularly since the intercostals and obliques are completely different muscles), but he seems likely to require a DL stint. There’s no firm news yet on the teams plans, though.
    • The Giants got some good news and some bad news today regarding a pair of players who were hurt in today’s game; Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group was among those to tweet the specifics. The bad news is that Pablo Sandoval is believed to have suffered a thumb sprain. He’s set to be evaluated tomorrow in order to determine the extent. of the injury. The good news, however, is that Gorkys Hernandez’ situation is being described as simply a “tight left calf”. The club doesn’t think it’s anything serious, so it’s likely he’ll miss little time, if any.
    • Center field and right field for the Indians have been “somewhat of a mess, a revolving door without much consistency,” writes Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal. Lewis notes the injury situations of Bradley Zimmer and Lonnie Chisenhall in particular, and lists external options such as Adam Jones, Nick Castellanos, Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall as theoretical trade targets for the Tribe. Manny Machado has also been on the club’s radar, and could theoretically push Jason Kipnis into the outfield mix, as he has some experience there.
    • David Lennon of Newsday has some strongly-worded opinions about what he thinks the Mets ought to do with Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard prior to the trade deadline, writing that, “To stand pat with this group, in a market nearly devoid of reliable starters, would make the Mets guilty of criminal negligence in their efforts to put this debacle of a season behind them.” Though Lennon’s phrasing seems a bit hysterical, he does make a solid point in noting that the emergence of Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz makes it easier to part with either of their more established (and less controllable) starters.
    John Ricco On Mets’ Deadline, Future Plans Sat, 07 Jul 2018 18:33:01 +0000 The Mets figure to be one of the busiest sellers in the league in the leadup to (and possibly after) the trade deadline, though assistant general manager John Ricco doesn’t believe his team is embarking on a long-term rebuilding effort.  “I don’t think we’re looking at a two- or three-year thing,” Ricco told reporters (including Newsday’s Laura Albanese, the New York Post’s Mike Puma, and The Athletic’s Tim Britton) yesterday, noting that the presence of Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard atop the Mets’ rotation allows them to “be competitive really quickly” with the addition of a few more pieces.

    There is certainly some room for debate over Ricco’s stance, as the Mets currently have the fewest wins of any NL team and have so many question marks around the roster that a quick turn-around for 2019 may be far-fetched.  Puma’s piece makes the argument that the Mets erred last season in assuming that the team could contend again if it avoided injuries, and thus more a more extensive retooling is necessary at this year’s deadline to ensure that 2019 isn’t another lost season.

    Beyond just taking inquiries about pending free agents, however, Ricco did say that “you’ve got to be open to maybe moving some guys that are not necessarily just your expiring assets.”  In any trade, be it moving free agents or more controllable players, Ricco said the Mets would be looking for players that would be ready to contribute at the Major League level as soon as next season.

    It was just a little over a week ago that Ricco said the team would be open to listening for trade offers for deGrom and Syndergaard, at least in the name of due diligence as the Mets try to get the team back on track.  In his latest comments, Ricco reiterated that “We’re not out there actively looking to move Jacob or Noah by any stretch,” and that it would take an “overwhelming deal” for either pitcher to be dealt.

    That being said, Ricco didn’t close the door on dealing another arm, noting that “Generally, starting pitching is tough to come by, so we know we have a pretty valuable commodity in that regard.”  There has been speculation that the Mets are using deGrom and/or Syndergaard as opening salvos in trade talks to aim negotiations towards a deal of Zack Wheeler or Steven Matz.  Britton’s piece, available to Athletic subscribers, examines the trade value of the four starting pitchers and argues that trading Matz “may represent the best value move” for the Mets at this time.

    MLB Reinstates Jenrry Mejia For 2019 Season Fri, 06 Jul 2018 20:08:29 +0000 Major League Baseball announced today that Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia will be reinstated for the 2019 season. He had previously been banned following a third positive PED test.

    Mejia, who is now 28 years of age, last pitched in the majors in 2015. He has been on the restricted list since that time.

    While the ban will not be lifted until next season, Mejia will be able to begin working out at Mets facilities after the All-Star break, per the announcement. He’ll also be eligible to take a rehab assignment this August and participate in Spring Training in 2019.

    It comes as something of a surprise to see Mejia given a path back to playing, though of course he was never released by the organization precisely because it remained a possibility. Indeed, the Joint Drug Program allows banned players to seek reinstatement after two years away.

    Mejia, though, seemingly burned some bridges by launching claims of a conspiracy that were vigorously contested by the league. In his comments today, released through the MLBPA, Mejia acknowledged “the false allegations [he] made about Major League Baseball’s investigation into my testing history.” He also offered apologies all around and specifically thanked Commissioner Rob Manfred for allowing him back into the game.

    Ultimately, this represents great news for Mejia but also, potentially, a nice turn for the Mets. Though the righty has certainly caused some headaches in Queens over the years, he’s still youthful and has mostly been a quality MLB reliever — even serving as the organization’s closer at times in 2014.

    That said, the upside for the New York organization is somewhat limited. The club said in a statement only that it will assess its options after seeing Mejia on the field. Though Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reported in 2016 that Mejia would continue earning service time while technically banned, Tim Britton of The Athletic tweets today that Mejia will be deemed to have four years and 140 days entering the winter. If the Mets choose to tender him a contract, they’ll presumably revert to his most recent salary ($1.729MM) and would possess control rights through 2020.

