MetsBlog Executive Editor

Matthew Cerrone

Matthew Cerrone started MetsBlog.com as a project in college, generated 300,000,000 page views and 30,000 posts in 10 years, partnered with SportsNet New York and turned his hobby into a career. In 2011, SNY hired Matt to be Executive Editor and Director of Digital Content for their network of team sites, video content and podcasts.

May 23, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets right fielder Carlos Gomez (91) hits a three run home run against the Washington Nationals during the eighth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
May 23, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets right fielder Carlos Gomez (91) hits a three run home run against the Washington Nationals during the eighth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Mets OF Carlos Gomez has started in right field the past four games, during which New York never lost against the Nationals.

Gomez, 33, was promoted from Triple-A Syracuse last week. If he had been promoted four days earlier, it would have been 12 years to the day since making his big-league debut wearing a Mets uniform in 2007.

Prior to being promoted the first time, Gomez was an elite, much-hyped prospect.

Tags: Wilmer Flores, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Former Mets catcher and Hall of Fame member Mike Piazza addresses the crowd during a ceremony to retire his number (31) prior to the game between New York Mets and the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin)
Former Mets catcher and Hall of Fame member Mike Piazza addresses the crowd during a ceremony to retire his number (31) prior to the game between New York Mets and the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. (Andy Marlin)

On this date in 1998, while working the service desk at Home Depot, I answered an urgent phone call from my mother, who, as a Mets fan herself, was eager to tell me the Mets traded for "that pizza guy," as she called him.

I laughed, knowing full well she meant Mike Piazza, who never would have become the legend he is in Queens had the Dodgers never turned their backs on his contract request.

Piazza wanted at least $91 million during his Spring Training negotiations with the Dodgers in early 1998. They never offered more than $84 million, Piazza rejected it, and Los Angeles began floating his name in trade talks with interested teams. The Mets were among several teams to show interest...

Read More
Comments

The Mets are four games below .500 and six losses back of first place. Yet, based on GM Brodie Van Wagenen's comments Monday, he and his team remain committed to getting to the postseason.

In addition, Van Wagenen said that manager Mickey Callaway has the support of the clubhouse, front office and ownership. Van Wagenen has no choice but to stick with his manager or risk losing credibility with his on-field talent.

The point is, despite the microscope of New York and a frustrated fanbase, the Mets are locked in to at least fighting their way through the NL East. However, what are the chances Van Wagenen and Company rise to the top of a playoff race and play in October?

Read More
Comments

New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway takes out pitcher Zack Wheeler in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. (Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway takes out pitcher Zack Wheeler in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. (Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports)

Zack Wheeler is kind of, sort of having a good season. He's made nine starts, given up four or more runs in four of them, while allowing three or fewer during the other five.

Wheeler, 28, will be a free agent after this season, during which he's looked like a more advanced version of himself at times, but also resembles the pitcher he had been in the past.

For instance, Wheeler historically landed around 95 mph with his fastball. This season, though, his four-seam fastball is a couple of ticks quicker. Among starting pitchers, Wheeler's four-seamer has the second-highest average velocity in the game, trailing only Noah Syndergaard's.

Tags: Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Jun 10, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (36) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Jun 10, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (36) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

The Mets have lost 8 of their last 10 games. They're 17-20, have won just one of their last 10 series, and currently sit 4.5 games back of the first-place Phillies. However, they're also about to get 16 straight games against teams below .500, 10 of which will be in their home ballpark.

"What we're doing right now is not acceptable," manager Mickey Callaway said after Wednesday's loss in San Diego. "We have to do better. We can't all of a sudden score a few runs one game and everything is OK. We have to continue to do it."

Thankfully, Callaway's team will play the Marlins next, who have the league's worst record. Then it's the Nationals, who may be the league's most disappointing team, the Marlins and Nats again, and finishing off with the Tigers.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Brodie Van Wagenen
Brodie Van Wagenen

The bad news is the Mets look like the same train wreck we witnessed during manager Mickey Callaway's first season in 2018. The good news is that, despite being 16-19, they're just 3.5 games back of the first-place Phillies, who are 19-15.

