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Cubs claim LHP Jack Leathersich from Mets

The Cubs have claimed LH reliever Jack Leathersich off waivers from the Mets, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported (Nov. 19).

Leathersich, 25, underwent Tommy John surgery in late-July. In his last game prior to surgery, Leathersich threw 57 pitches for Triple-A Las Vegas.

In 17 appearances for the Mets in 2015, Leathersich had a 2.31 ERA and 1.63 WHIP in 11 2/3 innings.

In a tweet, Leathersich thanked the Mets' organization and the fans for the opportunity.

Mets will open 2016 season on Sunday, April 3
New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey throws during the first inning of Game 1 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum/AP)

The Mets' first game of the 2016 season in Kansas City against the Royals has been moved from Monday, April 4 to Sunday, April 3.

First pitch is scheduled for 8:35 p.m. ET on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.

After playing on Sunday night, the Mets will have Monday off before playing the Royals again on Tuesday, April 5. They will then have two days off before playing their home opener against the Phillies on Friday, April 8. 

Mets are poking around the market for shortstops
(Credit: AP Photo)

"The Mets are poking around for a shortstop via trade, which potentially could push Wilmer Flores to second base," according to beat reporter Adam Rubin (Nov. 19, 2015).

Matthew Cerrone
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There are other options. However, the way I see it, their realistic options are going to be either free agents Ian Desmond and Asdrubal Cabrera, or trading for the Cubs SS Starlin Castro or the Braves SS Erick Aybar.

In the end, I'd make a move for Aybar, assuming Desmond will not take a one-year deal. Aybar is not great, but he's stable, which is what I want most at shortstop. I think this pitching staff deserves an experienced guy at the infield's most important position. And, though not great, he's quintessential, experienced and capable of a 1-2 WAR season. He and Flores (or Dilson Herrera) will do fine on the middle infield together...

However, if the Braves refuse to deal Aybar in the division, I guess I would have to sign Cabrera for two years and $20 million, knowing he could also play second base and maybe even third. I don't have the guts to deal Wheeler for Castro and Desmond is too costly for that level unknown.

Last week, I ran the following poll about the above options, which returned these results... 

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Darren O'Day is seeking a four-year deal
Jul 19, 2015; Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

The Mets have interest in free-agent RH reliever Darren O'Day, a source told Newsday reporter Marc Carig (Nov. 8, 2015).

Latest Update

It's expected that O'Day will be the first big-name free-agent reliever to sign, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports (Nov. 19).

The Dodgers are one of the teams most interested in O'Day, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN (Nov. 19).

Previous Reports & Reaction

O'Day, 33, is asking for four-year deal worth $28-$36 million, according to's Ken Rosenthal (Nov. 18. 2015). The side-arming reliever has a 1.92 ERA during his last 263 innings spanning four seasons.

The Red Sox, Tigers, Nationals, Royals, Dodgers and Cubs also have early interest in O'Day (Nov. 9. 2015), who had a 1.53 ERA in 68 appearances for the O's last season.

The Mets selected O'Day in the Rule 5 Draft before 2008. He made their roster out of spring training, but was sent back to his original team after two weeks to make room on the roster for Nelson Figueroa.

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Addison Reed can expect to earn $5.8 million in 2016

The Mets will have 11 players eligible for salary arbitration this offseason, including RH reliever Addison Reed, who the team acquired from the Diamondbacks in August.

MLB Trade Rumors projects Reed, who earned just over $4 million this past season and won't be eligible for free agency until 2018, will earn $5.7 million through arbitration next year (Oct. 6, 2015).

Similarly, the award-winning team at Pace Law School determined that Reed can expect to earn slightly more, $5.8 million, which is still less than he would've earned had he remained a closer (Nov. 19, 2015).

Reed, 26, posted a 1.17 ERA and 1.04 WHIP to go along with 17 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings (17 appearances) during the 2015 regular season after being traded to the Mets.

Reed posted a 6.43 ERA in 7.0 postseason innings, including giving up the eventual winning runs in the 12th inning of Game 5 of the World Series.

Matthew Cerrone
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I'm not eager to see the Mets deal Zack Wheeler. But, if they're going to trade anyone to help upgrade the offense, it should be him over Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom.

In the below podcast, SNY.TV's Andrew Vazzano answer voicemails from Mets fans debating whether Wheeler should or shouldn't be traded, which, in the end, seems it all comes down to timing and value...

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Jeurys Familia can expect to earn $3.8M in 2016
New York Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia throws during the eighth inning of Game 1 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (Matt Slocum/AP)

The Mets will have 11 players eligible for salary arbitration this offseason, including closer Jeurys Familia.

MLB Trade Rumors projects Familia, who earned $614,625 this past season and won't be eligible for free agency until 2019, will earn $3.3 million through arbitration next year (Oct. 6, 2015).

Similarly, the award-winning team at Pace Law School determined that Familia can expect to earn slightly more, $3.8 million, because of superior platform year and contributions to his team's World Series run (Nov. 19, 2015).

Familia did not blow a save through the final two months of the regular season. However, he went on to became the first player in history to blow three saves in the World Series.

Is it time to move David Wright to 1B?
Photo Credit: USA Today Images

The Reds have let teams know they are open for business," according to the NY Post's Joel Sherman (Nov. 11, 2015), and 3B Todd Frazier may be available (Nov. 16, 2015).

According to Stark, in deals for Frazier the Reds will be seeking young, Major League-ready talent.

In an effort to find a match,'s David Schoenfield suggests trading Frazier to the Mets for Zack Wheeler, at which point the Mets could move David Wright to first base and trade Lucas Duda for a center fielder or relief pitcher.

Matthew Cerrone
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I don't think the idea is totally bananas, especially dealing Wheeler for a proven, impact player, and dealing Duda for help at a different position. Interestingly, this deal would likely end in a financial wash, plus help this season and 2017, which would have to be appealing to the Mets. It's not bad. However, I have no idea where David stands on moving positions.

Wright's future on the field has to have been discussed. I mean, it was only a few months ago that the guy worried he might have to retire because of his lumbar spinal stenosis. So, in a moment like that, I bet every option was discussed, including how playing third base instead of, say, first, or outfield, might impact him physically. In this scenario, though, why can't Frazier just play first? In fact, of the two, Frazier is the only one who has actually played first base, where he started 43 games in 2014. He also has experience playing left field, by the way.

In time, I do think Wright will need to transition to another place on the diamond. But, I don't know that we are there yet, especially since Frazier isn't exactly Brooks Robinson and can play other positions. And, if now is the time to move David to first, either because of pain or another player being acquired, we have no idea how he feels about it...

In 1998, Frazier hit a memorable home run to help Toms River, NJ, win the Little League World Series. "Before I retire, it would be cool to be in New York," Frazier told last summer (June, 2015).

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In case you missed it on Wednesday...
New York Mets' Daniel Murphy celebrates after hitting a two-run home run during the first inning of Game 2 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)

The Mets are planning to make a legitimate bid to re-sign free agent IF Daniel Murphy, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported >> Read more

The Mets are reportedly very interested in free-agent IF/OF Ben Zobrist and had a conference call with him on Wednesday >> Read more

Free agent RH reliever Darren O'Day, who the Mets have interest in, is seeking a four-year deal worth between $28 million and $36 million >> Read more

Free agent RH reliever Joakim Soria, another player the Mets are interested in, is said to be seeking a three-year contract worth roughly $27 million >> Read more

Mets expected to make 'legitimate bid' for Daniel Murphy
New York Mets' Daniel Murphy celebrates after hitting a two-run home run during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

Daniel Murphy rejected the Mets' $15.8 million one-year qualifying offer, but the Mets are expected to make a "legitimate" attempt to re-sign him, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports (Nov. 18).

