New York Mets: David Wright
• Curtis Granderson will bat fourth, behind David Wright. "With Curtis behind him, they've got to make a decision," Collins said.
Collins acknowledged that Granderson wasn't THE GUY in the Yankees lineup. He only started four games in the cleanup spot for the Yankees this past season. Still, Collins said: "We're certainly hoping to have enough guys spaced out through the lineup to give him help." Collins added that Chris Young or the first baseman, likely Lucas Duda, would bat behind Granderson.
• Bobby Parnell, who underwent surgery on Sept. 10 to repair a herniated disk in his neck, will return to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins early next week. Parnell hopes to be cleared to resume full activities.
Collins noted that Parnell typically arrives in Port St. Lucie, Fla., in January. So the Mets should have an early read.
• Jenrry Mejia is "in the mix" for a rotation assignment after Jonathon Niese, Zack Wheeler and Dillon Gee. The issue, since Mejia has not thrown more than 108 innings in a season, is whether Mejia can pitch a full season -- even without considering an innings cap.
Of course, using Mejia merely would buy time for Noah Syndergaard or another prospect to open the season in the minors. So it may not be the biggest deal if Mejia couldn't pitch a full season.
Mejia has resumed throwing after undergoing surgery Aug. 28 to remove a bone spur from his right elbow.
• "Right now" Ruben Tejada is the shortstop. Collins suggested Tejada "learned a tremendous lesson" this past season -- that baseball is 12 months, not just five or six months. Collins noted Tejada will return to fitness and nutrition camp in Michigan in January.
"You can tell when they're upset with what happened," Collins said. "Ruben Tejada was upset."
• Collins very much liked how Anthony Recker handled the backup catcher role and is comfortable with him again handling that duty in 2014, which probably will be the case.
• Sandy Alderson said earlier in the day that there is no leadoff candidate beyond Eric Young Jr., so he should be in the lineup somewhere. Collins pretty much agreed, but noted Chris Young led off in Arizona and Daniel Murphy has been a consideration in the past.
• It will be a point of emphasis in spring training for Travis d'Arnaud to shorten his swing. D'Arnaud hit .202 and had 21 strikeouts in 99 at-bats after debuting last season. "Certainly when he gets to spring training we've got some work to do," Collins said.
• Which prospects might make their debut in 2014? Collins mentioned Syndergaard (who almost definitely will open the season in the minors) as well as Jacob deGrom, Rafael Montero, Cory Mazzoni, Logan Verrett, Jeff Walters and Cesar Puello.
Puello was the lone position player mentioned, and Collins said he would open the season in Las Vegas coming off a Biogenesis-related suspension. Collins was unsure whether Mazzoni would be a factor in the bullpen or rotation.
• Collins suggested Wilmer Flores got faster while spending four weeks in Michigan. Is that enough to put him in consideration for a backup middle infield role that includes time at shortstop? That may be a stretch, but Collins wasn't ruling it out.
Collins noted that Flores' ankle injuries never allowed the Mets to get a good look at him at second base after his call-up. "I want to see him at the position he's going to play," Collins said about Flores at second. "... This kid is going to swing the bat."
• Mets pitchers and catchers report Feb. 15, with the first workout two days later.
Read the full Terry Collins transcript here.
"It's been a slow winter so far, and I'm confident that we've got something up our sleeve," Wright said on ESPN New York 98.7. "In all reality, I think that the offseason doesn't really necessarily kick off until the winter meetings, and that starts right after Thanksgiving. And everybody knew that the free-agent prices were going to be high this year with the new TV deal and things like that. And obviously the spending is getting up there pretty good. But I think Sandy has got a plan in place and I think he's got a few tricks up his sleeve starting at the winter meetings.
"I am one of those crazy Mets fans. Obviously I love this organization. And I'm 100 percent committed to this organization. Sometimes I feel the Mets fans' pain. I experienced it the last few years on a daily basis. But have some faith because, like I said, I fully expect us to be a much better team moving forward. Hopefully that will begin at the winter meetings or shortly after Thanksgiving."
