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.

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

Mets manager Mickey Callaway said in September that he intends for Jason Vargas to be in the team's rotation this coming season, a comment that is still being criticized by most Mets fans.

"I think we're the best team we can possibly be with Vargas being the guy he was last year in our rotation," Callaway said. "I think we all feel confident that Jason, when he gets going and gets on a good schedule, he's going to be competitive. That's one of the reasons we signed him."

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has made the same statement on multiple occasions this past winter, including earlier this week during an interview with SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio...

Tags: Jason Vargas, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Steven Matz
Steven Matz

Mets LHP Steven Matz is a pivotal player for the Mets, which means the difference between making or missing the playoffs could hinge on how he performs in 2019.

Assuming each takes the mound 30 times this season, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard will again be among the league's elite pitchers. There's every reason to believe Zack Wheeler, in his walk year, will continue his terrific turn-around from 2018. Jason Vargas (and the pitchers behind him) should never be counted on to be a difference-maker at any point in the season.

This leaves Matz, who, at 27 years old, is at a make-or-break point in his career. And he could be poised for a breakout...

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

Jun 12, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Clay Buchholz (32) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Camporeale)
Jun 12, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Clay Buchholz (32) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Camporeale)

The Mets are still looking to add depth to their starting rotation, but prefer to ink a veteran to a minor-league deal, according to New York sources.

For instance, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen had interest in free agent Martin Perez before the Twins signed him to a one-year, $3.5 million deal, according to Fancred's Jon Heyman. And New York also had interest in Derek Holland, who earlier this month secured a one-year, $7 million deal to remain with the Giants.

Should the Mets still be in the hunt for a starting pitcher of this magnitude, here is a short list of five remaining free agents that should interest Van Wagenen and may be willing to accept a minor-league deal.

Read More
Comments

J.D. Davis
J.D. Davis

In early January, the Mets traded with the Astros for J.D. Davis, who has the potential to be a very intriguing, possibly impactful player on the team's roster this coming season.

"J.D. is a versatile offensive talent," Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said in an e-mail after acquiring Davis "He's young, had success against lefties and he'll provide depth at the corner positions."

However, according to multiple organizational sources, in addition to having him play a variety of positions in the field, the Mets plan to get a closer look at Davis on the pitcher's mound, even if it means he can simply be used in a mop-up role...

 

Read More
Comments

USA infielder Peter Alonso hits a two-run home run in seventh inning against the World Team during the 2018 All Star Futures Game at Nationals Park. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)
USA infielder Peter Alonso hits a two-run home run in seventh inning against the World Team during the 2018 All Star Futures Game at Nationals Park. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

I am not (nor consider myself) a baseball scout. I do not regularly watch the team's top minor leaguers, so I have never bothered to create a top 10 prospect list. To me, that wouldn't be fair to the talent.

However, I talk to lots of people in and around baseball. I listen to people within the Mets organization. I read every list published online, and I talk to a variety of minor-league reporters, experts and scouts. As a result, I end every offseason with a notebook full of names that are mention most when I ask about the team's farm system.

Based on that notebook and comments by professionals, here is my list of the 10 most popular prospects in Brodie Van Wagenen's farm system.

Tags: Tim Tebow, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Sep 7, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper (34) prepares to bat in the ninth inning against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports (Evan Habeeb)
Sep 7, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper (34) prepares to bat in the ninth inning against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports (Evan Habeeb)

To date, there have been no published reports indicating the Mets have interest in or will eventually sign Bryce Harper. However, if things break the right way, I see a way Brodie Van Wagenen can step in and steal him.

Again, based on talks with industry sources, as well as multiple rival executives, here's what I believe to be true as I type this right now...

Tags: Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen poses for photographs at CitiField Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)
New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen poses for photographs at CitiField Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Based on talks this past week with people at player agencies, as well as rival front offices, including team executives, people in player development, etc., here's what insiders are saying with roughly six weeks until spring training reporting dates...

1) Mets still want a starting pitcher

According to Fancred's Jon Heyman, the Mets had interest in free agent pitcher Martin Perez before he signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Twins.