According to Rubin, the Mets believe that Murphy might return to the Mets even if the team isn't the highest bidder, due to the fact that Murphy enjoyed his time with the organization and in New York.

While Murphy rejected the Mets' qualifying offer, the team can negotiate a new deal with him if they so choose.

If Murphy signs elsewhere, the Mets will receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second round of the 2016 Amateur Draft.

MLB Trade Rumors has predicted that Murphy will ultimately sign a four-year deal worth $56 million.

Murphy, 30, hit .281 with a .322 OBP and .449 SLG to go along with 14 HR and 73 RBI during the 2015 regular season.

In the postseason, Murphy hit home runs in six consecutive games to help propel the Mets to a World Series berth.


Joakim Soria is seeking a three-year contract
Could Joakim Soria be someone Sandy Alderson is interested in signing? (AP)

The Mets are among teams with reported interest in free agent RH reliever Joakim Soria.

Latest Update

Soria is looking for a contract that is worth roughly $27 million over three years, Jayson Stark of ESPN reports (Nov. 18, 2015).

Previous Reports

Soria has yet to be made a formal offer, but has seen interest from the Mets, Royals, Angels, Red Sox, Tigers, and Rangers, according to SBNation's Chris Cotillo (Nov. 12, 12:22 pm).

Soria, 31, made $7 million, while posting a 2.53 ERA and 1.09 WHIP and striking out 64 batters in 67 2/3 innings split between the Tigers and Pirates, this past season.

Mets are very interested in Ben Zobrist
(David J. Phillip/AP)

The Mets are "very interested" in free-agent IF/OF Ben Zobrist and had a conference call with him on Wednesday, Tim Rohan of The New York Times reports (Nov. 18. 2015).

According to Rohan, the 34-year-old Zobrist continues to seek a four-year deal and has drawn interest from roughly 10 teams, most of which are contenders.

It was reported Monday that while the Mets have interest in Zobrist, they might deem him too costly (Nov. 16. 2015).

Industry sources recently said the Yankees feel the same way, according to the New York Post (Nov. 15, 2015).

The Mets, Nationals and Royals have all reached out to Zobrist, who primarily played left field and second base for the A's and Royals last year (Nov. 15, 2015).

Zobrist hit .276 with a .359 OBP, 13 home runs, 56 RBI and .450 slugging percentage last season, after which he hit .303 in the postseason.


The pros and cons of Terry Collins
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) (Nam Y. Huh/AP)
Matthew Cerrone
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I understand why Terry Collins got a new, two-year contract at the end of the season, and why he came in third during yesterday's NL Manager of the Year voting. He's a strong man, who is very nice, and I'm OK with him at the helm. However, as I've said before, if something goes off track during the next 18 months, if Collins loses the team or things aren't working out, the Mets need to make a change.

The Pros

Collins did his best work in 2015, so I understand why he was up for the award. He kept a very flawed and young team focused through a difficult summer on their way to the postseason. The Mets played hard all year, from before spring training to their final game, and clearly they care about and respect him - and he feels the same about them. This is very important.

The Mets could easily find a better in-game tactician than Collins. It would not be difficult. However, will that person be able to manage the New York media and connect with these specific players like Collins has done so well. Maybe, maybe not. But, it would be a gamble to switch it up, especially in favor a manager with a big personality. I think people who are not on the field before a game, in the clubhouse and around the team discount just how important and strong his off-field skills are to the success of this squad. The last thing they need is a manager that draws attention or disrupts the environment he and Sandy Alderson have worked hard to create the last few years, especially if it is expected to continue.

That said, Alderson and his staff have to do something about how Collins handles the team on field during the game.

The Cons

There were games this past season when his choices bordered on terrible, and head-scratching at best, specifically when it comes to how he uses his bench and middle relievers. I realize this could have as much to do with the talent he's being asked to handle. However, I've seen plenty of managers do more with less, so I'm reluctant to put this all on Alderson.

I will always believe the baseball manager is massively overrated. However, they do have an impact, and it's often in ways that people don't realize - such as wasting outs, mishandling high-leverage moments and overusing relievers in spots when they have no business being in the game. The best way for a manager to best impact the game is to keep his players out of position to fail. The opposite is actually easier, which is why it is focused on and something people often compliment. However, it's far more important and impactful when reducing potential damage.


It's status quo for me as far as how Collins handles his players before and after the game. He's done an outstanding job. He also works great with his coaching staff, leaning on them for intel and carrying out his message. He's also terrific with reporters, with whom he's forced to talk at least two times a day for 250 days.

In regards to the game on the field, he says last season and the postseason helped underscore mistakes he was making in games. He says he's learned from it and will be better in 2016. I want to believe him. I hope he's right. However, whether it's sending messages to him during a game, loading him and his coaching staff with more pre-game information or simply getting players that better fit the team's overall approach, Alderson has to find a way to keep Collins out of position to fail on field during games so he can do the same for his players. Otherwise, his team will continue to waste opportunities, miss ways to scrape together runs and struggle to find a consistent bullpen, especially in situations that matter most...

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In case you missed it on Tuesday...

Terry Collins finished third in National League Manager of the Year voting, behind Joe Maddon of the Cubs and Mike Matheny of the Cardinals >> Read more

The Mets have interest in free-agent IF/OF Ben Zobrist, but they might deem him too costly >> Read more

The Mets have reached out to the agent for free-agent OF Gerardo Parra >> Read more

1B Lucas Duda can expect to earn $6.7 million in 2016 via arbitration >> Read more

RHP Zack Wheeler is throwing at 120 feet as he continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery >> Read more

Toby Hyde and Rob Brender put themselves in Sandy Alderson's chair, each presenting a realistic offseason action plan that will help the Mets return to the postseason in 2016...

Mets 1B prospect Dom Smith returns from oblique injury
Jun 12, 2013; Gardena, CA, USA; Gardena Serra first baseman Dominic Smith poses at portrait session at Serra High. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Mets 1B prospect Dominic Smith returned to action in the Arizona Fall League Tuesday after two weeks with an oblique injury.

Smith, 20, had two singles and left the game for a pinch runner in the eighth inning. He entered the night hitting .385 with a .519 OBP, one HR, four doubles and five RBI through 12 games. recently ranked him the organization's fifth-best prospect.

"He has excellent hand-eye coordination and an advanced approach at the plate,"'s Jonathan Mayo wrote in his report. "He hasn't shown a ton of extra-base pop, but it started to show up more in his second full season. ... The Mets feel the power will eventually come as Smith matures and that he'll continue to move in that direction."

In an on-air interview during Monday's game, Smith said the Mets recently told me him not to focus on hitting home runs. Instead, they want him to keep hitting the ball hard and focus on using the entire field.

Lucas Duda can expect to earn $6.7M next season
Lucas Duda hits a two-run double against the Cubs. (AP)

The Mets will have 11 players eligible for salary arbitration this offseason, including Lucas Duda.