“I don’t think players are concerned about the financial situation,” Wright told the Post. “From their perspective, they want to know if we have a chance to win. We haven’t really given ourselves a chance the last few years. ...
“It seems like there’s been more action, even just in the last week. I’ve talked to a few players, but I expect I’ll do more of it as we have a better idea of who we’re going after. Players have called me. Sandy [Alderson]’s probably tired of hearing from me, but I told him he can lean on me to do whatever he needs.”
Matt Harvey's Tommy John surgery has come up, too, in Wright's chats with free agents.
“Guys ask about what the injury means, but they also want to know about Zack Wheeler,” Wright told the newspaper. “And I tell them about guys like Noah Syndergaard and all of our young pitching that could either help us soon or be used in a trade. A lot of them don’t know about anyone besides Wheeler and Harvey.
“We have a lot of holes that need to be filled, and it’s going to be tough to fill them all in one offseason. You can’t just go out and sign everybody. So the burden is going to fall on the guys we have here. Boston showed last year you don’t need to sign top-tiered guys to win.”
Here are some recent tweets:
Off to Los Gatos for the wedding weekend! Excited to finally be Mr and Mrs w/ @KellyShepardson I guess she's gonna have to change her handle— Anthony Recker (@Anthony_Recker) October 31, 2013
Excited to go see my boys @JoshSatin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis get married next week.— Ike Davis (@Iked29) October 29, 2013
The honor was announced on ESPN2 on Tuesday night. Wright won Gold Gloves in 2007 and 2008.
Juan Uribe was the other finalist for the third-base honor in the National League.
Eric Young Jr., one of three finalists in left field in the NL, did not earn the Gold Glove either. The award went to Carlos Gonzalez.
Getty ImagesDavid Wright and Eric Young Jr. are Gold Glove finalists.
The other National League finalists at third base are Colorado's Nolan Arenado and Los Angeles' Juan Uribe.
The other finalists in left field are Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez and Pittsburgh's Starling Marte.
The winners will be announced at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday on ESPN2.
Despite producing a franchise rookie record with 14 outfield assists, Juan Lagares was not among the finalists in center field. The finalists are Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez, Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and Washington's Denard Span.
Wright has won two previous Gold Gloves -- in 2007 and 2008. San Diego's Chase Headley won the award in 2012.
"I've become pretty close with Matt, and we've been talking over the last few months, and especially the last week or so. I'll put it this way: If it was me in the same situation, I'd do what he's doing," Wright told ESPNNewYork.com. "The last thing you want is you are a No. 1 starter, you've been as dominant as you've been, and you take the mound every fifth day and in the back of your mind you know that on any given pitch it could go. Your velocity is down that day and all of a sudden you start wondering, 'Is this the day?' Your forearm gets tight and you have those doubts in the back of your head. For me, this is the right decision.
Asked if the Mets now definitely need to add two starting pitchers, or whether one could be handled with a prospect such as Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, Wright added: "I'm not sure if they're ready. I don't know how far they've progressed this year to say whether they're going to be ready to make the team out of spring next year, or if they want them to develop. If they want to let them to develop, obviously we need to fill those five spots. And if those guys aren't ready, we've got to get pitchers from somewhere.
"But the thing also is, at least as far as I'm concerned: We knew Harvey was going to be good coming into this year. We didn't know he was going to be as dominant. So I think the plan is still moving forward to get much better next season. And then when Harvey is ready to come back, probably 2015, it's almost like making a huge, blockbuster trade the offseason before that getting a No. 1 starter.
"Obviously, selfishly, I want to win, so this isn't good news on that front. But, at the same time, it's good that now we get this thing fixed and we don't have to deal with it again."
• LaTroy Hawkins, right-handed reliever. Hawkins appears the most likely to be re-signed, even though he will be 41 years old next season. He was productive stepping into the closer’s role after Bobby Parnell's injury, while dialing his fastball up to 95 mph.