    Mets Notes: Flores, Trade Chips Thu, 05 Jul 2018 04:18:02 +0000
  • Wilmer Flores is hoping to remain with the Mets, though the New York Post’s Mike Puma writes that Flores is one of several veterans who could be shipped out by the trade deadline.  Flores has been getting a lot of playing time, which could simply be because Flores is one of the few Mets swinging the bat well, or because first baseman Dominic Smith has been dealing with a minor wrist injury.  Alternatively, the Mets could be giving potential trade partners a long look at what Flores can do.  The infielder is controlled through the 2019 season and can play at first, second, and third base, not to mention being a regular at shortstop as recently as 2015.
  • The Mets may be forced to deal more controllable assets like Flores or even major pieces like Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom if they want to get a truly quality return, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman writes, since the team isn’t likely to receive much in the way of young talent if they only stick to dealing impending free agents.  None of the prospects received by the team in last season’s deadline deals of walk-year veterans, for instance, have shown much promise this season.
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    Yoenis Cespedes Begins Running Wed, 04 Jul 2018 14:32:30 +0000
  • While it likely won’t have much of an impact on the deadline, the Mets finally got some promising news yesterday on Yoenis Cespedes, who has been on ice since the middle of May. The veteran outfielder began running, as Mike Puma of the New York Post was among those to tweet, which would seem to suggest that his ailing hip is feeling better. It’s a lost season for the Mets, and Cespedes won’t likely feature as a trade candidate, but that doesn’t mean his return isn’t significant. With salaries of $29MM and $29.5MM for the coming two seasons, Cespedes will be a key part of the picture for the New York organization as it navigates a tricky stretch.
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    Notable International Prospect Signings Mon, 02 Jul 2018 16:12:59 +0000 With the 2018-19 international signing period kicking off today, there will be dozens of six- and seven-figure bonuses handed out to teenage prospects, primarily out of Latin America, filtering in throughout the day today. Many of these have been in the works for quite some time, as is reflected by the fact that most of the top players’ destinations and signing bonuses have been previously reported/projected (and by the fact that the top agreements will all be reported in one swift avalanche today).

    We’ll keep track of the notable National League signings here and the notable American League signings in a separate post. Note that you can read up on each of these players with the dedicated international coverage available from Ben Badler of Baseball America (subscription required), Jesse Sanchez of and Kiley McDaniel & Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs, each of whom has scouting info on the top echelon of international amateurs. Badler is also tracking the all of the signings from all 30 teams.

    Onto some of the more notable signings…

    Read more

    Mets Rumors: Aces, GM Search Sun, 01 Jul 2018 16:07:50 +0000 The Mets will listen to offers for co-aces Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but it appears the two will stay put. The club’s seeking overwhelming returns for both right-handers and is “highly unlikely” to move either one, according to Buster Olney of ESPN. With general manager Sandy Alderson on leave as he battles cancer, assistants Omar Minaya, John Ricco and J.P. Ricciardi will help determine the futures of deGrom, Syndergaard and other Mets. However, it’s not a lock that anyone from that group will become Alderson’s full-time successor, as Mets ownership is likely to look outside the organization for the team’s next GM, Olney hears. Minaya, who preceded Alderson as New York’s GM, has the respect of Mets owner Fred Wilpon and will “have a major say” in who takes over for Alderson, per Olney.

    Noah Syndergaard Making Progress Sun, 01 Jul 2018 13:59:02 +0000 The Mets fell to 32-48 on Saturday and now own the National League’s worst record, but here’s a rare piece of good news for the woebegone club: Noah Syndergaard may be nearing a return. The team’s co-ace, who has been on the disabled list with a strained finger ligament since May 29, is scheduled to throw a simulated game in Port St. Lucie, Fla., during the upcoming week, per Anthony DiComo of Syndergaard will be opposed by fellow injured starter Jason Vargas, who went on the DL last weekend because of a strained calf. If the outing goes well for both pitchers, each would figure to make at least one rehab start before returning, DiComo adds. In Syndergaard’s case, he could be auditioning for other teams upon his comeback, as the Mets are willing to listen to any offers that may come in for the prized 25-year-old prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

    Brian Cashman On Yankees’ Deadline Plans Sat, 30 Jun 2018 06:43:12 +0000 Yankees GM Brian Cashman addressed a few topics of interest with the rival Red Sox in town. Lindsey Adler of The Athletic (subscription link) and’s Bryan Hoch were among those to write up the chat.

    Of greatest significance, perhaps, were Cashman’s comments on his organization’s intentions regarding its rotation. The veteran executive left little doubt that, as expected, he’ll be looking hard for upgrades to the staff.

    Cashman did allow that there were circumstances under which the team would hold pat with its existing group. But that’d only be the case, he said, if “we didn’t think the price tags were appropriate.” A failure to land a starter, he added, would “be more reflective of the inability to find a match comfortable enough to follow through with” than any lack of desire to add an arm.

    That’s hardly surprising to hear, as the rotation has long been an obvious area to target for improvement, particularly since Jordan Montgomery went down for the year. But it’s notable that the Yankees are willing to acknowledge their intentions publicly — and at a relatively early stage in the summer trade market’s development.

    At a minimum, these comments seem to indicate, the Yanks will likely add a solid depth starter. Even marginal improvements will matter, after all; every regular season win will count in a tight divisional race with the Red Sox. Of course, there’s also still every possibility that the club will aim quite a bit higher.

    Getting a significant starter would mean parting with some hard-earned prospect capital. Cashman acknowledges as much. “I have a lot of high-end talent that’s taken a long time to acquire and cultivate, but it’s gonna cost something to get stuff, so we’ll play that game here over the next month,” he said. Cashman indicated that he won’t take top outfield prospect Clint Frazier off the table, though he did note that he’d prefer to retain the young talent.

    Of course, some of the most intriguing outside arms are already pitching in New York for the rival Mets. Cashman said he has already been in touch with Mets executive Omar Minaya, who is one of the three executives who are filling in for GM Sandy Alderson. Cashman expressed interest in maintaining an open dialogue. Of course, it still would make for a surprise if those two organizations get together on a significant trade.

    Injury Notes: Darvish, Nelson, Cordero, Chapman, Strasburg, Cespedes, Font, Dunning Sat, 30 Jun 2018 04:58:11 +0000 With ongoing uncertainty leading to some real worry, it came as something of a relief when the Cubs announced that Yu Darvish has been diagnosed with a right elbow impingement, as Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic was among those to cover on Twitter. Already on the DL, Darvish will receive a cortisone shot before being examined again next week. It’s not yet known what the course will be from that point, but the club is no doubt pleased that there’s not a more significant underlying issue plaguing the high-priced hurler.