MLB Trade Rumors projects Duda, who earned $4.2 million this past season and won't be eligible for free agency until after 2017, will earn $6.8 million through arbitration next year (Oct. 6, 2015).

Similarly, the award-winning team at Pace Law School determined that Duda can expect to earn $6.7 million (Nov. 17, 2015).

In Spring Training earlier this year, the Mets tried to sign Duda to a three-year extension, with a team option for 2018, according to's Jon Heyman (May 1, 2015). However, the two sides quickly agreed postpone contract talks until this offseason.

Matthew Cerrone
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There have been no reports or rumors that the Mets will again talk with Duda about an extension, though I suppose it's still a possibility. Frankly, after his inconsistent 2015, I think there is as good of chance he is traded as there is that they ink him to an extension. I like Lucas, and I believe in his ability, but I'd explore moving him. I'm uncomfortable knowing that the overwhelming majority of his stats will come in the span of three or four weeks scattered across a six-month season, five of which will be spent with him trying to find his timing. The Mets do not have a deep enough lineup to afford that type of instability.

Duda would be fun to watch in a hitter's park, especially when he's locked in. So, at just $6.7 million and under team control, there will be teams with interest in acquiring him. Again, I'm OK keeping him. I'll love him when he's on fire, but I can't ignore those months when he's no place to be found. If the Mets can find a taker, and use the opportunity to create a more consistent lineup, I'd do it...

Braves open to anything, including a trade for OF Cameron Maybin
Cameron Maybin played last season with the Braves. (AP)

The Braves are shopping everyone on their roster, including 28-year-old OF Cameron Maybin, according to's Ken Rosenthal (Nov. 14, 2015).

However, before they go that route, they may first try to deal Michael Bourne or Nick Swisher (Nov. 11, 2015).

The right-handed hitting Maybin hit .267 with a .327 OBP, 10 HR, 65 RBI and .370 slugging percentage in 141 games in 2015, during which he hit .276 against right-handed pitching.

He will earn $8 million next season, with a $9 million option for 2017 or a $1 million buyout.

"For a team that needs an outfielder, but has the flexibility to move Maybin to a corner or split his time in center with a better glove, he could be pretty good value," according to's Keith Law, who was once a scout and executive for the Blue Jays (Nov. 10, 2015).

According to multiple reports, the Mets may be in the market for a center field, either to take over full time or platoon with Juan Lagares.

Maggie Wiggin,
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Maybin is the kind of lateral move the Mets should definitely avoid this offseason. His "good" year in Atlanta amounted to a sub-.700 OPS and as a right-handed bat, he's not a candidate to platoon with righty Lagares. He walks a little, but has no power and his defense has been up-and-down (mostly down). The Mets need a better hitter in center than Lagares, but Maybin is not that guy.

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Is there a fit with the Reds?
Todd Frazier hauls in a pick-off attempt against the Mets. (USA TODAY Sports)

"The Reds have let teams know they are open for business," the NY Post's Joel Sherman wrote last week, which means potential trades for Aroldis Chapman, Jay Bruce, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips (Nov. 11, 2015).

Reds 3B Todd Frazier may also be available, though they're not eager to deal him, rival executives told's Jayson Stark (Nov. 16, 2015).

According to Stark, in deals for Frazier and Chapman, the Reds are seeking young, Major League-ready talent.

Matthew Cerrone
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The Mets and Reds reportedly talked last summer, specifically about Jay Bruce and Zack Wheeler. I suppose Sandy Alderson might poke around on Bruce again, but that makes less sense with the emergence of Michael Conforto. I'd love to see Votto in blue and orange, but he's due an astounding $199 million the next eight seasons, which is crazy. To deal him, the Reds will have to eat some of that money, which I'm sure they'd love to shed. Phillips is intriguing as well, since he's an above-average fielder and experienced hitter under contract through 2017. Of course, he's not close to the player he once was...

Similarly, while Frazier is a nice story (local guy from New Jersey, lots of power, etc.), he isn't an exact fit for the Mets. He's due an affordable $7.5 million next season, after which he'll enter his final season of arbitration. However, he had a terrible second half and, while he could fill in for David Wright at third base, he'd have to also play the corner outfield, which would mean moving Curtis Granderson to center field.

The Reds and their fans also LOVE Frazier, so I have no idea what that would do to his cost, especially since he's under contract for two more years. That said, again, these two teams talked this past summer, so they could continue those discussions this winter, especially since they have some parts and pieces that should intrigue one another...

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Zobrist likely too costly for Mets
Ben Zobrist warms up ahead of a game against the Jays. (USA Today)

The Mets may not pursue free agent Ben Zobrist because they feel he would cost too much and is out of their price range, the New York Daily News' Kristie Ackert reports (Nov. 16).

Zobrist, 34, is expected to seek a three- or four-year deal worth between $12 million to $15 million annually (Nov. 10, 2015).

They reached out to Zobrist's agent over the weekend, and the Nationals and Royals have also expressed interest in Zobrist, who primarily played left field and second base for the A's and World Series champion Royals last year (Nov. 15, 2015).

Zobrist hit .276 with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs last season and had a .359 on-base percentage and .450 slugging percentage. He hit .303 with two home runs and six RBIs in the postseason.

Mets have reached out to free agent OF Gerardo Parra
Gerardo Parra takes a swing against the Yankees. (USA TODAY Sports)

The Mets have reached out to the agent of OF Gerardo Parra, industry sources told Marc Carig of Newsday (Nov. 16, 2015).

Parra, 28, who hits left-handed, hit .291 with 14 home runs and 51 RBIs last season, though he struggled after being traded at the mid-summer trade deadline.

The Mets reportedly had talks with the Brewers about acquiring him before he was dealt to the Orioles.

He is expected to land a new contract worth around $10 million a season for three years.

According to updates on MLB Trade Rumors, the Royals, Orioles and Mariners may also have interest in acquiring Parra this off season (November 2015).

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The Mets are reportedly interested in Dexter Fowler and Denard Span, as well. Parra, of course, the least expensive option. He's sort of considered the poor man's Carlos Gomez, which is probably why the Mets tried to acquire him last summer, when they also tried to acquire Gomez. I like Parra, he's a useful player, though I'm slightly considered with how poor he played down the stretch. He would have to be in a platoon with Juan Lagares. However, Parra is clearly more comfortable playing a corner outfield spot.

That said, I hear he's a great kid. The Brewers and Orioles both raved about his hustle and attitude. He's got a good arm, he's versatile, he shows up every day and on every play, and he hits well against right-handed pitching. I just don't see a perfect fit in Queens, for him. I get it from a Mets perspective, but I don't know why a 28-year-old seeking a three-year deal would accept being a part-time player, whether it's splitting time with Lagares or filling in for Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto.

In case you missed it on Monday...
Noah Syndergaard pitches in the World Series for the Mets. (USA)

The Mets are among the teams who have reached out to the agent for free-agent IF/OF Ben Zobrist >> Read more

The Mets have expressed interest in trading for Red Sox OF Jackie Bradley, Jr., who Boston is considering moving this offseason >> Read more

RHP Noah Syndergaard finished fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, behind Cubs 3B Kris Bryant (who won the award), Giants IF Matt Duffy, and Pirates IF Jung-Ho Kang >> Read more

According to the analysts at Pace Law School, RHP Matt Harvey should be expected to earn roughly $4.2 million via arbitration this offseason >> Read more

Former Mets player and manager Yogi Berra, who recently passed away at the age of 90, will be a posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, President Obama announced >> Read more

Berra to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom
An Armed Forces honor guard presents the colors during a moment of silence in honor of former New York Yankee and WWll veteran Yogi Berra. (USA TODAY Sports)

The late Yogi Berra will receive a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House announced Monday.

