Mets Merized Online » trade Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:20:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Blue Jays, Orioles, Phillies, A’s Among Potential Landing Spots For Jay Bruce Tue, 10 Jan 2017 17:22:38 +0000 jay-bruce

Jay Bruce is still a Met, despite the obvious notion that Sandy Alderson wants desperately to trade him. It has been a slow moving offseason for power hitters and it seems just about everyone including players and their agents have misread the market.

There have been very few moves made over the last few weeks, but finally we saw a couple of trades and both of them may have impacted the market for Bruce. Here is an updated list of teams that might still be interested in him.

Toronto Blue Jays

After having 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion and RF Jose Bautista elect free agency, the Blue Jays have over 80 home runs to replace. They already brought in DH Kendrys Morales on a 3-year $33 million contract, and with Justin Smoak and Chris Colabello available to play first base, it seems like they will shift their attention to right field.

Jay Bruce would be a great fit in the middle of their lineup with Josh DonaldsonKendrys Morales, and Troy Tulowitzki, and they know that. Chris Cotillo reported that the Blue Jays are “making a push” for Bruce, as he would be a lot cheaper (and younger) than bringing back Bautista.

In return, the Mets could ask for reliever Danny Barnes. The 27 year-old pitched 13.2 innings for the Blue Jays in 2016, striking out 14 batters and recording a 3.95 ERA. However, in a minor league career spanning six seasons, he pitched to a 2.39 ERA, striking out an impressive 422 batters in 320.1 innings. He relies primarily on a fastball and slider combination, sounds like some Warthen could help get even better.

He could immediately bolster the Mets bullpen, and if the Jays were to add a high-level prospect to the deal, it could be a good haul for the Mets. Another player to keep an eye on his right-handed pitcher Joe Biagini who can start and relieve. Biagini dials his fastball up to 96 MPH, throws a hard slider at 90, while also throwing a curveball and changeup.

The last time the Mets and Blue Jays dealt with each other, it ended up working out pretty well for the Mets. They sent R.A. Dickey and Josh Thole to Toronto for Noah SyndergaardWuilmer Becerra and Travis d’Arnaud.

Oakland Athletics

According to Jon Heyman on FanRag, the Athletics have interest in free agent Mark Trumbo. They have wanted to bolster their lineup after dealing Danny Valencia late last season, however signing a big time free agent like Trumbo goes against Billy Beane‘s MO. If the price tag for Trumbo gets too steep, a fallback option for them could be Jay Bruce.

The Athletics have already signed speedy outfielder Rajai Davis to a one year, $6 million deal which could limit their checkbook in the Trumbo sweepstakes.

Baltimore Orioles

Originally, Jay Bruce going to the Orioles would be contingent on whether or not they bring back slugger Mark Trumbo. However, they have recently traded for Seth Smith, a lefty corner outfielder. While Smith is not at the same level with Bruce offensively, he is still a decent and very consistent player. Despite the trade, the Orioles could still want a DH and that’s where Bruce comes in.

With Chris Davis at first base, the Orioles best option for DH is Trey Mancini who only has 14 MLB at-bats. Jay Bruce would fit nicely into their lineup as the designated hitter.

Philadelphia Phillies

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Philadelphia Phillies are looking to add a bat to play a corner outfield position or first base. From the free agent side, the Phillies are interested in Michael Saunders and Brandon Moss. On the trade front, the Phillies could be interested in a hitter like Jay Bruce.

At the moment, the Phillies do not have a strong collection of bullpen arms they can offer the Mets in exchange for Bruce outside of closer Jeanmar Gomez and setup man Hector Neris.

Furthermore, according to Rosenthal, the Phillies are not interested in moving more than a lower tier prospect in exchange for a player like Bruce. They’re looking to get a hitter at a similar price for what they gave up to get Clay Buchholz and Howie Kendrick earlier this offseason.

It is possible the Mets keep Jay Bruce. The Mets have the option to trade either him, Curtis Granderson, or even Michael Conforto if they wanted. However, if they were to trade Bruce, it is most likely that he will go to one of the above teams – and according to a couple of reports the Mets may have to absorb some of Bruce’s $13 million dollar contract.


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Teams Are Still Asking About Andrew McCutchen Sun, 08 Jan 2017 20:35:50 +0000 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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Mets Still Need A Lefty Reliever Sat, 07 Jan 2017 16:58:39 +0000 jerry blevins

In an article posted by Jon Heyman on, the journalist documents the winners and losers of the winter meetings.

As many of us are already aware, the Mets made a big splash by resigning Yoenis Cespedes, but still haven’t signed a lefty reliever and need to trade one of their corner outfielders.

While they could eventually score a lefty in exchange for someone like Jay Bruce, there are still several quality lefties available on the open market, including Jerry Blevins, who has spent the last two seasons with the Amazin’s.

Apart from Blevins, who is surprisingly still available, other names that could be appealing to the Mets are Travis Wood, J.P. Howell, Javier Lopez and Boone Logan.

Sandy Alderson likely hasn’t signed a lefty due to the fact that he doesn’t want to get locked into a long-term pact, but with it getting further and further into the offseason, a reliever could settle for a one-year deal.

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Orioles Get Lefty Hitting Outfielder Seth Smith From Mariners Fri, 06 Jan 2017 18:41:48 +0000 seth smith

The Baltimore Orioles have acquired left-handed hitting outfielder Seth Smith from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for right-handed starter Yovani Gallardo.