• Daisuke Matsuzaka and Aaron Harang, right-handed starters. Terry Collins liked Dice-K, so perhaps it is not out of the realm of possibility to re-sign him as a fifth-starter competitor who would allow Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom to open the season in the minors. For that matter, Harang fits that profile, too.
• Tim Byrdak and Pedro Feliciano, left-handed relievers. Both returned from shoulder injuries after missing substantial time. It likely is time for the Mets to move on from both, but their careers do not appear over yet.
• David Aardsma, right-handed reliever. Productive, although he wilted with too much use. Aardsma could be useful to re-sign if the price is right.
• Frank Francisco, right-handed reliever. The ex-closer collected $6.5 million this season while mostly nursing a sore elbow and irking Mets officials. No chance he returns.
• Johan Santana, left-handed starter. The one-time ace wants to pitch again after undergoing a second surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. If he is capable, he very likely would sign elsewhere. The best news: Santana's $31 million owed in 2013, including a buyout of next season, comes off the books.
Signed to contracts
• Jonathon Niese, left-handed starter. After missing nearly two months with a rotator cuff strain, Niese finished strongly and should help anchor the 2014 rotation. His salary jumps to $5 million next season, up from $3 million this year.
• David Wright, third baseman. The captain sees a major salary bump. Wright will earn $20 million in 2014 -- a raise of $9 million.
• Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, first basemen. It is likely one gets traded, although there is a slim chance Duda opens the season at Triple-A with Davis at Citi Field. Davis made $3.125 million this year and could receive an ever-so-slight pay cut. The Mets insist he will not be non-tendered. Duda, first-time eligible for arbitration, likely only makes $700,000 or $800,000 in 2014.
• Parnell, closer. Doctors assure Collins that Parnell will be fine for spring training after undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck, but the manager is concerned. Vic Black would be the alternative. Parnell’s salary should creep upward after he earned $1.7 million while converting 22 of 26 save chances.
• Dillon Gee, right-handed starter. Gee missed 200 innings by one frame. He will be first-time eligible for arbitration.
• Daniel Murphy, second baseman. ESPNNewYork.com hears the Mets will listen on offers for Murphy, but the best bet is he is the Opening Day second baseman. Murphy is due to get another raise after earning $2.925 million this season.
• Ruben Tejada, shortstop. After the broken leg mends, Tejada needs to seriously demonstrate his work ethic to the organization. Still, that may not be enough if the Mets can find the right external shortstop addition.
• Justin Turner, infielder. The best bet is that he serves as a backup infielder again next season.
• Eric Young Jr., outfielder/second baseman. The Mets recognize they need his speed in the lineup. So Young should be in the starting lineup somewhere next season, whether that’s in the outfield or at second base.
• Scott Atchison, right-handed reliever. Believe it or not, while Atchison is 37 years old, he does not have enough MLB service time to be eligible for free agency. He is a definite non-tender candidate in December.
• Mike Baxter, outfielder. Baxter should be arbitration eligible as a Super 2. Regardless, his 40-man roster spot appears in jeopardy. That does not preclude Baxter from being re-signed to a minor league deal. The 2013 Baxter, who hit .189, did not resemble the 2012 Baxter. The Mets believe the shoulder injury suffered in Santana's no-hitter may have hurt Baxter's swing.
• Omar Quintanilla, shortstop. The Mets view Q as a backup, not a full-time player.
• Matt Harvey, right-handed starter. The question remains: Tommy John surgery or no Tommy John surgery? Harvey should be airing it out in about six weeks, perhaps in the Arizona Fall League, to see whether the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow will hold up.
• Zack Wheeler, right-handed starter. Wheeler should be good for 200 innings in 2014.
• Black, right-handed reliever. If Parnell is not ready to close because of a slow recovery from surgery, the hard-throwing Black is the primary alternative. Otherwise, Black projects as handling the eighth inning next season.