Berra, who died in September at 90 years old, is one of 17 people to receive the award, which is the highest civilian honor in the United States.

"From public servants who helped us meet defining challenges of our time to artists who expanded our imaginations, from leaders who have made our union more perfect to athletes who have inspired millions of fans, these men and women have enriched our lives and helped define our shared experience as Americans," President Obama said in a statement.

Berra was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. He won 10 World Series championships with the Yankees and also served as manager of the Mets.

Former Hall of Famer Willie Mays has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Syndergaard finishes fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting
Noah Syndergaard pitches during Game 3 of the World Series. (AP)

Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard finished fourth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting, the league announced Monday.

Syndergaard made his debut in May and finished the regular season with 9-7 with a 3.24 ERA and 166 strikeouts in 150 innings.

Syndergaard, 23, received three second-place votes and seven third-place votes, finishing with 16 points. The Cubs' Kris Bryant unanimously received all 30 first-place votes. The Giants' Matt Duffy finished in second place with 70 points and the Pirates' Jung Ho Kang finished third.

Mets outfielder Michael Conforto recorded 194 plate appearances this season, so he will not be eligible for the 2016 Rookie of the Year competition. Infielder Dilson Herrera eclipsed 169 career plate appearances this season, so he will also not be eligible for the 2016 Rookie of the Year award.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard
Mets Hot Stove: Zack Wheeler 00:04:54
Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler joins Gary Apple to discuss his progress as he returns from Tommy John surgery.

Mets RHP Zack Wheeler is throwing from 120 feet, the final step before pitching off a mound, he recently wrote on Instagram (Nov. 16, .2015).

He expects to be back pitching for the Mets around June or July next summer, he told SNY's Mets Hot Stove on Monday.

Wheeler said he is currently spending time with family and continuing his workouts four days a week in Georgia.

Inspired by watching Jacob deGrom, Wheeler said he is working on raising his elbow, which he will believes will help improve his command, which is what make deGrom so effective after his Tommy John surgery in 2010.

In regards to almost being traded last summer, and continued rumors that he could be dealt this winter, Wheeler told SNY he hopes he remains with the Mets.

"I want to be here and be a New York Met and be in the city of New York," said Wheeler, who called Sandy Alderson after last summer's failed trade for Carlos Gomez to reiterate his desire to stay with the organization.

Matt Harvey's arbitration projection for 2016
Matt Harvey reacts after getting out of the seventh inning in Game 5 of the World Series. (AP)

The Mets will have 11 players eligible for salary arbitration this offseason, including Matt Harvey.

MLB Trade Rumors projects Harvey, who earned $614,625 this past season and won't be eligible for free agency until 2019, will earn $4.7 million through arbitration next year (Oct. 6, 2015).

Similarly, the award-winning team at Pace Law School determined that Harvey can expect to earn slightly less, $4.25 million, because of his injury history and lack of innings at this stage of his career (Nov. 16, 2015).

Last week, Harvey told that he has no intention of leaving his agent, Scott Boras (Nov. 9, 2015), despite speculation in baseball that he pursue a different agency.

Matthew Cerrone
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I realize there are lots of fans and media who believe he and the Mets should get together on a contract extension, something like five years and $55 million. However, because of his goals and agent, it's fairly obvious that will never happen. This duo is 100 percent locked in on testing the free agent market the first moment he's eligible three years from now. And, I don't blame him...

I mean, to take a five-year deal now would mean he'd have to first test the market at 31 years old. Sure, he'd guarantee himself the money between now and then, which is nice. But, he's already had Tommy John surgery and missed a full season because of it, so he's probably pretty confident that his best has yet to come. It's a gamble either way, but I can't see him selling himself for anything less than top dollar, regardless of the risk. It's just not his style...

Results from last week's poll about Ian Desmond's value
Ian Desmond played last season for the Nationals. (USA)

Free-agent SS Ian Desmond is expected to sign a contract worth anywhere between three and six years, at around $15 million a season (Nov. 12, 2015).

In a poll on last week, 71 percent of voters said Desmond is worth only a three-year contract, while less than three percent felt he is worth having for more than five years.

2012 130 547 25 73 21 5.5 % 20.7 % .218 .292 .335 .511 17.2 10.3 4.7
2013 158 655 20 80 21 6.6 % 22.1 % .173 .280 .331 .453 13.4 11.6 4.8
2014 154 648 24 91 24 7.1 % 28.2 % .175 .255 .313 .430 9.7 7.2 4.0
2015 156 641 19 62 13 7.0 % 29.2 % .151 .233 .290 .384 -7.1 3.3 1.7
2016 146 612 18 68 13 7.0 % 27.9 % .154 .236 .294 .390 -8.4 3.6 1.6
Career 927 3793 110 432 122 6.1 % 23.5 % .160 .264 .312 .424 16.7 30.1 17.4

Matthew Cerrone: I'm only interested in Desmond if he's willing to do a one-year deal. Otherwise, I'd prefer any one of the options below. The Mets should be very appealing to him since they're an up-and-coming team in the division he knows well. Plus he won't have to face their pitching 19 times a season. However, if he's holding out for a five- or six-year deal, I'm not interested. He doesn't walk and has always had a bad approach at the plate. If he's not hitting .285 with 20 home runs like he did earlier in his career, then his fielding is a problem.

The Mets know him, they've watched him a lot the last few seasons. They know he's striking out more and hitting with less power. So, if they believe he's worth a long-term deal, I'll trust their judgement. But, man, I'd worry the whole time he was signing the contract, because I have no faith in who he will be when the ink dries.

Stats and Facts: Denard Span 00:01:00 takes a look at free-agent center fielder Denard Span in the latest Stats and Facts.

In an effort to acquire a new outfielder, the Mets will target free-agent outfielders Denard Span, among other options, according to Newsday's Marc Carig (Nov. 7, 2015).

Span had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip in October. He recently said he is recovering well and will be 100 percent healthy at the start of Spring Training (Oct. 8, 2015).

Span played in just 61 games last season, during which he hit .301 with 11 stolen bases, five HR and 22 RBI. In 2014, he was tied for the National League lead with 184 hits, hitting .302 with five home runs, 31 stolen bases and 37 RBI in 147 games.

According to multiple in-season reports, Nationals coaches and teammates felt losing Span during 2015 had a major, negative impact on Washington's lineup.

That said, they're not interested in re-signing him because they're confident in his replacement, Michael A. Taylor.  

To date, other than the Mets, there have been no published reports indicating a specific team with interest in signing Span.

Nevertheless, despite the surgery, lack of interest by the Nationals, and lack of reports about his market, Span is expected to get a three-year deal worth around $36 million (Nov. 12, 2015).

In September, he agreed to be represented by agent Scott Boras.