    Let’s run through some other health updates of note …

    • The Brewers are still unsure when they’ll welcome back righty Jimmy Nelson, GM David Stearns tells reporters including’s Adam McCalvy (via Twitter). “We still think Jimmy is going to pitch for us this year,” Stearns stressed. But the shoulder surgery that knocked Nelson out has required a “slower process,” says Stearns, with Nelson still “yet to pitch off a mound.” It seems there’s no chance that the Brewers will welcome back their staff ace in advance of the trade deadline, meaning they’ll need to assess their rotation without full knowledge of his ability to contribute down the stretch.
    • Padres outfielder Franchy Cordero appears quite likely to elect season-ending surgery,’s AJ Cassavell tweets. It’s still not a certainty, and the lack of urgency in making the final call — it has been under consideration for at least ten days — speaks to the general timeline. Though Cordero would miss the rest of the MLB campaign, he’d likely be ready to participate in winter ball and certainly be at full health for Spring Training next year.
    • Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman has progressed to taking swings, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. He has already been out for about two weeks with a hand injury.
    • It seems there’s some cause for optimism for the Indians regarding reliever Tyler Olson.’s Jordan Bastian tweets that Olson has been able to throw a bullpen session, which certainly indicates he’s progressing rather well from a lat injury that perhaps could have been worse.
    • Likewise, Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg turned in a surprise bullpen session, as Dan Kolko of was among those to tweet. That’s the first real indication that Strasburg is ready to begin working back toward a return from shoulder inflammation in earnest.
    • In other NL East news, the Mets increasingly have a confounding situation on their hands with regard to star outfielder Yoenis CespedesKristie Ackert of the New York Daily News writes. Cespedes went on the DL in the middle of May with what seemed to be a minor injury, but still has not resumed running. Skipper Mickey Callaway says the veteran is “feeling a lot better,” but there’s no real sense of a timeline.
    • Righty Wilmer Font left today’s game with a lat injury, with Rays skipper Kevin Cash saying it’s probably a serious one, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports on Twitter. The recently claimed righty “in all likelihood will miss significant time,” says Cash, which is quite a disappointment for all involved. Entering play today, the 28-year-old had found his groove with the Rays, turning in 22 innings of 1.64 ERA ball with 7.0 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9.
    • In news of longer-term consequence, the White Sox are still holding their breath with regard to well-regarded pitching prospect Dane Dunning. The team announced that he has been diagnosed with a “moderate elbow sprain that presently will not require surgery.” For the time being, he’ll rest for a while and resume throwing in about two months’ time if he’s deemed ready. That’s hardly good news, but is certainly better than the worst-case that may have been feared.
    Zack Wheeler Has “Drawn Some Inquiries” Fri, 29 Jun 2018 22:23:37 +0000 Mets righty Zack Wheeler has “drawn some inquiries” in trade talks, according to James Wagner of the New York Times (Twitter link). It’s not clear at this point how serious the interest is.

    There’s no specific indication that the Mets are particularly willing to move Wheeler, but the club indicated yesterday that it would at least entertain offers for its best pitchers. If Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are both potentially available, it stands to reason that the Mets’ front office wouldn’t hang up on callers inquiring on Wheeler.

    Clearly, Wheeler isn’t going to draw the kind of offers that the Mets’ top hurlers will. But he’s an interesting arm in his own right. The former sixth overall draft choice has been through a lot in recent seasons, but is finally rounding into form right as the deadline approaches.

    Wheeler missed two full seasons as he struggled to make it back from Tommy John surgery, then turned in 17 middling starts last year. He owns only a 4.47 ERA in his 88 2/3 innings over 15 outings thus far in 2018, but the peripherals are much more promising. Wheeler has retired 8.7 batters per nine via strikeout while issuing 3.3 walks per nine, with ERA estimators viewing him as a solid performer (3.66 FIP, 4.01 xFIP, 4.01 SIERA) over the first half of the season.

    The signs have pointed up of late. As Wagner notes, Wheeler carries a 3.38 ERA through his past eight starts. And his fastball velocity has steadily trended up over the course of the season, with Wheeler sitting at 97 most recently. With a meager $1.9MM salary, the hurler comes plenty cheap. And he can be retained for another campaign via arbitration.

    Despite the encouraging signs, it’s still hard to imagine that rival teams will be willing to stake their best prospect assets on a pitcher whose recent past includes so many questions. On the other side of the equation, the Mets have little reason to dump Wheeler for whatever they can get. If the offers aren’t sufficient, the club will happily allow him a chance to fill innings and build value. After all, Wheeler could certainly still be a worthwhile offseason trade candidate or 2019 rotation piece for the Mets.

    Mets Will Listen To Trade Offers For deGrom, Syndergaard Thu, 28 Jun 2018 04:38:12 +0000 Following yesterday’s leave of absence for general manager Sandy Alderson, Mets assistant GM John Ricco spoke with the media about the team’s status as deadline sellers and confirmed that they’ll at least listen to offers on top starters Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard (links via Newsday’s Tim Healey and the New York Daily News’ Kristie Ackert).

    “We’ll have to consider [it],” Ricco said of fielding interest in the pair. “For me, everything has to be on the table. But you have to look long and hard before you move a game-changing, top-of-the-rotation pitcher.”

    Ricco, Omar Minaya and J.P. Ricciardi were collectively put in charge of the club’s baseball operations while Alderson undergoes treatment for a cancer recurrence, and Healey writes that the three will work together to come to a consensus on roster decisions. While Ricco was the first to meet with the media, it doesn’t appear that any one member of that trio will have final say.

    The decision on whether to trade deGrom and/or Syndergaard is the type of franchise-altering move that can dictate the team’s success or failures for years to come. Both pitchers have demonstrated Cy Young-caliber abilities, and while Syndergaard’s recent career has been punctuated by injuries, deGrom is among the early favorites for NL Cy Young honors in 2018. Syndergaard has been out since late May due to a ligament issue in his right index finger but figures to be back on the active roster in advance of this year’s deadline.

    deGrom, 30, had a brief injury scare earlier this season when he hit the DL for a hyperextended right elbow, but he returned quickly and without any lingering effects of the injury — at least as pertains to his performance. The 2014 NL Rookie of the Year has been utterly dominant thus far, pacing MLB pitchers with a 1.69 ERA through his first 101 1/3 innings of the season. deGrom has averaged a career-best 11.2 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9 and 0.4 HR/9. The right-hander’s 45.8 percent ground-ball rate is right in line with his career rate, and he’s also boasting a 15.3 percent swinging-strike rate and a 37.8 percent chase rate — both far and away the best marks of his career.

