New York Mets – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-04-25T05:01:56Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Matt Harvey, Mickey Callaway On Harvey's Demotion]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120544 2018-04-22T14:23:36Z 2018-04-22T14:23:38Z The Mets informed right-hander Matt Harvey on Saturday that he was moving to the bullpen, after which the 29-year-old told Tim Healey of Newsday and other reporters, “On a scale of 1 to 10, obviously I’m at a 10 with being [ticked] off.” The former ace went on to acknowledge that he has struggled, though, and both Harvey and manager Mickey Callaway are hopeful he’ll work his way back into the club’s rotation. “It’s inevitable that he’s going to make more starts for us this year. That’s how baseball goes,” Callaway said. “As of right now, we think that indications are that he’s going to go down there and try to be the best Matt Harvey he can be.” Harvey, whose descent from top-of-the-rotation status began in 2016, has pitched to an ugly 6.57 ERA/6.07 FIP in 113 2/3 innings since last season.

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Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Mets To Move Matt Harvey To Bullpen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120493 2018-04-21T20:43:24Z 2018-04-21T20:05:25Z Mets manager Mickey Callaway has told reporters that the club plans to move longtime starter and former ace Matt Harvey to the bullpen (h/t Mike Puma of the New York Post). He’ll reportedly be available as a reliever beginning on Tuesday.

Obviously, the move is by no means permanent. Anthony DiComo of MLB.com shared a video tweet of Callaway discussing the topic. “I think he’s motivated to go out there and show everyone that he can start again at some point,” he told reporters. “And Dave and I are going to take the approach that we’re gonna do everything we can to help him do that.”

It’s worth noting right off the bat that this isn’t just a fluff statement. As Callaway himself says in the video (which is well worth watching in its entirety), he’s seen pitchers go to the bullpen and “come out of it better than they were before.” Most notably, Callaway oversaw the transition of talented Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco from a starter role to the bullpen and back to the rotation. That transition period ultimately jumpstarted Carrasco’s career, and was no doubt a significant contributing factor in his development into a pitcher who ranks seventh in MLB in fWAR since the start of the 2015 season. Callaway was also present for fellow Cleveland hurler Mike Clevinger’s transition to the bullpen and back, so it’s perfectly fair to think this may just be a temporary measure to help Harvey work on things with the ultimate plan of converting him back to a hopefully improved starting pitcher.

Regardless of any of that, it certainly isn’t a pleasing development for the 29-year-old Harvey (he certainly didn’t seem happy in this video). Just yesterday, he candidly told reporters that he sees himself as a starting pitcher. “I’m a starting pitcher,” he said at the time. “I’ve always been a starting pitcher, and I think I showed in the fifth and sixth inning that I could get people out still in the fifth and sixth inning when my pitch count gets up, so I am a starting pitcher.” As I noted in a poll just hours ago, though, that’s not up to Harvey; it’s up to Mets management. Speaking of which, over 80% of you believed at that time that New York should move Harvey to the ’pen.

In regards to Harvey’s impending free agency, the position change certainly doesn’t help his earning power. Relievers make significantly fewer dollars on the open market than starters, and if Harvey can’t turn his performance around he’s unlikely to make even eight figures if he enters that market as a bullpen arm. Although it seems worth mentioning that Harvey’s free agent stock was already at an all-time low, so if he develops into any semblance of a useful reliever, he could still out-earn what he was likely to make on the open market had he continued to pitch the way he was pitching as a starter.

This situation will be well worth monitoring across the next few weeks. Harvey could certainly figure something out that helps his game, and merit a return to the rotation sooner than later. And even amidst all the hoopla about his position change, it’s easily possible that an injury to one of Jason Vargas, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz could necessitate Harvey’s return to the starting five. For the time being, though, it will be interesting to see how Callaway utilizes Harvey in his new role with the club.

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Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Braves Designate Josh Ravin]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120490 2018-04-21T19:43:01Z 2018-04-21T19:43:01Z The Braves have designated righty reliever Josh Ravin for assignment, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Correspondingly, the club has elected to purchase the contract of fellow right-hander Miguel Socolovich from Triple-A Gwinnett.

The Braves acquired Ravin from the Dodgers last November in exchange for cash considerations after. Ravin pitched just three innings for the Braves across two appearances. In between those two appearances, he was outrighted off the club’s 40-man roster, purchased again from Triple-A, and spent time on the DL with an illness.

Last night’s game saw Ravin allow two earned runs in two innings of relief during the 12-inning marathon against the Mets; the club likely made the move in order to get a fresh arm in the bullpen. It’s worth noting, though, that Ravin’s fastball velocity (in a limited sample size) was down nearly two miles per hour from where it sat a year ago with the Dodgers. He’ll give way to Socolovich, who was also recently outrighted from the club’s 40-man roster.

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Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Poll: What Should The Mets Do With Matt Harvey?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120482 2018-04-21T17:32:53Z 2018-04-21T17:32:53Z Since allowing just one hit across five innings of work against the Phillies in his season debut, Matt Harvey has seemingly reverted back to his 2017 form. He’s allowed at least four earned runs in each of his last three starts, lasting just five innings in two of them. While it’s a good sign that Harvey’s walk rate is down, he’s been prone to the long ball (four homers allowed so far) and hasn’t been particularly impressive in the strikeouts department (7.29 K/9).

It’s an unfortunate extension of Harvey’s recent track record. Since coming off the disabled list in September of last season, the righty sports a cataclysmic 8.72 ERA, and there aren’t any real reasons for optimism surrounding the 29-year-old’s performance. He’s struck out just 30 batters across 43 1/3 innings of work since that time, and he’s allowed at least four runs in six of his nine starts while lasting more than five innings just once. For those interested in pitcher records, Harvey is 1-6 during that time.

It’s becoming more and more clear with each outing that Harvey seems unlikely to turn things around. He was once among the games elite arms and seemed likely to earn nine figures in his then-distant free agent foray, and although a late-2013 Tommy John surgery put that in serious question, he managed to bounce back with an outstanding 4.4 fWAR campaign in 2015. 2016, however, was the start of a tailspin, and Harvey managed to pitch just 92 2/3 innings in both 2016 and 2017 with just 143 total strikeouts and 119 earned runs allowed. With this season’s terrible start, we’re almost to the point where it’s worth asking the question, “Will Harvey pitch himself out of the majors this season?”

While that seems a bit extreme, the subject of bumping Harvey from the rotation has certainly been broached. Jason Vargas is set to return to the rotation soon, and Harvey’s the obvious candidate to give up his spot if performance is the determining factor. Reporters recently asked Harvey if he’d give his consent to be optioned to the minors (he can’t be optioned without his permission due to his five-year MLB tenure), but he wouldn’t comment on the subject.

A more likely scenario would be for the 14-5 Mets to make Harvey a reliever. For his part, Harvey isn’t thinking about a move to a bullpen, and recently told reporters that he considers himself a starting pitcher. In reality, what Harvey considers himself to be doesn’t really matter if he can’t get outs, so the Mets will have a big decision in the impending days.

Many struggling starters have benefitted greatly from a move to the bullpen, and it doesn’t seem likely at this point that Harvey will revive his career as a starter. However, a miraculous return to his 2013/2015 form would provide the Mets with a huge boost to their seemingly strong playoff chances. What do you think New York should do in regards to their former ace? (Poll link for app users)

 

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mets Notes: Catcher, Harvey, Bruce]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120428 2018-04-20T14:09:52Z 2018-04-20T14:09:52Z The Mets have been without Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki for a week and have received just two hits from their patchwork catching tandem of Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido. However, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News hears that in spite of that, the Mets don’t plan to trade for a catcher before Plawecki returns in another two to three weeks. Ackert checked in on three AL clubs with “obvious” matches — speculatively speaking, Blake Swihart and Wilson Ramos would be a pair of clear on-paper matches — and was told that the Mets have not reached out. Rather, they’ve told clubs who’ve reached out that they plan to stay internal for now. Mike Puma of the New York Post paints a slightly different picture, reporting that the Mets have begun to kick the tires on some options. He lists Swihart, Ramos and Houston’s Max Stassi as “potential pursuits,” though there’s no mention of direct contact with the Red Sox, Rays or Astros regarding that trio in his report.

More notes out of Queens…

  • With Jason Vargas nearing a return from the disabled list, the Mets will soon need to create a vacancy in their rotation, and based on performance, Matt Harvey would be the obvious starter to get bumped. However, the right-hander told the media following that he considers himself a starting pitcher and isn’t thinking about a move to the bullpen (links via Puma and MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo). Harvey cited his three scoreless innings to close out last night’s rough outing as evidence that he can “get people out still in the fifth and sixth inning when my pitch count gets up,” though the Braves had already pounced on him for six runs by that point. Harvey has more than five years of MLB service time, meaning he’d have to give his consent to be optioned to the minors. Asked about the possibility of being optioned, he told reporters: “I can’t answer that question right now.”
  • MLB.com’s Bill Ladson sat down with Jay Bruce for a Q&A and talked about his return to the Mets, the team’s expectations and the work he’s done with hitting coaches Kevin Long (now with the Nationals) and Pat Roessler over the course of his Mets tenure. As Bruce explains, his return to New York was helped out by the fact that he had a chance to get to new new skipper Mickey Callaway in his time with Cleveland following last year’s trade. The Texas native acknowledges that there was some interest from Houston this offseason and that playing in his home state “would have meant a lot,” but he makes clear that he’s thrilled to be back in New York on a team that believes it can make a run at the postseason in 2018 and beyond.
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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mets Sign Vance Worley To Minor League Deal, Release A.J. Griffin]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120382 2018-04-19T15:38:02Z 2018-04-19T15:25:31Z The Mets have signed right-handers Vance Worley and Scott Copeland to minor league contracts, as first reported at MetsMinors.net. Anthony DiComo of MLB.com adds (via Twitter) that the Mets have released fellow righty A.J. Griffin, who’d been pitching for their Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.