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Span is a perfect fit, but only if he's healthy. And, that's the thing, he has yet to show what he can do since having hip surgery. The Mets should be appealing to him, since he can return to a pitcher's park in the NL East on a team that will contend for the playoffs. He's a left-handed bat that hits righties well and he's an average fielder, but he has experience, very good pitch recognition and speed. He can bat leadoff and steal bases, which would return Curtis Granderson to the middle of the order.

The thing is, at 31 years old and coming off hip surgery, I don't like signing him to a three-year deal. I'd love for him to take a one-year pillow deal, which is something his agent is known for accepting when a player is in this situation. Right now, the only indication that this may be possible is the lack of teams rumored to have interest in him. My hunch is that he may hold out, with Boras slow-playing Span's market, only to end up accepting a one-year deal late in the winter. However, by then, the Mets will almost certainly have made a deal for someone else, so my hunch is he'll end up with a different team.

Mets have interest in Red Sox OF Jackie Bradley Jr.
Jackie Bradley Jr. split time last season between the Majors and Triple-A. (USA TO)

The Mets, and maybe the Nationals, are among teams showing interest in acquiring Red Sox OF Jackie Bradley Jr., according to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo (Nov. 14, 2015).

The Red Sox may explore trades this winter for Bradley, Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts (Nov. 12, 2015).

Bradley, 25, hit .249 with a .335 OBP and .498 SLG with 10 HR and 43 RBI in 74 games this past season for Boston.

In 2014, he played 113 of his 125 games in center field and made 13 outfield assists, while committing just one error. He played each outfield position in 2015, and was ranked Boston's second-best position prospect behind SS Xander Bogaerts before being promoted in 2014, according to Baseball America.

According to multiple reports, the Mets may be in the market for a center field, either to take over full time or platoon with Juan Lagares.

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Bradley is an incredible defensive outfielder, but I'm not sold on his bat. He had one hot month and a crazy-high BABIP, but aside from that, his 2015 was just an OK season at best. The Red Sox have been asking teams about their starting pitching, so I assume when talking to the Mets the same high-caliber names will get mentioned. The Mets have the need, but the this doesn't feel like the makings of a strong fit. Betts, on the other hand, is great, but he's also likely the last guy in the bunch that Boston will try to deal (Nov. 12, 2015).

If the Mets were interested, I'm willing to bet the Red Sox would take Zack Wheeler for Bradley and SS Deven Marrero, who the Mets had interest in acquiring from Boston a couple of years ago when he was still in Triple-A. Marrero hasn't done much since being called up this past summer. But, he's a former first round pick who is a very good defensive shortstop, but he's still not sharp at the plate. I don't see him as a starting shortstop. However, he's 25, still with potential, and could easily replace Ruben Tejada if the Mets decide to non-tender him.

Mets reached out to Zobrist over the weekend
Ben Zobrist warms up ahead of a game against the Jays. (USA Today)

The Mets are among teams that have reached out to Ben Zobrist's agent, according to the New York Post (Nov. 15, 2015).

Zobrist, 34, is expected to eventually sign a three- to four-year deal, worth between $12-15 million a season (Nov. 10, 2015).

In 126 games last season, the 10-year veteran hit .276 with a .359 OBP, 13 HR, 36 doubles and an .809 OPS, while playing for the A's and Royals.

Zobrist played second and third base and left and right field in 2015. He played mostly second base and shortstop the year before.

This offseason, the Nationals and Royals are the only other teams that have been linked in rumors to Zobrist, who is said to have up to 20 teams interested in signing him, according to updates on MLB Trade Rumors (Nov. 16, 2015).

The Yankees initially had interest, but aren't willing to spend what it is needed to land him, industry sources to the Post.

Could Zack Wheeler return better than ever?
Zack Wheeler missed all of last season after Tommy John surgery. (AP)

Zack Wheeler emerged in 2013 with solid results and a sky-high ceiling. His stuff is fantastic, from a 95-mph fastball with movement to a beautiful 12-6 curve ball. In his 49 career major league starts, he's generated weak contact and struck out over 22% of the batters he's faced. On a team full of aces, he's not out of place.

That said, he's never had a walk rate below 10 percent. He struggles with first-pitch strikes. And, he gets into a lot of deep counts, limiting how long he can stay in a game. But, is this something that could be improved after Tommy John surgery, which he is expected to return from next summer? Absolutely.

Wheeler reports having pitched through pain for almost a decade, which would explain why he's been so consistently wild in the minors and majors. His delivery has a lot of moving parts, which is something he likely developed in response to discomfort. That kind of delivery can be difficult to command and continuing pain would just exacerbate that. Pitching pain-free can give him a chance to simplify his delivery a little, but - even if he sticks with what is familiar to him - he should be able to control each component of it better. Clearing out the calcium deposits is also likely to help the inner workings of his elbow so when he throws it will be more fluid and smooth.

However, is any of this guaranteed? Definitely not…

For starters, pitchers returning from a long rehab process often struggle with command, which would offset any anatomical improvements. And, pitchers are creatures of habit. His quirks and muscle memory have been developing for most of his life and even a change as significant as this one may not be sufficient. But, Wheeler is incredibly talented and is working with a coaching staff and organization that has produced a collection of pitchers with exceptionally good control. They also have experience helping pitchers back from Tommy John surgery, including Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom. Allow Wheeler some time to get back in to the rhythm of pitching, and we may see the ace-level pitcher everyone has been waiting for since he was acquired in 2011.

Tags: Zack Wheeler
GM Meetings are over! Now what?
Sandy Alderson speaks to the media before the NLCS at Citi Field. (AP)

In talking with people around baseball, it sounds like John Ricco, Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi did more listening than talking when meeting with agents and executives from dozens of MLB teams during this week's GM meetings in Florida.

"They're getting their ducks in a row, which is typical in November for postseason teams," a rival insider told me of Sandy Alderson's representatives.

Alderson did not attend the annual GM meetings to undergo an unspecified medical procedure.

"We were able to get a pretty clear idea on some clubs - on some other clubs, not so clear," Ricco said, before heading to the airport. "We'll regroup with Sandy in New York and further define our plan for the offseason."

It sounds to me like teams that met with the Mets are leaving Florida with four main take-aways:

  1. The Mets have no intention of trading away a big pitcher.
  2. They're underselling an obvious desire to upgrade at SS.
  3. They're not comfortable with the back-end of their bullpen.
  4. They're going to acquire an experienced center fielder.

I also think they might non-tender Ruben Tejada and trade Juan Lagares to help raise money, though that only totals to around $5 million for 2016.

In either case, I am not expecting a big off season after what I've been hearing from people outside of the organization. My hunch is we're looking at around $15-to-$20 million worth of additions, a new centerfielder and shortstop, a utility guy and some journeymen relievers to compete for spots in the bullpen. I'll work on names and predictions and my own ideas for later in the day or early next week…

Mets sign free-agent INF Ty Kelly to minors deal
Ty Kelly makes a play during a Spring Training game for the Cardinals. (AP)

The Mets have signed infielder Ty Kelly to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training.

Kelly, 27, played in Triple-A level for two different organizations in 2015. He began the season with the Cardinals, hitting .203 in 227 at bats. He was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays in July and spent the remainder of the season with Triple-A Buffalo where he hit .264 (38-144) with four doubles, one home run and 12 RBI.

He was originally drafted by the Orioles in the 13th round in 2009.