Smith, 34, fills the Orioles need for a lefty bat that can play both corner outfield spots. Smith hit .249/.342/.415 with 15 doubles, 16 home runs and 63 runs batted in over 438 plate appearances in 2016.

Gallardo, 30, went 6-8 with a 5.42 ERA, 1.585 WHIP and an ugly 1.39 SO/BB ratio for the Orioles in 118 innings this past season.

The trade also helps the Orioles save around $4 million.

Previous Report – 12:00 PM

The Baltimore Orioles are intent on adding a left-handed hitting bat according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. They’ve shown interest in corner infield free agent Luis Valbuena, but prefer someone with outfield experience.

Of course, Jay Bruce fits what the Orioles are looking for, and the New York Mets have been actively shopping the outfielder this offseason.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, reports that the Mets will have to include cash to trade Bruce, but that the return could still be minimal.

Original Report – Dec 30

The Baltimore Orioles remain willing to trade right-handed reliever Brad Brach. However, they want a significant return for the set-up man according to Roch Kubatko of MASN.

The Orioles continue to look for a power bat to help fortify their lineup and remain interested in bringing back Mark Trumbo. They’ve also shown interest in left-handed hitting outfielder Michael Saunders.

Earlier this offseason it was reported that the Mets and Orioles had talked trade, but the O’s were more interested in Curtis Granderson than Jay Bruce. The Mets also showed interest the 30-year old Brach during those discussions.

Brach has been very strong out of the bullpen for the Orioles. Since 2014, he has gone 22-8 with a 2.61 ERA. In 220.2 innings he has struck out 235 batters and walked 88. He would be a big addition to the Mets bullpen, providing strong set up for Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia.

Brach made $1.25 million in 2016 and is under team control for two more years through arbitration.

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That Crazy 4-Team Trade That Sent Matlack To Texas Sat, 31 Dec 2016 16:10:56 +0000 jon-matlack

On December 8, 1977, the Mets were one of four teams involved in one of the most complex deals in the history of baseball. This was it :

–  The Mets sent John Milner to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
–  The Atlanta Braves sent Willie Montanez to the New York Mets.
–  The Texas Rangers sent Adrian DevineTommy Boggs, and Eddie Miller to the Atlanta Braves.
–  The Texas Rangers sent a player to be named later and Tom Grieve to the New York Mets.
–  The Texas Rangers sent Bert Blyleven to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
–  The Pittsburgh Pirates sent Al Oliver and Nelson Norman to the Texas Rangers.
–  The New York Mets sent Jon Matlack to the Texas Rangers.
–  The Texas Rangers sent Ken Henderson (March 15, 1978) to the New York Mets to complete the trade.

I wish I could tell you who conceived this deal and how it fell into place, but frankly, I have no idea. For the Mets’ part, they replaced John Milner with Willie Montanez and sent Matlack away for Tom Grieve and Ken Henderson.

willie montanez mets osw1Montanez was considered a better all-around player and certainly flashier than Milner, but I think that Met fans were disappointed with Willie’s production and expected a major upgrade from Milner.

Actually, the one full year Willie spent with the Mets wasn’t bad statistically (.256, 32 2B, 17 HR, 96 RBI), but he seemed to fail a lot in big spots and hit his best in one-sided games.

Ironically, the following season, the Mets sent Montanez to Texas, another of the parties in the original deal, in exchange for Ed Lynch and Mike Jorgensen and a couple of years later, the Pirates traded Milner even-up to Montreal for Montanez.

As for the other part of the trade for the Mets, it turned out to be a lot less than either side expected. Matlack had one solid year for the Rangers, but that was about it. Neither Grieve nor Henderson was anything other than a part-time player, though the Mets were expecting more, I’m sure.

The big names in the deal were Blyleven and Oliver, so maybe the deal started out as a one-for-one and other general managers just joined the party. I suppose after giving up Blyleven, the Rangers needed another pitcher and that’s how Matlack got involved, but it looks to me like the Mets were a pawn in this trade, and they were probably fortunate it didn’t turn out any worse than it did for them.

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Featured Post: Hoping That Tomas Nido Gets The Amed Rosario Treatment Wed, 28 Dec 2016 16:40:27 +0000 tomas nido

According to what a source told Marc Carig of Newsday, three Mets prospects whose names were kicked around at the Winter Meetings included 2011 first rounder – outfielder Brandon Nimmo, 2012 first rounder – catcher Kevin Plawecki, and currently the team’s top catching prospect Tomas Nido.

Carig believes those prospects could come into play as the Mets evaluate their options in the relief market. It had been reported previously that Sandy Alderson was very open to dealing prospects to acquire that late-inning reliever he is committed to acquiring, especially if trading Jay Bruce fails to bring that caliber of a reliever in trade.

While I have no issues at all in using Nimmo, Plawecki, or even Gavin Cecchini for that matter, to garner us the reliever our bullpen desperately needs with Jeurys Familia looking at a suspension to begin the year, I have some significant reservations about giving up Tomas Nido, who we’ve lauded extensively on MMO over the last 24 months.

It came as no surprise to me and my incredible minor league analysts, to see Nido enjoy one of the best breakthrough performances in the entire Mets system in 2016. We projected him for a breakout performance prior to the season, and he certainly delivered in a most spectacular way.

If you were to ask me for a comp, my response to you would be imagine the offensive profile of a young Paul Lo Duca coupled with the defensive profile of longtime Met Jerry Grote. That’s what Nido could potentially be for the Mets – and thanks to Sandy Alderson’s infinite wisdom, Nido was added to the 40 man roster in November to prevent from losing him in the Rule 5 Draft.