The 30-year-old Worley, a Wasserman client, turned in solid numbers from 2014-16 when he worked to a combined 3.38 ERA and 3.98 FIP with 6.2 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 in 269 innings between the Pirates and the Orioles. However, a 2017 stint with the Marlins yielded catastrophic results, as Worley was hammered at a .339/.408/.534 clip en route to a 6.91 ERA and 4.90 FIP in 71 1/3 innings of work. Worley had his share of misfortune in 2017, as evidenced by a career-worst .378 average on balls in play, but he also surrendered a career-worst 36 percent hard-contact rate.

Copeland is also 30 and was also with the Marlins in 2017, though unlike Worley, he spent the entirety of last season pitching at the Triple-A level and didn’t reach the Majors. Last year in New Orleans, Copeland made 26 starts and totaled 137 1/3 frames of 4.97 ERA ball, averaging 7.7 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 in that time. Copeland induced plenty of grounders (54.8 percent) but also watched 20 percent of the fly-balls he allowed clear the fence for home runs (1.31 HR/9). He does have 15 1/3 innings of work at the big league level under his belt — all coming with the Blue Jays back in 2015.

Adding Worley and Copeland to the minor league ranks will replace some of the depth the Mets lost by cutting ties with Griffin. The Mets added Griffin on a minor league pact back in February, but the 30-year-old veteran was clobbered for 16 runs on 13 hits (three homers) and six walks in just three innings of work in Las Vegas. Over the past two seasons, Griffin has made 38 starts and 41 total appearances for the Rangers but limped to a 5.41 ERA and an even more troublesome 5.95 FIP in 196 2/3 innings of work.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Anthony Swarzak's Rehab Shut Down Due To Lingering Discomfort]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120331 2018-04-19T01:58:08Z 2018-04-19T01:51:41Z
  • Anthony Swarzak’s rehab with the Mets has been shut down for now due to lingering discomfort in his ailing oblique muscle, tweets MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. He’d been throwing off of flat ground but now won’t be throwing at all and won’t travel with the club on its upcoming road trip, per DiComo. Swarzak inked a two-year, $14MM deal with the Mets this offseason but has pitched just 2 1/3 innings on the year due to a DL stint that now looks like it’ll be prolonged.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Rosenthal’s Latest: Realmuto, Moustakas, Machado, Donaldson]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120116 2018-04-16T12:32:53Z 2018-04-16T04:45:35Z The Mets made repeated inquiries on Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto during the offseason, says Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic in a video tweet. They also asked the Marlins about Starlin Castro. However, at that point in the winter, the club had just traded Christian Yelich to the Brewers, and they had also unloaded the contracts of Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna; they weren’t looking to cut any more salary at that moment in time. While the Mets are prepared to roll with Tomas Nido and Jose Lobaton for now, Rosenthal suggests that the club could attempt to revisit Realmuto discussions at some point.

    More from Rosenthal…

    • Although it’s early, Rosenthal suggests that Mike Moustakas looks like a hot trade candidate, citing his physical condition and low salary as selling points for the Royals third baseman. According to GM Dayton Moore, Moustakas is “running as well as he ever has.” Rosenthal figures that Kansas city will be among the most active trade deadline sellers in July, and could also dangle southpaw Danny Duffy, second baseman Whit Merrifield and closer Kelvin Herrera.
    • The shifting power structure of Orioles ownership might affect the way the club approaches a potential Manny Machado trade, should they end up willing to deal him. Peter Angelos was always opposed to making trades with the division-rival Yankees, but the younger Angelos’ might not place such a restriction on the concept. There are a number of other reasons to throw cold water on the idea of a Machado-to-Yankees swap, as Rosenthal notes, such as the presence of Brandon Drury and the Yankees’ possible focus on pitching. Still, the idea seems more plausible now that Peter Angelos’ sons are more active in the running of the club.
    • One rival executive estimates that there are “tens of millions” of dollars riding on the health of Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson’s shoulder. Rosenthal posits that the former AL MVP will be much less valuable as a free agent if there are questions surrounding his ability to play third base; much of his value lies in his defensive prowess. Being viewed as a first base/DH type for the bulk of his remaining career could eliminate some NL teams as suitors, and it doesn’t help that Donaldson is about to turn 33.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Dominic Smith Off DL, Back To Triple-A]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120082 2018-04-15T19:34:40Z 2018-04-15T19:33:36Z
  • Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson could take the ball for the Nationals on Monday when they open a series against the division-rival Mets, Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com suggests. Righty A.J. Cole is penciled in at the moment, though signs are pointing to Hellickson making his Nats debut, Zuckerman explains. Promoting Hellickson, whom Washington signed to a minors deal before the season, would require the team to add him to its 40-man roster and jettison someone else. That wouldn’t be the out-of-options Cole, per Zuckerman, who expects him to move to the bullpen in the event of a Hellickson call-up. The 31-year-old Hellickson, a veteran of 197 starts, will earn a $2MM salary if he lands a spot with the Nats.
  • The Mets activated first baseman Dominic Smith from the DL on Sunday and optioned him to Triple-A Las Vegas, Tim Healey of Newsday tweets. The former top 100 prospect had been dealing with a strained quad since the outset of spring training, thus putting the kibosh on his chances of winning a job in camp. Smith, 22, is now behind Adrian Gonzalez, Wilmer Flores (and maybe others) in the Mets’ first base pecking order.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Matt Harvey Not A Lock To Stay In Rotation]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120040 2018-04-15T15:43:57Z 2018-04-15T15:43:28Z Mets right-hander Matt Harvey opened the season with five scoreless innings of one-hit ball back on April 3, but the former ace hasn’t fared nearly as well in two starts since then. Harvey yielded four earned runs in five frames in each of those outings – including in a loss to the Brewers on Saturday – and now there’s some question as to whether he’s a lock to remain in the team’s rotation throughout the season, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. While Harvey’s spot isn’t yet “in peril,” per Sherman, the Mets will have a decision to make soon between him and fellow righty Zack Wheeler when left-hander Jason Vargas returns from the disabled list. That’s assuming Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz stay healthy, of course, and that Wheeler continues to perform well after enjoying a seven-inning, two-hit, one-run season debut against the Marlins earlier this week.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Travis d’Arnaud To Undergo Tommy John Surgery; Kevin Plawecki Placed On Disabled List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119906 2018-04-13T19:55:15Z 2018-04-13T19:08:20Z Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who’d previously been diagnosed with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, will undergo Tommy John surgery next week, the team announced on Friday.

    Additionally, the Mets placed Kevin Plawecki on the 10-day DL due to a hairline fracture in his left hand, selected the contract of Jose Lobaton from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned out righty Jacob Rhame in place of outfielder Brandon Nimmo.

    To make room on the 40-man roster for Lobaton, d’Arnaud was placed on the 60-day DL. Plawecki is expected to be out three to four weeks, the team told reporters (Twitter link via Mike Puma of the New York Post).

    Suffice it to say, it’s been a devastating 48 hours for the Mets, who just days ago were counting on d’Arnaud and Plawecki to shoulder the entirety of their catching work in 2018. Now, they’ll be without Plawecki for perhaps a month’s time, while d’Arnaud will be lost for the whole season. In their stead, the Mets will turn to Lobaton and Double-A backstop Tomas Nido to handle immediate catching duties. Lobaton is in tonight’s lineup.

    However, for a club that started 10-1, the Mets understandably aren’t keen on merely relying on depth pieces and journeyman stopgaps as they await the return of Plawecki, who, while he has shown promise in the past, is no sure bet for a productive campaign.

    To that end, the Mets are already on the lookout for catching help, per multiple reports. Anthony DiComo of MLB.com tweets that a small-scale move — something along the lines of a pickup of recently designated veteran Miguel Montero — could be in play for the Mets. FanRag’s Jon Heyman, meanwhile, tweets that the Mets are “seriously” looking at adding a catcher, though GM Sandy Alderson, at least publicly, spoke to the contrary (Twitter links via DiComo and Puma).

    Alderson indicated that his club will “be aware” of what is available on the catching market but is not actively pursuing a Major League catching addition. Puma notes that Alderson did suggest that trades are more plausible early this season than in other years because of the number of teams that “aren’t trying that hard.”

    One move that seems decidedly unlikely is a swap for J.T. Realmuto. DiComo and Newsday’s Tim Healey have both thrown significant cold water on the possibility, downplaying the notion that the Mets would be able to put together a sufficient package and also downplaying the Marlins’ willingness to move him. Healey notes that the Mets and Marlins haven’t spoken about Realmuto at all this week, noting that offseason talks for the star catcher failed to gain any traction.