Murphy must accept or reject qualifying offer today by 5 p.m. ET
If he accepts the qualifying offer, Daniel Murphy will make $15.8 million next sesaon. (AP)

According to MLB rules, Daniel Murphy has until 5 p.m. ET today to accept or reject a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Mets.

Murphy's decision will help guide the team's offseason plan, assistant GM John Ricco said Thursday (Nov. 12, 2015).

In the event he declines, the Mets can still negotiate with him, but it would give bring them a compensatory draft pick if Murphy ends up signing with a new team.

Murphy earned $8 million this past season, which was his final year of salary arbitration. He is expected to be offered three- to four-year deals, worth around $12-15 million a season, according to MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone (Nov. 12, 2015).

The Dodgers, Giants, Rockies, Angels, Yankees and Royals, among other teams, are all rumored to have interest in acquiring him this winter.

Tags: Daniel Murphy
How will Sandy Alderson handle the multi-year, middle-relief market?
Could Joakim Soria be someone Sandy Alderson is interested in signing? (AP)

The Mets intend to acquire help for their bullpen this winter, according to insiders around MLB.

They expect Rafael Montero's shoulder to be 100 percent next spring, and Josh Smoker, Erik Goeddel, Logan Verrett, and others will be considered for the Opening Day bullpen. However, they're going to need a veteran or two to help set up Jeurys Familia.

The Blue Jays are reportedly close to re-signing RH reliever Marco Estrada to a two-year deal worth around $13 million a season.

Toronto had extended him a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer, but it's still an important contract because he may help set the market for other veteran middle relievers.

Thanks to Estrada, expect Tyler Clippard, Tony Sipp, Ryan Madson, Mark Lowe and Shawn Kelly to all get two-year deals as well. Estrada's $13 million a season is on target with what experts projected last week, which could be double the money that goes to Clippard, Sipp, etc. That said, it's still more than a one-year commitment, which I fear could make Sandy Alderson balk at their asking price.

Alderson reportedly also has interest in free-agent set-up men Joakim Soria and Darren O'Day, who are expected to get three-year deals, since nearly half the league is pursuing them.

In the event the Mets miss out on Soria and O'Day, and Alderson refuses to give a two-year deal to someone else, he'll be left again offering minor-league deals to guys like Matt Belisle, Trevor Cahill, Jason Frasor, Jerry Blevins, Craig Breslow and others, which could put them in the exact position as last season. And, I'm not sure that's going to be good enough…

By the way, I have not heard a peep on Yasiel Sierra, who is very intriguing. He's 24, with a mid-90s fastball, a nice slider, a three-quarters arm slot, command issues, and experience pitching in relief, but he has yet to be cleared to sign with an MLB team. However, he impressed scouts that watched him last month, most believing a little refinement in the minor leagues, and adding a change up, could make him a legit bullpen arm for a team late next season. He's going to see a lot of interest when his market opens because he's outside the bonus pool, though that could mean it takes a $30 million commitment to ink him.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly commends Mets rotation
Don Mattingly is introduced as the Marlins' next manager. (USA TODAY Sports)

Marlins manager Don Mattingly credited the Mets rotation for leading them to the World Series in 2015 and said starting pitching is New York's biggest strength (Nov. 13).

"Great teams are built on the mound," Mattingly said. "You can talk about offense, whatever, but they got good, young starting pitching that is going to be controllable and in house for a while."

The Mets rotation boasted the fourth-best ERA in the majors this past season. Mattingly takes over a Marlins staff that had just the 18th ERA in baseball last year. However, he said he looks forward to a full season of Jose Fernandez.

"They are going to be a handful," Mattingly reitterated d of the Mets. "If those guys stay healthy, they are going to be tough. It's going to be fun to be in the division knowing you have to play really well to be able to hang in there with them."

In deal for Simmons, Braves were talking Harvey, deGrom, Matz and Conforto
Andrelton Simmons makes a play at shortstop for the Braves. (USA TODAY Sports)
The Braves traded SS Andrelton Simmons to the Angels for veteran SS Erick Aybar, top prospects Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis, and roughly $3 million, the teams announced late Thursday.

The Mets inquired about Simmons earlier in the day, but were told he would cost RHP Matt Harvey or RHP Jacob deGrom, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Nov. 12, 9:53 am).

The Mets also spoke with the Braves about Simmons in July, at which time they were asked for Steven Matz and Michael Conforto (Nov. 12, 015).

The Padres, Dodgers and Angels, among others, also expressed recent interest in Simmons, according to Sherman (Nov. 11, 2015).

Simmons, who won a Gold Glove at shortstop in 2013 and 2014, is guaranteed $53 million during the next five seasons. In 499 career games, Simmons is batting .256 with a .304 OBP, while averaging roughly five home runs, 20 doubles and 40 RBIs per season.

Matthew Cerrone: Simmons would have been the greatest gift Alderson could given to his pitching staff, who are desperate for an everyday, sure-handed shortstop. Simmons has yet to find his bat, but he's young enough to think he can get better. But, even if he doesn't, he brings Ozzie Smith-level, heads-up defense to the infield, which is currently lacking at Citi Field. The thing is, I've heard from other teams in the NL East, not just the Mets, that the Braves were reluctant to deal him in the division, which is probably reflected in that ridiculous request for Harvey or deGrom. I mean, Simmons is a really good player, but I'm not trading an existing ace for what could amount to another Rey Ordonez. The point is, I loved the idea of acquiring Simmons. However, if the Mets go that route, it was always going to have to come from a different team.

Multiple teams have interest in OF Jackie Bradley, Jr.
Jackie Bradley Jr. collects a hit for the Red Sox. (USA)

There's a growing sentiment in baseball that the Red Sox might trade either Jackie Bradley Jr., Rusney Castillo or Mookie Betts, according to Boston reporter Rob Bradford of WEEI (Nov. 12, 2015).

The Mariners, Royals, and Cubs have so far expressed interest in Bradley, who Bradford believes is the most likely to get dealt.

Bradley, 25, hit .249 with a .335 OBP and .498 SLG with 10 HR and 43 RBI in 74 games this past season for Boston.

According to multiple reports, the Mets may be in the market for a center field, either to take over full time or platoon with Juan Lagares.

Matthew Cerrone: Bradley is an incredible defensive outfielder. But, I'm not sold on his bat. He had one hot month and a crazy-high BABIP, but, aside from that, his 2015 was just an OK season at best. The Red Sox have been asking teams about their starting pitching, so I assume when talking to the Mets the same high-caliber names will get mentioned. The Mets have the need, but the this doesn't feel like the makings of a strong fit. Betts, on the other hand, is great, but he's also likely the last guy in the bunch that Boston will try to deal…

Rockies are again shopping OF Carlos Gonzalez
Carlos Gonzalez fields a fly ball against the Braves. (AP)

The Rockies are again shopping OF Carlos Gonzalez, according to's Jon Heyman (Nov. 12, 2015).

"He'll be thrilled" about a potential deal to a new team, a source close to Gonzalez told Heyman.

Matthew Cerrone: The Mets were not interested in acquiring him last July, people close to the Rockies told me at the time. I can only assume Colorado's asking price was high, since they had been telling teams they were looking to acquire a player under contract the following season.