It’s not often that a franchise can produce a catcher who has a mid to high level offensive ceiling while also being equipped with a highly extensive defensive skillset. Two-way catchers like Nido are indeed a rare commodity in today’s game, and to have someone who can potentially be that kind of player in the major leagues in the near future is quite an exciting cogitation.


Nido, only 22, was the Florida State League batting champion this past season, batting .320 and beating out his next closest competitor by 15 points. Nido achieved career highs across several offensive categories in a league that is heralded for being very pitching rich and extremely tough on hitters.

An 8th round pick for the Mets in the 2012 draft, Nido posted a .829 OPS and collected 23 doubles, two triples and seven home runs in just 370 plate appearances, and in addition to his batting title and all-star selection, Nido was also named our MMN Defensive Player of the Year. And guess what? Two months later, Baseball America agreed with us and named him Best Defensive Catcher. He threw out a stunning 42 percent of would-be base stealers in 2016.

So let me conclude by saying that just because a players name often comes up in trade talks, like Nido apparently has, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the Mets would trade him. In fact, and this is just my opinion, I bet when teams ask Sandy Alderson about Nido, they get about the same response as when they ask about shortstop prospect Amed Rosario.

Thankfully, we have a GM who knows all about the value of high level prospects who play a position of scarcity, and I have a sneaky suspicion that Sandy Alderson values Tomas Nido just as much as I do. So don’t be shocked when the stories surface that teams wanted Nido this offseason and that Alderson told them he was off limits. You heard that here first.

You can read more on Nido in an MMO Prospect Pulse that Teddy did on him back in August.

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Featured Post: White Sox Still Have Pieces That Could Help The Mets Mon, 26 Dec 2016 14:00:53 +0000 todd frazier

If there was any doubt the White Sox were selling after the Chris Sale trade, those doubts were alleviated once the White Sox obtained yet another impressive haul of prospects in exchange for Adam Eaton. With those deals, the White Sox have unofficially announced they are willing to trade away anyone if they can get back a significant haul in return.

What is surprising is that a White Sox team that was under .500 last season still has a number of good pieces remaining even after trading Sale and Eaton. In fact, they have a number of pieces that would be quite enticing for the New York Mets.

For starters, the White Sox have David Robertson. Robertson is enticing not just because he is a good closer, and the Mets face the possibility of losing Jeurys Familia to a lengthy suspension in 2017. He is also enticing because he pitched very well for Yankees, and has pitched well for the Yankees in the postseason too. A pitcher who can pitch well in pressure situations in New York should always be of interest to the Mets.

The White Sox also have a very good left-handed reliever in Dan Jennings. In 2016, left-handed batters only hit .217/.316/.337 off of him. Overall, Jennings was 4-3 with a 2.08 ERA in 64 appearances. He’s even more attractive as a trade target when you consider he’s under team control until 2020.

Perhaps the most impressive reliever in the White Sox bullpen last year was Nate Jones. Jones made 71 appearances in 2016 going 5-3 with a 2.29 ERA, 0.892 WHIP, and a 10.2 K/9. He is a sinker/slider pitcher that can throw the ball over 97 MPH that would thrive in the Mets organization. He has a reasonable contract going forward with provisions in the deal that protects his team against arm injuries. Overall, he will make $3.95 million in 2017, and he is under contract until 2021.

Because everyone is interested in the Toms River, NJ native, the White Sox also have Todd Frazier. On a positive note, Frazier has proven that he is able to hit for power away from the Great American Ballpark. In fact, Frazier’s 40 home runs this season were a career high. These home run totals to mask the fact that Frazier is a career .250/.317/.464 hitter who has seen a steady decline in his batting average and OBP over the past three seasons.

Defensively, Frazier has been a good third baseman, but he did have a slight dropoff this season as per UZR and DRS. In addition to third base, Frazier has played some first making him a versatile infielder. That would be important for a Mets team that arguably has injury concerns at every position in the infield. Frazier is third year arbitration eligible, and he will be a free agent in 2018.

jose abreu

Another name that will arise in trade rumors will be Jose Abreu. The soon to be 30-year old Abreu is a classic clean-up hitter who has hit .299/.360/.515 while averaging 30 homers and 103 RBI in his brief major league career. However, there are some issues with Abreu. For a team looking to reduce payroll, Abreu is coming off a season where he made over $11 million, and he will likely earn a raise in his first year of arbitration. Second, Abreu really is best suited to DH. Finally, Abreu has seen his power and OPS+ numbers go down each season in the majors.

Finally, there is Brett Lawrie, who is a versatile infielder the Mets could add to the equation. In his major league career, Lawrie has played both second and third. While he has rated as a poor defender at both positions, he versatility would be welcome on a Mets team that has injury concerns all across the infield.  However, there should be concern that Lawrie is unnecessarily on a Mets team that already has Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes.

Additionally, Lawrie has largely been disappointing in his major league career with him hitting .261/.315/.419 while averaging just 12 homers and 42 RBI. Still, Lawrie might be worth a gamble as he will be free agent after this season, and he is entering the prime years of his career.

Understandably, Mets fans covet one if not all of these players. The issue becomes what are you going to be willing to give up for anyone of these players who not only suits a need for the Mets, but is also cost controlled? Judging from the haul the White Sox obtained in the Sale trade, the team is wisely extracting the most possible value for its players.

While nothing has been reported, it is likely the White Sox would look to obtain young controllable players like Michael Conforto, Justin Dunn, Robert Gsellman, Steven Matz, Tomas Nido, Dominic Smith in exchange for any combination of the aforementioned White Sox players.

