deGrom finalist for players' award

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1
NEW YORK -- The official NL Rookie of the Year Award will be announced the week of Nov. 10.

Jacob deGrom is up for another award, too.

MLB players have voted deGrom one of three NL finalists for "outstanding rookie." The other candidates are Cincinnati's Billy Hamilton and Arizona's David Peralta.

That "Players Choice Award" winner will be announced Nov. 3.

Travis d'Arnaud surgery complete

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1
NEW YORK -- Travis d'Arnaud underwent surgery as planned on Wednesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan to address a bone spur in his right elbow.

Jenrry Mejia is due to undergo sports hernia surgery on Thursday in Philadelphia.

Both are expected to be fine well before spring training.

Super Joe among D-backs candidates

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1

Nam Y. Huh/Associated PressEx-Met Joe McEwing, now a coach with the White Sox, will interview with the Diamondbacks.

NEW YORK -- Ex-Met Super Joe McEwing is among the people who will interview for the vacant Arizona Diamondbacks managerial position.

McEwing has ties to Tony La Russa, who is now running the D-backs.

McEwing is currently the third-base coach for the Chicago White Sox.

Other candidates who will get interviews include Sandy Alomar Jr., Jay Bell, Andy Green, Phil Nevin, Jim Tracy and Turner Ward.

Burning Questions: Who debuts in '15?

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1
Adam RubinKevin Plawecki, Matt Reynolds and Noah Syndergaard are the most likely prospects to debut in 2015.
This is the first in a series of 10 Burning Questions regarding the Mets.

Noah Syndergaard never did reach the majors this season, but it is only a matter of time before the 22-year-old right-hander debuts. Of course, with the Mets already possessing six established starting pitchers for five slots with Matt Harvey’s return, Syndergaard (9-7, 4.60 ERA with Triple-A Las Vegas) should have to wait until in-season in 2015 for a call-up. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since it will allow the Mets to delay Syndergaard’s free agency until after the 2021 season. It also potentially avoids an extra year of arbitration eligibility.

Here are nine other prospects who may debut in 2015:

Kevin Plawecki, catcher. If the 40-man roster wasn’t already full, Plawecki likely would have been a September call-up instead of Juan Centeno. But Plawecki -- a supplemental first-round pick in 2012 out of Purdue -- does not need to be added to the 40-man roster this winter for Rule 5 protection. He probably opens next season in Las Vegas, with Anthony Recker serving as Travis d'Arnaud’s backup, but Plawecki won’t stay down forever. Plawecki, 23, hit a combined .309 with 11 homers and 64 RBIs in 376 at-bats between Double-A Binghamton and Las Vegas.

Matt Reynolds, infielder. Dilson Herrera needed to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason for Rule 5 protection. Matt Reynolds, a second-round pick out of the University of Arkansas in 2012, did not. So that’s one major reason why Reynolds was bypassed for a call-up after Daniel Murphy landed on the DL in late August with a right calf strain. Reynolds, 23, raised his average 117 points from last season in Class A ball to this season at higher levels. He hit a combined .343 with six homers and 61 RBIs in 478 at-bats between Binghamton and Vegas. He has been manning shortstop and looking passable, although he may project more as a backup middle infielder.

Cory Mazzoni, right-handed starter. Mazzoni’s season did not start up until late June because of a strained right lat suffered in the final spring-= training game in Port St. Lucie. Although he has been a starter throughout his minor league career, the Mets already were speaking last offseason about using the NC State product in the bullpen in the majors.

Jack Leathersich, left-handed reliever. The 24-year-old southpaw has gaudy career minor league strikeout numbers. He has K’d 334 in 197 ⅓ innings. Leathersich, like Mazzoni, should be added to the 40-man roster this offseason. Before Leathersich reaches the majors, though, he needs to harness his control. He walked 4.6 per nine innings this season, which actually is down from 6.9 in 2013.

Steven Matz, left-handed starter. Matz, who hails from Stony Brook on Long Island, is the top left-handed prospect in the organization. He took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning in Binghamton’s Eastern League championship clincher. Matz should be ticketed to open 2015 in the Triple-A rotation after going 10-9 with a 2.24 ERA and posting 131 strikeouts in 140 ⅔ innings with St. Lucie and Binghamton this season.

Matt Bowman, right-handed starter. Vegas manager Wally Backman said Bowman is not a sleeper to him and definitely should be a major leaguer. Bowman, a Princeton product with a Tim Lincecum-style delivery, went 10-8 with a 3.21 ERA with Binghamton and Vegas this season. The primary thing that may hold Bowman back is the organization's depth of young, upper-level starting pitching.

