Mets Merized Online » MLB News & Notes http://metsmerizedonline.com Tue, 21 Feb 2017 01:19:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.18 MLB Considers Changing Order of Batting Practice http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/mlb-considers-changing-order-of-batting-practice.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/mlb-considers-changing-order-of-batting-practice.html/#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:05:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=231322 wilmer flores

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Commissioners Office and the Players Association are in talks to change the order of batting practice.

As it stands right now, the home team takes BP first, then the visitors. Under this new order, the home team would hit second, with the visitors hitting first.

Major League Baseball is doing this with hopes that if the home team is hitting closer to game time, more hometown fans would show up to the ballpark early.

As Sherman states, this change could definitely create more revenue for MLB. The earlier fans show up to the ballpark, the more money they’re spending at the ballpark, and the more money MLB would be making.

In the case for the players, for 81 of the 162 games they can stay with family a little longer. The later the home team has to be at the stadium, the more time they can spend with family. The away team may not like this, as they would have to spend more time in the visiting clubhouse.

I personally think this would be a great idea for the MLB. I love showing up early to watch BP, however I would prefer to watch the Mets take batting practice rather than the away team. I know plenty of fans who show up for batting practice regardless, however I think even more fans would get to the ballpark early if they can see the home team take their hacks in the cages.

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Braves Acquire Brandon Phillips From Reds http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/braves-acquire-brandon-phillips-from-reds.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/braves-acquire-brandon-phillips-from-reds.html/#comments Sun, 12 Feb 2017 06:26:41 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230972 brandon-phillips

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal via Twitter, the Cincinnati Reds have dealt veteran second baseman Brandon Phillips to the Atlanta Braves. The Reds are getting very little in return apparently as they were eager just to open up a roster spot and save some some money. A three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove award winner, Phillips waived his no-trade clause to make the deal possible.

The Reds are reportedly eating a good portion of the $14 million dollars that is left on Phillips’ final year of his contract. They have been desperate to deal Phillips ever since they acquired second base prospect Dilson Herrera from the New York Mets at the trade deadline last season in exchange for outfielder Jay Bruce. Herrera will now take over at the keystone for Cincinnati and make his Reds debut in 2017.

On the other side of the deal, Phillips, who makes his home in Atlanta, will take over as the Braves starting second baseman after they lost Sean Rodriguez for 3-6 months due to injuries he suffered in a car accident last month.

Rodriguez was hospitalized along with his wife and children but luckily all survived the crash and were not critically injured. Rodriguez is scheduled to have shoulder surgery next week.

A career .274/.320/.421 hitter, Phillips hit .291/.320/.416 with 34 doubles, 11 home runs, 64 RBI, 74 runs scored and 14 stolen bases for the Reds in last season.

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Blue Jays Sign Joe Smith To One-Year Deal http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/blue-jays-sign-joe-smith-to-one-year-deal.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/blue-jays-sign-joe-smith-to-one-year-deal.html/#comments Sun, 05 Feb 2017 11:18:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230636 joe smith

The Toronto Blue Jays have have agreed to a one-year deal with right-handed reliever Joe Smith, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports who reported the news via Twitter late on Saturday night.

Free agent relievers have been literally flying off the board in the last 48 hours at an incredible pace leaving the likes of Joe Blanton and Travis Wood as the current remaining top options. Not a knock on them, but just to illustrate how different the landscape has changed in two days.

The New York Mets had shown interest in the side-arming Smith according to an earlier report by Rosenthal, but they took care of business early in the day by signing Tom Gorzelanny to a minor league deal Saturday morning and then following that up with a 1-2 punch, locking down veteran relievers Fernando Salas and Jerry Blevins to complete their bullpen shopping list with just eight days to spare before pitchers and catchers report to camp.

Smith, 32, has been one of the most reliable relievers in the game since 2009, appearing in 503 games (7th among Major League relievers), with a 2.80 ERA, 146 holds (5th), 1.151 WHIP, and 203 runners stranded (6th). However, he is coming off a down 2016 season plagued by oblique and hamstring injuries.

The former Met started the season with the Angels before being traded to the Cubs in August in exchange for Minor Leaguer Jesus Castillo.

For his career, Smith has fared much better against right-handed hitters, holding them to a .215/.286/.305 slash line, compared to lefties who have slashed .244/.337/.369.