The Mets and Rockies had a series of conversations about Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and other players before Colorado fired GM Dan O'Dowd in October, 2014. The way I understand it, there wasn't been a ton of dialogue between Sandy Alderson's staff and Colorado's new front office, and it actually got a bit awkward last summer with the way things went down with Tulowitzki going to the Blue Jays. So, I have no idea where things stand today…

That said, Gonzalez is due just $37 million through 2017. He's appropriately valued if he puts up numbers like he did in 2015, when hit .271 with a .336 OBP and 40 HR. The thing is, he hit just .243 on the road with only a third of his home runs coming away from Coors Field. That is a major concern, since a) he has a history of injury, and b) you don't get a discount on his salary during road games.

I'd reach out to the Rockies, because he's a good hitter. I'd want Colorado to pick up a portion of his salary, and I hang up the phone if asked for a big-league starting pitcher or Michael Conforto. Gonzalez is good, but he's not that good, especially if acquiring him means moving Curtis Granderson to center field.

Free Agent Price Predictions
Ben Zobrist won't have trouble finding a new home this offseason. (AP)

In the last week, I've talked with a handful of MLB insiders - including former GMs, current executives and two player agents - to get an idea of what specific players might end up getting paid during this year's free-agent market.

I stuck specifically to players I felt would get frequently linked to the Mets, and only asked about two pitchers.

For the most part, the seven people were fairly consistent, except when I asked about Ian Desmond. For Desmond, I got seven different answers and the widest range for years and annual salary, which says everything you need to know about what his off-season has in store.

Here's the full list in alphabetical order by first name…

Player Years AAV QO
Alex Gordon 4-5 Years $15-20M Yes
Alexei Ramirez 1-2 Years $6-8M No
Asdrubal Cabrera 2 Years $9-10M No
Ben Zobrist 3-4 Years $12-16M No
Daniel Murphy 3-4 Years $12-15M Yes
Darren O'Day 3 Years $7-9M No
David Freese 2-3 Years $10M No
Denard Span 3 Years $13-15M No
Dexter Fowler 4-Years $12-15M Yes
Gerardo Parra 3 Years $9-11M No
Howie Kendrick 3-4 Years $13-15M Yes
Ian Desmond 3-6 Years $14-16M Yes
Jason Heyward 7-9 Years $20-23M Yes
Joakim Soria 3 Years $7-9M No
Justin Upton 6-7 Years $20-22M Yes
Yoenis Cespedes 5-6 Years $20-25M No

Free agent outfielders Jayson Heyward and Yoenis Cespedes, infielders Ian Desmond, David Freese, Alexei Ramirez, Ben Zobrist and Howie Kendrick, and relievers Darren O'Day,Tony Sipp and Joakim Soria, are all good fits for the Mets, according to a list comprised by's Jim Bowden (Nov. 12, 2015).

Specifically, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors believes the Mets make the most sense for Desmond and free-agent OF Dexter Fowler.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 9.11.52 AM

Desmond, who will cost a draft pick, as he was extended a qualifying offer from the Nationals, is reportedly seeking a multi-year deal.'s Keith Law believes he's worth three years and $39 million (Nov. 9, 2015), though Dierkes and's Jon Heyman expect Desmond to eventually ink a five or six-year deal worth around $15 million a season.

Mets plan to speak with Ben Zobrist's agent
Ben Zobrist won't have trouble finding a new home this offseason. (AP)

The Mets plan to soon speak with the agent for free agent IF/OF Ben Zobrist, who is drawing lots of interest around MLB, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (Nov. 12).

Zobrist, 34, has been linked this off-season to the Yankees, Nationals, Cardinals, Orioles, Royals, Giants and Cubs according to updates on MLB Trade Rumors (Nov. 12, 2015).

The Mets were also reportedly interesting in trading for him last summer, before he was eventually sent from the A's to Kansas City.

Zobrist hit .276 with a .359 OBP and .450 SLG to go along with 13 HR and 56 RBI in 126 games split between the A's and Royals this past season while making $7.5 million.

Matt Harey's agent, Scott Boras, now believes the Mets appropriately handled his client's innings limit, even though he pitched 216 as opposed to the doctor-recommended 180, he told reporters at the GM Meetings in Florida (Nov. 11, 2015).

In the beginning of September, as Harvey passed 160 innings pitched in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, Boras publicly criticized the Mets and reportedly told them to shut down Harvey after 180 innings to preserve his arm for future seasons rather than their playoff push.

Boras, Harvey, team doctors and Sandy Alderson talked by phone to devise a plan handling Harvey the rest of the season.

"The Mets came out with a very good plan for that after discussion," Boras explained Wednesday. "The doctor agreed with it. It allowed Matt really long periods of rest in September, and, frankly, it allowed him to perform at probably his best levels because - instead of throwing 250 inning - he threw 210."

Harvey pitched just three times during the last three and a half weeks of the regular season. In the playoffs, the Mets aligned him to start once in the NLDS, once in the NLCS and twice in the World Series. He went 2-0 with a 3.04 ERA in the playoffs, striking out 27 batters in 26 2/3 innings.

"Well, obviously the Mets have a pennant at the end of their aisle," Boras said. "That kind of allows them to go where they want to go. I'm sure that with where they're at, where they're headed, having a core of pitching like they do, they have an opportunity to fill many holes and be a very competitive team for a long time."

deGrom wins Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award
Jacob deGrom collected his first Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award Wednesday night. (AP)

Mets RHP Jacob deGrom won the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award at pitcher, it was announced on Wednesday night.

deGrom was not a finalist for the National League Gold Glove award for pitchers.

I expect the Mets to spend the winter looking for a utility infielder that can play some third base, a proven set-up man and a center fielder that can hit left-handed pitching to platoon with Juan Lagares. In an ideal world, they also acquire a 150-game shortstop, which would temporarily move Wilmer Flores to second base, but that will prove a difficult trick to turn.

Here is what may be available to them, based on published reports, rumors, and conversations I've had the last few days with MLB insiders and experts…


The Mets will talk with free-agent SS Ian Desmond. But, if he insists on a deal of at least five years, my guess is they will pass and again explore the trade market. I'm sure they'll ask the Blue Jays about Ryan Goins, the Royals about Raul Mondesi and the Reds about Zack Cozart. And, of course, the Rangers will again shop Jurickson Profar and Elvis Andrus. Plus, the Cubs still have Starlin Castro and Javier Baez. I also heard last summer the Mets expressed interest in Braves SS Andrelton Simmons. Tigers SS Jose Iglesias and Marlins SSAdeiny Hechavarria were also reportedly available. 

The point is, there are options, but they'll almost all cost at least one top pitcher, if they even get moved at all. And, if all else fails, they can revisit free-agents Asdrubal Cabrera, Alexei Ramirezand Jimmy Rollins, though - at that point - I assume they'd again go with Wilmer.

Centerfield Platoon

I bet they target Denard Span, Dexter Fowler and Gerardo Parra, as Newsday's Marc Carig mentioned earlier this week. Span had an injury-riddled season in 2015 and he'll be 32-years-old, but he had 11 stolen bases in 11 attempts last season to go along with a .365 OBP and he led the NL in hits in 2014. The Nationals didn't give him a qualifying offer, so he won't cost a draft pick. He can be a leadoff hitter and letCurtis Granderson return to the middle of the order, while also helping to move the lineup along. The Royals, Yankees, Orioles and Angels will all look to bring him in too, so the competition will be steep. Fowler is a nice option as well. He'd improve the outfield defense, he's patient at the plate and has more power than Span.