Logan Verrett, right-handed starter. Expected to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason, the former third-round pick out of Baylor went 11-5 with a 4.33 ERA in 28 starts for Vegas.

Brandon Nimmo, outfielder. Nimmo would appear on track for at least a September call-up considering the Mets are light on upper-level outfield prospects, and he will need to be added to the 40-man roster during the 2015-16 offseason anyway. Looking considerably stronger after spending last winter at the IMG Academy bulking up, the 21-year-old Nimmo hit a combined .278 with 10 homers, 51 RBIs, 14 steals and a .394 on-base percentage in 558 plate appearances between St. Lucie and Binghamton.

Jeff Walters, right-handed reliever. Already on the roster, Walters was in big league camp last spring training, coming off posting a Binghamton-record 38 saves in 2013. He underwent Tommy John surgery June 17, so if he appears in the majors next season -- no guarantee -- it probably would not be until September.

deGrom again named NL Rookie of Month

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
NEW YORK -- Jacob deGrom is the NL Rookie of the Month for the second time this season.

DeGrom earned the monthly honor after going 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four September starts. That included matching a modern-day MLB record by striking out the opening eight batters in a start against the Miami Marlins. Opponents hit .189 against deGrom in September. He had 38 strikeouts and six walks (one intentional) in 27 innings before being shut down with one start remaining.

DeGrom also won the monthly award in July.

He is the favorite to become the Mets' first NL Rookie of the Year winner since Dwight Gooden in 1984. DeGrom's primary competition should come from Cincinnati outfielder Billy Hamilton.

The annual award will be announced the week of Nov. 10.

Colon, wife become U.S. citizens

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
NEW YORK -- Bartolo Colon's season ended with more than 15 wins and crossing the 200-inning threshold. The 40-year-old right-hander also became a U.S. citizen, according to Katie Tichacek, a public affairs officer at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The ceremony with Colon and his wife Paula took place on Saturday, the day before Colon won the season finale at Citi Field.

The event happened so quietly, not even Mets officials were aware.

The Dominican-born Colon lives in Clifton, New Jersey.

More than 770,000 people became naturalized U.S. citizens last year. New York and New Jersey rank as two of the leading five states for naturalizations.

There are eight requirements for citizenship (reprinted below directly from the U.S. government fact sheet):

• Be at least 18 years of age;
• Be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder);
• Have resided in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years;
• Have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months;
• Be a person of good moral character;
• Be able to speak, read, write and understand the English language;
• Have knowledge of U.S. government and history; and
• Be willing and able to take the Oath of Allegiance.

Kirk released from hospital

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
NEW YORK -- Kirk Nieuwenhuis is being released from the hospital on Tuesday morning.

He had been hospitalized since Saturday with an infection, which was believed to be related to kidney stones.

A plan to make the Mets a contender in '15

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
Getty ImagesHey Sandy Alderson, want to make your team better? Get Jose Bautista (left) and J.J. Hardy (right).

"The short answer is I don't know if there will be a dramatic spike or not. But I will say this: I don't feel that we will necessarily be constrained by the payroll next year. ... We're going to explore all of the options and see where it takes us. It may take us a while during the course of the offseason to full explore what those options are."

"Without sounding evasive, we have to improve the team by 10 wins, 12 wins. There are a number of ways to do that."
-- Sandy Alderson

We’re not sure what the heck Alderson means with regards to the payroll, but the win-total improvement is pretty straightforward.

So how do the Mets go about improving that much?

Here’s a plan:

The Mets can get better without spending a dime, if some of their younger players improve upon things with which they are currently struggling.

For example:

Wilmer Flores could change his plate approach to be a little more receptive to walking. A 20-point on-base percentage increase would go a long way.

Dilson Herrera can relax, both at the plate, where he struggled to hit heat, and in the field, where he seemed a little rushed.

Travis d'Arnaud can improve his pitch blocking and his throwing accuracy.

Lucas Duda, for as good as he was, still has a long way to go against left-handed pitching.

David Wright, returning from injury, needs to cut down on his overeager swings.

Lastly, Mets pitchers could vastly improve both their hitting and their fielding.

This is the worst collective group of pitcher-hitting in Mets history. They finished the season with the team’s worst-ever batting average, slugging percentage and OPS by pitchers. Much of that is due to Bartolo Colon, but Zack Wheeler, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee, we’re looking at you here, too. They were a combined 10-for-143.