• Travis d’Arnaud, catcher. He’s the guy behind the plate, but needs to shorten his swing after hitting .202 in his first major league season.
• Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker, center fielders. Lagares had a franchise-rookie-record 15 outfield assists and is very likely the full-time center fielder in 2014, even with some offensive difficulties. Den Dekker is just as likely to open next season in Triple-A. The Mets do not plan to platoon Lagares and den Dekker in the majors -- not in April, anyway.
• Josh Edgin and Scott Rice, left-handed relievers. Both are coming off surgeries. The Mets need to find a lefty from outside the organization they can trust, but Rice and Edgin could be useful complements.
• Jeurys Familia and Gonzalez Germen, right-handed relievers. Both should vie for a bullpen role in 2014.
• Jeremy Hefner, right-handed starter. Hefner will miss most, if not all, of 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery.
• Anthony Recker, catcher. After a nearly full season in the majors, Recker could find himself in Triple-A in 2014. Sandy Alderson has suggested he needs to find a veteran catcher in case d’Arnaud’s injury propensity continues.
• Josh Satin, infielder. A year after being taken off the 40-man roster and clearing waivers, Satin is now viewed as a valuable righty bat for the bench who can get on base. Look for him to have a backup role in 2014.
• Carlos Torres, right-handed starter/reliever. Torres would appear to have a legitimate shot as the long reliever/spot starter.
• Jordany Valdespin, infielder. The Biogenesis suspension is his latest baggage. It would be surprising if he makes it to spring training as a Met.
• Greg Burke, Robert Carson and Sean Henn, relievers. If they survive the winter on the 40-man roster, they look Triple-A bound.
• Andrew Brown, Juan Centeno, Wilmer Flores, Zach Lutz and Wilfredo Tovar, 51s. Centeno and Recker could be the Triple-A catchers. Flores likely is ticketed for Las Vegas, according to Collins, if the infielder is not going to be a starter at the major league level. Lutz and Tovar probably open next season in the minors, too. Brown’s 40-man roster spot is an open question.
• Jenrry Mejia, right-handed starter. Mejia showed flashes as a starting pitcher before surgery to clean out his right elbow. He is a logical fifth-starter competitor in spring training.
• Kirk Nieuwenhuis, outfielder. Getting snubbed for a September call-up does not bode well for Nieuwenhuis’ future with the organization.
Here are five questions that must be resolved:
1. Who gets dealt?
Something figures to give at first base between Ike Davis and Lucas Duda, but that is not the most intriguing trade chip the Mets possess. Team insiders say the Mets also will listen on Daniel Murphy.
How would the Mets adjust to trading Murphy? Fans may clamor for Wilmer Flores to take over at second base, but the early insider speculation is that Eric Young Jr. most likely would handle the position.
While not labeling it a mistake to let Jose Reyes walk given the contract he received from the Miami Marlins, Mets execs recognize they have lacked a speed element since his departure. At least, they lacked a speed element until Young arrived in a June 18 trade with the Colorado Rockies for Collin McHugh.
So absent another leadoff hitter and deficient in speed throughout the lineup, Young likely is a starter somewhere on the Mets next season -- even though he may be best-suited on a top team as a fourth or fifth outfielder.
As for Duda or Davis, there are strong internal preferences about which first baseman to retain. An ESPNNewYork.com survey found seven of nine scouts preferred Duda.
But the Mets’ approach is expected to be to solicit offers on Davis and Duda and see which commands the more generous offer relative to his internal value.
While it seems likely one departs, Duda does have a minor league option remaining. So there is a scenario in which both return and Duda opens the season at Las Vegas while the Mets see whether Davis again starts the season slowly.
Regardless, there seems to be no consideration to nontendering Davis in December, despite his $3.125 million salary in 2013.
2. What’s the 2014 payroll?
Money always seems to be the question with the Mets.
And brace yourself: The payroll likely will go down from its 2013 level of roughly $95 million.
