January 2013

Mets front office discusses the farm

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and top aides John Ricco, J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta met with season-ticketholders last night at Citi Field, answering questions and offering optimism about the state of the team (and, in Alderson’s case, giving a shoutout to MLB.com).

In the clip below, you can watch those four discussing the young players in the system that most excite them. Some of the answers might surprise you.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets to play two nationally televised Spring Training games

ESPN just released its Spring Training broadcast schedule. You can view the Mets:

  • Tues., March 26 vs. Cardinals, 1 p.m.
  • Thurs., March 28 @ Nationals, 1 p.m.

Only 12 days left until pitchers and catchers officially report to Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

MLB.com Top 100 Prospects: Mets score high

MLB.com unveiled its Top 100 prospects list tonight, and the Mets did quite, quite well for themselves. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud clocked in at sixth overall, while right-handed pitchers Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard ranked ninth and 29th, respectively.

The Mets were the only team in baseball to land two prospects in the Top 10.

mets2013prospectwatch

I caught up with d’Arnaud and Wheeler earlier today to discuss the rankings and their thoughts on Spring Training; you can check that out here. You can also see MLB.com’s full Top 100 here.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Projecting the Opening Day roster, 1/29

Finally, some updates! The acquisition of Shaun Marcum changes things a bit, tempting me to bump Jenrry Mejia to the bullpen to make room for him. Instead, I chose to remove Mejia from the roster altogether; I believe the Mets are somewhat committed to keeping him stretched out as a starter, and he’ll only be able to do that at Triple-A.

The Mets also added a new face in reliever Scott Atchison, who expects to make the Opening Day bullpen and could bump any number of relievers out of it. I went with Greg Burke, though your guess is as good as mine at this point.

C : John Buck
1B: Ike Davis
2B: Daniel Murphy
SS: Ruben Tejada
3B: David Wright
OF: Lucas Duda
OF: Kirk Nieuwenhuis
OF: Mike Baxter
Bench: Collin Cowgill
Bench: Andrew Brown
Bench: Justin Turner
Bench: Brandon Hicks
Bench: Anthony Recker

SP: Johan Santana
SP: Jon Niese
SP: Matt Harvey
SP: Dillon Gee
SP: Shaun Marcum
RP: Frank Francisco
RP: Bobby Parnell
RP: Josh Edgin
RP: Scott Atchison
RP: Robert Carson
RP: Jeurys Familia
RP: Jeremy Hefner

In the running: C Landon Powell, 1B Josh Satin, INF Zach Lutz, INF Brian Bixler, INF/OF Jordany Valdespin, OF Matt den Dekker, RHP Greg Burke, RHP Jenrry Mejia, RHP Collin McHugh, RHP Elvis Ramirez, RHP Carlos Torres, LHP Aaron Laffey, LHP Pedro Feliciano, LHP Darin Gorski.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets dine Bourn, but deal still unlikely

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and assistant GM John Ricco flew to Houston last week to have dinner with free-agent outfielder Michael Bourn and his agent, Scott Boras, according to the New York Post. But the meal “was more a getting-to-know-you session than a dollars-and-cents negotiation,” according to the newspaper, “at a time when the dollars and cents remain among the most significant hurdles in doing a deal.”

Alderson has made it clear through the media that he is not willing to give up the Mets’ 11th overall draft pick as compensation in order to sign Bourn. So barring some successful 11th-hour rules appeal, it’s difficult to envision a deal — secret dinner or not.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Alderson: Mets “very reluctant” to lose a draft pick

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson was a guest on MLB Network radio Sunday, discussing a plethora of topics with hosts Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden. Below is a partial transcript of the interview, courtesy Sirius XM:

Jim Bowden: “There’s been a lot of rumors about the Mets’ interest or non-interest in Michael Bourn.  Obviously, if you were to be interested and sign Bourn you would lose the 11th pick in the first round which would probably be against your blueprint plan unless the thought was you could sign Bourn and trade him and get more than what that first round pick would be.  Can you kind of at least talk about your thoughts, if there is any interest in Bourn and, if so, are the talks continuing?”

Sandy Alderson: “Well, you’re actually right to point out that at this stage, under current circumstances, if we were to sign a player like Bourn or [Kyle] Lohse or any free agent due compensation, we would lose the 11th pick in the draft, which would be really the most valuable first-round pick that could be lost in connection with a free agent.  So we’ve been very reluctant to consider that.  In some ways I think you’re right, the blueprint here is to rebuild the farm system at the same time that we try to be competitive and for us to lose a first-round pick would be counter to that approach.  We have added significantly to our minor league system with the trade of R.A. Dickey and the acquisition of Zack Wheeler last year.  So the farm system is in much better shape than it had been.  And so, we’re in a position to at least consider the possibility of losing a draft pick but, at the same time, we’re very reluctant to do so.”

michaelbournbraves

Jim Duquette: “With the draft pick you got bumped unfortunately to 11 because Pittsburgh didn’t sign theirs.  There has been some talk this week on potential, I don’t know if it is a dispute but at least wanting to explore that.  Do you need to explore whether you get a protected pick or not first, before you continue down this road with Bourn?  Or does it matter in your mind which comes first?”