Read More
Comments

Oct 26, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson (31) celebrates after hitting a solo home run against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning in game three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports (Gary A. Vasquez)
Oct 26, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson (31) celebrates after hitting a solo home run against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning in game three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports (Gary A. Vasquez)

The Mets are still very much engaged in trade talks with other teams, according to rival sources. 

Brodie Van Wagenen told reporters this past week that, while he intends to keep his eye on all markets, he's more likely to sign a player to add depth than sign a major free agent.

Interestingly, according to multiple reports, the Dodgers continue to shop speedy centerfielder Joc Pederson, and the Cubs may now be talking with teams about super-utility player Ben Zobrist...

Read More
Comments

Earlier this week Brodie Van Wagenen said he and his staff addressed all of their primary needs and now have roster capable of making a run at the National League East title.

The Mets are better than on the last day of last season, no doubt.

However, what happens -- if reports are accurate -- and the Phillies sign a combination of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Craig Kimbrell and Dallas Kuechel? If they choose Machado, what happens if the Nationals bring back Harper? And once Harper and Machado are off the board, what happens if the Braves finally make their long-rumored splash and sign A.J. Pollock, who reportedly once interested the Mets?

Read More
Comments

Tim Tebow Mandatory Credit: Bob Karp-Daily Record via USA TODAY NETWORK (Bob Karp)
Tim Tebow Mandatory Credit: Bob Karp-Daily Record via USA TODAY NETWORK (Bob Karp)

Mets minor league outfielder Tim Tebow is one step away from being a big-league player, Mets GM and former Tebow agent Brodie Van Wagenen reitterated earlier this week at Citi Field.

Van Wagenen, who made similar comments in early November, also said he expects Tebow to open 2019 playing for the organization's new Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse.

Tebow showed progress last summer during what was his second minor league season since being signed as a free agent at the end of 2016.

Read More
Comments

Sep 3, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Luis Avilan (70) throws in the eighth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Sep 3, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Luis Avilan (70) throws in the eighth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The signing of left-handed reliever Luis Avilan went mostly unnoticed as it occurred the same day the Mets signed veteran infielder Jed Lowrie to a two-year deal.

However, I'm told by team sources that the organization firmly believes Avilan can successfully replace Jerry Blevins as the team's primary left-handed reliever.

"It's a smart pickup by the Mets, and whoever led the charge on him," an American League scout told me. "He has pitched exceptionally well since finding command of his change up."

Read More
Comments

Apr 28, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs number 10 pick Patrick Mahomes II poses for a photo with his mother Randi and father Pat during the press conference at Stram Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)
Apr 28, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs number 10 pick Patrick Mahomes II poses for a photo with his mother Randi and father Pat during the press conference at Stram Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)

The most-talked about quarterback in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes II of the Chiefs, is the son of former Mets pitcher Pat Mahomes, who you may remember from Bobby Valentine's postseason teams in 1999 and 2000.

Earlier this season, the young Mahomes arrived at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City wearing his father's No. 23 Mets jersey

"Pat Mahomes was honestly one of the best guys I ever managed," Valentine told me earlier Monday about the elder Mahomes. "He was a pitcher, but also one of the best athletes I ever had. He could hit and run the bases, so much so I considered occasionally using him in the outfield."

Read More
Comments

Mets sources have been saying since December's Winter Meetings that Jeff McNeil will get time this spring playing second base, third base, outfield and possibly some first base.

These statements were hinted at before Jed Lowrie was inked to a two-year deal, so they are probably even more true today than eight weeks ago.

McNeil was awesome last season, albeit in a small sample size. The thing is, the guy has always hit regardless of the level of competition. And, since being forced to change his swing after suffering an injury two years ago, he's developed extra base pop that no longer can be viewed as a fluke...

Read More
Comments

It's possible that in just three years, the era of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler with the Mets will be nothing but a memory. It seems like just yesterday that the above group, plus Matt Harvey, were popping champagne bottles on their way to the World Series. The future was bright.  

Zack Wheeler will be free to leave after this season. DeGrom, 30, can be a free agent two years from now, with Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz up for free agency the year after that.