    Best of all for interested teams, of course, is the fact that deGrom is controlled for two seasons beyond the current campaign. He’s earning $7.4MM in 2018 as a Super Two player and will be eligible for arbitration twice more before hitting the open market. Clearly, if he’s able to maintain anything close to this level of production, his arbitration raises will be enormous, though they’d still be a pittance relative to his open-market value.

    Syndergaard, 25, missed the bulk of the 2017 season due to a lat strain but was sharp in his return in 2018, tossing 64 2/3 innings of 3.04 ERA ball with 10.6 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 0.7 HR/9 and a 47.7 percent ground-ball rate. He’s averaged better than 10 strikeouts and fewer than two walks per nine innings pitched in his big league career so far and, like deGrom, is sporting a career-high swinging-strike rate so far in 2018 (15 percent).

    As is the case with deGrom, Syndergaard is a Super Two player who’ll qualify for arbitration four times before reaching free agency. However, he’s a year behind deGrom in terms of service time, meaning he’s controlled for another three seasons and can’t become a free agent until after the 2021 season.

    In all likelihood, it’d take a veritable king’s ransom to acquire either pitcher — the type of enormous prospect package that features multiple elite young talents and/or MLB-ready assets who could immediately step onto the Mets’ roster. That type of rotation piece rarely changes hands at the deadline (or at all), and either Mets pitcher would likely be the most coveted starting pitcher available on the summer trade market in recent memory.

    Both deGrom and Syndergaard are better pitchers than Sonny Gray, for instance, and neither comes with the contractual obligations that slowed the Justin Verlander trade talks last summer. Jose Quintana fetched a the White Sox a haul headlined by one of the game’s top 10 prospects, Eloy Jimenez, and few would argue him to be a more talented arm than either deGrom or Syndergaard (though certainly his durability and affordable contract made him a highly desirable commodity). Whatever type of return the Mets received for either starter would need to be overwhelming.

    It should be emphasized, of course, that the simple fact that the Mets will entertain the idea of trading their top two starters hardly means that either is a lock to actually be moved. To the contrary, Ricco echoed comments made by Alderson earlier this month in downplaying the possibility of a full-scale rebuild. “I really don’t see that as a strategy,” said Ricco. “It’s not something we’ve really discussed, a complete teardown.”

    Weighing Jacob deGrom As Trade Candidate Wed, 27 Jun 2018 17:28:09 +0000
  • Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic argued recently (subscription link) that the Mets ought to try to get a long-term deal done with righty Jacob deGrom rather than shopping him this summer. Of course, such a move would be dependent upon the hurler’s own preferences, too, and may not be practicable in the middle of the season. Pursuing a new deal with deGrom would seem to imply an ongoing effort to contend in upcoming seasons, despite the organization’s recent disappointments. In that regard, Rosenthal’s related suggestion — that the team dangle co-ace Noah Syndergaard this summer instead — seems tough to square with that strategy. Syndergaard is younger, cheaper, and more controllable than deGrom. But his present value is likely lower, since he has dealt with significant injury issues of late. For a team in the Mets’ situation, a strategic choice to keep (and try to extend) deGrom would seem to support the retention of Syndergaard as well. Regardless, it’s an interesting situation. One key element in potential contract talks is deGrom’s relatively advanced age. Rosenthal’s colleague Tim Britton did a nice job breaking down a potential extension price tag in another recent subscription piece, suggesting a five-year arrangement (two arb years plus three would-be free-agent campaigns) structured in the same essential manner as Jake Arrieta’s contract with the Phillies (that is, with an opt-out provision that the team can void by adding more money to the deal). Whether there’s any interest in such a deal, on either side, really isn’t clear at this stage.
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    Mets GM Sandy Alderson Takes Leave Of Absence Following Cancer Recurrence Tue, 26 Jun 2018 23:20:17 +0000 6:20pm: Asked whether he’d return should be again be declared cancer-free, Alderson offered a candid assessment of his recent work (link via’s Anthony DiComo). “[I]f I were to look at it on the merits, I’m not sure coming back is warranted,” Alderson said, in a nod to his team’s 31-45 record. Joel Sherman of the New York Post, meanwhile, writes that while Alderson and COO Jeff Wilpon neglected to go further into the prospect of the future, Tuesday’s press conference “sound[ed] like a goodbye to the job.”

    The Post’s Mike Puma tweets that in the interim, there’s an expectation that Ricco will serve as the de facto point man, with Minaya and Ricciardi serving as experienced advisers and sounding boards. It’s been reported on multiple occasions in the past that the organization views Ricco as something of an heir apparent to Alderson anyhow, and the coming months could serve as an audition of sorts for the longtime AGM.

    3:12pm: Mets GM Sandy Alderson will take a leave of absence to address a recurrence of cancer, the organization announced. Tim Britton of The Athletic (Twitter links) was among those to cover the news.

    Alderson, 70, previously took a leave of absence in December of 2015 owing to a cancer diagnosis. He was later able to resume his duties as the top baseball decisionmaker, a role he has held since the end of the 2010 season.

    In Alderson’s absence, top lieutenants John Ricco, J.P. Ricciardi, and Omar Minaya will run the baseball operations department. That group brings decades of baseball operations experience to the table. Ricco has been an assistant GM with the Mets since 2006, while Minaya is a former Mets GM himself. Ricciardi, meanwhile, was once the general manager of the Blue Jays.

    It is not known at this time how long Alderson will be away, but he says that he will likely undergo surgery later this summer. Fortunately, the veteran executive says that the prognosis is good. MLBTR joins those around the game in sending its best wishes for a rapid and full recovery.

    2018 Amateur Draft Signings: 6/25/18 Tue, 26 Jun 2018 02:07:15 +0000 Here are today’s most notable signings from the first few rounds of the draft.  Scouting reports and pre-draft rankings can be found courtesy of MLB.comFangraphsBaseball America and ESPN’s Keith Law (the latter two available to subscribers only)…

    • The Mets have agreed to a $1,038,000 bonus with third-rounder Carlos Cortes, per’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). That handily tops the $705,300 allocation for the 83rd overall pick. The Fangraphs prospect team was far and away the highest on Cortes, rating him as the 82nd-best prospect on their list. Cortes is best known for being a switch-thrower. While that talent is of limited utility for an outfielder, he is considered a talented hitter. Despite some ups and downs over the years, Cortes has generally been productive at the plate for the University of South Carolina, though he’ll have to hit quite a bit as a pro since he’s expected to be limited to playing left field. According to the draft tracker, the Mets have now secured contracts with all of their top ten picks.
    Poll: Should the Mets Trade Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard? Sun, 24 Jun 2018 16:14:31 +0000 With the possible exceptions of the Blue Jays’ J.A. Happ and resurgent Padre Tyson Ross, it doesn’t appear any front-end starters will switch teams prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Even though Happ’s amid a fourth straight quality season and Ross has bounced back from major injury troubles, nobody would consider either as aces or players capable of bringing back enormous returns in the coming weeks. The opposite is true in regards to the Mets’ Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, two elite, controllable starters who have come up in trade speculation as the season has progressed.