    More emphatically, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com tweets that the Marlins don’t have any intention of dealing Realmuto while he’s rehabbing from injury and, in the grander scope of things, don’t even plan on making him available at all this season. It seems that the Fish would prefer to hold Realmuto through the end of the 2018 season and market him again next winter when a wider base of clubs could likely inquire about his services. Of course, such plans can always change at the deadline if a few contenders find themselves with an acute need, thus creating the basis for a bidding war, but for the time being it doesn’t sound as if a Realmuto trade is even worth speculating upon.

    As far as depth options go, the Mets have already acted quickly to pursue one such addition. Former Mets backstop Johnny Monell announced today on Instagram that he’s signed a new minor league deal with the team and will return to the club. The 32-year-old logged 57 plate appearances for the 2015 Mets and is a lifetime .278/.350/.460 hitter in parts of five seasons in Triple-A, which is where he’ll be headed.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Kevin Plawecki Has Hairline Fracture In Left Hand]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119872 2018-04-13T19:19:26Z 2018-04-13T15:10:13Z 10:10am: The Mets confirmed that Plawecki did indeed suffer a harline fracture in his left hand. Initial X-rays last night were negative, but a Friday morning MRI revealed the break (Twitter link via Newsday’s Tim Healey). He will not require surgery.

    There’s been no timeline given on the injury, though SNY’s Steve Gelbs tweets that Plawecki could be out for as little as three weeks. That’d seem to be a surprisingly quick turnaround for a fracture in his catching hand, but if that timeline holds true, then the Mets may not feel much pressure to make a significant catching acquisition.

    9:25am: In a staggering stroke of bad luck, the Mets look to have lost their top two catchers in a span of just two days. Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that just a day after Travis d’Arnaud was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, Kevin Plawecki has been diagnosed with a fractured left hand after being hit by a pitch in last night’s game. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said after last night’s contest that initial X-rays on Plawecki’s hand were negative, though it seems that further testing may have revealed the reported fracture.

    Puma adds that veteran Jose Lobaton will join Tomas Nido on the big league roster — he’ll require a 40-man move — though clearly the Mets will be on the lookout for additional options. Miguel Montero jumps to mind as one readily available backstop, as he was only just designated for assignment by the division-rival Nationals earlier this week. When looking at some remaining free agents a couple of weeks ago, I noted that Ryan Hanigan, Derek Norris, Carlos Ruiz and Geovany Soto were also without a contract at the time. (Chris Herrmann and Cameron Rupp, each also listed there, have since signed deals with the Mariners and Rangers.)

    The Mets, to the surprise of many, are off to the best start of any team in baseball. Their 10-1 record gives them the best winning percentage of any club in the Majors, and their +24 run differential ranks fourth in the game. Given that excellent start to the season, it seems unlikely that the Mets will be content to merely rely on depth options in the event that Plawecki needs to miss a substantial period of time.

    That said, there also aren’t going to be many clubs looking to part with a catcher at this time. J.T. Realmuto was available for much of the offseason, but he’d come with an extremely steep asking price and is currently on the DL with a lower back injury for the division-rival Marlins (though he has begun a minor league rehab assignment).

    An intriguing and more plausible fit could be a match with the Red Sox, who opened the year with three catchers — Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart — on the big league roster. Vazquez is the team’s long-term answer after signing an extension this offseason, and the club has previously gone with Leon as a backup option over Swihart, who is out of minor league options and has been relegated to a utility role. A deal for Swihart, once one of the game’s top prospects, would certainly be a more appealing option than piecing the catching corps together with minor league journeymen for the foreseeable future.

    Likewise, the Brewers could soon find themselves with three catchers on the roster — two of whom are out of options. Manny Pina has emerged as the starter in Milwaukee over the past year, but backups Jett Bandy and Stephen Vogt are each out of minor league options. A spring shoulder injury for Vogt temporarily delayed an inevitable decision for the Brewers, but Vogt is rehabbing the shoulder and hoping to return before month’s end. It’s not clear that Bandy is a marked upgrade over any internal options the Mets have, but Vogt does have a fairly solid big league track record.

    A smaller-scale move to pick up someone such as Rupp from the Rangers could make sense as well. The former Phillies backstop signed a minor league pact there just over a week ago and reported to Triple-A Round Rock, though perhaps the organization would allow him to pursue a big league opportunity elsewhere, or at least consider trading him for cash considerations. The Braves possess some depth in the form of recently outrighted veteran Chris Stewart, and they’ll likely have to remove Carlos Perez from the roster once Tyler Flowers is healthy. The D-backs, meanwhile, are carrying Alex Avila, Jeff Mathis and John Ryan Murphy, though Avila won’t be going anywhere after signing a two-year deal this winter. Colorado’s Tom Murphy is another speculative fit, as he’s been displaced on the big league roster by Chris Iannetta and Tony Wolters. And it might be worthwhile for the Mets to see if the cost-conscious Rays, off to a dreadful start, would part with impending free agent Wilson Ramos.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Travis d’Arnaud Diagnosed With Partial UCL Tear]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119745 2018-04-16T16:55:42Z 2018-04-11T18:37:51Z Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud has been placed on the 10-day DL, the team announced. He has been diagnosed with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, Tim Britton of The Athletic tweets.

    Needless to say, that’s not good news for the backstop, who has dealt with a long run of injuries in his relatively short MLB career. Youngster Tomas Nido has been called up to take his spot on the active roster.

    At the moment, it isn’t clear just what the course of treatment will be for d’Arnaud. But it is possible he’ll require surgery, per Britton. If it turns out he needs a Tommy John procedure, it would likely cost d’Arnaud the remainder of the season.

    UCL injuries are not as devastating for position players as they are for pitchers, of course. But a full replacement would still mean a lengthy rehab timeline. Miguel Sano, for instance, missed the rest of the 2014 season after undergoing a TJ fix at the beginning of March.

    At times, d’Arnaud has shown plenty of promise in the majors — especially with a .268/.340/.485 slash in his 268 plate appearances in 2015. But he has never returned to that level of productivity with the bat. In the three seasons since, d’Arnaud carries a .244/.297/.393 slash.

    Entering the current season, the plan was for the Mets to share time between d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. Now, the latter figures to occupy the primary duties behind the dish. He, too, has shown promise at times but hasn’t fully established himself as a regular to this point.

    For the time being, at least, Nido will have a shot to show he, too, belongs. The former eighth-round pick, who turns 24 on Thursday, is said to be profile as a quality defender but has a less-than-certain offensive profile. Nido touched the majors last year but spent most of the season at Double-A, where he hit .232/.287/.354 over 404 plate appearances.

    It’s possible that the Mets could eventually turn to Jose Lobaton, a veteran of eight MLB campaigns. The switch-hitting career reserve is available at Triple-A after signing a minors deal over the winter. Of course, he is also coming off of a brutal (.170/.248/.277) season at the plate.

    The injury certainly casts some doubt on d’Arnaud’s future in the organization — particularly if it spurs a UCL replacement. He is earning $3.475MM this year with one more season of arbitration eligibility remaining.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mets Promote Corey Oswalt, Option Brandon Nimmo]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119665 2018-04-10T18:38:43Z 2018-04-10T18:38:43Z The Mets announced a move today to add a fresh arm to their roster. The organization called up righty Corey Oswalt and cleared an opening with the somewhat surprising decision to option outfielder Brandon Nimmo.

    Oswalt earned his way onto the 40-man roster with a good effort in 2017. The 2012 seventh-rounder worked to a 2.28 ERA in 134 1/3 innings at the Double-A level, recording 8.0 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9.

    Whatever his future may hold as a starter, Oswalt will begin his MLB career by providing some depth in the bullpen. With Zach Wheeler set to be activated soon, though, Oswalt’s stay may not last long.

    What’s most interesting about this move, perhaps, is the fact that Nimmo is the player who’ll end up being sent down. The 25-year-old impressed in 2017, in camp, and in the first several games of the current season. But he was pushed out of a clear role with the return of Michael Conforto.

    With Conforto and Jay Bruce also representing lefty outfield bats, Yoenis Cespedes taking everyday time in left, and Juan Lagares functioning as a righty-hitting fourth outielder there just wasn’t a strong need for Nimmo. He’ll get regular action at Triple-A while awaiting another opportunity to stake a claim to a more permanent job at the game’s highest level.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Yankees Acquire L.J. Mazzilli From Mets For Kendall Coleman]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119646 2018-04-10T15:02:20Z 2018-04-10T15:02:20Z The Yankees and Mets have announced a rare, but minor, swap involving a pair of farmhands. Utilityman L.J. Mazzilli is headed to the Yanks in exchange for outfielder Kendall Coleman.

    Mazzilli is the son of former MLB player and coach Lee Mazzilli, who currently works in the Yankees organization in a non-uniformed capacity. The younger Mazzilli is a former fourth-round pick who has mostly played in the upper minors over the past three seasons. He’s a .254/.335/.346 hitter over 1,164 Double-A plate appearances, but has gone down on strikes just 176 times in that span while drawing 123 walks. Mazzilli has mostly played second base but has increasingly also spent time in the corner outfield.