We also know from 2015 and 2016 that in, MLB success is often dictated not by how a team starts but by how they finish. In 2015 they began the year 13-3, dipped to 36-37 in late-June, but after several midseason additions and winning 62 percent of their final 60 games, they reached the playoffs and got to the World Series.

The same turnaround happened in 2016, but ended with a loss to the Giants in the Wild Card game. The point is that it's early, there are still 127 games to be played, all sorts of trades, injuries and luck will play out and, though it may seem hopeless, there are still plenty of chances for the Mets to turn things around and have a successful season.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jason Vargas, Jeurys Familia, Luis Guillorme, Paul Sewald, Steven Matz, Todd Frazier, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Earlier this week, after Noah Syndergaard told reporters that gripping a baseball on a cold night has felt like trying to throw an ice cube, I texted a former Mets reliever (now pitching with another team) to ask if he agreed.

"These baseballs suck," he replied. "They're more slick and the seams are more smooth and hard to grip."

I asked what happens if he roughs up the ball, to which he responded that it's pointless to do when the umpire puts a new ball in play nearly every other pitch.

Read More
Comments

Apr 13, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) hits a double against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)
Apr 13, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) hits a double against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)

There's no debating that Pete Alonso is having the best start to a career among the thousands of players to wear the Mets uniform.

Thankfully for him, he's doing it at a time when Mets fans are seeking an heir to the throne left behind by David Wright. He's also doing it during the social media age, through which we get a better look into his personality and popularity than would have been the case had he broken out at any other point in history.

In a season when much of the attention in the National League has been on San Diego's much-hyped rookie Fernando Tatis Jr., it's Alonso that won the league's Rookie of the Month for April.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Apr 2, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets catcher Wilson Ramos (40) in the dugout before the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Apr 2, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets catcher Wilson Ramos (40) in the dugout before the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Wilson Ramos is not performing like the elite, free-agent catcher that sought a long-term deal this past winter. This could be why, after spending several weeks seeking a four-year deal, Ramos settled for two years and $19 million from the Mets.

The acquisition of Ramos was interpreted as Van Wagenen getting his third choice. If you recall, he had reportedly been chasing the Marlins around for J.T. Realmuto, who was eventually traded to the Phillies. And, according to Yasmani Grandal, before he signed his current deal with the Brewers, he rejected a four-year, $60 million offer from the Mets. 

In between Realmuto going to Philadelphia and Grandal going to the Brewers, Van Wagenen signed Ramos, who said the Mets were always his first choice.

Tags: Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 3, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view of fans outside Citi Field before a game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

MLB.com currently considers 19-year-old Mets minor-leaguer Ronny Mauricio to be their third-best prospect, slotting just behind 20-year-old shortstop Andres Gimenez.

Last week, Mauricio cracked MLB.com's Top 100 Prospect List for the first time during his brief career, though it's worth noting they ranked him at exactly 100.

In either case, the hype train beneath Mauricio is gaining momentum, and I predict by the end of this summer, he and Gimenez will both be talked about the same way we pumped up Amed Rosario in 2016.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez, Ronny Mauricio, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Apr 7, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets infielder Dominic Smith (22) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz/USA Today Sports)
Apr 7, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets infielder Dominic Smith (22) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz/USA Today Sports)

Suddenly, the Mets have two, young, productive first basemen, only one starting spot for each of them, and a crowded infield and bench.

As a rookie, Peter Alonso has jumped on top of the national radar hitting .306 with 8 HR, 8 doubles and 21 RBI. His current 1.2 WAR has him jockeying with Arizona's Christian Walker for talk about Rookie of the Year.

Meanwhile, the 23-year-old Smith, who has played in 23 games this season, is currently batting .400 with a whopping .516 OBP in 31 sporadic at-bats, most of which he's had coming off the bench. He hit .321 in 19 games this past spring, suggesting his current in-season success is not a fluke...