Fowler, Span and Parra will all be looking for contracts in the three- to-five-year range, so they're all realistic options. In the event Sandy Alderson wants to explore a trade, I suggest he contact the Red Sox, who insiders believe are open to dealing Jackie Bradley, Jr. In time, expect to also hear rumors connecting them to D-Backs OF Ender Inciarte and Rockies CF Charlie Blackmon.

Set-Up Man

Free-agent RHP Darren O'Day would be ideal, but there are reportedly a lot of teams going after him, as would Tony Sipp or Marco Estrada. O'Day knows this market because he briefly pitched for the Mets a few seasons ago, plus he was 6-2 with a 1.52 ERA and recorded six saves for Baltimore last season. He's probably worth a two-year deal, but I bet he ends up with the team that offers him a three-year guarantee.

Free-agent RHP Joakim Soria fits the mark as well, but may also cost a three-year contract. If the Mets don't get O'Day, they probably won't pick anyone up until late December or January. After that, instead of signing a marquee player, they'll likely take on anyone that will accept a minor-league deal and compete for a spot in spring training, including their own Jerry Blevins orVic Black, both of whom are free agents this winter.

They can call the Padres about Craig Kimbrel, and the Reds about Aroldis Chapman, but I don't think Alderson is willing to give up what will be needed to make those trades. Lastly, I have not heard the Mets connected to Cuban free-agent middle reliever Yasiel Sierra, but they should be…

Utility Infielder

It appears I'll again be writing a lot about Ben Zobrist, because he seems like a perfect fit. He made incredible contact last season, as you know, and showed his most power in recent memory. He can play middle infield, some outfield and third base. The thing is, he's a perfect fit for almost any team, especially the Yankees and the Royals, with whom he just won a World Series. He's going to get a lot of three-year offers, but I bet he signs with the team that guarantees him a fourth season.

The Mets could also bring back free-agent Kelly Johnson, who did a nice job after they acquired him last summer.

Realistic Trade Chip

Juan Lagares and Zack Wheeler are Alderson's primary trade chips. Obviously,Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz will get him whatever he wants, but I don't think he has any intention of trading them. Jon Niese andWilmer Flores can be part of a deal, but they're not the opening act. Brandon Nimmo has value, but he's still only the No. 71 overall prospect in baseball, according to Matt Reynolds, Gavin Cecchini and Gabriel Ynoa are nice players, but they're throw ins right now, not guys Alderson can build a deal around for a legit, help-now player. And, yes, scouts loveAmed Rosario, but so do the Mets, which means he isn't going anywhere. In the end, if Alderson insists on keeping Harvey, Syndergaard, Matz, deGrom and Michael Conforto, he isn't getting a top-flight player back in a trade. However, Lagares, Wheeler, Flores, Niese and Nimmo may be able to combine for something useful, especially if the player is making money that the other team is looking to shed.

My Plan A

I'm still working on it. I'm trying to create two versions. The first will be based on a reality where the Mets keep payroll around $110 million or so, and continue to offer only short-term contracts. The other, for fun, will be based on a different reality, where the Mets pop payroll and give out a mega deal or two. I hope to have this completed by the weekend. In the meantime, I hope the above helps with your mock GM'ing… Happy Hot Stove!

It makes more sense to trade Matt Harvey a year from now rather than this winter, four out of five of scouts and executives told Daily News reporter John Harper (Nov. 11).

"In my experience, his value wouldn't be that much greater three years from free agency rather than two," a current GM told Harper. "In this case, his value could be even higher next year, after a second year back from Tommy John. But, if you want to maximize the return on him, you do need to make a decision at that time."

According to Harper, the Mets could realistically expect to get back one of, say, Xander Bogaerts or Mookie Betts, for Harvey, both not both, in a deal this winter with the Red Sox.

The Mets have already started being asked if they're willing to deal a young starting pitcher, as they look to upgrade their offense, Mets assistant GM John Ricco told reporters (Nov. 9).

However, last week, when asked if he might consider dealing Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard or Steven Matz, GM Sandy Alderson said, "I can't see it happening."

Alderson wouldn't flat-out dismiss the idea, but said it was very unlikely to happen.

"If you start talking about trading one of our starting pitchers, you have to be careful about weakening the team," he said. "We're fairly resolute about what we're going to do and not do with regard to those four, but we'll see what happens."

Matthew Cerrone
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I'd call the Red Sox, because that's tempting. But, at the end of the day, I don't think I'd have the stomach to make that one-for-one deal. Again, it's worth exploring because you never know what might transpire. But it would probably take more than one of those two position players to break up this pitching staff, and I don't think the Red Sox would be interested at that point. The Mets finally got a look at what this rotation is capable of, and it worked. So, to Alderson's point, it's hard to imagine them ruining that unless it's for an obvious, can't-miss upgrade and, then, you need the guts to make the move. I just can't see it happening this winter. Next year? Maybe. Right now, I don't think so…
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Mejia could return in 2016

The Mets are monitoring Jenrry Mejia's performance in the Dominican Winter League and considering bringing him back once his suspension is up, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman (Nov. 10).

Mejia, 26, is serving his second suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. His suspension will end around July 26, according to Sherman, and is not on the Mets' 40-man roster while he is suspended.

However, he is eligible to pitch in winter leagues. As a starting pitcher for Licey, he has a 5.40 ERA in four starts. In 16 2/3 innings, he has given up 26 hits and struck out nine batters.

Mejia, according to Sherman, would be in line to earn approximately $1.1 million if the Mets brought him back next season.

In seven appearances last year, he pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings. He recorded 28 saves with a 3.65 ERA in 63 appearances in 2014.

If Mejia is caught using performance-enhancing drugs for a third time, he would be subject to a lifetime ban. He was suspended 80 games for a first-time offense last March and 162 games last July.

Mets open to bringing back Colon, who may explore other options
New York Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon throws during the fifth inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

Mets executives met with free-agent RHP Bartolo Colon's agent during the GM Meetings, assistant GM John Ricco told reporters on Tuesday.

However, while the Mets are open to Colon returning as a swingman in 2016, he may be more interested in pursuing a role as a full-time starting pitcher.

"He is interested in coming back, but he's going to go out on the market and look and see," Ricco said, according to (Nov. 10). "It's very early, and we really just talked about how happy we were with what he did for us."

Colon, 42, was 14-13 with a 4.16 ERA in 194 2/3 regular-season innings in 2015. He made seven relief appearances during the postseason, allowing two runs and seven hits, while striking out seven batters, in 8 2/3 innings.

"He proved in the postseason that he can pitch out of the pen," Sandy Alderson said at the end of the season. "Whether he would do that on a full-time basis, or be a swing man/middle guy, or even step into the rotation in the event of injuries, I think we're still open-minded about the possibility of Bartolo."

Matthew Cerrone
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He has a role on this team. I can't see him getting a multi-year deal from anyone, so a one-year offer to stay in Queens should be of some interest to him, I would think. In the event he returns to the Mets, he should be confident he'll get a handful of starts through the summer, spotting guys, filling in for injury, etc., but he'll have no choice but to be a full-time reliever whenZack Wheeler returns from Tommy John surgery by July. He should 100 percent explore being a full-time starter some place else. However, if there are no regular gigs open to him, I'd love to see him back at Citi Field…

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