    As for Coleman, he has not really advanced since drawing a $150K bonus as the Yankees’ 11th-round pick in the 2013 draft. The 22-year-old has mostly struggled at the plate in the low minors and has only briefly moved past the low-A level. All told,he carries a .207/.309/.301 batting line with ten home runs and 245 strikeouts in his 893 trips to the plate as a professional.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Zack Wheeler To Start Wednesday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119546 2018-04-09T20:17:41Z 2018-04-09T01:18:09Z
  • The Mets will recall righty Zack Wheeler for a start in Miami this upcoming Wednesday, Mike Puma of the New York Post was among those to report on Twitter. It’ll be the first time the ballyhooed quintet of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom Steven Matz, Matt Harvey and Wheeler have taken consecutive turns through New York’s rotation, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com notes. Wheeler, whose career fell off track after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2015, opened the year in the minors and tossed five innings of six-strikeout, one-run ball in his initial Triple-A start of 2018 on Friday. He’s likely to be a short-term fill-in for the Mets, who are awaiting the season debut of Jason Vargas. The southpaw underwent surgery on his right hand last month.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mets Notes: Bruce, Lagares]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119449 2018-04-07T20:02:39Z 2018-04-07T20:02:39Z
  • Heyman provides some new details on Jay Bruce’s free agent market, reporting that the Indians offered Bruce a two-year, $18MM deal while the Blue Jays discussed a one-year deal in the range of $5MM-$7MM.  It’s interesting to note that both teams ended up signing somewhat similar veteran left-handed bats for similar price points — Cleveland inked Yonder Alonso for two years and $16MM in guaranteed money, while Toronto signed Curtis Granderson to a one-year, $5MM deal.  The Jays didn’t actually make Bruce an offer, however, and neither did the Astros, though they also had some talks with Bruce about a two-year deal.  Heyman speculates that Houston may have been considering Bruce only if top prospect Derek Fisher was dealt, and thus the Astros’ interest waned since they were able to acquire Gerrit Cole without parting ways with the young outfielder.  As it turned out, Bruce ended up landing a three-year, $39MM deal to return to the Mets.
  • Speaking of the Mets, Heyman writes that the team would still be willing to deal Juan Lagares if a trade partner could be found.  Lagares had been a frequent subject of trade rumors over the winter, and the Mets’ outfield situation has once again become overly crowded now that Michael Conforto has returned from the disabled list.  With Conforto and Brandon Nimmo both capable of playing center field, Lagares’ contract ($16MM guaranteed in 2018-19) and lack of hitting makes him expendable, though Lagares is a superb defender.  It’s possible the Mets could find an interested team later in the season as injuries or pennant race needs emerge, though one would think New York would have to eat at least some of the contract to make a deal happen.  On the flip side, Lagares could provide valuable depth if the Mets are again hit with injuries, or if Bruce is needed at first base in the event that Adrian Gonzalez can’t hold up over regular playing time.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mets Turned Away Offseason Trade Interest In Matt Harvey]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119294 2018-04-05T21:37:51Z 2018-04-05T21:37:51Z
  • Of course, things can change quickly — in either direction — for a pitcher, particularly when health issues are involved. The Mets and Matt Harvey know that as well as anyone. As James Wagner of the New York Times wrote after Harvey’s first start of the new season, the once-dominant, then dumped-on hurler has shown signs of reemerging as a new but potentially effective starter in his final season of team control. Wagner notes that the Mets fielded trade interest in Harvey this offseason but opted not to sell low on the right-hander — in part at the behest of newly hired manager Mickey Callaway and new pitching coach Dave Eiland. A free agent at season’s end, Harvey opened the year with five shutout innings, during which he yielded just one hit and one walk with five strikeouts.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mets Activate Michael Conforto]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119190 2018-04-05T13:58:35Z 2018-04-05T13:33:48Z TODAY: The move is now official, which further sets the stage for an exciting early-season tilt between the Mets and Nationals. Conforto will play center and take the leadoff spot in the lineup.

    YESTERDAY, 5:25pm: The Mets will activate Conforto before tomorrow’s game against the Nationals, Puma tweets. Infielder Philip Evans is being optioned out to create a spot on the active roster.

    10:12am: The Mets will bring outfielder Michael Conforto on their forthcoming road trip to Washington, D.C., Mike Puma of the New York Post reports on Twitter. While the precise plans aren’t yet clear, it seems likely that Conforto will be activated from the DL tomorrow, Puma notes.

    This is the latest good news for a Mets organization that came into the 2017-18 offseason with numerous health questions. By and large, the uncertainties have resolved to this point in a positive manner, significantly improving the club’s outlook for the new season and beyond.

    Conforto had suffered a worrying shoulder injury late in the 2017 campaign, undergoing surgery to repair a torn capsule. That procedure came with a roughly six-month recovery timeline, so in that regard it’s not altogether surprising that he is returning now. But the fact that he’s already geared up to spend almost all of the season in the majors surely represents the best-case scenario for an important young player.

    Even as the Mets stumbled in 2017, Conforto turned in a monster year at the plate, slashing .279/.384/.555 and driving 27 balls out of the park in 440 plate appearances. Then came the news that the 25-year-old would join several other core players on the DL with significant injuries, clouding the team’s near-term outlook.

    If Conforto can produce at anything approaching that level, he’ll return to a roster that increasingly seems primed to contend. The Mets signed multiple veteran pieces over the winter, bringing in outfielder Jay Bruce, third baseman Todd Frazier, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, infielder Jose Reyes, starter Jason Vargas, and reliever Anthony Swarzak. With the club’s high-end rotation generally showing promise this spring, there’s generally cause for optimism in Queens.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the return of Conforto changes the team’s position-player rotation, which is now full of options. He joins Bruce and center fielder Brandon Nimmo as left-handed-hitting outfielders. Yoenis Cespedes will continue to get the bulk of the time in left, while Juan Lagares will presumably mostly see action against southpaws and in late-game situations. Though Bruce could in theory appear at first base to help alleviate the outfield logjam, Gonzalez also hits from the left side and is already accompanied by a right-handed bat in utilityman Wilmer Flores.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mets Place Anthony Swarzak On 10-Day DL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=119110 2018-04-03T23:54:28Z 2018-04-03T20:27:57Z 3:27pm: Swarzak tells reporters that he’s been diagnosed with a “mild to moderate” oblique strain (Twitter link, with video, via MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo). Doctors have informed him that a best-case scenario would be a return in “a few weeks.”

    8:21am: The Mets have placed righty Anthony Swarzak on the 10-day DL, according to the MLB.com transactions page (h/t James Wagner of the New York Times, on Twitter). The official cause of the placement is a “sore left oblique.”

    [Related: Updated New York Mets depth chart]

    While oblique injuries can be tricky, it’s notable that this one has — to this point — only been identified as soreness, rather than a strain. The Mets will no doubt exercise care in bringing Swarzak along, but perhaps his recent MRI gave cause for optimism despite the DL placement. Of course, that’s all guesswork at this point; presumably the club will provide further information later today.

    Swarzak joined the Mets on a two-year, $14MM contract over the winter, following a breakout 2017 season in which he tossed 77 1/3 innings of 2.33 ERA ball. The plan was to plug him into a high-leverage role along with fellow righties Jeurys Familia and A.J. Ramos.

    For now, though, Swarzak will rest up while the Mets turn to a familiar face in Hansel Robles, who was recalled to take the open roster spot. Robles was a key part of the relief corps over the past three seasons, but stumbled in 2017. He had opened the current season on optional assignment.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets Could Activate Michael Conforto On Thursday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118967 2018-04-04T19:36:39Z 2018-04-01T21:39:03Z Mets outfielder Michael Conforto could come off the disabled list as early as Thursday, manager Mickey Callaway announced (via Tim Healey of Newsday). Conforto, who’s working back from the left shoulder surgery he underwent last September, is already set to rejoin the Mets in New York, Healey was among those to report Sunday. It seems he’ll avoid a rehab assignment, then, and if last year’s breakout carries over, Conforto will once again pair with Yoenis Cespedes to serve as one of the Mets’ two best hitters this season. Plus, he’ll further deepen a Mets outfield that also includes Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares.

    Meanwhile, Mets reliever Anthony Swarzak will undergo an MRI on his sore left oblique on Monday, per Tim Britton of The Athletic. Swarzak, who inked a two-year, $14MM deal with the Mets in free agency, suffered the injury Saturday.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[NL East Notes: Nimmo, Conforto, Cooper, Sanchez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118811 2018-03-31T21:11:21Z 2018-03-31T21:11:21Z The imminent return of Michael Conforto could force one of his deserving Mets teammates out of a job, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com writes. Specifically, leadoff hitter Brandon Nimmo (who reached base four times on opening day) could end up being displaced to the bench, as the Mets also have Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce at the outfield corners. Nimmo, who was the club’s first-round selection in 2011, leapfrogged Juan Lagares on the depth chart with a fantastic spring. However, he doesn’t carry the upside of Conforto or the track record of Bruce or Cespedes. DiComo adds that the Mets are not considering shifting Bruce to first base, as the club seems content with Adrian Gonzalez at that position for the time being. For his part, Nimmo isn’t thinking about the outfield crunch at this time. “When Conforto comes back, we’ll deal with that,” he said. “But as far as right now, I’m just going to try to be me, and be the best me I can.”