Tags: Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil, Luis Guillorme, Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, Todd Frazier, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Mar 28, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)
Mar 28, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports (Jake Roth)

The Mets need another starting pitcher and at least one addition to their bullpen.

There are options on the free-agent market, such as Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel, but Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen may also want to reach out to the Giants.

According to the Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Giants are open to dealing relievers Tony Watson, Mark Melancon, Sam Dyson, Trevor Gott and Nick Vincent.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard pitches to St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina during the second inning at Busch Stadium. (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard pitches to St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina during the second inning at Busch Stadium. (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

Noah Syndergaard is not happy with how he has pitched in 2019, during which he has been charged with giving up 19 runs in just five starts and 29 innings.

"To be quite honest, the entire beginning of this season, my performances have been unacceptable," he said later Sunday. "I have to be better. I will be better. There's no excuses for it."

In his start Sunday against the Cardinals, Syndergaard tossed five innings, allowed four earned runs, eight hits and two batters, both which were the first batter of the inning.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Paul Sewald, Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard throws a pitch during the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard throws a pitch during the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets began a 13-game stretch last week that included 10 games against the Phillies and Braves.

I believed the Mets would need to win at least six of those 10 games -- which would put them around 14-10 heading into their next homestand -- to avoid hitting the panic button too early.

To date, they have won just two of seven during this stretch, with three left against the Phillies, whom they will play at Citi Field after beginning a three-game series Friday against the Cardinals in St. Louis.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Jason Vargas, Jeff McNeil, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Pete Alonso, Robert Gsellman, Robinson Cano, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Wilson Ramos, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Jeff McNeil entered Wednesday hitting .418 (23-for-55) with five doubles, one triple, 10 RBI and a .484 on-base percentage, which was second-best in the National League and fourth-best in all of baseball. He notched two more hits on Wednesday, raising his triiple slash to .424/.485/.542.

"He's still still mostly under people's radars," a former MLB scout, now advisor to an NL team, told me earlier Wednesday. "Based on what he did last year, if he keeps this up, he won't be a secret for long."

In McNeil, I see a 27-year-old, old-school hitter with a unique story and unique bat that is destined to win multiple batting titles, the first of which could realistically happen this season.

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Apr 12, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets Keon Broxton (23) gets high fives after scoring against the Atlanta Braves during the fourth inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports (Dale Zanine)
Apr 12, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets Keon Broxton (23) gets high fives after scoring against the Atlanta Braves during the fourth inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports (Dale Zanine)

The main Mets headlines continue to center around replacing Jason Vargas with Dallas Keuchel, and whether to sign Craig Kimbrel to beef up the bullpen.

Here are four under the radar stories worth noting...

1) Broxton is better than Lagares

Tags: Juan Lagares, Pete Alonso, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

During his last 23 plate appearances, Mets 1B Pete Alonso has eight hits, including two doubles, five home runs and 10 RBI, which is an incredible stretch for any player let alone a rookie.

The common talking point among former players on TV and radio is that Alonso is reminiscent of and has the potential to be the next Aaron Judge or Joey Gallo.

However, Bobby Valentine - former Mets manager and current executive director of athletics at Sacred Heart University - told me he believes Alonso is showing signs of having a pitch recognition more like Joey Votto than either Judge or Gallo.

Tags: Pete Alonso, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

The Mets are about to embark on a 13-game stretch (during which they have one off-day) that could play a significant role in how things play out the rest of this season.

So far this year, the Mets have split their six games against the Nationals. In the next two weeks, they will play 10 games against their other top competition in the NL East, the Phillies and Braves, both of whom are tied with the Mets at 7-4 atop the division.

This will be the first this season the Mets will play either of these teams...

Read More
Comments

Oct 16, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox in game three of the 2018 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)
Oct 16, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox in game three of the 2018 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)

The Mets have continued to be in contact with free-agent starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel, according to SNY's Andy Martino.

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal recently reported that, while Keuchel would prefer a multi-year deal, he is open to signing a one-year contract worth more than the $17.9 million qualifying offer he rejected.