Throwing to the bases, among other things, has also been a challenge for multiple Mets pitchers. Baseball Info Solutions ranks them tied for the fourth-most Defensive Misplays & Errors in the major leagues with 39. Their -6 Defensive Runs Saved are fourth-worst in the National League.

Replace Bartolo Colon with Matt Harvey
The Mets would be well-suited to find a suitor for Colon early this offseason and accept a deal in which the return was minimal, so long as the contract, or most of it (one year at $11 million) is off the books.

That frees up the money for the Mets to make one dip into the free-agent market. It also provides the rotation spot that Matt Harvey steps into. Colon was worth -0.1 WAR this season when you combine his pitching (0.5) and his hitting/fielding (-0.6). If Harvey is anything close to what he was two seasons ago, his return will make for a four to five win increase.

Trade Daniel Murphy
As Adam Rubin noted in late July, the Mets' payroll is almost certainly going to increase just from the natural progression of its arbitration-eligible players. But seeing how the Mets operate, it’s hard to expect a significant payroll boost.

The Mets can make little moves here and there to deal with that, with non-tender candidates including Eric Young Jr. and Ruben Tejada.

That’s where getting out of Colon’s contract, and talk of trading Daniel Murphy, who is projected to make upwards of $8 million in 2015, would create the flexibility the Mets need.

As good as Murphy has been, his defensive shortcomings (three straight seasons of -10 Defensive Runs Saved or worse) still neutralize his offensive successes (as good a year as he had with the bat, it was only worth 2.0 WAR). He’s a good player, but the Mets have multiple options who could replace him at a cheaper cost in Herrera and Flores.

And if you’re annoyed at the idea of trading a homegrown fan favorite, at least acknowledge what it could allow the Mets to do ...

Trade for a corner outfielder, sign a shortstop (or vice-versa)
The Mets' offensive needs are clear. They are also fillable, but you have to give up something (money, players and perhaps even a draft pick) to get something. The team has surpluses to deal with this if it maneuvers correctly.

Forget the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Troy Tulowitzki. They’re not coming. But there are other good options.

The first two calls the Mets should make this offseason are to the Toronto Blue Jays to inquire about trading for outfielder Jose Bautista and to the agent who represents playoff-bound Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy.

Obtaining Bautista would be a home run in many ways. He hits for power and provides a presence in the middle of the lineup. He’s shown no signs of decline. He had the second-highest on-base percentage in the AL. And while he will turn 34, he is not over the hill.

He has a year and a team-friendly option, each at $14 million, and he can’t veto a trade, since he’s just shy of being a 10-and-5 player. (He’s just short of 10 years of service time.)

Hardy is one of the better shortstops in baseball. He may not be a superstar, but he performs both offensively and defensively at a high level -- even though his power dropped a lot in 2014. Hardy has posted at least three Wins Above Replacement in each of the last four seasons. The only shortstop with more Wins Above Replacement than him in that span is Tulowitzki.

Convincing the Blue Jays to part with their face of the franchise will be an extraordinarily difficult task, considering they don’t necessarily have a replacement lined up. That means the Mets have to overload the deal. Start with Wheeler and Murphy (the Blue Jays admit to needing a second baseman) and add the prospects (Brandon Nimmo and/or Kevin Plawecki, Steven Matz etc.) until GM Alex Anthopolous at least says “I’ll think it over.”

Getting Hardy will mean convincing a free agent that the Mets are a good fit. This will take both years and money. (We admit to having no idea, but three years and $33 million seems a good reference point.) It may also require the Mets forfeiting their first-round pick if the Orioles make Hardy a qualifying offer.

Yes, that’s a lot to ask, but to it produces a lineup that looks like this:

Juan Lagares, cf
Curtis Granderson, lf
David Wright, 3b
Bautista, rf
Duda, 1b
d’Arnaud, c
Hardy, ss
Herrera/Flores/E.Y. Jr., 2b

A bench that includes one of those unused infielders, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Matt den Dekker and Anthony Recker.

With a starting rotation of Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Niese, Gee and Noah Syndergaard.

And a bullpen of Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Vic Black, Josh Edgin, Carlos Torres, Gonzalez Germen, (eventually) Bobby Parnell and name that minor-league contract signee.

You have to pay the price.

Have a Plan ‘B’
The Bautista-Hardy combo is going to be difficult to obtain. Backup plans require creativity, particularly in a weak free-agent market.