Smith is at his best when he induces ground balls, currently at a 56.2% rate for his career. When batters hit ground balls off of Smith, the results are rarely in their favor, as he has held them to a .210/.210/.220 slash line in 920 at-bats.

I always loved Joe Smith from the moment he first made his debut with the Mets, and I was sad to see him get dealt in that awful J.J. Putz deal that completely blew up in our faces. You may remember Putz was damaged goods and we never had him take a physical.

And the worst part was that we had just signed K-Rod so we didn’t really need to make the deal, it was unnecessary and Joe Smith had shown enough the previous season to give him a shot at that 7th or 8th inning role.

Unfortunately for us, Smith would go on to be everything we hoped Putz would be and he had himself a pretty impressive major league career, with at least three seasons that were arguably All Star caliber in my opinion. Ergh….

Site Note:

Psst… As we begin our 13th season of covering the Mets, I could just post the details of this news in about 5-6 sentences like everyone else and spare you all my incessant blabbering. :) Believe me, it would be a lot easier for us, but we love adding in our Mets point of views when we can, as well as providing some extra detail.

That said, if you prefer the condensed version on news and notes, just let me know in the comments and I will make sure to spread the word to all our writers. I understand that digital media and reporting is always evolving and changing, so each year around this time I like to check in with our readership to see what your likes and dislikes are. Thanks for the feedback. We love you guys and gals….

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Cleveland Indians Sign Lefty Reliever Boone Logan http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/cleveland-indians-sign-lefty-reliever-boone-logan.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/02/cleveland-indians-sign-lefty-reliever-boone-logan.html/#comments Thu, 02 Feb 2017 20:12:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230470 boone-logan-mlb-toronto-blue-jays-colorado-rockies

According to Ken Rosental of Fox Sports, the Cleveland Indians have signed left-handed reliever Boone Logan, pending a physical. Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes reports that the deal is for one-year with a club option. The Logan deal could be a good measure for what Jerry Blevins might be able to get.

Logan, 32, had great 2016 season with the Rockies with a ERA of 3.69 in 66 games. He struck out 57 batters in 46.1 innings while pitching to an impressive WHIP of 1.01. Logan was even better vs lefties in 2016, holding to them a lowly .142/.222/.252 slash line.

Earlier this offseason, it was reported that the New York Mets showed interest in the veteran Logan. The Mets 40-man roster currently has Sean Gilmartin, Josh Edgin and Josh Smoker as their only lefty relievers.

Jerry Blevins is now easily the best lefty reliever left on the free agent market and the Mets may be willing to give him two years according to a recent report.

Other lefty relievers still available via free agency are Javier Lopez, Travis Wood, Craig Breslow and former Met Chris Capuano.

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Royals Agree To Two-Year Deal With Brandon Moss http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/royals-agree-to-two-year-deal-with-brandon-moss.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/royals-agree-to-two-year-deal-with-brandon-moss.html/#comments Sun, 29 Jan 2017 18:47:30 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=230253 brandon moss

Jim Bowden of ESPN reports that the Kansas City Royals and have agreed to a two-year, $12 million dollar contract with free agent first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss. The deal is pending a physical.

Moss, 33, belted 28 home runs with 67 RBIs in 464 plate appearances for the St. Louis Cardinals last season, however after a dreadful second half, he ended the year with a .225/.300/.484 batting line. Still, his .784 OPS was the highest since his 2013 season.

It’s another slugger off the market, but that still leaves Mike Napoli, Chris Carter and Mark Reynolds ready, willing and able.

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Does Anybody Want Matt Wieters? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/does-anybody-want-matt-wieters.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/does-anybody-want-matt-wieters.html/#comments Tue, 24 Jan 2017 15:30:10 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229943 matt-wieters

Across Major League Baseball, Pitchers and Catchers are set to report to Spring Training in three weeks.  Surprisingly, Matt Wieters, a four time All-Star and two time Gold Glove winner, has yet to find a team to report to.  Worse yet, it does not seem as if there is a strong interest for his services on the free agent market, certainly not in the National League East.

Recently, the Atlanta Braves, who were once rumored to have interest in Wieters, decided to sure up their catching situation by signing former Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki.

After losing Wilson Ramos to first injury and then free agency, the Washington Nationals obtained Derek Norris in a trade with the San Diego Padres.  With Wieters still lingering on the free agent market, it has caused some to speculate that the Nationals may become interested.  They’re not.