The hope is that -- at the very least -- deGrom will be inked to a long-term contract extension before he can sniff the open market. However, the longer both sides wait, the more he will be tempted by freedom.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

The Mets' current lineup is better than last year with the additions of Robinson Cano and Wilson Ramos, but is it enough to avoid the offensive ups and downs suffered the past few seasons?

The way it stands, FanGraphs.com projects the Mets to have the seventh-most productive set of bats in the National League. Overall, the team projects to be the NL's fifth-best, but that is largely due to the pitching staff, which projects to be the best.

The thing is, if Cano, Ramos or Michael Conforto go down with an injury, let alone two of them dropping at the same time, the Mets will return to scrambling when forced to again lean on Todd Frazier to be a veteran, power presence in the lineup. Which is why they need to add more...

Read More
Comments

Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper

While the Mets' projected starting outfield currently consists of Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo, that doesn't mean that will be their outfield come Opening Day.

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen is still pursuing another outfielder, SNY's Andy Martino said Wednesday afternoon, and repeatedly said in late 2018 he hoped to add an everyday center fielder as opposed to another corner outfielder.

With Yoenis Cespedes' return date unclear -- top advisor Omar Minaya said, "If [Cespedes] gives us anything this year, that is gravy." -- that further indicates the team's need for another outfielder. 

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen poses for photographs at CitiField Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)
New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen poses for photographs at CitiField Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has said on multiple occasions this winter that upgrading and stablizing center field is a priority for him when building next year's roster. 

The Giants, Mariners, Rockies, Rangers and White Sox have all reportedly been looking for a new center fielder as well. 

The overall market for everyday outfielders, especially up the middle, has been weak. 

Read More
Comments

Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper

Even after adding Wilson Ramos and Robinson Cano, Mets GM Brodie VanWagenen said Tuesday that he'd like to add another infielder or outfielder (or two) to the roster.

"We're not as concerned about left-handed or right-handed now, we just want to have complementary pieces," he added.

Like most Mets fans, I hear, "Add," and I think free agents Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, A.J. Pollack and Mike Moustakas. However, as SNY's Andy Martino reported Tuesday night, the above more likely means spending on multiple in-between players to add depth and round out to the roster. Unlike during previous offseasons, there has been very little reporting on the team's winter budget and their expected payroll for 2019. The number has so far been a mystery, which is furthered by Van Wagenen being a first time GM...

Read More
Comments

The first responsibility of a talent agent is to establish options in the marketplace, which allows him or her to create leverage against the client's top target. Then, and only then, is it time to strike a deal. In case you forgot, Brodie Van Wagenen was a prominent player agent prior to being hired as GM of the Mets in October.

As GM, I 100 percent believe he hoped to acquire Marlins C J.T. Realmuto. However, I also believe he learned early on that Miami's ask for Realmuto would be significantly more than Van Wagenen was willing to pay. So, instead of turning his back on the Marlins, he continued to engage them, while signaling to reporters and other teams that he was laser focused on trading for what many consider to be the top catcher in baseball.

Meanwhile, according to multiple reports, he met with free agents Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos, after which rumors about the Mets and Marlins and Realmuto reached a fever pitch...

Read More
Comments

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock warms up before his at-bat against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning at AT&T Park. (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)
Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock warms up before his at-bat against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning at AT&T Park. (Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets remain in the market for an everyday center fielder and possibly one or two more additions to the bullpen, particularly a left-handed reliever. Here are the latest rumors from each of the above markets, followed by my take...

The everyday catcher

The Mets and free-agent C Wilson Ramos agreed to a two-year, $19 million contract on Sunday. The contract also includes a $10 million club option or a $1.5 million buyout for 2021, according to James Wagner of the NY Times.

Read More
Comments

April 29, 2007; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets pitcher (13) Billy Wagner pitches against the Washington Nationals in the ninth inning at RFK stadium in Washington, DC. The New York Mets defeated the Washington Nationals 1-0. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports Copyright © James Lang (James Lang-USA TODAY Sports)
April 29, 2007; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets pitcher (13) Billy Wagner pitches against the Washington Nationals in the ninth inning at RFK stadium in Washington, DC. The New York Mets defeated the Washington Nationals 1-0. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports Copyright © James Lang (James Lang-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Mets closer Billy Wagner received just 11 percent of 422 possible votes one year ago when he again missed out on being elected to the Hall of Fame, and he's not trending in the right direction during this year's voting.