The best alternative we’ve been able to come up with at this point would be to construct similar (though less costly) deals to try to pry away Yoenis Cespedes from the Red Sox, Jay Bruce from the Reds or Carlos Gonzalez from the Rockies to play the outfield and sign Hanley Ramirez or Jed Lowrie, or sign Nelson Cruz or Nick Markakis and trade for Starlin Castro. Another way to go would be to trade for a high-end prospect (like Cubs shortstop Addison Russell), but that's both bold and risky.

Regardless, the goal needs to be to do better than you did in 2014, not rely on Rule V picks (remember Brad Emaus), signing the top minor-league free agent (Greg Burke), or rolling the dice on players well beyond their best seasons (Chris Young) to solve the problems.

Actions > Words
The Mets' slogan this offseason should simply be: “We’re serious.”

But that requires showing, rather than telling. It’s one thing to say you’re interested in the Stephen Drew’s of the world. And admittedly, it’s a good thing the Mets didn’t sign him last winter.

It’s another thing to do what it takes to get them.

You may not have liked the regimes of Steve Phillips or Omar Minaya -- mostly because of how they ended -- but one thing that those two did was: If they wanted someone, they did what it took to get them, whether it meant an extra few million dollars, or throwing in an extra prospect to close a deal. That's what the team across town does.

The bottom line from everything we have brought up is the Mets need to live up to the promise that 2015 is the year in which everything will come together. They need to be aggressive and smart and understand their fans will not be appeased by news of unproductive meetings taken with Robinson Cano's agent.

The opportunity is there for them to pounce and create a team that will flourish as the ones of the mid-1980s and late 2000s.

They seem to want to take advantage of it. But will they do so? We’ll find out.

Jon Niese doesn't need to see doctor

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
NEW YORK -- The Mets initially indicated Jonathon Niese would see a doctor on Monday for a follow-up after departing Saturday's game with a rapid heartbeat. However, Niese is doing fine and intends to head home to Ohio without the need for an examination.

Niese also had rapid heartbeats on the mound during games in 2011 and '12. In those instances, he was required to wear a Holter monitor to determine if any heart irregularities existed.

Although a surgical procedure known as ablation initially was recommended, Niese ultimately was examined after the second instance at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic. They advised him that no procedure was required.

Niese has said the issue has been limited to the three instances on the mound. He has added that it quickly goes away and is not considered concerning.

Kirk expected to be discharged Tuesday

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
NEW YORK -- Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was hospitalized Saturday with an infection, is expected to be discharged Tuesday.

The belief is the infection was related to kidney stones.

Nieuwenhuis is said to be feeling a lot better.

Nieuwenhuis will be out of options in 2015 and figures to contribute off the bench, provided he is not part of any offseason trades. Nieuwenhuis, 27, hit .259 with three homers and 16 RBIs in 112 at-bats this season.

Murph nominated for Hank Aaron Award

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
NEW YORK -- Daniel Murphy is the Mets' nominee for the Hank Aaron Award, which annually recognizes "the most outstanding offensive performer in each league."

With other NL nominees such as Giancarlo Stanton and Andrew McCutchen, Murphy probably should not hold his breath for claiming the award.

The award was created in 1999. No Met has claimed it so far.

Mets: Take 'em or trash 'em time

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29

NEW YORK -- Fresh off a contract extension through the 2017 season, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson again has quite a bit on his plate during the offseason.

Among his tasks: He must try to upgrade shortstop and left field, while potentially shopping starting pitchers including Bartolo Colon, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee.

What's your call on who stays and who goes?

Click here to vote.

Ex-Met Gardenhire out with Twins

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29

Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY SportsThe Twins have fired ex-Met Ron Gardenhire as manager.

NEW YORK -- Ron Gardenhire has been fired after 13 seasons as manager of the Minnesota Twins.

Gardenhire spent his entire major league playing career with the Mets, from 1981 to '85. He hit .232 in 710 at-bats and appeared in 285 games during that span.

Read the full news story here.

30 for 30 Short: Sasser's Field of Fears

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29

NEW YORK -- Despite playing in the league for close to a decade, Mackey Sasser's Mets career is defined by one word, "Yips." Via interviews with Sasser and his sports psychologists, and a look at his treatment, this film examines the mental side of sports.

Terry Collins salutes 7 Line crowd

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29

NEW YORK -- Throughout the season, The 7 Line has sponsored days in center field at Citi Field, filling the entire section with spirited fans wearing a uniform, themed T-shirt.

That again was the case on Sunday, for the season finale against the Houston Astros. And Terry Collins made sure to pay tribute after the final out of the season.



Daniel Murphy
.289 9 57 79
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187