    With the Mets in the throes of an embarrassing campaign in which they’ve plummeted to 31-43 after an 11-1 start, odds are they’ll be inclined to sell before the deadline. And while they’re reportedly willing to listen to potential offers for everyone on their roster, their front office is divided over whether to actually entertain proposals for either deGrom or Syndergaard. One thing’s clear: Their farm system, which Baseball America ranks as the game’s fourth worst, would stand to benefit significantly if the Mets were to part with one or both of their aces.

    Despite the potential long-term gains that would come from a deGrom and/or Syndergaard bidding war among contenders, making either available isn’t an obvious decision for the Mets. If New York’s counting on returning to relevance in the near future, both players would factor prominently into a turnaround, given that they’ll remain under affordable control for a while longer. The 29-year-old deGrom comes with arbitration eligibility through 2020 and Syndergaard, 25, isn’t due for free agency until after 2021. The Mets may elect to retain them, then, hoping that those two and a position player group including Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, 2018 injury case Yoenis Cespedes, Todd Frazier, struggling youngster Amed Rosario and struggling veteran Jay Bruce help key a return to contention next season.

    Part of the reason this has been a disastrous year for the Mets has been the absence of Syndergaard, who went on the disabled list May 29 with a a strained ligament in his right index finger. It’s the second straight year the Mets have had to make do for an extended period sans Syndergaard, who only threw 30 1/3 innings in 2017 on account of a partially torn right lat. Syndergaard’s reportedly progressing in his recovery, though, and his trade value remains immense – as Mets general manager Sandy Alderson suggested when speaking to the media Friday.

    “I know how we view him and where he will be once we get him back and I know how the rest of baseball views him,” Alderson said (via Erin Fish of “For that reason I say I know what we have, but at the same time you never say never.”

    Along with his “never say never” line, Alderson noted (via David Lennon of Newsday) that the Mets would have to consider offers for their aces if a team comes to them saying, “We’ll give you all of our top-20 prospects.” So, barring an absolutely overwhelming proposal for either deGrom or Syndergaard, it seems the Mets will retain the pair through the season. Should New York do that, though, or would the team be better off trying to bolster its farm system by moving one or both in the next month?

    (poll link for app users)

    Mets To Place Jason Vargas On DL Sun, 24 Jun 2018 03:30:26 +0000 The Mets will send left-hander Jason Vargas to the disabled list and recall righty Chris Flexen from Triple-A, Anthony DiComo of reports on Twitter. Vargas is dealing with a strained calf, thus continuing a disastrous age-35 season for him. After joining the Mets on a two-year, $16MM deal in free agency, Vargas has gone on the DL twice (once for a broken bone in his right hand) and managed horrid numbers in between. With 37 2/3 innings pitched in nine starts, Vargas has averaged just over four frames per appearance and notched an 8.60 ERA/6.55 FIP.

    Angels Claim Hansel Robles Sat, 23 Jun 2018 20:16:07 +0000 The Angels announced today that they’ve claimed righty reliever Hansel Robles off waivers from the Mets. Robles was designated for assignment just yesterday. Rene Rivera was transferred to the 60-day DL in order to make room on the expanded roster.

    As MLBTR’s Jeff Todd noted at that time, Robles put up some solid numbers for the Mets during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He pitched 131 2/3 innings during that span, allowing 52 earned runs while racking up 146 strikeouts. Robles also pitched three scoreless postseason innings in 2015 without allowing a walk or a hit.

    That seems to be in the distant past now, as Robles has an ERA close to 5.00 since the start of the 2017 season. He’s also seen a spike in his walk rate to 4.59 BB/9 during that time frame. Still, the Angels will hope he can add depth to a bullpen that seems to lack stability, as they’ve got a number of relievers with upside but none who have proven themselves reliable across an extended stretch. For the time being, Robles will report to Triple-A Salt Lake.

    Yoenis Cespedes Still Not Ready For Baseball Activities Sat, 23 Jun 2018 04:29:11 +0000
  • The Mets, on the other hand, will face off against Kershaw without one of their key players. Slugger Yoenis Cespedes has been down longer than might have been hoped with a hip injury. While the club announced today that Cespedes is still not running or taking part in baseball activities due to ongoing symptoms, GM Sandy Alderson suggested it’s possible the veteran outfielder may get moving again early next week. (Via Anthony DiComo of, on Twitter.) At this point, though, it’s still anyone’s guess just when he may make it back to the bigs.
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    Mets Designate Hansel Robles For Assignment Fri, 22 Jun 2018 19:25:01 +0000 The Mets have designated righty Hansel Robles for assignment, per a club announcement. With a need for roster spots to accommodate a pair of promotions, the team also moved AJ Ramos to the 60-day DL and optioned fellow right-handed relievers Paul Sewald and Chris Flexen.

    Robles, 27, was a quality pen piece for the Mets in 2015 and 2016. But he has run into troubles more recently, spending time in the minors in each of the past two campaigns while struggling to deliver consistent results at the MLB level.

    In total, Roblems has compiled a 4.95 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in hs past 76 1/3 innings. Beyond the walk problems, Robles has coughed up seven long balls in his 19 2/3 MLB frames this year.

    Despite the issues, it isn’t hard to imagine another team deciding to take a shot on Robles. He still brings mid-nineties heat, can be optioned, and has a history of some success in the majors. On the other hand, he has posted a rather pedestrian 10.0% swinging-strike rate this year (which is actually an improvement on his 2017 numbers), to go with the other issues.