Brodie Van Wagenen did a terrific job this past winter working to improve the team's position player depth, but he has yet to create reliable, proven insurance for the pitching staff -- specifically the rotation. In Keuchel, Van Wagenen has the opportunity to add depth, reliability and experience to his rotation, but it also comes with a variety of cons as well...

Read More
Comments

Mickey Callaway received criticism from fans and reporters this past Saturday morning when he revealed J.D. Davis would again be hitting cleanup, despite Davis entering the game with a .150 batting average.

Wilson Ramos, who most critics felt should bat fourth, was pushed to hitting fifth, while Michael Conforto was dropped to batting sixth.

Davis, who is said to have significant support in the front office, rewarded Callaway by hitting two solo home runs against Nationals starting pitcher Patrick Corbin, the first of which was the hardest-hit home run in MLB this season, according to StatCast...

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Todd Frazier, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Mickey Callaway said Monday that Todd Frazier, who has been out since late-February due to a strained oblique, will begin a rehab assignment later this week.

Meanwhile, Jed Lowrie (knee) recently began fielding ground balls and swinging a bat from both sides of the plate, though he as yet to be cleared to run at full speed. Lowrie has been idle most of the spring as he continues to deal with a capsule sprain in his left knee.

If I'm guessing, I'd say Frazier will be back next week, while Lowrie remains out through most of April. In time, though, once Frazier and Lowrie return, the Mets will need shuffle playing time around the diamond and force Callaway and GM Brodie Van Wagenen to make some difficult decisions about the overall roster and daily lineup construction...

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

According to The Athletic, the Mets continue to check in on the market for closer Craig Kimbrel and starter Dallas Keuchel, which I'm sure is true. However, team sources Sunday were quick to leak to several reporters that Rosenthal's report is a bit overstated and that the team is simply doing standard due diligence. 

I have no doubt that Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen is always in touch with other teams and agents, keeping an open mind to any way his team can improve. So, the above report and response shouldn't be surprising because, 1) the Mets have available money in their 2019 budget, 2) they remain $30-40 million under the luxury tax threshold, and 3) both players would significantly improve Van Wagenen's roster. 

The thing is, if given the green light and forced to choose, should Van Wagenen go Keuchel or Kimbrel?

Read More
Comments

Mar 31, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano (24) celebrates with teammates after scoring in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Mar 31, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano (24) celebrates with teammates after scoring in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

The Mets won two of three games during their season-opening series against the Nationals this past weekend in Washington D.C. Here are three good and three not-so-good takeaways from the previous three games...

Up >> The offense is no one-trick pony

The Mets are no longer waiting on home runs and 'hunting strikes,' a hitting approach pushed the past few years by Sandy Alderson and his hitting coaches Dave Hudgens and Kevin Long. Instead, manager Mickey Callaway and new hitting coach Chili Davis worked this past spring to get their roster to focus more on hitting behind runners, ways to oppose the shift, making good contact, and putting the ball in play.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Peter Alonso, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Mar 31, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano (24) celebrates with teammates after scoring in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Mar 31, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano (24) celebrates with teammates after scoring in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

The Mets won two of three games during their season-opening series against the Nationals this past weekend in Washington D.C. Here are three good and three not-so-good takeaways from the previous three games...

Trending Up 

1) The offense is no one-trick pony

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Peter Alonso, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Mar 28, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets first baseman Dominic Smith (22) is congratulated by New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (36) after scoring a run against the Washington Nationals during the eighth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Mar 28, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets first baseman Dominic Smith (22) is congratulated by New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (36) after scoring a run against the Washington Nationals during the eighth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

In his first game of his second season, Mets manager Mickey Callaway had his team on autopilot through the first six innings. However, from that point on, Callaway had three important decisions to make, all of which worked out, though one could have come back to bite him...