    Other items from the NL’s eastern teams…

    • In other Mets news, Anthony Swarzak left today’s game with an apparent injury. Said injury was later described as a “sore oblique”, and he’s considered day-to-day for the time being (h/t Anthony DiComo of MLB.com). For Swarzak’s part, he’s “not panicking” about the soreness and is hoping it’ll disappear tomorrow.
    • After being hit by a pitch on the wrist in yesterday’s 17-inning marathon, Marlins outfielder Garrett Cooper was replaced by fellow outfielder Cameron Maybin. After the game, the club described the injury as a “wrist contusion”, writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. It’s good news for Miami to hear that Cooper’s wrist isn’t broken, but he’s day-to-day for the time being, and it’s unclear when he’ll return to the lineup. “I took the sleeve off, and it was pretty purple,” Cooper said of the injury. “No fracture. Just day-to-day right now. I can move it around. Just a little swollen.”
    • The Braves currently have three catchers on the roster, but manager Brian Snitker says that one of them could give way to right-hander Anibal Sanchez soon. David O’Brien of the Atlantla Journal-Constitution writes that while Sanchez has been tabbed for the fifth spot in the rotation (when necessary) for some time, the club may add him sooner than that in case they need to deploy him as a reliever. Sanchez pitched to a horrific 5.67 ERA across 415 2/3 innings across his last three seasons with the Tigers, though his strikeout (8.14 K/9) and walk (2.84) ratios remained generally good during that time.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rusty Staub Passes Away]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118615 2018-03-29T13:43:34Z 2018-03-29T13:43:34Z While baseball brims with excitement for the onset of the 2018 season, there’s also sad news for fans and industry folk alike to mourn on Thursday, as Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reports that six-time All-Star Rusty Staub has passed away just days before what would have been his 74th birthday. Staub had previously survived a severe heart attack in 2015, but as Madden notes, he’d been in the hospital for the past eight weeks battling a blood infection and kidney failure before experiencing multiple organ failure.

    Staub spent nine of his 23 Major League seasons starring for the Mets, for whom he batted .276/.358/.419 in two separate stints, although his best seasons very arguably came with the Houston organization and the now-defunct Expos in his mid-20s. From 1967-71, Staub posted a terrific .302/.397/.472 slash with 94 homers — good for a 148 OPS+ and five consecutive trips to the Midsummer Classic.

    In all, Staub’s outstanding career drew to a close with 2,716 hits, 292 homers, 499 doubles, 47 triples, 1189 runs scored, 1466 RBIs and more walks (1255) than strikeouts (888). He batted .279/.362/.431 in 11,229 plate appearances across 23 seasons split between the Mets, Astros/Colt 45s, Expos, Tigers and Rangers.

    After his playing days, Staub set to work on helping those less fortunate than he’d been in life, establishing the Rusty Staub Foundation, whose mission to this day is to “give children the opportunity to live full, happy and productive lives and to give aid to the hungry.” Established in 1985, the RSF has established pantries around New York City and, to date, has raised more than $17MM for like-minded organizations, per the RSF’s web site. Staub also established the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, which, as Madden notes in his column, has raised more than $112MM in total contributions since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Madden’s column provides a terrific, heartfelt look at Staub’s legacy both on and off the field and stands as an excellent tribute to a beloved baseball figure.

    The Mets, for whom Staub suited up more than any team in his career, issued the following statement:

    “The Mets family suffered another loss earlier today when Daniel “Rusty” Staub passed away in a West Palm Beach Hospital after an illness. He was almost as well known for his philanthropic work as he was for his career as a baseball player, which spanned 23 seasons. There wasn’t a cause he didn’t champion. Rusty helped children, the poor, the elderly and then there was his pride and joy The New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund. A six-time All-Star, he is the only player in major league history to have collected at least 500 hits with four different teams. The entire Mets organization sends its deepest sympathy to his brother, Chuck, and sisters Sue Tully and Sally Johnson. He will be missed by everyone.”

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Bryce Brentz Clears Waivers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118521 2018-03-28T19:25:41Z 2018-03-28T19:25:41Z The Mets successfully ran outfielder Bryce Brentz through waivers, Matt Ehalt of The Record reports on Twitter. It seems that the out-of-options Brentz will be outrighted off of the New York 40-man roster, though he’ll have the right to decline an assignment to Triple-A.

    Brentz has bounced from the Red Sox to the Pirates and then on to the Mets over the offseason. The former first-round pick turned in a strong showing last year at Triple-A, hitting .271/.334/.529 with 31 home runs in 494 plate appearances.

    Now, though, Brentz will have to decide whether to stay with his new organization or instead set out onto the open market. The Mets do not appear to have a direct path up to the majors, though obviously the organization likes the player. Given that every other team has now passed on a chance to add Brentz to a 40-man roster, it seems unlikely he’ll earn an Opening Day job in the big leagues, though perhaps there are some more promising opportunities out there.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mets Aren't Planning To Flip Bryce Brentz]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118467 2018-03-28T03:44:44Z 2018-03-28T03:44:44Z
  • The Mets don’t have another trade in the works involving Bryce Brentz, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports, so it looks like they will try to keep the outfielder in the organization.  Brentz was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Monday and would have to pass through waivers again before the Mets could send him down to Triple-A, as Brentz is out of minor league options.  New York already has a crowded outfield picture that includes Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Juan Lagares, and Brandon Nimmo, plus Phillip Evans and Jose Reyes capable of corner outfield work and Michael Conforto expected back from the DL early in the season.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets Claim Bryce Brentz From Pirates]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118318 2018-03-26T20:04:40Z 2018-03-26T19:48:00Z The Mets have claimed outfielder Bryce Brentz off waivers from the Pirates, Adam Berry of MLB.com was among those to report.

    The 29-year-old Brentz joined the Pirates via trade with the Red Sox in February, but he didn’t last long in Pittsburgh. The club placed him on waivers this past weekend. Because Brentz is out of options, he’ll have to go through waivers again if the Mets attempt to send him to the minors. If that doesn’t happen immediately, it likely will when star outfielder Michael Conforto comes off the disabled list. Assuming the other New York outfielders stay healthy early in the season, Conforto would be part of a contingent that features other well-known names in Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares.

    Although Boston chose Brentz in the first round of the 2010 draft, he has barely played in the majors thus far. He collected just 90 plate appearances with the Red Sox, in fact. The righty-swinger spent all of last season at the Triple-A level and posted a healthy .271/.334/.529 line (138 wRC+) with 31 home runs in 494 plate appearances.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Offseason In Review: New York Mets]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117751 2018-03-26T13:13:13Z 2018-03-26T13:12:31Z This is the latest entry in MLBTR’s 2017-18 Offseason In Review series.  Click here to read the other completed reviews from around the league.

    After the Mets endured a Murphy’s Law season in 2017, general manager Sandy Alderson replaced their skipper and brought in several familiar names in free agency over the winter.

    Major League Signings

    Options Exercised

    Trades and Claims

    Notable Minor League Signings

    Notable Losses

    [Mets Depth Chart; Mets Payroll Information]

    Needs Addressed

    The Mets posted back-to-back playoff seasons from 2015-16 – the first of which included a National League pennant – and there was optimism they’d remain a formidable club last year. Instead, a spate of injuries to key players and disappointing performances from others sunk New York, which never recovered from a 10-14 April. Expectations throughout the Mets’ dismal season were that they’d replace manager Terry Collins afterward, and that’s exactly what happened. The 68-year-old Collins remains in the organization in a front office role, while the much younger Mickey Callaway, 42, is now overseeing the team’s dugout and clubhouse. Although Callaway never managed at any level before the Mets hired him, he did develop a sterling reputation in Cleveland, where he worked to great success as Terry Francona’s pitching coach from 2013-17.

    Among the hurlers now at Callaway’s disposal are left-handed starter Jason Vargas and righty reliever Anthony Swarzak, two of the team’s free-agent pickups. The Mets guaranteed Vargas two years and $16MM with the hope that he’d deliver adequate innings as part of a starting staff that didn’t amass nearly enough of those a year ago. Vargas has a handful of high-inning, acceptable ERA seasons under his belt, including his 179 2/3-frame, 4.16 ERA showing with the Royals in 2017. That’s somewhat similar to the production Bartolo Colon offered the Mets from 2014-16, and they missed that during a horrid 2017 in which Jacob deGrom was their only starter to both escape the injury bug and perform to his potential. Unfortunately for the Mets, an injury has already come for Vargas, who suffered a fracture to his non-pitching hand in mid-March. He’s now set to begin 2018 on the disabled list, thereby creating a temporary starting spot for Seth Lugo.

    Swarzak is healthy, meanwhile, and surely looking to replicate the age-31 season he enjoyed with the White Sox and Brewers in 2017. After a fairly up-and-down career from 2009-16, Swarzak broke out with a 2.33 ERA/2.74 FIP and 10.59 K/9 against 2.56 BB/9 last year. Only 11 other relievers outdid Swarzak’s 77 1/3 innings, and even fewer (seven) bettered his 2.2 fWAR. The latter figure placed him in similar company to Andrew Miller, Chad Green, Felipe Rivero and Archie Bradley, among other star relievers. That top-notch production led to a two-year, $14MM payday for Swarzak, who had to settle for a minor league contract the previous winter.