Mets insiders suggest they have more than adequate flexibility to be aggressive in free agency if they choose. But, they add, it would not be “sane” after getting out from under albatross contracts to reinvest all that money in one offseason and likely get saddled with a new crop of bad contracts down the road.
Coming off the books:
• Johan Santana, $31 million (including a $5.5 million buyout)
• Jason Bay, $21 million (albeit $15 million deferred as much as two years)
• Frank Francisco, $6.5 million
• John Buck, $6 million (less what the Pittsburgh Pirates picked up for September)
• Shaun Marcum, $5 million-plus (including incentives)
That’s roughly $70 million right there.
David Wright’s contract calls for a $9 million raise, and Jonathon Niese gets a $2 million raise. A handful of other players eligible for arbitration will have salary increases too.
But there is little chance those raises, plus external additions, match the amount coming off the books.
So figure the Mets’ payroll to go modestly down in 2014, even with several external additions.
3. Will the Mets sign a top-tier free agent?
As it turns out, the Mets will have a top-10 draft pick -- meaning they will not need to forfeit their first-round selection if they sign a premium free agent such as Shin-Soo Choo.
The Mets, according to an insider, also do not intend to offer more than a Michael Bourn-type contract for Choo, which means four guaranteed years. Their reasoning: Choo is not an exceptional fielder. And his power potential is not equivalent to outfielders who have received megadeals, such as Jayson Werth (seven years, $126 million in December 2010).
So if Scott Boras can do better -- and the bet is he can, especially with Hunter Pence getting five years and $90 million to stay with the San Francisco Giants -- Choo likely is headed elsewhere.
Look for the Mets to adopt the Boston Red Sox's model from last offseason, which means spending money on five or six middle-tier free agents.
Last offseason, Boston signed:
• Shane Victorino, three years, $39 million
• Ryan Dempster, two years, $26.5 million
• Jonny Gomes, two years, $10 million
• Stephen Drew, one year, $9.5 million
• David Ross, two years, $6.2 million
• Mike Napoli, one year, $5 million
• Koji Uehara, one year, $4.25 million.
They also acquired Joel Hanrahan in a trade.
4. Will Harvey need surgery?
The Mets and Matt Harvey clearly are on different pages about the need for Tommy John surgery.
The Mets’ press release at the time of Harvey’s announcement that he would attempt rehab and a throwing program for six to eight weeks clearly implied Harvey needed to disprove the need for surgery with that two-month program.
So the Mets likely need to obtain one veteran starting pitcher as a hedge against Harvey missing next season. If Harvey ends up OK, that starter could compete with youngsters such as Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.
The question becomes: Will the acquisition be at the Bronson Arroyo-type price? Or at the Daisuke Matsuzaka/Aaron Harang level?
(If Harvey commits to surgery within a couple of months, the Mets likely would need to be more aggressive.)
One reunion ESPNNewYork.com hears is unlikely to occur: the Mets and Scott Kazmir.
Right-hander Cory Mazzoni -- a Double-A starter this season -- could compete for a bullpen spot out of spring training but is not in the rotation consideration right now. Double-A closer Jeff Walters may be a relief factor too.
Down the road, watch for right-hander Gabriel Ynoa -- a 17-game winner at low-Class A Savannah this season -- to rise quickly through the system and threaten to crack the big league rotation.
5. Who mans shortstop?
It might be easier to answer the question: Who doesn’t man shortstop?
It remains unclear whether the Mets will go outside the organization, although that would seem the better course.
Team insiders believe that if the Mets can get above-average production from the corner outfielders they add this winter, then maybe they can go with a defensive-oriented shortstop.
The organization consensus is Omar Quintanilla cannot hit enough to be an every-day guy. And team brass believes Wilfredo Tovar needs more time in the minors for seasoning, despite the positive start to his major league career.
Terry Collins recently described the shortstop job as Ruben Tejada’s to lose among internal candidates. But that was the manager going rogue and not the organizational view.