Lugo for deGrom

In relief of Jacob deGrom, who tossed six beautiful innings, Callaway brought in reliever Seth Lugo, who tossed a perfect seventh inning by striking out the side. However, despite throwing just 15 pitches, Lugo was pulled in favor Jeurys Familia, who, in standard Familia fashion, allowed the tying run to get to the plate.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Peter Alonso, Seth Lugo, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

In the wake of making the postseason in 2015 and 2016, the Mets have gone 147-177, fired their manager, watched the face of their franchise retire, and have taken a gamble by hiring a former agent to lead their revival.

In five months, Brodie Van Wagenen has modernized the organization's front office and staff, has added five former All Stars, stabilized the depth and back end of the roster, and inked Jacob deGrom to a contract extension. At the same time, during the past two years, a shift has been created in the NL East with a large crop of young talent emerging and older players either leaving or switching teams.

The dust has settled and, to the surprise of most New York fans -- myself included -- the Mets are projected to contend for the NL East title. However, so are three other teams...

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Jason Vargas, Jeff McNeil, Jeurys Familia, Juan Lagares, Justin Wilson, Luis Guillorme, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Peter Alonso, Robert Gsellman, Robinson Cano, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Todd Frazier, Tyler Bashlor, Wilson Ramos, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Mar 8, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 8, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The way it stands, PECOTA (and most systems) project the Mets to be an 87-win team finishing second or third place in the NL East, while either winning a Wild Card spot or being right on the bubble.

However, in looking at the roster, I see these three players as having the potential to swing the above number in a significantly positive or negative direction based on what they provide in 2019.

Noah Syndergaard

Tags: Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Sep 17, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) hits an RBI double during the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Sep 17, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) hits an RBI double during the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

The contract extension has been all the rage this past month in Major League Baseball.

In addition to Jacob deGrom inking a five-year, $137.5 million deal, Mike Trout (Angels), Chris Sale (Red Sox), Paul Goldschmidt (Cardinals), Luis Severino (Yankees), Alex Bregman (Astros) and Aaron Nola (Phillies), among many others, have all recently signed contract extensions to remain long term with their current teams.

By doing so, in exchange for long-term security, each of the above players settled for slightly less money than they probably could have gotten as a free agent. Inversely, the team no longer has to fear losing the player to another team, and they also got the chance to restructure the remaining arbitration years.

Read More
Comments

Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith (SNY)
Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith (SNY)

During the summer of 2017, Mets 1B Dominic Smith was considered the top first base prospect in the minors. He was promoted to the Mets a few weeks later, at which point he was widely considered to be their long-term, future first baseman.

He struggled at the plate and in the field and was later called out in public for his preparation and eating habits by then-GM Sandy Alderson. In response, Smith changed his diet, trimmed down, and returned to Triple-A in hopes of regaining the trust of the organization. 

Thanks to Alderson's remarks, Smith, 23, entered 2019 much like he entered 2018, questioning whether he had any sort of future in the big leagues.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Peter Alonso, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Robinson Cano back in New York 00:01:31
Take a deeper look at one of the newest Mets, Robinson Cano. The veteran is expected to bring a lot to New York, this season.

During their first meeting about 2019, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen and manager Mickey Callaway agreed that their roster needed a well-respected, accomplished, battle-tested player that could handle New York and provide a heavyweight presence in the clubhouse.

According to MLB sources familiar with the deal, Van Wagenen quickly identified Robinson Cano as a possible fit. It was well known the Mariners were eager to move his contract, which -- by the way -- Van Wagenen negotiated for Cano when representing him in 2014.

In return for taking on roughly half of the $120 million left on Cano's current contract, the Mets wanted closer Edwin Diaz. In the end, after shopping a similar deal to other teams, the M's sent Cano and Diaz to the Mets for top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn, Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, and prospect Gerson Bautista while no longer having to pay roughly $60 million in payroll during the next five years...

Tags: Robinson Cano, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Mar 11, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) connects for a double against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Mar 11, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) connects for a double against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Mets 1B prospect Pete Alonso hit his fourth home run of the spring on Sunday.

"I felt like last year I had a pretty solid year and I feel like this year I'm composing myself to have an even better year," Alonso recently told reporters in St. Lucie. 