According to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, “the Nationals have never been particularly high on Wieters internally, according to a person familiar with their thinking, and harbor concerns about his defense and his health.”  Janes later notes in her article that at this time the Nationals remain focused on improving their bullpen.

The Mets appear to agree with the Nationals impression of Wieters, and are similarly not interested.  As reported by John Harper of the New York Daily News earlier this month, someone affiliated with the Mets told him, ““We’re not spending our money on a catcher.”

Last season, Wieters played in 124 games hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 homers and 66 RBI.  Overall, Wieters would finish with an 87 OPS+ and an 88 wRC+, which indicates Wieters was a below average hitter.  Worse yet, according to StatCorner, Wieters has ranked among the worst pitch framers in all of baseball.

Wieters struggles at and behind the plate are a good indication why there has not been much of a market for him this offseason.  It is also a good indication why the Mets would rather bet on Travis d’Arnaud rebounding in 2016 while letting Rene Rivera serve as both d’Arnaud’s backup and Noah Syndergaard‘s personal catcher.  It should be noted both d’Arnaud and Rivera have consistently been good pitch framers.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, the teams currently considering signing Wieters are the Orioles, Angels, Rockies, and the Reds.

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Rangers Sign Dillon Gee To Minor League Deal http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/rangers-sign-dillon-gee-to-minor-league-deal.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/rangers-sign-dillon-gee-to-minor-league-deal.html/#comments Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:10:29 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229620 dillon gee kc

The Texas Rangers announced that they have signed right-hander Dillon Gee to a minor league deal.

Gee, 30, is still recovering from thoracic outlet surgery — the same procedure that Matt Harvey is attempting to come back from this Spring.

A former New York Met, Gee is expected to compete for a fifth starter spot with Tyson Ross, A.J. Griffin, Chi Chi Gonzalez, and Nick Martinez. Given his experience in relief, he could also win a job in the Rangers’ bullpen.

Last year, Gee made 33 appearances for the Kansas City Royals, 14 as a starter, and posted a 4.68 ERA, 1.464 WHIP, 5.25 FIP, and a 6.4 K/9 in 125 innings pitched.

In six seasons with the Mets, Gee had a 40-37 record with a 4.03 ERA, 1.310 WHIP, 4.25 FIP and 6.45 K/9 in 110 starts and foure relief appearances.

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Phillies Sign Michael Saunders To One Year Deal With Option http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/phillies-sign-michael-saunders-to-one-year-deal-with-option.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/phillies-sign-michael-saunders-to-one-year-deal-with-option.html/#comments Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:25:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229567 USP MLB: TORONTO BLUE JAYS AT CLEVELAND INDIANS S BBA USA OH

The Philadelphia Phillies and free-agent outfielder Michael Saunders have agreed to a one-year deal worth $9 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The contract also includes a club option worth $11 million with escalators that can increase the option to as much as $14 million.

Saunders, 30, hit a career-high 24 home runs last season for the Toronto Blue Jays with an .811 OPS, earning himself his first All-Star nod.

With Jose Bautista set to re-sign with the Toronto Blue Jays, that’s two more sluggers off the free agent market which could make it easier for Mets GM to deal Jay Bruce. However, Mark Trumbo, Chris Carter and Mike Napoli are still unsigned.

Original Report – Jan 16

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network on Twitter, the Philadelphia Phillies and free agent OF Michael Saunders are closing in on a deal.

Saunders, 30, spent the early portion of his career with the Seattle Mariners, but has spent the last two with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Appearing in only nine games for Toronto in 2015, Saunders clubbed 24 homers and drove in 57 runs while receiving regular playing time this past season.

2016 also saw the veteran outfielder hit to a .253/.338/.478 clip which was the best of his career.

Altogether Saunders is a career 8.5 oWAR player, but his defense is where his game suffers, holding a career -3.2 dWAR.

Saunders will join a Phillies outfield that also includes Aaron Altherr, Odubel Herrera and the newly acquired Howie Kendrick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today.

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Possible Alternative To Tommy John Surgery Emerging http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/possible-alternative-to-tommy-john-surgery-emerging.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/possible-alternative-to-tommy-john-surgery-emerging.html/#comments Sun, 15 Jan 2017 14:00:16 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229234 sandy alderson matt harvey

Back in 2013, Mets fans were shocked and depressed when Matt Harvey missed the remainder of the regular season with a torn UCL. Initially, it seemed Harvey did not want the surgery, but eventually he agreed to go through with it. Fortunately for Harvey, after a lengthy rehabilitation process with no setbacks, he eventually returned and became an important part of a 2015 rotation that went all the way to the World Series.