    Mets GM Sandy Alderson did not exactly attempt to put a positive spin on Robles as his seven-day period of DFA limbo begins. “You kept seeing the same thing,” Alderson told reporters including Mike Puma of the New York Post (via Twitter). “The adjustments he needed to get consistent outs probably wasn’t going to happen.”

    Mets Release Vance Worley Fri, 22 Jun 2018 13:42:25 +0000 The Mets have released right-hander Vance Worley, reports Betsy Helfand of the Las Vegas Journal-Review (via Twitter). The veteran right-hander had been on the disabled list with the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Vegas.

    Worley, 30, signed with the Mets back in mid-April to provide some rotation depth, but he made just four starts with the 51’s before landing on the disabled list with an elbow issue (per Helfand). The results weren’t pretty in the 16 2/3 inning Worley was healthy enough to pitch, as he was clobbered for 25 runs on 29 hits and a dozen walks with just five strikeouts.

    Given the extreme nature of his struggles, it’s perhaps not surprising that he wound up on the DL with elbow troubles. Worley, after all, entered his stint with the Mets with a career 3.55 ERA in 278 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level and a 4.09 ERA in 667 big league innings. While he was coming off one of his worst big league seasons — 6.91 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 in 71 2/3 innings with Miami — it certainly does appear he was pitching at less than 100 percent in his brief time with Vegas.

    Depending on the health of his elbow moving forward, Worley could well land with another organization as a depth option in the upper minors later this season. The righty did post a 3.38 ERA (3.98 FIP) in 269 innings from 2014-16 with the Pirates and Orioles.

    Mets To Select Drew Smith, Kevin Kaczmarski Fri, 22 Jun 2018 01:03:18 +0000 The Mets announced following today’s game that they’ve optioned righties Paul Sewald and Chris Flexen to Triple-A Las Vegas. While the team said that corresponding moves won’t be announced until tomorrow, Anthony DiComo of reports that the organization will select the contracts of right-handed reliever Drew Smith and outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski (Twitter link). Kaczmarski was scratched from tonight’s lineup for the 51’s, Betsy Helfand of the Las Vegas Journal-Review tweets.

    That pair of additions to the 40-man roster will require another pair of corresponding moves. The Mets, obviously, can move AJ Ramos from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL to account for one of those moves, now that Ramos has undergone surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.

    The second move isn’t yet clear. It’s possible that they could designate someone for assignment or release someone — Jose Reyes has been rumored to be on thin ice — and DiComo speculates that the team could recall injured righty Jamie Callahan and put him on the MLB 60-day DL, as he’s already out for the year.

    [Related: New York Mets depth chart]

    In Smith, the Mets will be getting their first MLB look at the hard-throwing righty they acquired from the Rays in last year’s Lucas Duda trade. The 24-year-old has worked to a 3.00 ERA with 8.4 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9 and a 45.6 percent ground-ball rate through 30 innings in an excessively hitter-friendly environment. ranks him as the team’s No. 30 prospect, praising his plus heater and above-average curveball and writing that he has “all the ingredients to be an effective short reliever.”

    Kaczmarski, 26, has just 24 games of experience at the Triple-A level, but a combination of his impressive numbers and several injuries in the Mets’ outfield mix has opened an opportunity for him in the Majors, it seems. The 2015 ninth-rounder has hit .363/.413/.450 through 92 plate appearances in Vegas and has a track record of relatively low strikeout rates and solid walk rates. For a Mets club that is currently using Dominic Smith in left field with Cespedes, Jay Bruce and Juan Lagares all on the disabled list, it’s only logical to see a more natural outfield option join the fray.

    Jay Bruce Diagnosed With Hip Strain Thu, 21 Jun 2018 03:10:57 +0000 Though the Mets tried to avoid it, they finally were forced to place outfielder Jay Bruce on the 10-day DL. It turns out that he was dealing with more than just soreness; Tim Britton of The Athletic was among those to tweet that imaging revealed a strain in Bruce’s right hip.

    Skipper Mickey Callaway did not reveal much about the severity of the injury, though he said “there’s definitely something there.” It seems reasonable to anticipate that the Mets will now give Bruce whatever time he needs for things to clear up.

    Notably, the veteran outfielder has not just been feeling pain in his hip. In fact, he has dealt with an ongoing bout of plantar fasciitis and also has had some lower back issues of late, as Anthony DiComo of recently tweeted.

    Bruce, 31, is among the players whose early performances have been less than encouraging for New York. Through 236 plate appearances, he carries a meager .212/.292/.321 batting line.

    At this stage of the season, given how things have gone for the Mets, the injury itself is probably less concerning than Bruce’s overall struggles. Perhaps the multiple maladies have contributed to his woes at the plate, though, in which case this respite may offer a much-needed reset.

    Bruce’s three-year, $39MM contract has only just begun, so he never seemed to be a likely mid-season trade candidate. If he can turn things around in the second half, though, it’ll certainly improve the team’s future roster flexibility. In the meantime, Bruce’s absence will also allow the Mets to give some extra opportunities to youngster Dominic Smith, who’s hoping to show more in his second attempt at the majors.

    Brian Anderson, Brandon Nimmo Hire CAA Sports Wed, 20 Jun 2018 21:43:31 +0000 A pair of increasingly promising young NL East players have hired CAA Sports to represent them. Marlins third baseman/corner outfielder Brian Anderson and Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo are each now repped by CAA, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter) and Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter).

    Anderson, 25, has made the most of his opportunities in Miami. Indeed, he has been a breakout performer thus far for the Fish, turning in 316 plate appearances of .294/.373/.423 hitting on the season.

    Though Anderson has never shown a ton of power — he has four this year and has never hit more than 22 in a full professional season — he’s succeeding thus far with a lofty batting average and solid walk rate. The same general profile worked for his predecessor, Martin Prado, who similarly showed the ability to play multiple positions at the game’s highest level.

    All things considered, it looks like the Fish have found a solid piece who’ll help them for years. Anderson has carried a hefty .363 batting average on balls in play this year, but Statcast actually thinks he has been a bit unlucky overall based upon his quality of contact (.347 wOBA vs. .368 xwOBA).

    It’s conceivable that the Marlins could come calling at some point about a long-term contract arrangement, though perhaps there isn’t a ton of upside for the club with a player who may not possess an immense ceiling (in terms of productivity and arbitration earning power). Since this is Anderson’s first full season in the majors, his reps likely won’t be negotiating any playing contracts for some time. He won’t qualify for arbitration until 2021 and free agency three years after that.