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen and manager Mickey Callaway have repeatedly said they want to leave Florida with the best 25 guys on the Opening Day roster.

Tags: Pete Alonso, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

The NL East is stacked, balanced and expected to be the most compelling division in baseball this season. In large part, this is because the division features several of the league's most dominant starting pitchers and best overall pitching staffs.

For starters, Max Scherzer (Nationals) and Jacob deGrom (Mets) are widely considered to be the top two starting pitchers in all of baseball. According to multiple projection systems and fantasy rankings, the next best 20 pitchers in the league feature an additional five arms from the NL East, including Aaron Nola (Phillies), Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler, (Mets) and Patrick Corbin (Nationals) and Stephen Strasburg (Nationals).

In 2018, among NL pitchers producing at least 2.0 fWAR, six were from the NL East, including deGrom, Scherzer, Nola, Syndergaard, Wheeler and Mike Foltynewicz (Braves). Corbin, who was with the D-backs but has since signed with the Nationals, also finished in the Top 10. If extended to the Top 20, two more Phillies join the list (Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez).

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Jason Vargas, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Jason Vargas
Jason Vargas

Mets manager Mickey Callaway and GM Brodie Van Wagenen have been consistent this entire offseason stating Jason Vargas would be their fifth starter in 2019.

Against the first batter Vargas faced this spring, he let up a home run. However, he has not allowed a run since, lowering his Grapefruit League ERA 1.08 ERA during his three starts, which is exactly what Callaway had been hoping to see.

"I really think he just needs a regular spring training, which is uninterrupted, to get himself where he needs to be," Callaway told me in January. "The regular schedule allows him to do that to the best of his ability."

Tags: Jason Vargas, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Feb 15, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) during spring training at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports  (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 15, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39) during spring training at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

In an effort to land on the best NL East bullpen, I surveyed several baseball insiders, including three MLB scouts and multiple front office and player development members from the National League.

For what it's worth, their consensus is exactly how I see the final rankings, which are as follows...

5. Marlins

Read More
Comments

New York Mets infielder Pete Alonso connects for a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets infielder Pete Alonso connects for a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

According to projections by PECOTA (published on Baseball Prospectus), with some insight from FanGraphs.com's composite projections, and my own two cents, here's how I rank each NL East team's offense heading into the season...

1. Phillies

The Phillies will clearly see a bump in run production over their results in 2018. By adding outfielders Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen, C J.T. Realmuto and SS Juan Segura, they're balanced and can sustain multiple slumps and injuries.

Read More
Comments

Pete Alonso (SNY)
Pete Alonso (SNY)

In a perfect world, best case scenario, the Mets' ideal lineup produces roughly 20.0 WAR, according to projections made by FanGraphs.

Mets manager Mickey Callaway hasn't announced an official Opening Day lineup. To date, the only clue he has given is that Brandon Nimmo will hit leadoff, Wilson Ramos will hit in the heart of the order and Amed Rosario will bat eighth in front of the pitcher. The rest of the lineup will likely depend on matchups, rest and hot and cold streaks. In either case, we know it will almost always include Michael Conforto, Jed Lowrie, Robinson Cano and -- if healthy -- Todd Frazier. When facing a right-handed starting pitcher, the lineup is also expected to include Jeff McNeil.

The wild card will be center field -- especially when the team faces left-handed starting pitchers. And, given they have four options in camp (Juan Lagares, Keon Broxton, Carlos Gomez and Rajai Davis) and room for only two of these men on the roster, it's hard to say how this one spot will play out during the next few weeks, let alone Opening Day...

Tags: Robinson Cano, Todd Frazier, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Feb 28, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets catcher Wilson Ramos (40) connects for a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 28, 2019; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets catcher Wilson Ramos (40) connects for a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The last time the Mets had a proven, reputable, everyday catcher was 2007 and 2008, when Paul LoDuca, who hit .297 with 14 HR and 103 RBI in 243 games.

In the subsequent 11 years, the Mets have run through more than 25 catchers, including Brian Schneider, Omir Santos, Rod Barajas, Josh Thole, John Buck, Kevin Plawecki and Devin Mesoraco.