And who could blame the White Sox from asking for players like that considering the impressive hauls they have received for their two biggest trade assets?

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The Zambrano Effect Mon, 26 Dec 2016 10:00:51 +0000 brad-brach

This has been an offseason in which big name free agents still sit on the sidelines, waiting for offers. Jose Bautista, who has hit almost 100 home runs since the 2014 season, is still without a team. Mark Trumbo and his 47 home runs in 2016? Still waiting to be signed as well. Mike Napoli and his 34 home runs, the same.

What are the trends of this offseason that led to this? First, there was the run on closers. The playoffs showed the value of having a big arm to carry you at the end of a big game, and there was little surprise that Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon, and Kenley Jansen all got the biggest contracts.

Another less talked about trend was teams’ willingness to trade top prospects for top talent. The Red Sox traded Yoan Moncada, the top Red Sox prospect as well as the second best overall prospect in MLB, to procure the talents of Chris Sale.

The Nationals traded the third best prospect in all of baseball, a second pitcher (Reynaldo Lopez) who was in the top ten in right handed starting pitching prospects (8th) and their most recent first round pick. All this for Adam Eaton, a solid player with a lifetime .284 average and 34 career home runs who’s certainly not a superstar.

Trading prospects is always a risk and Mets fans are more protective of their prospects than most fan bases. When the Royals had Wade Davis available, Mets fans bristled at the suggestion of trading a player like Robert Gsellman for him. The brass of the organization like to throw the term ‘untouchable’ around. Mets fans grow antsy if the suggestion is made to package a Michael Conforto or Gsellman for a player who might only wear a Mets uniform for a season.

The Mets need to be willing to trade prospects, and the fans should not be afraid those prospects might develop in other uniforms. And yes, the Mets have made some trades in which they gave up players way too soon, Nolan Ryan being the best example. More recently, however, the Mets made a trade that scarred the fan base and cost the GM Jim Duquette his job.

In order to give the Mets a chance to win with a pitifully lacking 2004 team, the Mets traded top pitching prospect Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano. Famously, Pitching Coach Rick Peterson said he could fix Zambrano “in ten minutes.” Kazmir is still pitching and has racked up 108 big league wins. Zambrano? Plagued by health problems, he won ten games with the Mets from 2004 till 2006, and never won another game after that.

Has this trade so traumatized the Mets and their fans that we hold onto prospects for dear life? What if we had been a little looser with some of our top prospects who have fizzled over the last decade, whether it be Rafael Montero (3rd best prospect in 2014), Luis Mateo (4th best prospect in 2013), Cesar Puello (5th best in 2012), Jenrry Mejia (2nd best in 2011, 1st in 2010) or Fernando Martinez (3rd best in 2010, 1st in 2009)?

michael fulmer 2

Sometimes a prospect’s best value for a team is being used as a chip in a trade. Michael Fulmer looks like a star in the making, but had the Mets not traded him in 2015 for a ‘rental’ the Mets would not have made the World Series in 2015, and much more likely than not Yoenis Cespedes would not be wearing a Mets’ uniform through the 2020 season. Furthermore, with the Mets current wealth in starting pitching, the Mets only improved with that deal.

The Mets as they are currently constructed are counting on strong starting pitching to carry them. A top bullpen is needed to compete with a strong Nationals team and the Mets do not currently have one. Other than Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia, the Mets do not have a relief pitcher who showed any consistency last year, and Familia might be out the first 30 games of the season. Blevins and Salas are available but the Mets have made no indication they will sign either.

Sandy Alderson has said he doesn’t even want to give two years to a relief pitcher during an off season when a pitcher like Brett Cecil receives a 4 year, 30 million dollar contract, so there is little chance we will sign a top arm we need for one year. And Jay Bruce? His trade value is exposed as zilch. With far superior free agents available and not receiving offers why would a team like the Orioles give up an arm like Brad Brach for him?

The only way the Mets can bring in a top arm for the bullpen is to deal from their prospects. A player like Brandon Nimmo or Gavin Cecchini, coupled with a lower end prospect, should be enough to score a solid 8th inning arm. The Mets cannot be afraid to go for it in 2017. While no one wants to see a Mets farmhand develop into a top player in another organization, the Mets also cannot be afraid to take that risk. If it means we have a better chance to win during the narrow window in which players like Mattt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, and Noah Syndergaard are all under our control, so be it.

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Do the Mets Have Room for Kelly Johnson? Sat, 24 Dec 2016 11:00:10 +0000 kelly Johnson

For the second consecutive season in 2016, the New York Mets traded for Kelly Johnson when they were in need of a super utility type player. As Johnson remains on the open market, it is worth wondering if the team yet again may have a need for the versatile player.

Jonson has always seemed to be a clutch player while with the Mets, delivering some key hits to propel the team to victory. He has the ability to play multiple positions and is a useful player in many ways. For the first time though in what seems awhile, the team’s current depth in the infield and outfield may negate their need to bring him back.

Johnson again split time between the Mets and Atlanta Braves in 2016. His production with the Mets far outweighed his production with the Braves as he hit to a .268/.328/.459 batting line to go along with nine homers and 24 RBI while appearing in 82 games.

In his 49 games with the Braves last season, Johnson hit a disappointing .215/.273/.289 with just one homer and 10 RBI. KJ just seems to turn it on a bit more when playing in New York and has been a welcomed addition over the last two seasons.