So Tejada’s days with the Mets, at least in the majors, may be numbered.
The Mets do not view Tejada as a backup middle-infielder candidate. That is Justin Turner’s job in all likelihood in 2014.
So it likely is starter or bust for Tejada. And he is going to have to bust it to get into shape after his fractured leg heals to prove he merits the job.
But count David Wright unenthusiastic.
"We're still going home tomorrow," Wright said after the Mets' season-ending 3-2 win against the Milwaukee Brewers. "I guess finishing in third in the Central would have been good this year, because they're going to the playoffs. Like I said, that's just those little things that if you want to use that to make you feel better about yourself, then that's fine. I don't necessarily think it's all that important.
"We finished with a win. That's always nice. But the bottom line is we're going home, just like the majority of the teams in the National League tomorrow. There's not too much to smile about with that."
Here are his full remarks ...
On the status of his thumb:
"That's what you've got the offseason for, to kind of rest up. I felt like the thumb didn't really prohibit me from doing anything. I felt like I had some good at-bats. I hit the ball hard a couple of times. Some bad luck, but it more or less felt good to be back out there."
On getting a pitch thrown behind his head by rookie starter Jimmy Nelson two days after getting beaned by Johnny Hellweg:
"You expect, obviously, when you play here that guys have a little control. When guys are kind of all over the place ... I don't think anybody wants to hit anybody. I'm sure he's trying to throw strikes. But obviously it's a little difficult when they're as erratic as they are. But, again, I don't think they have too much experience. I think this was his first start. So I'm sure he was a little nervous. Like I said, he's not trying to hit anybody. And he's surely not trying to hit anybody with breaking balls and changeups."
On whether he is skittish on high-and-tight balls, which he arguably was after the Matt Cain beaning in 2009:
"No, no, no. I felt like I had good at-bats. I hit the ball right on the nose a couple of times right at some people. I think the one [in the ninth inning with runners on the corners for a double play] hit off [Donovan] Hand's glove and went right to the shortstop or second baseman. So, like I said, it's just one of those days where you have good at-bats and don't really have much to show for it."
On Sunday's ceremony for Piazza:
"I've gotten a chance to see Mike with the Italian team in the World Baseball Classic and kind of seen him here and there. He came to a couple of games in Miami. So it's always kind of good to catch up with former teammates, especially guys who are Hall-of-Fame-caliber players. From what I understand, they sold a lot of tickets. It should be a nice atmosphere -- well-deserving for Mike. I'm definitely going to make sure I'm out there to enjoy it and celebrate Mike's career."
On whether he can envision a ceremony like that for himself some day given he may be a lifelong Met:
"I hope not anytime soon, because I've got seven more years. But it means a lot to me to be with this organization from start to finish, like I've said. I care deeply about this organization. And Mike is a big part of the history of this organization. And, also, he was a teammate. So it will be nice to celebrate Mike. And that's the last thing I'm thinking about is retiring. Hopefully I've got a lot of good years ahead of me."
The bad news: The Mets dropped to 32-48 at Citi Field, ensuring their worst home record since they went 28-53 in 1993.
Scott Atchison surrendered two runs, including a tiebreaking RBI single to ex-Met Carlos Gomez, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Mets, 4-2, in 10 innings Saturday.
The Mets now have played 57 extra innings this season -- three shy of matching the franchise record set in 1979 and duplicated in '85.
The Mets had pulled even at 2 in the bottom of the ninth on Eric Young Jr.'s RBI single against Donovan Hand, but David Wright grounded into a double play with runners on the corners with a chance for a walk-off win.
The Mets also wasted a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the seventh.
Record-setter: Juan Lagares produced his 14th outfield assist, extending his franchise rookie record. Lagares threw out Jonathan Lucroy trying to score from second base on Scooter Gennett’s sixth-inning single. The assist preserved a 1-all tie.