    The situation isn’t all that different for Nimmo, though his breakout has been all the more compelling. He had already shown well last year in his second partial season in the bigs, but has been off to a torrid start in 2018. Over 215 plate appearances this year, he boasts a .287/.409/.596 batting line with a dozen home runs and seven steals.

    That output dwarfs the typical counting numbers that Nimmo produced over his time in the minors, when he was noted more for his ability to get on base than to produce power and swipe bags. He’s still walking at a 12.6% clip this season, too, so the OBP figures to remain a big part of his value even if he cools a bit. Statcast does see some good fortune in Nimmo’s recent past, as he owns a .423 wOBA but only a .382 xwOBA.

    Due to his prior service time, Nimmo is in a different service class than Anderson. Nimmo came into the year with 1.042 years on his ticker, so he won’t be a Super Two but is on track to reach arbitration (2020) and free agency (2023) one season before Anderson can.

    These agency relationships are now reflected in MLBTR’s agency database. A tip of the cap to Robert Murray of Fan Rag for noting on Twitter that both players had moved to CAA, as we had overlooked Sherman’s report yesterday.

    AJ Ramos To Undergo Shoulder Surgery Wed, 20 Jun 2018 03:36:40 +0000 Mets reliever AJ Ramos has a torn labrum in his right shoulder and will undergo season-ending surgery tomorrow, the team tells reporters (Twitter link via Mike Puma of the New York Post). The right-hander has been out since May 27 with a shoulder injury and was recently said to be weighing surgery.

    Ramos, 31, served as the closer for the Marlins for two and a half seasons before the Mets acquired him in a surprising trade last July. New York had already begun selling off veteran pieces, but GM Sandy Alderson explained at the time that the move was made with an eye toward 2018. The Mets didn’t pay a steep price in terms of prospects to acquire Ramos (Merandy Gonzalez and Ricardo Cespedes), given his salary obligations, but they did agree to a $9.225MM salary with Ramos this winter in avoiding arbitration.

    That will go down as a mostly sunk cost for the Mets, as Ramos was solid through the month of April but was shelled in May and will finish out the year with a 6.41 ERA in 19 2/3 innings. While he racked up an impressive 22 punchouts in that time, he also issued 15 walks and surrendered three homers before initially landing on the disabled list.

    Ramos is a free agent at season’s end, meaning tomorrow’s surgery is likely to end his tenure with the Mets. In all, he pitched just 38 2/3 innings with the team and turned in a 5.59 ERA with a characteristically high strikeout rate (10.9 K/9) against a bloated 6.3 BB/9 mark that was lofty even by Ramos’ standards. He’s never struggled to miss bats, but even at his best, Ramos was often wild, averaging 4.8 walks per nine innings pitched during a largely successful run with the Marlins.

    While a solid season with the Mets would’ve primed Ramos for a multi-year deal in free agency, it now seems likely that he’ll have to settle for a one-year pact with a low base and plenty of incentives, if not a minor league deal with an invitation to prove his shoulder’s health in Spring Training next year.

    As for the Mets, they’ve been operating without Ramos for three weeks or so anyhow, so his loss won’t change much in the short-term. His season-ending injury, however, does eliminate the possibility of flipping him to a contender at the deadline. The return on Ramos, even if healthy and effective, wouldn’t have been especially high considering that $9.225MM salary, though the Mets could’ve at least saved some cash and/or added a modest prospect or two to the minor league ranks.

    Mets Notes: deGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, Familia, Bruce Tue, 19 Jun 2018 22:15:47 +0000 Having experienced a precipitous fall after an 11-1 start to the season, the Mets are reportedly willing to listen to offers on the majority of their roster. While the Mets are said to have a preference to retain their controllable players, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News argues that the team would be foolish not to listen to offers on aces Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Ackert cites a source with another NL club in agreeing with yesterday’s report from Ken Rosenthal that the Mets are more willing to discuss trading Syndergaard than deGrom, despite the fact that Syndergaard comes with an extra year of club control. There’s a divide in the Mets’ front office about whether to even entertain offers, per Ackert, who adds that there’s nothing serious in the works at this time despite a number of teams checking in on both pitchers. The Yankees, she adds, have yet to make an inquiry.

    More out of Queens…

    • Mike Puma of the New York Post writes that some in the industry believe the Mets are making deGrom and Syndergaard available without the intent of actually trading either and could instead then push alternatives like Zack Wheeler on the teams that inquire about deGrom and Syndergaard. Wheeler is only controllable through 2019, has a longer injury history and doesn’t have great overall results on the season, of course, but he’s been quite a bit better over the past month (3.68 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 34-to-11 K/BB ratio in 36 2/3 innings). In addition to Wheeler, Puma adds that both Asdrubal Cabrera and Jeurys Familia are likely to be marketed in trades in the coming weeks.
    • Following yesterday’s trade of Kelvin Herrera from the Royals to the Nationals, Tim Britton of The Athletic examines what type of impact the swap could have on the Mets’ efforts to deal Familia (subscription required). Familia and Herrera are both 28 years of age, both free agents at season’s end, and are both earning just north of $7.9MM. The two are also rather comparable from a statistical standpoint — at least on a career basis. As Britton notes, the early nature of Herrera’s trade will remove an alternative for bullpen-needy teams to pursue if and when the Mets shop Familia, which could help the Mets to create more demand and further drive up the bidding. Noting that the Royals’ return was somewhat lessened by the fact that the Nats took on all of Herrera’s remaining salary, Britton opines that the Mets should be willing to pay the remainder of Familia’s salary to enhance the deal, adding that the club should aim to procure one high-end talent rather than several lower-tier players (as they did when acquiring three bullpen prospects from the Red Sox in last July’s Addison Reed swap).
    • The Mets announced this afternoon that they’ve placed Jay Bruce on the 10-day disabled list due to a sore right hip, recalling right-hander Tim Peterson from Triple-A Las Vegas in his place. Bruce’s trip to the DL is retroactive to Monday. That injury leaves the Mets without a true backup outfielder on the roster. Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto and Jose Bautista are the most experienced outfielders on the roster, but it seems Dominic Smith will be logging time in the outfield as well; he’s starting in left field tonight, the team announced.’s Anthony DiComo tweeted earlier that Wilmer Flores may also see some time in the outfield in the near future.
    Mets Listening To Trade Offers On Veteran Players Mon, 18 Jun 2018 20:19:39 +0000 3:19pm:’s Anthony DiComo tweets that while the Mets are indeed listening to offers, no deals should be expected in the short-term. Despite the recent run of poor play, the Mets will take another few weeks to see if they can turn things around before committing to a sale.