While rehabilitating, he worked alongside former Mets starter Jeremy Hefner. In 2012 and 2013, Hefner had performed better than expected with the Mets, and he finally began to fill a flexible role in the organization as a spot starter. The team even tendered him a contract while he was rehabbing from his own Tommy John surgery. However, disaster struck, and Hefner would need yet another Tommy John surgery. He would miss all of the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The Mets would non-tender him, and he eventually agreed to a minor league contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.

These are just two of the countless stories we have seen with the Mets when it comes to Tommy John surgery. Not too long ago, we heard how Jacob deGrom learned how to throw the change-up from former Mets ace Johan Santana while he was rehabilitating from his own Tommy John surgery. It was a great story, and it was something that forever changed the trajectory of deGrom’s career. There have been other Mets who have had their careers altered due to the procedure.

At one point in his career, Bobby Parnell was deemed the Mets closer of the future. In 2013, he took over the role and he recorded 22 saves. In 2014, he would be named the Opening Day closer. It lasted all of one inning as Parnell was shut down with elbow pain and was diagnosed with a torn UCL that required Tommy John surgery. He tried to come back in 2015, but he did not have the same velocity and his command had abandoned him. The Mets showed no interest in re-signing him and Parnell ended up signing a minor league deal with the Detroit Tigers. After six major league appearances that saw him post a 6.75 ERA, Parnell was released that August.

zack wheeler out

Of course, the biggest name with the Mets to have issues post-Tommy John surgery was Zack Wheeler. Right before the 2015 season was set to begin, Wheeler was diagnosed with a torn UCL. He would have the surgery, however his rehab process was fraught with various setbacks. He was initially slated to rejoin the Mets starting rotation around the 2016 All Star break. But instead after beginning a rehab assignment he threw just one inning for Class-A St. Lucie before being shut down for the season. Now, the Mets are discussing whether they should move him to the bullpen for at least the start of the season.

For some pitchers like Hefner, Parnell, and Wheeler, Tommy John Surgery hasn’t gone as smoothly as it has for so many other documented cases. But there now may be a new breakthrough in how orthopedic surgeons go about repairing a torn elbow ligament.

Derrick Gould of the St. Louis Dispatch reports that Cardinals right-hander Seth Maness has undergone a new surgical procedure called “primary repair” which is described as “a repair and buttressing of the existing ligament at the bone, and not the complete reconstruction of the ligament.”

Like Dodgers left-hander Tommy John before him, Seth Maness is now a trailblazer that may have this new surgery named after him. The physician that performed the surgery, Dr. George Paletta, spoke about the procedure saying:

“In select cases of UCL tears, with this technique, they have the real potential to not miss the next year. This is potentially a huge stride forward in three ways. First, early results show a high success rate. Second, a return to play is cut by 40 percent. That’s a huge factor. We are able to accelerate the return-to-throwing (rehab) program for the athletes. With this technique at the end of 2016 we have a pitcher who is ready to pitch in games by opening day.”

“And the third way, as a consequence of this, in the right setting, one would feel more confident moving to surgery early on.”

Believe it or not, Maness is a week away from being able to take the mound after a little more than seven months after the surgery. It is expected the free agent reliever will be ready to pitch on Opening Day. Once he takes the mound, there is going to be a lot of interest in his performance.

Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, another surgeon who performs this surgery and the managing partner at the Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, AL noted there is now a lot of interest in how Maness performs post-surgery:

“People are watching this and it’s an interesting thing for all of us. There is a lot that we need to learn from Seth, a lot that we need to learn from all of the guys (who have had it). We need the data. There are still so many hurdles to go over, but we’re excited to watch what is going to happen because of what is possible. We’re going to follow him very closely.”

Therein lies the rub. We had gotten to the point with Tommy John surgery where it had felt almost routine; where we looked at pitchers like Masahiro Tanaka and wondered why he just didn’t get the surgery. The “primary repair” or Seth Maness Surgery is far from that point. However, if Maness has a strong 2017 season, and a couple of more pitchers follow his path, and have similar success stories, the treatment for torn UCLs may have been revolutionized.