Thirteen of Lagares’ outfield assists have come as a center fielder, tying the franchise single-season record also accomplished by Del Unser (1975) and Carlos Beltran (2006), according to ESPN Stats & Information.
The overall franchise record for outfield assists is 19 by Rusty Staub in 1974, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Lagares’ 14 are the most by a Met since Cliff Floyd had 15 in 2005.
Duck! Wright, in his return to the lineup after getting beaned by Johnny Hellweg on Thursday, had a pitch thrown behind his head by rookie Jimmy Nelson in the fourth inning.
Nelson, making his first major league start, walked three batters that inning alone and did not appear to know where the ball was going.
Wright had skipped Friday’s game with a swollen right thumb, which he suffered landing awkwardly after the beaning in the series opener.
Man of steal: Daniel Murphy swiped his 22nd base of the season, this time catching the Brewers napping. Murphy stole second base in the second inning with Nelson holding the baseball and the middle infielders inattentive.
Murphy has now successfully stolen 21 straight bases, matching Kevin McReynolds for the second-longest streak in franchise history without being caught. McReynolds went 21-for-21 in 1988.
Howard Johnson owns the franchise record with 26 straight successful steals in 1989.
Murphy also extended his hitting streak to 10 games. His fourth-inning sacrifice fly evened the score at 1.
It’s a draw: Neither Jean Segura nor Young, who are tied for the NL lead in steals, swiped a base Saturday. So they remain tied at 44 entering the final day of the season.
Nothing to harangue: Free-agent-to-be Aaron Harang limited Milwaukee to one run on five hits and two walks in six innings. He finished with a 3.52 ERA in four starts with the club after a cameo with Triple-A Las Vegas.
What’s next: Game No. 162. Jonathon Niese (8-8, 3.74 ERA) opposes right-hander Marco Estrada (7-4, 4.02) in the season finale. Mike Piazza will become the 27th inductee into the Mets Hall of Fame during a pregame ceremony. The Mets are asking fans to be in their seats by 12:45 p.m. The game will start later than the officially listed 1:10 p.m.
David Wright returns after missing one game with a swollen right thumb.
Jean Segura (hamstring) is back in Milwaukee's lineup for the first time since Sept. 18. Segura and Eric Young Jr. are tied for the NL steals lead at 44 with two games remaining. Pittsburgh's Starling Marte is third, with 41.
Eric Young Jr., lf
Lucas Duda, 1b
David Wright, 3b
Daniel Murphy, 2b
Mike Baxter, rf
Juan Lagares, cf
Anthony Recker, c
Omar Quintanilla, ss
Aaron Harang, rhp
Norichika Aoki, rf
Jean Segura, ss
Jonathan Lucroy, c
Carlos Gomez, cf
Scooter Gennett, 2b
Yuniesky Betancourt, 3b
Juan Francisco, 1b
Logan Schafer, lf
Jimmy Nelson, rhp
FIRST PITCH: We already have noted that whether the Mets finish with a protected or unprotected draft pick appears largely immaterial. That is because, with the exception of Shin-Soo Choo, team insiders suggest the club does not intend to pursue the free agents with draft-pick compensation attached anyway.
But let’s go through the daily projection anyway of where the Mets would pick if the season ended now …
With two games to go in the season, the Mets (73-87) are in a three-way tie with the Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays for the ninth-worst record in MLB.
The tiebreaker is the 2012 winning percentage.
So the order would be No. 9 Toronto (.451), No. 10 Mets (.457), No. 11 Toronto (for not signing last year’s 10th pick), then No. 12 Milwaukee (.512).
There are only two other teams outside the top 10 within two games of the Mets in the standings -- and neither can displace the Mets from the top 10.
The San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres each are 75-85. But both had better winning percentages than the Mets in 2012. So even if the Mets win their final two games and one of those teams loses both, the Mets would get the tiebreaker.
So from a Mets perspective, it boils down to this: Only the Brewers can bump the Mets from a protected pick.