    Along with Swarzak, the Mets’ bullpen will heavily feature lefty Jerry Blevins, whose $7MM option was an easy one for the Mets to pick up. Blevins was outstanding in New York from 2016-17, a 91-inning stretch in which he logged a 2.87 ERA/3.09 FIP with 11.97 K/9 and 3.86 BB/9. Although, it’s alarming that right-handed hitters crushed him to the tune of .288/.447/.545 in 2017 – an enormous departure from the .172/.266/.345 line they compiled against him the prior year. Historically, the 34-year-old has ended up somewhere in the middle of those lines versus righties, who’ve slashed .242/.343/.400 off Blevins since he debuted in 2007.

    The rest of the Mets’ offseason attention went to its position player group, which actually wasn’t that bad last year (tied for ninth in wRC+, 11th in fWAR, 18th in runs). The most productive member of that faction was outfielder Michael Conforto, who was either elite or close to it before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in late August. Conforto, 25, had to undergo surgery as a result, which will lead to a DL stint to begin 2018.

    The Mets now know Conforto is on track to return soon, but they had to plan for a worst-case scenario in the offseason. To help protect against a potential long-term Conforto absence, they brought back outfielder Jay Bruce – a Met for parts of the previous two seasons – on a three-year, $39MM pact. Bruce got the exact contract MLBTR predicted back in November, but it still feels as if he did extremely well when considering the odd way in which free agency unfolded.

    The 30-year-old Bruce landed his payday after enjoying one of his best seasons in 2017, which he divided between New York and Cleveland and hit .254/.324/.508 with 36 home runs and 2.7 fWAR across 617 plate appearances. In his second stint with the Mets, Bruce will work in right field (where the long-scrutinized defender quietly earned solid marks last year) and maybe even at first base, depending on what the Mets get from the combination of Adrian Gonzalez, Wilmer Flores and Dominic Smith.

    Gonzalez will play with the Mets on a minimum salary after getting his release from the Braves, who acquired him from the Dodgers in a financially motivated trade. Atlanta, one of the Mets’ division rivals, will pay the rest of the $21.5MM Gonzalez was owed on the megadeal he signed with the Red Sox back in 2011. Gonzalez was among the premier sluggers in the game then, but he’s now a soon-to-be 36-year-old coming off a terrible season in which back problems limited him to 71 games, 252 PAs and an unsightly .242/.287/.355 line (69 wRC+). The lefty-swinger has been particularly poor against southpaws in three of the past four seasons (2014, 2016 and 2017), which could set him up to platoon with the righty-hitting Flores. Smith, a top 100 prospect prior to his ugly debut with the Mets last year, has been battling a strained quad for weeks. It’s unclear when he’ll return to action, but between his injury and the presences of Gonzalez, Flores and even Bruce, Smith seems likely to see a lot more time at Triple-A than in the majors this season.

    Elsewhere in the infield, the Mets made one of the most impressive-looking signings of the offseason when they reeled in New Jersey native and ex-Yankee Todd Frazier on a two-year, $17MM accord in early February. Frazier was long on the radar of the Mets, who ended up with him instead of fellow targets Eduardo Nunez and Neil Walker (an ex-Met), Jason Kipnis (Indians, who nearly sent him to the Mets) Ian Kinsler (a former Tiger who’s now an Angel) and Josh Harrison (Pirates). The Mets understandably balked at dealing young outfielder Brandon Nimmo for Harrison after the former recorded a .379 OBP over 215 PAs in 2017. That was the first extensive big league action for the 24-year-old Nimmo, a 2011 first-round pick. Now, because he took last season’s audition and ran with it, Nimmo may play an even more prominent role this year.

    Back to Frazier, who, unlike Bruce, didn’t make out nearly as well as expected in free agency. The 32-year-old was unable to parlay a consistently above-average career into a contract commensurate to it. Also a former member of the Reds and White Sox, Frazier has been worth between 2.5 and 4.8 fWAR in every season since 2012 (including an even 3.0 last year). He looks grossly underpaid relative to what he brings to the table, then, and should give the Mets a credible third bagger as pessimism continues to increase over the status of franchise icon David Wright. Back, neck and spine injuries limited Wright to 75 games from 2015-16, and he wasn’t able to take the field at all last year. Unfortunately, that may be the case again this season for the 35-year-old.

    The signing of Frazier will kick Asdrubal Cabrera to second, his preferred position. Months before the Mets brought in Frazier, they exercised Cabrera’s $8.5MM option in early November. The 32-year-old isn’t going to wow anyone, but he has provided decent offensive production in both of his seasons as a Met.

    The re-signed Jose Reyes will offer depth behind Cabrera and elsewhere around the infield, where he played everywhere but first base last season. The switch-hitting Reyes, 34, was effective along the way in totaling 2.0 fWAR and batting .246/.315/.413 with 15 home runs and a team-high 24 steals over 561 PAs. For a meager $2MM, it’s tough to argue with retaining Reyes from a baseball standpoint, though a past domestic violence suspension will always hang over his head.

    Read more

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets Sign Fernando Abad]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118146 2018-03-25T20:45:51Z 2018-03-25T20:45:29Z 3:45pm: Abad will earn a $1.25MM salary if he makes the Mets, and he’ll have a chance at another $650K in incentives, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag.

    2:32pm: The Mets have signed left-handed reliever Fernando Abad to a minor league contract, Tim Healey of Newsday tweets. Abad came available when the NL East rival Phillies released him Wednesday. He’ll go to minor league camp with his new team, per Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News.

    A veteran of the Astros, Nationals, Athletics, Twins and Red Sox, the 32-year-old Abad has logged a 3.65 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 317 2/3 innings since debuting in 2010. He has held same-sided hitters to a .237/.287/.383 batting line along the way, including a .224/.288/.438 showing in Boston last season.

    If he cracks the Mets’ bullpen this year, Abad could give the club a second effective southpaw behind Jerry Blevins. The 32-year-old Blevins is the lone lefty reliever on the Mets’ 40-man roster.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Michael Conforto To Start Season On Disabled List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118054 2018-03-25T14:08:31Z 2018-03-25T14:08:29Z
  • Mets outfielder Michael Conforto has made notable progress in his recovery from the left shoulder surgery he underwent last September. Still, the Mets informed Conforto on Sunday that he’ll open the season on the disabled list, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports. New York’s not taking any risks with Conforto after he slashed a tremendous .279/.384/.555 (146 wRC+) with 27 home runs in 440 plate appearances last season, his age-24 campaign. As the Mets await Conforto’s 2018 debut, their outfield will consist of some combination of Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Seth Lugo Makes Mets' Rotation]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=118017 2018-03-25T00:07:08Z 2018-03-24T23:41:19Z
  • Right-hander Seth Lugo has won the fifth spot in the Mets’ rotation, meaning fellow righty Zack Wheeler will head to Triple-A Las Vegas, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com was among those to report. Lugo will fill in for injured southpaw Jason Vargas, who will open the season on the disabled list after suffering a fracture to his non-throwing hand last week, behind Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz. Vargas could return as early as April 9, DiComo notes, and Lugo is likely to head to the bullpen then.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[No Link Between Mets, Ubaldo Jimenez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117799 2018-03-23T14:03:55Z 2018-03-23T13:41:02Z
  • The Mets haven’t seriously discussed the possibility of signing Ubaldo Jimenez, Heyman hears from a person connected with the team.  The past relationship between Jimenez and Mets manager Mickey Callaway (Jimenez had a strong 2013 season with the Indians when Callaway was Cleveland’s pitching coach) led to some rumors that New York could consider adding the veteran right-hander as rotation depth.  Jimenez is coming off rough seasons in both 2016 and 2017 with the Orioles, and as a result has drawn no known interest all winter as he tries to catch on with another club.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rafael Montero Will Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Miss 2018 Season]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117738 2018-03-23T13:25:41Z 2018-03-23T13:25:29Z TODAY: Montero is headed back to New York this weekend and will undergo Tommy John surgery soon, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweets.

    YESTERDAY: Mets righty Rafael Montero has been diagnosed with a complete UCL tear, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports on Twitter. It is expected that he’ll require Tommy John surgery.

    The news represents the latest disappointment for a pitcher who was once viewed as a future part of the New York rotation. Entering the coming season without an option year remaining, Montero had been fighting for one of the final bullpen slots this spring. He has allowed an earned run for each of the nine Grapefruit League innings he threw and therefore was already at risk of being outrighted.

    To this point, Montero has worked to a middling 5.38 ERA in his 192 1/3 MLB innings. But he had earned his most extensive action to date in 2017 as the club dealt with a bevy of injuries, and there were some positive signs. Montero sat at 94 mph with his fastball, recorded a personal-best 10.1% swinging-strike rate, and drew groundballs at a 48.1% rate. He was likely unlucky to have surrendered a .366 BABIP, too, with Statcast showing a big split in his xwOBA (.316) and wOBA (.362).