If and when the Mets trade Jay Bruce, there is the possibility for Johnson to be a fifth outfielder as he has the ability to play the corners. Kelly played nine games in left field last season and is an adequate enough fielder to play the position if needed.

In the infield, Johnson again would provide depth to a plethora of players who are either coming off surgery or typically deal with nagging injuries during a long 162-game season. David Wright, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker and Wilmer Flores are all coming off surgery as they enter 2017.

Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes also tend to deal with injuries during the course of a season. Johnson would be sure to get some playing time in the event that some of these players are unable to make it through a whole year or land on the DL.

Johnson is the type of player that can provide a great spark off the bench and has shown his ability to do so in key spots numerous times over the last two seasons. He will not cost a lot to bring back and a player of his caliber is always worth having around. Worse comes to worse, the Mets could always just trade for him for the third consecutive season near the trading deadline….

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Is it Time for the Mets to Go After David Robertson? Thu, 22 Dec 2016 11:00:24 +0000 MLB: Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros

With all of the current talk being of the New York Mets looking at making a trade for a center fielder, the team’s most glaring need continues to go unfulfilled.

Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News was asked in her “Mets Mailbag” about the chance of General Manager, Sandy Alderson, making a legitimate run at acquiring Chicago White Sox closer, David Robertson.

It is no secret that the Metropolitans current closer, Jeurys Familia, could be facing a significant suspension next season. This obviously leaves a glaring hole in the team’s bullpen. Addison Reed is sure to fill in as needed in that closing role, but an addition of Robertson’s ilk could be just what this team needs to dominate in 2017.

Robertson, 31, has been a steady reliever in his nine-year MLB career. He has pitched to an overall ERA of 2.97 to go along with a WHIP of 1.20. Last season, Robertson appeared in 62 games, accumulating 37 saves while pitching to an ERA of 3.47 with a WHIP of 1.36.

He may not be as dominant as he once was but he has already shown his ability to pitch in New York. Robertson spent the first seven years of his career with the boys from the Bronx before joining the White Sox in 2015. He had his best seasons while a member of the Yankees.

The Chicago White Sox are a team who has openly stated their willingness to deal some of their stars as they look to rebuild. It is unknown what exactly they may be looking for in exchange for Robertson, but it is sure to include one of the Mets’ better prospects not named Amed Rosario to obtain the reliever.

Robertson has two years left on his current deal. He will make $12 million in 2017 and $13 million in 2018 before hitting the open market once again. If the Mets are willing to pick up a majority of the money left on that contract, it would surely bring the price down in terms of players needed to trade for the relief pitcher.

Alderson knows the team is in need of another reliever that can be used in the late innings of games, and as the big names come off the board one by one, Robertson looks more attractive by the day.

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Blue Jays Remain In Talks For Bruce and Granderson Tue, 20 Dec 2016 11:00:15 +0000 jay-bruce-curtis-granderson

The Toronto Blue Jays continue to engage the New York Mets on acquiring one of Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce, reports Jon Morosi of Fox Sports.

No word on who in particular the Mets may be asking for in return, but it’s no secret they are hoping to flip one of their outfielders for a proven reliever.

Over the weekend, we learned that the Jays had not made any formal offer to Jose Bautista other than the one year $17.2 million qualifying offer. It could be that a one year option like Bruce or Granderson might be more appealing and less of a risk than to give Bautista the four year deal he is reportedly seeking.

Another team that could turn to the Mets for some corner outfield help is the Baltimore Orioles, who recently pulled their offer to Mark Trumbo. So far, I haven’t heard any buzz connecting the two teams, but I suspect that could change soon.

It’s really been a very unorthodox offseason for free agent outfielders and as December draws to a close there is still a huge glut of unsigned players including Trumbo, Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Michael Saunders, and Chris Carter.

You also have J.D. Martinez, Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez, Andrew McCutchen, and Melky Cabrera all potentially available via a trade in addition to Bruce and Granderson.

On Monday night, Ken Rosenthal got the masses excited when he reported that the Mets were exploring a trade for a center fielder. If that’s true, then the Mets would need to complete three different trades as December turns into January. Sounds a little far-fetched if you ask me.

Given what the Washington Nationals gave up for Adam Eaton, I can’t even imagine what the Pirates would want for McCutchen. During the Winter Meetings, I heard they wanted Michael Conforto plus either Steven Matz ior Amed Rosario. That was before Eaton set the bar a mile high.

To add to that, it was right after those Winter Meetings that the Mets essentially told all teams that Michael Conforto and Amed Rosario were off limits. Short of including one of them, I can’t see how the Mets can pry McCutchen away without a huge haul of lesser upside players. Think Robert Gsellman, Dominic Smith, Gavin Cecchini and probably another piece too.

McCutchen, a former MVP, batted only .256 last season with 24 home runs, 79 RBI, a .766 OPS and 103 OPS+ in 675 plate appearances. He’s also been in a three year defensive decline in center field, so much so it may be time to put him in left or right.

Some might call last season’s downturn a fluke, but what if it wasn’t? How much are you willing to give up for McCutchen to find out?

Honestly, I don’t know if all of this is really fresh news, or if Rosenthal and Morosi are simply rehashing rumors from three weeks ago. Just hours before all this ruckus, Mets beat writers were reporting that all was quiet in Mets Land and that it would probably stay that way into January.

We’ll continue to monitor things and pass along any pertinent news that comes our way.

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Mets Exploring Trade For Center Field Upgrade Tue, 20 Dec 2016 02:37:37 +0000 andrew-mccutchen

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the New York Mets have been semi-engaged in the trade market for a new center fielder.