The most recent player to get consistent playing time is Travis d'Arnaud, who entered each of the past five seasons considered the team's starting catcher. However, during that time, despite hype, expectations and sporadic production, he missed roughly half of the team's games due to a variety injuries.

Tags: Travis d'Arnaud, Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

The big trend in baseball this week has been teams signing soon-to-be free agents to long-term contract extensions.

The Rockies locked up superstar 3B Nolan Arenado, the Yankees secured Aaron Hicks, the Cardinals just extend pitcher Miles Mikolas and the Phillies recently committed to Aaron Nola. 

Up to kow, the only Mets player to be linked to extension talk is Jacob deGrom, who is a free agent after 2020. However, the Mets may want to start considering whether to make long-term contract offers to four more of their players...

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Pete Alonso (SNY)
Pete Alonso (SNY)

In addition to making a name for himself with light-tower home runs, Mets 1B prospect Pete Alonso has become quite the go-to voice for simple, unique and often bold quotes.

For instance, Sunday, when asked about his mammoth home run Saturday, Alonso said, "We're called hitters, we're not takers," "so if we can get a good pitch, might as well take our chance at it."

Simple. Direct. And to the point...

Read More
Comments

I'm home from Port St. Lucie. This past week was my 11th time covering and attending workout week during Spring Training. I want to say camp was laid back and more quiet than usual, but I can't say with confidence that this statement is true.

Instead, it could just be a byproduct of how Tim Tebow and Brodie Van Wagenen (as well as Mike FrancesaAlex Rodriguez and a snake) pulled the attention of fans and media.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Bryce Harper, Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Robinson Cano, Tim Tebow, Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

 (Matthew Cerrone, SNY)
(Matthew Cerrone, SNY)

Mets management repeatedly said Jeff McNeil would be a super-utility guy this coming season getting time in the outfield. I always had a difficult time picturing how this would work, though, and during my four days in camp nothing has changed.

I've only seen him on the infield. And today, with news that Jed Lowrie is in New York getting an MRI, McNeil worked one on one with coaches on on tagging runners sliding in to third base and later on his transfer turning double plays at second...

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, Todd Frazier, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

 (Matthew Cerrone/SNY)
(Matthew Cerrone/SNY)

Here in St. Lucie, you'll find veterans Robinson Cano, Todd Frazier and Jed Lowrie, but most players, coaches and team executives view the young Brandon Nimmo as having the best pitch recognition in camp.

"It was always important to my dad and coaches growing up that I swing at strikes and lay off pitches not in the zone," Nimmo told SNY, stating what seems like the obvious. "It has been a focus here, too, at least since I was drafted."

The thing is, while it may be obvious to swing at only pitches in the strike zone, Nimmo does it almost as well as anyone in baseball. According to FanGraphs.com, he swung last season at roughly 16 percent of pitches outside the strike zone, which was fifth-best among qualifying players.

Interestingly, to get as good as he is, he told me, it was more about playing catch than hitting...

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Robinson Cano, Todd Frazier, Wilson Ramos, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

A-Rod meets the Mets 00:00:41
Baseball legend Alex Rodriguez stops by Mets camp in Port St. Lucie and catches up with the players and team personnel.

I was wrong. Tim Tebow is a big deal, but Alex Rodriguez is clearly on another level.

Due to timing, I happened to be in the media room Wednesday when Rodriguez was getting wired up and prepping for what will be a walk-and-talk with Brodie Van Wagenen for ESPN. Indoors, he slunk in his chair, headphone always in, arms relaxed. This was just another day at the office, despite being surrounded by 7-10 production people and me, looking like a nervous teenager.

I said hello, because I had to do it. He understandably couldn't care less, but was not disrespectful. I'm not going to lie, my hands were shaking too much to take a picture with him. I'm a dork. But, the point being, it was not difficult to sense what would happen next...