    For Montero to earn another shot at the majors, he’ll first have to undergo an extensive rehab process. The 27-year-old will accrue a full season of MLB service time while recovering, meaning he’ll be eligible for arbitration next fall. Though Montero likely won’t command a terribly steep rate of pay, salary and roster pressures may well compel the Mets to remove him from the 40-man at some point.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[NL East Notes: Thompson, Ruiz, Gonzalez, Flores, Wheeler, Lugo]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117789 2018-03-23T19:29:25Z 2018-03-23T04:45:34Z It appears that the Phillies are transitioning right-hander Jake Thompson into a relief role, writes Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Once part of the six-player return for Cole Hamels, Thompson has only made four relief appearances in his professional career (majors and minors included). Three of those appearances came last year, however, and he’s been used largely out of the bullpen in Grapefruit League play. Thompson says that nobody has directly told him he’ll become a reliever, but believes it to be the case. “They think the slider and split can work in short periods, miss bats and get ground balls,” Thompson said of Philadelphia’s coaching staff. “They’ve built up my pitch count a little bit, so if something happens I can still do both. I’m fine with it. Anything that can get me in the big leagues and stay I’d be willing to do.”

    Other news from some of baseball’s Eastern teams…

    • It wasn’t long ago that Braves third baseman Rio Ruiz was struggling with a new swing and seemed destined to start the season in the minors, David O’Brien writes in a piece for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That outlook has changed dramatically, as Ruiz’ offensive output has been a lot more impressive over the past couple weeks. The 23-year-old’s uptick in production coincides with an injury to Johan Camargo, who’s set to open the season on the disabled list. Though the organization seems to believe Camargo can return as soon as he’s eligible, manager Brian Snitker left room for interpretation on whether Ruiz can stick at the position even then. ““Rio has worked his ass off the last couple of years. He’s getting better,” said Snitker. “You never know, situations happen, door gets opened and a guy doesn’t give it back. You never know.”
    • Mets manager Mickey Callaway says he doesn’t expect Adrian Gonzalez to play every day, and not even against every right-hander (h/t Anthony DiComo of MLB.com). That likely means more playing time for Wilmer Flores“Wilmer deserves to play, and not just against lefties,” said Callaway. That’s not the only interesting comment Callaway made today, as he confirmed that Seth Lugo is being considered as a rotation candidate following an excellent Grapefruit League outing in which the right-hander struck out five while allowing no runs across four innings. The presence of Lugo in the rotation would likely make Zack Wheeler, who had another rough showing today, the odd man out. “”We have some big decisions to make,” Callaway said on the subject.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Zack Wheeler Not Guaranteed Last Rotation Spot]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117656 2018-03-22T00:15:17Z 2018-03-22T00:14:58Z
  • Having allowed six earned runs on 15 hits in eight innings this spring, Mets righty Zack Wheeler isn’t a lock to be part of the team’s season-opening rotation, Mike Puma and Fred Kerber of the New York Post report. If Wheeler doesn’t show well against Washington on Thursday, the Mets could elect to give the fifth spot in their starting staff to Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo, the reporters add. But any of Wheeler, Gsellman or Lugo would likely be a placeholder, as the Mets just need a fill-in while Jason Vargas recovers from surgery on his non-pitching hand. The other four spots in their rotation belong to Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mets Kept In Contact With Neil Walker During Offseason ]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117515 2018-03-20T22:33:09Z 2018-03-20T22:33:09Z
  • Neil Walker kept the idea of a return to the Mets open until the team signed Todd Frazier, Walker tells Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media.  The infielder and the Mets “just kept in touch about interest levels, so on and so forth,” Walker said.  “They were just checking in to see if I was willing to come back and things like that. I certainly was.  But, really, when Frazier came in, we kind of felt like it wasn’t a possibility.”  The Mets were known to be exploring a wide range of options at second and third base, ranging from everyday players to utility options, and they eventually struck on both fronts by re-signing Jose Reyes for a backup role and signing Frazier for more or less everyday duties at the hot corner.  Walker ended up signing with New York’s other team, inking a one-year $4MM deal with the Yankees
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Mets' Pitching Plans]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117474 2018-03-20T18:40:10Z 2018-03-20T16:02:56Z
  • Tim Britton of The Athletic (subscription link) examines the Mets’ pitching plans, focusing on the multi-inning capabilities of anticipated relievers Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. Skipper Mickey Callaway explains that “to put a [starter] in the bullpen and all of a sudden start using him like a traditional reliever would be a mistake,” so there are elements of both need and opportunity in the approach that the organization seems to be lining up. The practicalities will also impact the precise way the staff is deployed, as Britton explores in detail, with Callaway emphasizing that it’ll ultimately be a process that unfolds as the season goes on with “constant communication” between coaches and pitchers.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jason Vargas Could Be Ready For Start Of Season]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117394 2018-03-19T20:11:59Z 2018-03-19T20:11:35Z
  • Even though Mets left-hander Jason Vargas will undergo surgery on his right hand Tuesday, he might not miss any regular-season time, Tim Britton of The Athletic tweets. It’s not as if the soft-tossing Vargas is going to have to regain lost velocity, manager Mickey Callaway noted – “It’s not going to be too hard to go back and get his 84 again,” he said – while GM Sandy Alderson essentially expressed no concern over the situation. “If he can catch the ball coming back from the catcher, he’s probably good to go,” Alderson offered.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets’ Jason Vargas Suffers Fracture To Non-Pitching Hand]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117274 2018-03-18T23:07:35Z 2018-03-18T23:06:35Z 6:06PM: Vargas will indeed undergo surgery to remove his hamate bone, with the Mets announcing that the procedure will take place on Tuesday.

    9:22AM: Mets left-hander Jason Vargas suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right hamate bone during his outing Friday, the team announced. It’s unclear how long Vargas will be on the shelf, though Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News estimates two to six weeks, depending on whether he undergoes surgery. General manager Sandy Alderson told Tim Britton of The Athletic and other reporters Sunday that surgery is an option for Vargas, who will see a hand specialist Sunday.

    “He’ll either pitch through it or he’ll have it surgically repaired,” Alderson said.

    Vargas’ injury is the latest in a run of poor health for Mets starters, who suffered through a disastrous 2017. Jacob deGrom was the only member of the group to get through the season unscathed, while ace Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman each sat out significant periods of time. The only member of that injury-plagued group who delivered a high-end performance was Syndergaard. The rest struggled mightily when they stepped on the mound, contributing to the Mets’ unexpected fall from grace in 2017. Mets starters finished 17th in the majors in fWAR (8.8, exactly half of which came from deGrom) and 27th in ERA (5.12).

    In response to last season’s issues in their rotation, the Mets added Vargas on a two-year, $16MM guarantee over the winter with the hope he’d competently eat innings. The 35-year-old did just that in 2017 as a member of the Royals, logging a 4.16 ERA (with a much less encouraging 4.67 FIP) over 179 2/3 frames. Now, it seems the beginning of his second stint with the Mets, with whom he previously pitched in 2007, will be delayed. If that ends up being the case, the Mets will likely plug Wheeler into their rotation to join Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey and Matz, Mike Puma of the New York Post suggests.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mets Notes: Montero, Vargas, Flores]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117238 2018-03-18T03:30:07Z 2018-03-18T03:29:41Z
  • The Mets are considering trading out-of-options right-hander Rafael Montero, who’s drawing some interest from other teams, Matt Ehalt of The Record reports. A deal is not imminent, though, according to Ehalt. The 27-year-old struggled in the majors last season during his first extensive action in the bigs, with a 5.52 ERA and a 5.07 BB/9 over 119 innings (34 appearances, 18 starts). He did strike out 8.62 batters per nine and log a 4.37 FIP, though, to go with a 48.1 groundball percentage.
  • Mets southpaw Jason Vargas took a line drive off the right hand Friday, and now his status for the start of the season is in question, per Tim Healey of Newsday. X-rays came back negative, but Vargas noted that “it’s sore,” and he’s set to see a hand specialist (though he seems largely unconcerned). Manager Mickey Callaway added that he’s “not quite sure” whether the Mets will be able to open the year with Vargas, who’s currently in line to start their third game of the season. The Mets added Vargas on a two-year, $16MM deal in the offseason, hoping he’d provide a competent innings eater to a rotation that lacked those during an injury-plagued 2017.
  • More on the Mets, who utilized infielder Wilmer Flores in left field on Saturday. If the Mets are serious about Flores as an outfield option, it could benefit the rest of their roster, Tim Britton of The Athletic observes (subscription required). Flores as a fifth outfielder would give the Mets the ability to assemble a 13-man pitching staff, including eight in the bullpen, Britton notes. Regardless, Callaway is intent on finding at-bats for Flores, who was an above-average hitter from 2016-17. “You saw why he needs to be playing multiple positions, because the kid can hit,” Callaway said. “We need to get him as many at-bats as we can this season.”
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Walker, Mets Reportedly Discussed Three-Year Extension]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=117053 2018-03-15T17:03:05Z 2018-03-15T16:54:39Z Neil Walker’s one-year, $4MM deal with the Yankees seems like one of the better bargains achieved by a team in an unprecedentedly slow offseason for free agents, and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post looks back to last offseason when the infielder was discussing a longer-term pact with the Mets. At some point last winter, the Mets floated a three-year extension for Walker that would’ve been worth “about” $42MM, per Davidoff. Presumably that would include the 2017 season, during which he was already set to be paid $17.2MM, as it seems unlikely both that the Mets would offer three new years with Walker returning from back surgery and equally unlikely that Walker’s camp would reject said notion (though that’s just my own speculation). If that number is indeed accurate, Walker will obviously come out behind ($21.2MM over the first two of those three seasons), though certainly no one saw this type of free-agent freeze coming. Davidoff adds that Walker’s camp tried to reignite those “contentious” discussions later in the winter, but the Mets declined.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Juan Lagares Still Drawing Trade Interest]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116950 2018-03-13T22:34:20Z 2018-03-13T22:32:27Z 5:32pm: The A’s don’t have interest in Lagares at this time, tweets the Post’s Joel Sherman, removing one speculative partner from consideration.