Rosenthal specifically mentions Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen as someone they’ve kept tabs on, but haven’t yet had any momentum in these discussions.

Other names mentioned in the article include both Kansas City Royals outfielders Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain. The Mets and Royals talked during the winter meetings, but the Mets see Dyson as another Lagares type and Cain only gives them a one-year solution.

Of course, one of the biggest obstacles in getting a new center fielder includes that they would have to trade away two of their current outfielders, most likely Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce. Which means they could possibly need three separate deals to get an upgrade in center, making it seem unlikely.

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Could Orioles Rekindle Talks with Mets on Jay Bruce for Brad Brach Swap? Sun, 18 Dec 2016 22:19:47 +0000 brad-brach

With the news that the Baltimore Orioles have pulled their offer to free agent outfielder Mark Trumbo, the O’s could again turn their attention to Jay Bruce and rekindle talks with the New York Mets.

Bruce would give the Orioles a 30-35 home run bat without having to invest big dollars or make a significant four year commitment. The current Mets right fielder is owed just $13 million for the 2017 season after which he becomes a free agent.

Reportedly, the Mets and Orioles had been discussing a deal that potentially included top right-handed setup reliever Brad Brach who posted a 2.04 ERA and a 1.038 WHIP in 79.0 innings last season while striking out 92 batters.

Things could get a little interesting this week so stay tuned.

- – - Joe D.

Original Report – Dec 16

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers are still willing to move some of their bullpen pieces this offseason.

Specifically, the Orioles are willing to trade Brad Brach. Earlier this offseason, there were reports the Mets were willing to trade Jay Bruce in exchange for Brach.

The Orioles were more interested in Curtis Granderson, and the Orioles wanted the Mets to pay part of the contract for either Bruce or Granderson.  Ultimately, the Orioles and Mets shelved these trade discussions.

Earlier this offseason, MMO’s own Logan Barer analyzed which Rangers relievers could be a fit for the Mets bullpen in the event the Rangers were interested in obtaining Bruce including lefties Alex ClaudioJake Diekman and righties Sam Dyson and Jeremy Jeffress.

With the outfield market still unresolved, and there being relievers still available on the trade market, the Mets may still be able to move Bruce for a valuable piece this offseason.

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Does Alderson Regret Picking Up Jay Bruce’s $13 Million Option? (MMO Version) Thu, 15 Dec 2016 22:14:19 +0000 jay-bruce

Consider this one of those MMO Mailbag articles I enjoy posting from time to time, only this time it’s not. The question was actually asked and answered by a very popular Mets site, and while normally I don’t like to do rebuttals, I feel that in this case I had to because I didn’t want Mets fans reading that piece and walking away with the belief that Sandy Alderson really blew it and effed up big-time.

The truth is he didn’t. The article had two huge factual errors and the argument that was built on those errors was weak, inconsistent with the reality of the situation, and it unfairly cast Sandy Alderson and the Mets in a very poor light.

Let’s take it right from the opening sentence…

“In early November, the Mets could have paid $1 million dollars to cut ties with outfielder Jay Bruce, making him a free agent, thus adding $12 million to their offseason budget.”

This much is true, but things begin to unravel after that.

“It’s also possible he would have rejected a one-year, $17 million qualifying offer, which means the Mets could have picked up a compensatory draft pick when he signed with a new team.”

Dead Wrong. That entire premise is factually inaccurate because it is based on the Mets giving Bruce a $17.2 million qualifying offer. The fact of the matter is that Bruce was traded mid-season, thus making him ineligible for a qualifying offer.

“Sandy Alderson and his staff clearly misread the trade market for power-hitting, corner outfielders. This is rare. Alderson has historically done an outstanding job with reconnaissance. In the case of Bruce, though, the Mets may have slipped up.”

You can knock Sandy Alderson for a lot of things during his tenure as Mets general manager, but to accuse him of “slipping up” by picking up Bruce’s option and then writing an entire article about it without never mentioning the top reason as to why he did it, is very biased and disingenuous.

The glaring omission in the entire article is that the top reason for picking up Bruce’s option was as a hedge against Yoenis Cespedes departing via free agency.

The entire reasoning for trading for Bruce in the first place, in addition to needing his bat, was that he had that $13 million dollar team option. Alderson himself said after making the deal, that it would have never happened if not for that option.

That option was Cespedes Insurance – pure and simple.

Additionally, the deadline for picking up that option was three weeks before the Mets eventually re-signed Yoenis Cespedes.

The Mets had no choice but to pick up that option. To not pick it up and then risk losing Cespedes as well Bruce, would have been one of the most bizarre head-scratching moves in franchise history – and believe me, the Mets have had some real doozies over the years.

I also take issue with the premise that Jay Bruce will ultimately be dealt for a dozen Dunkin Donuts. While I can tolerate the incessant whining from some ordinary Mets fans who lack patience, I do hold journalists – and especially executive editors – to a much higher standard.

For crying out loud, can we all be a little patient and wait to see what Sandy Alderson actually gets for Bruce before disemboweling him on December 15th?

Will there be a retraction and an apology if we actually get a useful reliever for Bruce while moving his entire $13 million dollar salary in the process for more additions later on?

I just can’t believe anyone would write such a critical article about Alderson’s judgement, one that was fraught with factual errors and an argument that had more holes than one of Donald Trump’s golf courses.

I understand how antsy-pantsy some fans are over the lack of any significant moves thus far in the offseason, but come on people, it’s mid-December not late-February. Let’s all chill the heck out.