And the only way that can happen is if the Mets win the final two games in the head-to-head matchup, since a split and tie in the standings means the Mets select first.
“I’m not trying to lose games, I can honestly tell you that,” Collins said pregame Friday. “I’m trying to win baseball games. I don’t care what time of the year it is. We’re trying to teach people how to win here, because we plan on winning down the road.”
In Game No. 161 today, Aaron Harang (5-12, 5.57 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander Jimmy Nelson at 4:10 p.m. at Citi Field. Nelson, who has tossed five scoreless relief innings since a call-up, makes his first major league start.
By the way, MLB Trade Rumors identifies the free-agent outfielders likely to receive qualifying offers (one year at somewhere about $14 million) as Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Hunter Pence and Curtis Granderson.
Saturday’s news reports:
Terry Collins said pregame that he believed when Wright gets to retirement age, the captain will be viewed by Mets fans just as Mariano Rivera is viewed in the Bronx.
“I think when David Wright’s days are done here, he’ll be thought of in that light,” Collins said. “He’ll hold every record there is in this organization. He’ll have every offensive record there is. And I know one of the things you’ve heard and mentioned so many times [during the Yankee Stadium ceremony] was Mariano Rivera off the field, how he is in the clubhouse, how he is in real life. This guy is the same way.’’
Read more in the Daily News, Record and Times.
• Sandy Alderson, appearing for three half-innings on SNY’s game telecast Friday, offered only limited insight into the offseason plans.
The GM did say Travis d’Arnaud’s injury track record likely would prompt him to seek a bona fide alternative who could handle the majority of the duty if the rookie became injured.
Alderson also indicated that right now he can only count on three starting pitchers next season: Jonathon Niese, Zack Wheeler and Dillon Gee. (A team official said Matt Harvey, rules-wise, would be permitted to test his elbow in the Arizona Fall League. That’s because Harvey has less than two years of service time and missed time due to injury.)
• The Mets handed out their Sterling Awards to top minor league performers before Friday’s game.
First baseman Allan Dykstra and catcher Kevin Plawecki were named co-players of the year. Right-hander Gabriel Ynoa was named pitcher of the year.
The individual level award winners: Rafael Montero (Las Vegas), Noah Syndergaard and Jeff Walters (Binghamton), Dustin Lawley (St. Lucie), Jayce Boyd (Savannah), Rob Whalen (Kingsport), Robert Gsellman (Brooklyn), Dominic Smith (Gulf Coast League), and John Mora and Jose Medina (Dominican Summer League).
Boyd did not attend the ceremony. He recently underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He had been limited to DH rather than first base after June 28 because the shoulder/neck issue prevented him from throwing.
Read a write-up on the 2013 first-round pick Smith here and on Syndergaard here.
Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger and Record.
• Carlos Torres allowed two first-inning homers and Daniel Murphy was thrown out trying to score from third base on a would-be wild pitch with the bases loaded in the sixth as the Mets lost to the Brewers, 4-2, Friday. Murphy said he made the mistake of initially being indecisive and should have aborted the attempt. Torres curiously threw a ball into the upper deck at the end of one half-inning on the mound. He said postgame he does it all the time, having not had a seat close to the field when he was a fan.
Read game recaps in the Post and MLB.com.
• Read more on the draft-pick issue from Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger.
• Mike Petriello writes about closer candidate Vic Black at fangraphs.com.
• From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report believes Collins should be more tactful in answering sensitive questions.
BIRTHDAYS: Former reliever Mike DeJean turns 43.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Which Sterling Award winner will have the best major league career?
Words can't describe how blessed and thankful I am for the NYM for making these past 2 days a truly amazing experience! Still in awe of it— Rob Whalen (@RobWhalen38) September 28, 2013
Wright did not suffer a concussion, Terry Collins said. The third baseman tested himself running in the afternoon and experienced no symptoms.
The Mets hope Wright will return to the lineup Saturday.
"The thumb is pretty swelled up," Collins said. "He wants to play."
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