    11:05am: With the Mets mired in an abysmal slump that has seen the team go 3-11 in the month of June, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports in his latest notes column (subscription required) that they’re “open for business.” While the Mets understandably prefer to hang onto controllable players like Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and Jacob deGrom, Rosenthal notes that they’ll at the very least entertain offers for virtually anyone on the roster.

    It’s been fewer than two weeks since Mets general manager Sandy Alderson called the chances of a major summer sell-off “very remote,” though Alderson admitted at the time of his comments that “circumstances could change” his stance. It’s perhaps telling that in the 13 days between the publication of those two stories, the Mets have gone just 3-8 and scored a paltry 25 runs in a span of 11 games. In the interim, they’ve seen Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes suffer setbacks in their recoveries from injury and revealed that reliever AJ Ramos is weighing season-ending surgery to repair his ailing shoulder.

    Of course, the two reports can also coexist without contradicting one another. Dealing some short-term pieces this summer would hardly constitute a “major” sell-off, after all. And, generally speaking, Alderson was speaking out against the possibility of a full tear-down more than he was against smaller trades around the margins of the 25-man roster.

    While there’s been no shortage of speculation surrounding deGrom, there’s been little indication that the Mets would truly be open to moving their ace. In fact, Rosenthal goes so far as to write that the Mets would actually be more open to trading Syndergaard, who has an additional year of control, though that’s perhaps more a statement on their unwillingness to move deGrom than it is their willingness to part with Syndergaard. Clearly, either pitcher would require a trade partner to surrender an absolutely farm-gutting haul of talent if the Mets were to even consider budging. The Mets shouldn’t be expected to shop either player aggressively.

    [Related: New York Mets depth chart and New York Mets payroll]

    More realistic trade pieces would include impending free-agents Asdrubal Cabrera, Jeurys Familia and Devin Mesoraco. Struggling lefty Jerry Blevins has a lengthy track record despite poor results in 2018, and there’s time yet for him to right the ship and hold appeal to another organization. The Mets also have a number of intriguing players who are controlled only through the 2019 season, including Todd Frazier, Zack Wheeler, Anthony Swarzak and Wilmer Flores. As is the case with Blevins, lefty starter Jason Vargas has a solid track record but poor 2018 results to date, though he’s begun to turn things around of late (3.91 ERA, 23 strikeouts, seven walks in his past 23 innings).

    Certainly, the focus of many readers will be on just what type of package it’d take to pry away one of the Mets’ two young aces, deGrom or Syndergaard, but it seems likelier that they’ll instead focus on moving shorter-term pieces. Rosenthal adds that, in particular, the Mets will be “motivated” to move Familia given that they’re not likely to make him a qualifying offer following the season. As such, they’d stand to lose him for nothing if he’s not dealt this summer.

    Familia did just have a minimal stint on the DL for shoulder soreness, but if he can prove that to be a non-issue, he’d certainly hold appeal. He’s earning $7.925MM this season (with $4.45MM yet to be paid out) and has worked to a 2.70 ERA with 9.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 0.3 HR/9 and a 48.8 percent ground-ball rate in 30 innings.

    Mets Notes: Cespedes, Astros, Bruce Sun, 17 Jun 2018 17:50:12 +0000 The latest out of Citi Field…

    • The Mets faced a tough challenge from the Astros in the race to sign Yoenis Cespedes in the 2016-17 offseason, John Harper of the New York Daily News reports.  The Astros reportedly made Cespedes a similarly-sized offer (four years, $110MM) that the outfielder was “strongly considering,” according to one Mets source.  Another Mets-connected person tells Harper that Cespedes’ “considerations were [to play for a] contender, money, no-trade clause, and [to] train in Florida near his ranch,” and Houston checked off all of those boxes but was unwilling to provide full no-trade protection.  Mets GM Sandy Alderson was also wary about the no-trade clause, yet ultimately agreed to add it to the deal in order to get Cespedes back in the fold.  That “separator” in talks, as another Mets source described it, may have also been necessary to retain Cespedes given his issues with former manager Terry Collins, which Harper relates at length.  It’s safe to assume that the Astros don’t harbor much regret about missing on Cespedes, as they instead spread out their money to acquire multiple players (Josh Reddick, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran) that helped them win the World Series, while Cespedes has been hampered by injuries since re-signing with New York.
    • Earlier this week, Joel Sherman of the New York Post floated a hypothetical trade of struggling players, with the Mets sending Jay Bruce to the Rockies in exchange for Bryan Shaw.  There isn’t any indication that either team is considering such a deal, and a trade of either player would be pretty surprising since both Bruce and Shaw just signed three-year free agent contracts last winter.  Sherman’s argument, however, is that this trade would solve some problems on both rosters — Colorado would get a veteran bat who could help in the corner outfield or at first base, while the Mets would add a long-term relief piece and clear up some of their own cluttered first base/corner outfield situation.  Shaw could also be helped by a reunion with Mickey Callaway, his former pitching coach in Cleveland.
    • Speaking of Bruce, the veteran hasn’t played in the last three games due to some lingering injuries in his back, hip, and foot.  Newsday’s Tim Healey writes that Bruce had two days fully off before being available off the bench on Saturday, though he wasn’t used.  These minor injuries aside, Bruce said that he has felt healthy this season, which makes his mediocre numbers (.216/.297/.327 with three homers in 232 PA) all the more frustrating.  “I feel so close. I hit balls at people. Fly out, just miss the ball. Stuff you really can’t control,” Bruce said.  Advanced metrics partially bear out Bruce’s assessment — he only has a .263 BABIP, and his .344 xwOBA is far beyond his actual .275 wOBA.  His 32.7% hard-hit ball rate, however, is below his career average and his .111 Isolated Power (ISO) total is by far the lowest of his career.