Let’s see how all of this plays out before we start writing an obituary on the 2016-2017 Mets offseason.

And please… A little fact-checking and better research next time.

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Mets Continue To Play Waiting Game With Jay Bruce Wed, 14 Dec 2016 12:17:03 +0000 sandy-alderson

Sandy Alderson updated reporters on Tuesday on the state of the team’s hot stove season, and unsurprisingly the Mets’ general manager said not much has changed since the Winter Meetings ended last week.

“Pretty much status quo,” Alderson said. “There haven’t been any free-agent signings of significance in the outfield that would get the market moving and no real trades.”

“We’ve continued to have dialogue with free-agent representatives, as well as with teams on trade possibilities. And we will continue to do so through the holidays and into January and so forth, depending on what transpires.”

Alderson is committed to trading slugger Jay Bruce to clear up the logjam the team currently has in the outfield, but is unwilling to just give him away and so he waits for the sluggish outfield market to develop. That won’t happen until Edwin Encarnacion, Juan Bautista and Mark Trumbo are off the free agent market – and there’s no sense that either of them are on the verge of signing anytime soon.

Asked if it’s possible that he could go into spring training with Bruce still with the Mets, Alderson quickly rebuffed that notion.

“There are very few trades that are made in Spring Training,” Alderson said. “There are some that are made in Spring Training. But I think the idea that you’re going to make a big deal in Spring Training would be a little unusual. But at the same time, we’ve got lots of time between now and the beginning of Spring Training as well.”

The plan for Sandy is to try and flip Bruce for a low cost reliever and to bring the team’s payroll back under its current $150 million level. But he also recognizes the need for a proven late inning reliever with a track record of success and that could become costly if he takes the path of free agency.

For now, there seems to be little buzz surrounding the Mets which should come as no surprise, considering that they are unwilling to do anything else until they can unload Jay Bruce first… So essentially they are at a complete standstill until that happens.

Meanwhile, it appears that two relievers that could help the Mets may be on the verge of coming off the market. There are some reports that Brad Ziegler and Neftali Feliz are close to signing deals.

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Mets Asked Rays About Alex Colome Tue, 13 Dec 2016 21:27:10 +0000 c1s_colomepumped082215_15744217_8col

Peter Gammons tweeted that the Mets asked the Tampa Bay Rays about talented young closer Alex Colome.

According to Gammons, the Rays said the deal had to start with either Amed Rosario or Michael Conforto.

Colome, 27, saved 37 games for the Rays in 2016, pitching to a 1.91 ERA while striking out 71 batters in 56.2 innings. He also made his first All Star team.

While the Mets have said they are willing to move prospects for bullpen help, I don’t think Rosario or Conforto was what they had in mind.

The Nationals are another team that is scouring the market for bullpen help, but they need it a lot more than the Mets do. After missing out on Mark Melancon and Kenley Jansen (who took $5 million less to return to the Dodgers), they will either try to sign a free agent option (Greg Holland or Brad Ziegler), or trade for a closer (David Robertson or Alex Colome).

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Nats Deal Disgruntled Danny Espinosa To The Angels Sun, 11 Dec 2016 02:52:04 +0000 danny-espinosa-nats

A day after he skipped the the team’s annual Winterfest, citing he was unhappy with the trade for Adam Eaton, the Washington Nationals have traded infielder Danny Espinosa to the Los Angeles Angels according to a tweet by Josh Norris of Baseball America.

The Nats will be getting two right-handed pitching prospects back, Austin Adams and Kyle McGowin, the team later announced.

Espinosa believed that the trade for Eaton would likely shift super prospect Trea Turner to shortstop and likely cost him his job as the club’s starting shortstop.

Espinosa, 29, batted .209 last season for the Nats with a .684 OPS, but hit 24 home runs while amassing 174 strikeouts. He is eligible for arbitration and is a free agent after the 2017 season.

One of our readers pointed out something interesting:

Espinosa was worth 8 DRS at shortstop in 2016, and 10 DRS at second base in 2015. If he plays at 2B next to Andrelton Simmons, that’s one hell of a defensive middle infield.

By the way, Bryce Harper also missed the team event, citing a prior commitment.

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Nationals Join the Kenley Jansen Bidding Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:15:58 +0000 kenley-jansen-2

A day after landing outfielder Adam Eaton, the Washington Nationals have shifted their focus back to the bullpen and are making a push for Kenley Jansen according to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter.

Previously, it was expected that the sweepstakes for the dominant closer would come down to a bidding war between the Miami Marlins and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Jansen, 29, was one of the best relievers in baseball during the 2016 season when he had a 1.83 ERA, 0.67 WHIP and saved 47 games for the Dodgers.

The Nationals lost their closer in free agency to the San Francisco Giants and lost out on the trade bidding for now Cubs closer Wade Davis.

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Red Sox To Acquire Chris Sale Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:24:29 +0000 chris sale

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports on Twitter, the Red Sox have agreed to a blockbuster trade that will net them stud pitcher Chris Sale from the White Sox in exchange for the #1 prospect in baseball according to IF Yoan Mocada as well as prospects RHP Michael Kopech, OF Luis Basabe and RHP Victor Diaz.

Rumors swirling from the Winter Meetings last night had the Nationals and White Sox making significant progress on a deal, and that Washington had an “80/20 chance” of acquiring the all-star lefty in the eyes of rival excutives, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted last night.

This is a huge sigh of relief for the New York Mets, as they won’t have to face Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Sale in a weekend series any time soon.