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Alderson: Trading Bruce Isn’t Prerequisite For Signing Reliever http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/alderson-trading-bruce-isnt-prerequisite-for-signing-reliever.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/alderson-trading-bruce-isnt-prerequisite-for-signing-reliever.html/#comments Thu, 12 Jan 2017 17:37:58 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228935 jay bruce

Sandy Alderson said that the New York Mets current payroll is tolerable according to Adam Rubin of ESPN. During the same conversation the Mets GM said that Jay Bruce and his $13 million salary still being on the roster doesn’t necessarily stop the Mets from adding a free agent reliever.

The free agent reliever market still includes Jerry Blevins, Fernando Salas, Sergio Romo, Joe Blanton, Greg Holland, Neftali Feliz and many others that could presumably help the Mets bullpen in the upcoming season.

Previous Report – Jan 6

In a new report from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, one ”rival GM” says the New York Mets should have declined the $13 million option on Jay Bruce. He also asserts that not only is Bruce in low demand now, but he was also in low demand when the Mets acquired him for Dilson Herrera and Max Wotell at the trade deadline.

Based upon the statements from this rival GM, Rosenthal speculates the Mets will likely have to include cash in any potential Bruce trade. Moreover, Rosenthal states that even with the Mets including money in a deal, the return for Bruce is still likely to be minimal.

It should be noted that earlier this offseason Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported the Mets were not interested in eating any of Bruce’s or Curtis Granderson‘s contract as part of any trade. At the time of this report, the Mets were rumored to have been involved in trade discussions with the Orioles. Earlier today the Orioles traded for left-handed hitting outfielder Seth Smith.

Even with this latest bit of bad news on the Bruce trade front, the Mets picking up his $13 million option has served a purpose. According to one Mets official, picking up his option did give them insurance in the event they lost Yoenis Cespedes and also gave the Mets some leverage in contract negotiations. “When you buy insurance, it doesn’t come for free,” said the Mets official.

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Orioles Pessimistic On Trumbo, Interested In Bourn http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/orioles-pessimistic-on-trumbo-interested-in-bourn.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/orioles-pessimistic-on-trumbo-interested-in-bourn.html/#comments Tue, 10 Jan 2017 20:27:38 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229121 mark-trumbo

According to Roch Kubato of MASN, the Orioles and Mark Trumbo have not made any progress in their contract discussions.  While it was noted the Orioles remain interested in re-signing Trumbo, it is believed the two sides are not going to be able to reach a deal.

In a separate report from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Orioles are interested in signing free agent outfielder Michael Bourn to address the team’s outfield defense.

The Orioles signing either player could have an impact on the Jay Bruce market.  Earlier in the offseason, it was reported the Mets were interested in trading Bruce for Orioles reliever Brad Brach.  According to reports, the Orioles were more interested in Curtis Granderson, and they wanted the Mets to pay part of the salary of either outfielder that would have been traded in a potential deal.

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Teams Are Still Asking About Andrew McCutchen http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/teams-are-still-asking-about-andrew-mccutchen.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/teams-are-still-asking-about-andrew-mccutchen.html/#comments Sun, 08 Jan 2017 20:35:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=229044 mccutchen

Despite repeated statements by Pirates GM Neal Huntington that Andrew McCutchen is not available, teams continue to ask about the Bucs center fielder, according to what sources are telling Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

Cafardo says the Seattle Mariners could be one of those teams despite recently acquiring Jarrod Dyson after dealing Seth Smith to the Baltimore Orioles.

McCutchen, 30, is a five-time All-Star and finished in the top five of the NL MVP voting every year from 2012-15, while actually winning the award in 2013.

However, last season was not very kind to McCutchen as he endured the worst season of his career, batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 homers and 79 RBI. His defense in center field has also reached an all time low.

McCutchen is owed $14 million in 2017 and he comes with a team option worth $14.5 million for the 2018 season. That’s not too bad for teams that may want to gamble that last year was a fluke and that Cutch will bounce back.

Huntington created a real problem for himself as it was no secret he was aggressively shopping McCutchen at the Winter Meetings. It’s going to tough to see a star like McCutchen, who wears his heart on his sleeve, face all those trade questions in spring training, and that’s why many believe there’s still a chance he will be dealt.

The Mets reportedly checked in on McCutchen last month, but there was never any traction between the two teams and talks never progressed to anything serious. One MLB insider told MMO that the Mets were simply “kicking the tires.”

With GM Sandy Alderson admitting that the team expects payroll to be lower than the current $150 million level by Opening Day, the Mets would have to move both Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson to make room for McCutchen, and quite honestly they are having a problem just moving one of them.