Sadly, Wagner has consistently fallen short of the 75-percent threshold needed for an induction. He received just 10.5 percent during 2016 -- his first year on the ballot.

In 16 seasons, Wagner pitched for the Astros, Mets, Phillies, Red Sox, and Braves, for whom he collected 422 saves with a 2.31 ERA and 0.99 WHIP with 1,196 strikeouts in 903 innings. The opposition hit just .187 against him, while striking out 33 percent of the time, both of which are the most all-time among pitchers who have thrown at least 800 innings during their careers. So why does he keep getting overlooked for the Hall?

Read More
Comments

This past Monday, I wrote that I expected Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen to do the following five things by end of the week's MLB Winter Meetings, which concluded Thursday.

So, what did he do, what didn't he do, and how will he approach the rest of the offseason?

1. Sign a high-end free-agent reliever

Tags: Amed Rosario, Asdrubal Cabrera, Brandon Nimmo, Jeurys Familia, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Todd Frazier, Zack Wheeler, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

The Red Sox are most in search of help in the bullpen, that much is clear based on what reports and insiders said of their past week at the MLB Winter Meetings.

However, it has also been reported that they're looking to get younger in their rotation and have interest in a young, hard-throwing, dominant, under-team-control starting pitcher.

This reads very much like Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard, who has been the subject of countless trade rumors dating back to early November.

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Jun 24, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Anthony Gruppuso)
Jun 24, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)

The Mets bringing back Jeurys Familia on a three-year, $30 million deal feels at first like a sidestep, as opposed to an upgrade.

The reality is that he's a known commodity coming off five-consecutive successful seasons, and he's a veteran reliever with experience pitching in high-leverage situations under the bright lights and pressure of New York City.

The thing is, the above credentials may not be where he provides the most value to the Mets.

Tags: Jeurys Familia, Matthew Cerrone
Read More
Comments

Oct 26, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal (9) throws to first for an out against Boston Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt (not pictured) in the second inning in game three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports (Richard Mackson)
Oct 26, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal (9) throws to first for an out against Boston Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt (not pictured) in the second inning in game three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports (Richard Mackson)

The MLB Winter Meetings conclude Thursday afternoon following the annual Rule 5 Draft.

The signing of free agent Jeurys Familia has been the only significant acquisition made by the Mets this week, despite being consistently linked in rumor to the following pursuits...

Adding an everyday catcher

 

Read More
Comments

Sep 18, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) singles in a run in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Sep 18, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) singles in a run in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

The MLB Winter Meetings are underway in Las Vegas and conclude Thursday morning after the Rule 5 Draft.

The Mets are in the market for an everyday catcher and center fielder and possibly one or two more additions to the bullpen.

Here are the latest rumors from each of the above markets, followed by my own insight and analysis...

Read More
Comments

The good news is that, based on the number of hot stove rumors surrounding the Mets, it's clear GM Brodie Van Wagenen is interested in making big moves.

The bad news is that, based on the number of hot stove rumors surrounding the Mets, if he doesn't make a big move, fans, reporters, other teams and players will see him as all talk and no action...

"I'll admit, I was one of the many people who were skeptical about him going from agent to GM," a rival assistant GM told me Tuesday. However, he continued, "I've never seen anyone change perception and increase his profile so much and as so fast as Brodie has done during the past few weeks."

Read More
Comments

Sep 7, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) throws to first base to retire Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Chris Archer (not pictured) during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Sep 7, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) throws to first base to retire Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Chris Archer (not pictured) during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

The MLB Winter Meetings officially are underway through Thursday in Las Vegas.

Here are the latest headlines and rumblings from each of the above markets, followed by my own insight and anaylsis.

Van Wagenen's pursuit of J.T. Realmuto...

The Mets are considered one of only three teams still in the mix to trade for Marlins C J.T. Realmuto, according to MLB.com's veteran Miami reporter Joe Frisaro.

Read More
Comments