Alderson: “To the extent that we don’t sign a player who is due compensation it becomes moot.  Obviously we want to have some sense of which way that interpretation would go before we made any final decision but at this point it’s all speculation because there are only, I believe, two players, Lohse and Bourn, who are due compensation and neither one is signed.  And certainly we haven’t signed either one so at this point it isn’t material.  But at some point I guess it could become so.”

Bowden: “Are you involved in either trade discussions or chasing free agents to improve the outfield?”

Alderson: “Well, we continue to look for ways to improve the outfield.  You know, it’s funny, with Scott Hairston, if you recall the other day, Scott Hairston signed one evening and Justin Upton was traded the next morning.  Had it happened the other way, who knows?  It might have turned out differently.  One of the reasons we didn’t pursue Scott as ardently as some people thought we might is that he was looking for a full time role somewhere in the outfield.  And we had some hopes that perhaps we’d be able to acquire someone to do that by trade.  It didn’t work out.  So we continue to look but I think, realistically at this point, there’s not a lot left on the shelf.  So at some point we have to realize that, well, perhaps the outfield is not the strength of our team.  But at least going into spring training we may be looking at what we have and not being able to make an addition.  But, you know, we keep looking but at the same time, in terms of significant upgrades on the free agent market, not a lot available.  We continue to talk to clubs about possible trades but at this stage most teams, as you know, are beginning to prep for the beginning of spring training and the trade activity is probably going to begin to diminish.”

Duquette: “Relief, we’ve seen some things on that front, you may add maybe a reliever or two.  What can you tell us on that?”

Alderson: “That’s true.  We’re still looking there and I think that there’s more available on the free agent market to be able to add somebody to the bullpen.  So I think that’s a realistic possibility.  It is conceivable that we get one or two.  We’re actually looking to find somebody to pitch at the back end and might have to get creative to do so.  But definitely a possibility that we can upgrade there before the beginning of spring training.”

Bowden: “Certainly [Brian Wilson] is an impact closer if the arm comes back.  I read where you had gone and seen him throw a bullpen for you.  Is that someone that you are still considering?  Where does that stand?”

Alderson: “Well, he’s still working his way back through his rehab and not only was I out there but our pitching coach was there as well.  We may go back and see him in the next several days.  He was really at the beginning of his throwing program off the mound so we hadn’t intended to go back for a period of time but I’m sure that Brian is still in our mix and other clubs are, I’m sure, looking at him as well.”

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

The great Jay Horwitz joins Twitter

If you don’t already know about Mets PR guru Jay Horwitz, I invite you to check out this Wall Street Journal story from March 2011, which tells you pretty much all you need to know.

If you do already know about Jay Horwitz, you need to know one more thing.

He’s on Twitter.

Enjoy, folks.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Matt Harvey on 2013 “Verducci Effect” list

For more than a decade, Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci has studied the nature of how significant innings jumps affect young pitchers from year to year. In what has been dubbed the “Verducci Effect,” he comes up with a group of pitchers each year at notable risk of an injury, a dip in production, or both.

Matt Harvey is on that list. By throwing 33 2/3 more innings last year at age 23 than he did in his first professional season in 2011, Harvey landed himself there.

harveythrowing

Now, it’s important to note that this is far more guesswork than science. Verducci uses a system he gleaned from former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson, flagging any pitcher age 25 or younger who increased his yearly innings total by 30 or more. While teams throughout baseball all take note of such jumps, their formulas and thresholds for red flags vary.

Harvey is also bigger and stronger than most young pitchers, and was accustomed to amassing gaudy innings totals and pitch counts in college. So this is no death sentence. But it’s something to monitor as Harvey enters what should be his first full season in the big leagues.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Projecting the Opening Day roster, 1/22

Again, no changes. A lack of big league signings will do that.

C : John Buck
1B: Ike Davis
2B: Daniel Murphy
SS: Ruben Tejada
3B: David Wright
OF: Lucas Duda
OF: Kirk Nieuwenhuis
OF: Mike Baxter
Bench: Collin Cowgill
Bench: Andrew Brown
Bench: Justin Turner
Bench: Brandon Hicks
Bench: Anthony Recker

SP: Johan Santana
SP: Jon Niese
SP: Matt Harvey
SP: Dillon Gee
SP: Jenrry Mejia
RP: Frank Francisco
RP: Bobby Parnell
RP: Josh Edgin
RP: Greg Burke
RP: Robert Carson
RP: Jeurys Familia
RP: Jeremy Hefner

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets holding Banner Day vote

The Mets are bringing back Banner Day in 2013 after a successful event last season, but are undecided on a date after their original choice, May 26, was moved to Sunday Night Baseball. You can help by voting in their poll.

bannerday2012

Voting ends Friday, January 25, at 11:59 p.m

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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