Eventually, the Mets will find a team that will take Bruce off their hands even if they have to eat $5 million dollars. That will leave the Mets with Yoenis Cespedes in left, Michael Conforto in right, and a platoon of Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares in center.

And you know what? I believe the Mets outfield will be one of the top producing outfields in 2017. Cespedes could have his best season yet, Conforto is too good not to bounce back with a breakthrough season, and a Grandy & Lagares platoon in center will be more productive than you think.

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Reds Agree To One-Year Deal With Drew Storen http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/reds-agree-to-one-year-deal-with-drew-storen.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2017/01/reds-agree-to-one-year-deal-with-drew-storen.html/#comments Tue, 03 Jan 2017 21:34:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228796 drew storen 2

According to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, the Cincinnati Reds have reached an agreement with free agent reliever Drew Storen on a one year deal worth $3 million dollars. He can earn an additional $1.5 million via incentives for appearances and games finished.

Storen, 29, had a down year in 2016, going 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA (4.21 FIP) and a 1.335 WHIP in 57 appearances for Toronto and Seattle. However, from 2010 to 2015 he was an integral part of the Washington Nationals bullpen, serving as their closer at times and posting a 3.02 ERA and 1.129 WHIP in 164 relief appearances while racking up 164 saves.

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Rob Manfred Looking at Ways to Improve Pace of Play http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/rob-manfred-looking-at-ways-to-improve-pace-of-play.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/rob-manfred-looking-at-ways-to-improve-pace-of-play.html/#comments Thu, 29 Dec 2016 11:00:07 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228517 manfred-rob

Major League Baseball commissioner, Rob Manfred, is continuing to explore ways in which he may be able to speed up the pace of play in today’s game. The commish spoke with John Harper of the NY Daily News about the possible ways he may look to do this.

In Minor League baseball, a 20-second pitch clock is utilized to help speed up the pace of play. If a pitcher does not start his windup before this 20-second clock ticks to zero, a ball is awarded to the batter.

“The reason I like the clock is not that I’m looking to force somebody to do something, but I think it is a constant reminder of the need to move things along, and I think that’s really important in terms of dealing with the pace-of-play issues,” Manfred said.

“It’s had great results in the minor leagues. Quantitative data shows that it made the games go faster, but equally important, players don’t complain about it. They get used to it and they work within it.”

This could be a decent rule to implement to the Major League level as it is not too intrusive to changing the integrity of America’s pastime. It will help to speed things along quite a bit while upping the pressure on a pitcher in high leverage situations. No longer will they be able to stalk around the mound and compose themselves while readying to face a batter in a key moment of the game.

On the more controversial front, Manfred has explored limiting the usage of relievers.

“I don’t want to pre-judge these issues. The easiest things to deal with are dead time. How much time does it take a batter to get into the box? How much time is there between pitches? How much time does it take to effectuate a pitching change? There are lots of things around the concept of a pitching change. How quickly does the guy get in from the bullpen? How many warm-up pitches does he need?

“Those are all non-competitive things. When you get into dictating the use of a particular kind of player that affects the competition more directly, you have to go slower.”

The commissioner does not go into detail on what this may look like but it is hard not to ponder what this could mean. Could we see a minimum on how many batters a reliever must face when entering a game? Could this eliminate the lefty specialist who just comes in to face that one batter? It is interesting to think where this may go and how it effects a team’s philosophy of putting together a bullpen.

Pitching changes and pinch hitters have been the ultimate game of chess between opposing managers for years. Changing this rule would certainly be a controversial one to say the least. It though cannot be argued on the impact it may have in the change of pace in a game where at times you may see four pitching changes in just one inning.

With Manfred continually looking for ways to keep baseball up with the times, there is certain to be more changes coming. At times though it also hard not to worry at just how much change Manfred may be looking to do with our favorite game.

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Angels Sign Free Agent Outfielder Ben Revere http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/angels-sign-free-agent-outfielder-ben-revere.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/angels-sign-free-agent-outfielder-ben-revere.html/#comments Sat, 24 Dec 2016 01:16:43 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228385 ben-revere

The Los Angeles Angels have agreed to a one-year, $4 million dollar contract with free-agent outfielder Ben Revere, as reported by ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. Incentives could increase the total value of the deal to $6.25 million.

Revere, 28, had a career worst season for the Washington Nationals in 2016, after suffering an oblique injury to begin the season. He batted just .217/.260/.300 with 44 runs scored and 14 stolen bases in 375 plate appearances.