    4:20pm: The Mets have received recent trade interest in Juan Lagares and “haven’t ruled out” a trade of the defensively gifted center fielder, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post. Per Puma, at least one AL club has maintained interest in Lagares into the middle portion of Spring Training.

    Lagares, who turns 29 on Saturday, is guaranteed $6.5MM in 2018 and $9MM in 2019, plus a $500K buyout of a $9.5MM option for the 2020 season. While his bat has been a negative asset since he signed his $23.5MM extension prior to the 2015 season, his glove remains superlative; over the past three seasons, Lagares has amassed 1914 2/3 innings in the outfield (nearly all in center field) and delivered 25 Defensive Runs Saved and 22.1 Ultimate Zone Rating. Statcast’s OOA metric pegged him at seven outs better than an average defender in 2017.

    Moving Lagares would obviously thin out New York’s outfield mix, though Puma notes that Brandon Nimmo could be leapfrogging Lagares on the depth chart with a strong spring showing while Lagares struggles at the dish. Michael Conforto is expected to man center field upon his return — which Puma notes could come by early May — with Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce lining up in the corners. Conforto’s return would push Nimmo and Lagares further down the depth chart. Cespedes, it should be noted, is being slowed by a sore wrist, though MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweets that X-rays on the wrist came back negative.

    The Mets are currently set to open the 2018 season with a club-record payroll of more than $152MM, and the fact that they already have $95MM+ on the payroll for the 2019 season creates some further impetus for moving Lagares if he’s been pushed to fifth on the outfield depth chart. The Mets figure to get some of those projected Opening Day figures back in the form of an insurance policy on David Wright’s salary — he’s expected to be shut down from baseball activity for eight weeks — but it obviously stands to reason that no team would relish the notion of paying a fifth outfielder at that relatively lofty rate.

    Speculatively looking around the American League, the A’s, Tigers, White Sox and Rangers were among the clubs that received questionable defensive ratings from their center field contingents in 2017, and the Royals lost Lorenzo Cain to free agency (though they’ve since added Jon Jay on an affordable one-year deal). The Mariners, meanwhile, are dealing with a thin outfield mix that is being slowed by injuries and have placed a premium on defensive value under GM Jerry Dipoto, who is never shy about making trades.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL East Notes: Phillies, Conforto, AGon, Robles]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116920 2018-03-13T16:16:24Z 2018-03-13T16:16:24Z As the Phillies introduce Jake Arrieta today, the organization is now much more clearly in a competitive posture than it was at the outset of the winter. But the pedal won’t be fully pressed down, it seems, despite the presence of a few other notable free agents who’d improve the near-term outlook in Philadelphia. GM Matt Klentak says that he does not anticipate any further additions before the start of the season, as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki tweets.

    More from the NL East:

    • The Mets continue to have cause for optimism on outfielder Michael Conforto, whose scary shoulder injury made for quite an offseason concern. He’s now nearing game readiness, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets, and anticipates getting into a spring game next week. That doesn’t mean that Conforto will be on the Opening Day roster, but certainly suggests he’s on track to return relatively early in the season. In other injury news, via MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo (Twitter links), the Mets say that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has a sore wrist. Though there’s no indication at present that it’s a worrying injury, he has undergone an x-ray and is waiting for the results. Meanwhile, veteran third baseman David Wright is no closer to a return; rather, he’ll hold off on baseball activities for at least eight weeks after being examined recently.
    • New Mets first baseman Adrian Gonzalez discussed his fresh start and unusual offseason with Mike Puma of the New York Post. Notably, Gonzalez says he was initially resistant to the Dodgers’ request that he waive his no-trade protection to go to the Braves in a contract-swapping move that ultimately left him landing in New York. But Los Angeles “sweetened the deal every single time” he met with the team, says the veteran, who acknowledged there was compensation involved.
    • Pete Kerzel of MASNsports.com examines the Nationals’ decision-making process with top prospect Victor Robles, who is impressing in camp despite a middling stat line in Grapefruit League action. The 20-year-old is ready for the majors, by all accounts, though the organization certainly has plenty of good reasons not to carry him out of camp. First and foremost, the organization has a solid center field combo already lined up in Michael Taylor and the out-of-options Brian Goodwin; in that sense, then, promoting Robles would mean parting with depth. Service-time considerations are also a factor; since Robles picked up 25 days of service last year, he’s just 147 days away from a full year of service. If the Nats wish to delay Robles’s eventual entry onto the open market, they’ll need to keep him down until early May; keeping him from potential Super Two status would likely mean waiting to bring him back up until the middle of the summer.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Mets' Catching Plans]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116615 2018-03-10T04:02:14Z 2018-03-10T03:43:33Z
  • Kevin Plawecki could receive the lion’s share of the time behind the dish for the MetsTim Healey of Newsday writes. New skipper Mickey Callaway says it will often come down to platoon splits in deciding whether Plawecki or Travis d’Arnaud is behind the dish, with the former’s advantage against right-handed pitching perhaps leading to greater opportunities. Surely performance levels over the course of the season will weigh into the calculus, but Callaway clearly indicated that the organization is disinclined to match up their backstops with particular starters.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Rosario, deGrom]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116504 2018-03-08T19:23:00Z 2018-03-08T16:08:06Z
  • Amed Rosario apparently overcompensated for his ailing knee to the point where he developed some tightness in his hamstring and groin, writes Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. None of the issues facing Rosario seem especially serious, as Mets manager Mickey Callaway suggested that the Rosario’s absence from the lineup for the past few days “probably” won’t jeopardize his Opening Day readiness. That said, Callaway did note that it’s at least somewhat of a concern that Rosario is missing some “valuable reps and playing time.” Ackert also notes that Jacob deGrom is set to make his first spring start on Sunday. That may not be soon enough to be ready for Opening Day, but it seems likely to have him on track to start one of the team’s early regular-season games.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[East Notes: Rays, Wright, Goodwin, Orioles]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=116440 2018-03-08T01:31:27Z 2018-03-07T19:22:15Z The Rays are preparing to utilize a four-man rotation for the entirety of the coming season, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes, with the expectation being that the club will load up the bullpen with multi-inning-capable arms. Topkin covers a wide range of possibilities for the relief corps and details the club’s thinking behind the unusual move. The plan is to utilize a string of relievers to work the fifth rotation spot, rather than designating a single pitcher to take that job. That approach seems designed both to take advantage of the organization’s options and to incorporate some analytical lessons on platoons and pitchers facing an order multiple times.

    More from the east:

    • Joel Sherman of the New York Post checks in on Mets third baseman David Wright, who is still plugging away in a comeback effort that seems unlikely to succeed. He says he wants to give it everything he can so that his “head can hit the pillow and I know I made every effort to play.” But that doesn’t mean it’s easy for the 33-year-old to be a part of a team that’s likely never to put him back on the field. “The mental part of coming in and knowing you bring nothing to the table as far as helping the team get ready for the season and helping the team win, for me, is the hardest part,” says Wright, “as hard as physical part of the rehab process.” Wright’s devastating combination of injuries is well-documented, of course. Remarkably, he was still capable of productive hitting when he briefly appeared on the field in 2015 and 2016, but Wright was only able to suit up for three High-A contests last year.
    • The Nationals don’t have a particularly clear role for outfielder Brian Goodwin, but as Pete Kerzel of MASNsports.com writes, new skipper Davey Martinez intends to find ways to utilize Goodwin. The 27-year-old doesn’t exactly sound like he’s excited by the organization’s plans after he turned in a solid 2017 campaign. “I don’t think my role is defined, or ever has been since I’ve been in camp,” Goodwin said. “I come into camp and I feel like I’m trying to earn a spot, trying to find somewhere – a home, where I can play every day, start 162 games and play every day for somebody whether it’s here or anywhere.”
    • Speaking of lefty hitting outfielders, the Orioles came into the offseason badly needing one. The club erred in its approach to filling that need, Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com argues. Baltimore ended up drawing Colby Rasmus back out of retirement with a deal that could actually exceed the one that Jon Jay just signed with the Royals. The issue, says Connolly, is that Jay suits the O’s needs much more than does Rasmus — and also was the desired target of team leaders Adam Jones and Manny Machado. It’s an interesting look at the team’s decisionmaking process.
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