Sale, 28 on Opening Day, has spent the entirety of his seven year career with the White Sox, pitching to a 74-50 record with an even 3.00 ERA and 10.1 K/9.

Sale has appeared in five consecutive all-star games, and was the American League strikeout leader with 274 in 2015.

The southpaw will join a rotation that already includes reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello and five-time all-star David Price.

Moncada, 21, joined the Red Sox in 2015 after defecting from Cuba, and is oft considered the best prospect in baseball.

Moncada made debut for the Red Sox as a September call-up, appearing in eight games for Boston, going 4-for-19.

In two minor league seasons, Moncada hit to a .287/.395/.480 clip with 23 homers an 100 RBIs.

Kopech, 21 on Opening Day is the #67 prospect in baseball and the #5 prospect in the Red Sox system at the time of the trade.

Kopech was drafted in the first round of the 2014 first year player’s draft, and has topped out at 105 MPH on the radar gun.

The righty got as far as high-A ball last year, going 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 11 games started for the Salem Red Sox.

The other two prospects the White Sox are getting back in the deal for Sale are the #8 and #28 prospects in Boston’s system respectively.

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Three Alternatives To Orioles Reliever Brad Brach Tue, 06 Dec 2016 16:16:57 +0000 brad ziegler

It has been widely reported the Mets have had interest in Orioles reliever Brad Brach in exchange for one of their outfielders.  Apparently, there has been a snag in negotiations with the Orioles because the team wants the Mets to not only trade them either Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson, but the Orioles also want the Mets to pay part of their salary or even include a prospect in return. Looks like the O’s have reengaged Mark Trumbo now  according to Buster Olney.

If the Mets are indeed out on Brach, that means the team will have to look elsewhere for a late inning reliever.  Further complicating matters for the Mets is Sandy Alderson’s earlier comments that the team is not willing to give out multi-year deals to relievers.  With those parameters in mind, here are three relievers the Mets may be able to sign this offseason:

Fernando Salas

2016 Stats: 3-7, 3.91 ERA, 75 G, 6 SV, 1.113 WHIP

The Mets may be able to sign the 31 year old Salas to a one year deal because he is coming off a two year stretch that has seen him pitch to a 4.06 ERA.  Despite those numbers, Salas thrived with the Mets pitch framing going 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA, a 0.635 WHIP, and a 9.9 K/9 in 17 appearances. While replicating those numbers may be difficult, Salas has at least proved he can pitch well in New York with a postseason appearance on the line.  Between that and his closing experience, the Mets should be interested in a reunion.

Brad Ziegler

2016 Stats: 4-7, 2.25 ERA, 69 G, 22 SV, 1.368 WHIP

Due to his struggles against left-handed batters and his age, the 37-year old Ziegler is not likely to get more than a one year deal.  Still the Mets, and almost all of the teams that made the postseason last year are interested in the side-winding Ziegler because keeps the ball in the ballpark by generating a lot of ground balls. With Ziegler’s ability to pitch from the seventh inning on, he is a valuable asset, and one in which the Mets should have interest.

Joe Smith

2016 Stats: 2-5, 3.46 ERA, 54 G, 6 SV, 1.250 WHIP

Since joining the Angels in 2014, Smith has gone from a dominating bullpen arm to a player left off the Cubs postseason roster.  However, it should be noted with the Cubs excellent pitch framers, Smith finished the season strong pitching to a 2.51 ERA and a 1.116 WHIP in his last 16 appearances.  Seeing how Salas similarly benefited from the Mets strong pitch framers, it is likely Smith could replicate his strong numbers in Chicago with the Mets.  Like Salas and Ziegler, Smith also has closing experience meaning he can be relied upon in any number of roles.

Overall, even if the Mets are not able to obtain Brach or a similar pitcher in a trade for Bruce or Granderson, there are still plenty of pitchers available on the free agent market who can pitch well in the seventh, eighth, or even the ninth inning for the Mets.

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Mets Can Deal Prospects for Reliever, Checked in on Ziegler Mon, 05 Dec 2016 18:50:16 +0000 brad ziegler

According to multiple sources including Buster Olney on Twitter, the Mets are one of thirteen teams that have checked in on free agent Brad Ziegler. Ziegler, 37, has been a very effective reliever since his debut in 2008. His funky motion has helped him to a career 2.44 ERA and he has pitched even better of late.

After being traded from the Diamondbacks to the Red Sox in 2016, he appeared in 33 games, recording a 1.52 ERA and striking out 31 batters in 29.2 innings pitched. He has appeared in at least 60 games every season since 2009 and that, paired with his outstanding statistics, makes him a very reliable option.

Free agency is one way to go about improving the bullpen, but another is via trade. It has been said that the Mets would love to get some serious bullpen help when they trade Jay Bruce and/or Curtis Granderson, but they would be okay with getting prospects in return. However, they are not the only tradeable pieces that could net a good reliever.

According to Mike Puma on Twitter, the Mets second tier prospects are drawing some interest and could be used in acquiring some bullpen help for 2017. He uses Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini as examples. Adam Rubin said that the Mets could trade anybody but Amed Rosario if the price is right, so don’t be surprised if Sandy makes a move for a big reliever on a rebuilding team.

If the Mets trade prospects for an arm and then trade Bruce for prospects (probably more than were traded for the bullpen help), that is certainly a net gain for the team. By the end of the Winter Meetings, you can expect the Mets to have a good arm to pitch the 7th inning in front of Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia. Stay tuned!




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