A career .306 hitter entering last season, the speedy center fielder will look to bounceback next season with the Angels where he’ll likely serve as their fourth outfielder.

A former first rounder with the Minnesota Twins, Revere had some value as the long end of a platoon with his left-handed bat. Given his .234 BABIP and excellent contact rate, a return to his previous form is not out of the question.

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Phillies Acquire Clay Buchholz http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/phillies-acquire-clay-buchholz.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/phillies-acquire-clay-buchholz.html/#comments Tue, 20 Dec 2016 16:59:35 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228271 clay-buchholz

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Philadelphia Phillies have acquired Clay Buchholz from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for second base prospect Josh Tobias.

The 32 year old Buchholz has had an uneven career with the Red Sox posting a career 81-61 record with a 3.96 ERA and a 1.303 WHIP.  Notably, Buchholz struggled last season, and he was demoted to the bullpen for a stretch.  Overall, Buchholz would make 21 starts and 16 relief appearances going 8-10 with a 4.78 ERA and a 1.328 WHIP.  Buchholz is scheduled to be a free agent after the season.

Tobias was the Phillies 2015 10th round draft pick out of the University of Florida.  Last season, Tobias split time between the Sally and Florida State Leagues.  In his combined 127 games at these levels, he hit .291/.362/.422 with nine homers and 69 RBI.

Given Buchholz’s $13.5 million salary next year, the Phillies have presumably obtained him to round out their starting rotation.  With the Phillies giving up a former 10th round draft pick, the move seems like a low risk high reward move for a rebuilding team.

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Orioles Pull Offer to Mark Trumbo Off the Table http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/orioles-pull-offer-to-mark-trumbo-off-the-table.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/orioles-pull-offer-to-mark-trumbo-off-the-table.html/#comments Sun, 18 Dec 2016 14:54:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228196 mark-trumbo

Negotiations between the Baltimore Orioles and free agent Mark Trumbo may have come to an abrupt end as the O’s have decided to pull the offer to their former slugger, according to reporter Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports. The deal the O’s had on the table was reportedly for four years and worth $52 million dollars, far short of the $80 million that Trumbo is believed to be seeking.

Trumbo, who turns 31 next month, led the league with 47 home runs last season while batting .256/.316/.533 and posting a 120 OPS+ and collecting 108 RBIs in 159 games for the Orioles. He played 95 of those games in right field, but his poor defense relegated him to the DH spot for more than a third of his playing time.

The Orioles reportedly had the best offer on the table to Trumbo and were very aggressive in trying to bring him back after a solid offensive campaign with the team. Kubatko mentions that last year, the O’s and first baseman Chris Davis had a similar breakdown in negotiations, but the two sides ultimately came to an agreement.

So at least for the time being, Trumbo remains a part of a large group of power-hitting first basemen and outfielders that are still unsigned almost two months into the offseason. Edwin Encarnacion, Jose BautistaPedro AlvarezMike NapoliAdam LindBrandon MossMark Reynolds and Chris Carter are among some of the big bats still available in the free agent market.

Blackmon

The breakdown in negotiations with the Orioles might open the door for the Colorado Rockies who are reportedly very interested in trying to land Trumbo to play first base and allow them to move the recently signed Ian Desmond to the outfield. The Rockies signed Desmond to a five year, $70 million dollar contract last week and forfeited their first round pick (No. 11 overall) in next year’s draft in the process.

If the Rockies are able to land Trumbo, they would then certainly deal one or two of their current outfielders which include David DahlCharlie BlackmonCarlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra. It’s believed that Blackmon or Gonzalez will be flipped for some help in the rotation despite ownership’s assurances to both players recently that they are not being actively shopped. Certainly, the addition of Trumbo would change that.

Both CarGo and Blackmon are coming off very solid offensive campaigns with the latter looking like a nice option for the Mets who lack a true everyday center fielder. What makes Blackmon all the more impressive is his .939/.926 home/road splits in OPS.

Blackmon, 29, batted .324 last season with 35 doubles, five triples, 29 home runs, 111 runs scored and 17 stolen bases while batting leadoff for the Rockies. He still has two years of team control.