Tags: Alex Rodriguez, Tim Tebow, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Brodie Van Wagenen (Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)
Brodie Van Wagenen (Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com)

It's not that Tim Tebow is a local legend and brings with him an enormous crowd that make his autograph sensations so unique. Mike Piazza drew similar crowds, as did David Wright.

The difference between Piazza and Wright and Tebow is that, when any fan is lucky enough to be chosen by Tebow and gets their item signed, the fan immediately turns around and is visibly giddy. 

In the case of Wright or Piazza, obviously fans were pumped to get the autograph, but they'd remain focused looking to see if there was another player coming down the line. In the case of Tebow, the selected glow, become frozen and childlike, looking as if they don't know what to do next...

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Steven Matz, Tim Tebow, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Last spring, Jose Reyes (at 34 years old) and Amed Rosario (at 22 years old) looked and behaved like brothers. When Reyes laughed at a joke, Rosario laughed at the joke. Where Jose stretched, Amed stretched. If Jose was at shortstop, Rosario was at shortstop. It all made sense. They had similar builds, similar energy, similar stories and similar expectations when entering the big leagues.

The two openly discussed talking and texting during off seasons with Reyes essentially playing the role of life coach, which is a major reason why advisors pushed Sandy Alderson to keep him around most of last season.

This time last year, Reyes, Rosario, Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes were inseparable, with Amed looking like the young pup pushing to be in the with the big dogs. That was then, though. This is now...

Tags: Amed Rosario, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Busy day for Robinson Cano 00:00:48
Watch a sizzle of the best moments of Robinson Cano's first official day at Mets Spring Training in Port St. Lucie

It's the same, but different every year at Mets camp. Same uniforms. Same fields. Same drills. Same sun, fans and heat. However, protocol and the general vibe in camp often changes from year to year.

For instance, under Willie Randolph, camp was very serious, disciplined and focused on business and professionalism. The Terry Collins years were more upbeat, peppy and chatty.

Last year, which was Mickey Callaway's first spring ever running his own camp, things were a bit sporadic, with his looking more like a player getting to know people than a manager leading a team.

Read More
Comments

As he left his position as prominent agent and head of baseball at CAA, Brodie Van Wagenen entered his new job as General Manager of the Mets surrounded by countless questions. However, while some people continue to wonder about his preparedness and potential conflicts of interest, one thing is clear, he isn't short on confidence. 

"I think 84 wins is light," Van Wagenen told WFAN's Mike Francesa on Monday. "If we do the things we're capable of, we're going to win. We're not afraid of the competition outside of the division, and we're certainly not afraid of the teams inside the division. We will and should be a playoff team."

The confidence emitting from Van Wagenen isn't just limited to fans, players and media, but is also being noticed by rival executives. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Todd Frazier, Travis d'Arnaud, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

New York City, NY, USA; General view of Citi Field between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
New York City, NY, USA; General view of Citi Field between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The top prospect sites all release their Top 10-30 players for every organization at the start of each season. However, by mid-summer, those lists end up being shaken around by guys getting traded, falling from grace, getting injured or - hopefully - improving and shooting up the ranks.

Here are five Mets prospects I believe have the potential to move up a few slots this season, be it into the organization's elite list or - in the case of one player - MLB's Top 50...

Read More
Comments

Mets pitchers and catchers will have their first official workout of Spring Training on the back fields of First Data Field on Thursday, Feb. 14.

The games, which start Feb. 23, are fun to watch. It's a sunny, upbeat, breezy environment as you're surrounded by true Mets fans and local old-timers that have been going to games here for over 30 years.

For me, though, if I had to choose, I prefer to attend the workouts, which begin this week...

Read More
Comments

Since the day he was hired in early November, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has been talking about improving his team's depth.

The Mets have suffered significant injuries during each of the past four seasons. And, to Van Wagenen's point, during each instance, the Mets were left to scramble when finding a comparable solution to whomever went on the DL.

For instance, in 2017, the Mets were bobbing around .500 and still very much in contention within the NL East. However, after losing multiple players from their Opening Day lineup, the team sank like a stone on its way to losing 92 games.

Read More
Comments