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Brad Ziegler Signs With Marlins http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/brad-ziegler-signs-with-marlins.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/brad-ziegler-signs-with-marlins.html/#comments Sat, 17 Dec 2016 01:43:26 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=228115 brad ziegler

The Miami Marlins have signed free agent reliever Brad Ziegler to a two-year, $16 million contract according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Ziegler could earn more money through incentives and the deal is pending a physical. The Marlins added reliever Junichi Tazawa on Thursday night on a two-year deal as well.

The Mets were one of nine teams that reportedly showed interest in the right-hander.

Original Report – 6 am

Free agent right-handed reliever, Brad Ziegler, is said to be weighing multiple offers as he looks for his new team as Chris Cotillo tweeted on Thursday.

Ziegler, 37, is coming off back-to-back brilliant seasons split between Arizona and Boston. In 2015 with Arizona, Ziegler pitched to an incredible 1.85 ERA while making 66 appearances. He accumulated 30 saves in that season while pitching to a 0.96 WHIP.

This past season, Ziegler split time between Arizona and Boston where he combined for 69 appearances while pitching to a 2.25 ERA. He accumulated 22 saves last season while pitching to a 1.37 WHIP between the two teams.

It is currently believed that the Mets, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Marlins have all shown interest in the righty. The Mets though have said that some payroll must be shed in order to obtain any free agents at this point.

Ziegler is believed to have multiple two-year offers in hand but is currently awaiting a three-year deal as per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

If he ends up with a two-year pact, it is expected that it will be for $17 million total. It seems though it may come down to whichever team blinks first in offering a three-year deal as relievers continue rack up longer contracts as of late.

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Jon Heyman reports via Twitter that the Baltimore Orioles have signed free agent catcher Welington Castillo to a one year deal worth $6 million dollars, that includes a player option for 2018 worth $7 million.

Castillo, 29, batted .264/.322/.423 last season with 24 doubles, 16 home runs and 68 RBIs in 457 plate appearances. He gives the Orioles a bat with some power and has pretty solid splits against left-handed pitching, owning a career .840 OPS against them in his career and a .868 OPS in 2016.

The former D’Back will replace longtime Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, who remains a free agent and is essentially done as the O’s catcher.

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Rockies In Discussions With Mark Trumbo http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/rockies-in-discussions-with-mark-trumbo.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/rockies-in-discussions-with-mark-trumbo.html/#comments Sat, 10 Dec 2016 15:32:33 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227862 mark-trumbo

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Colorado Rockies remain interested in signing 1B/OF Mark Trumbo despite having recently signed Ian Desmond to a five year, $70 million dollar deal to play first base next season.

Should the Rockies sign Trumbo, the team may ultimately trade one of their outfielders.  Last season, the Rockies outfield was primarily comprised of Gerardo Parra, Charlie Blackmon, and Carlos Gonzalez.  Parra has two years and $18 million remaining on his contract with a $12 million team option for 2019.  Blackmon is second year arbitration eligible and is scheduled to be a free agent in 2019.  Gonzalez will earn $20 million in the last year of a six year deal he has with the Rockies.

If the Rockies put their outfielders on the market, it could further complicate the Mets chances to move Jay Bruce this offseason.  At the moment, there have not been any rumors with respect to Bruce.

Earlier in the offseason, it had been reported the Orioles had some interest in Bruce but were more interested in Curtis Granderson. They are also still in the mix for Trumbo, reportedly. 

Ultimately, a deal between the Mets and Orioles fell apart.  However, it is possible that if Trumbo signs with a new team, the Mets and Orioles could rekindle their trade discussions. At the time, the Mets were interested in O’s reliever Brad Brach.

Brach posted a 2.05 ERA and recorded 24 holds in 71 games. The 29-year-old righty had 92 strikeouts in 79 innings.

 

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Cubs Close To Signing Reliever Koji Uehara http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/cubs-close-to-signing-reliever-koji-uehara.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2016/12/cubs-close-to-signing-reliever-koji-uehara.html/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:57:46 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=227826 koji-uehara-jim-davis-globe-2013-09-03

According to Evan Drellich on Twitter, the Chicago Cubs are close to signing former Boston Red Sox closer Koji Uehara. The deal is reportedly for one year, $6 million.

Uehara, 41, had a 3.45 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, seven saves and a 5.73 SO/W ratio for the Red Sox in 2016. He did miss time during the season with a pectoral strain and saw diminished velocity on his fastball.

During his eight season major league career, the dominant right-hander has 93 saves, 2.53 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and has struck out 522 batters in 437.2 innings compared to only 66 walks.

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