New York Mets: Jacob deGrom

Morning Briefing: Day 2!

February, 22, 2015
Feb 22
6:58
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: It will not be a sleepy Sunday morning at the Mets’ spring-training complex.

After all, it’s Day 2 of official workouts.

Players head outdoors at roughly 10 a.m.

Sunday’s news reports:

Matt Harvey was excited after going through his first official workout with fellow pitchers Saturday. He is due to throw a bullpen session on Sunday, then repeat that two days later. That should be the final step before he faces batters for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery. That session may come as soon as Thursday.


Adam RubinMatt Harvey


Harvey will pitch during the opening five games of the regular season, Terry Collins said, although that does not necessarily preclude Harvey also starting the home opener. Also, the Mets prefer capping Harvey’s early starts at 85 pitches or so as opposed to skipping starts, according to the manager.

What can the Mets expect from Harvey this season? A leading medical expert regarding Tommy John surgery says there is a six-month period once game action resumes in which the pitcher typically needs to work up to his past performance. The good news: The Mets may pattern Harvey’s return from the procedure after Adam Wainwright’s. And Wainwright threw 198 T innings during the regular season and another 15 in the playoffs in his first season back.

Meanwhile, Harvey dismissed any tension existing with the Mets during his rehab. He essentially called the flaps over his exposure -- including doing a radio interview during a game -- a media creation. Still, columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post didn’t like the attention-seeking while idle. Writes Davidoff:

This naturally evokes the legendary line that Ed Wade, then the Phillies’ general manager, used to describe his noisy ace Curt Schilling: “Every fifth day, Curt’s our horse. The other four days, he’s our horse’s ass.”

Harvey hasn’t approached Schilling’s toxicity level. Then again, he hasn’t approached Schilling’s accomplishments, either. It feels like we all -- the media, Mets fans, Mets employees and Harvey himself -- need to remind ourselves Harvey has pitched in 36 major league games, totaling 237 / innings, numbers Nolan Ryan frequently exceeded in one season. He has yet to complete a major league campaign, starting line to finish line.

Read more on Harvey in the Times, Post, Record, Journal, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• Collins said the Mets are a playoff-caliber team in 2015. Read more at MLB.com and NJ.com and in the Daily News and Record.

• Despite winter pronouncements of it being Bobby Parnell's job to lose, Jenrry Mejia will have a chance to remain the closer once Parnell is activated from the DL. Read more in Newsday and at NJ.com.

• It is “up in the air” who will be the leadoff man between Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson. Also, Collins sees merit in batting Daniel Murphy down in the order -- say No. 6 -- over in the two-hole. Read more in the Post and at NJ.com.

• Steve Serby in the Post has a Q&A with Lagares. The Gold Glove winner believes he is capable of stealing 25 to 30 bases. His favorite outfielders to watch are close friend Carlos Gomez as well as Andrew McCutchen. His favorite movie is “Fast and Furious.”

• Versatile Eric Campbell is working out with catchers and will be available for emergency duty behind the plate this season.

Travis d'Arnaud discussed the impact of a bone spur in his right elbow on his 2014 throwing.

• An ill Zack Wheeler missed Saturday’s first official workout.

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News notes that it took Frank Cashen until Year 5 of his tenure as GM before the Mets became a winning team. Sandy Alderson is now entering his fifth season.

• No surprise, but Collins confirmed that Dillon Gee would be the probable odd-man out of the rotation if there are no injuries or trades. Read more at NJ.com.

• Reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom said he delayed his honeymoon in Hawaii at the Mets’ request to be available for the award announcement. Read more on deGrom in Newsday, NJ.com, the Daily News and at MLB.com.

David Wright will address the media on Sunday, but Collins already has insisted the captain’s balky left shoulder is healthy.

• Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin has an uphill battle to stick as a Met. The only player to last a season and officially become Mets property via that draft in the past 20 years is Pedro Beato.

• Often critical of Ruben Tejada, Collins paid the early reporting infielder a compliment Saturday.

• Frank Viola offered a comparison between lefty relief prospect Jack Leathersich and ’80s-era Met Sid Fernandez.

• Apparently, Steve Gelbs has never been officially named as Kevin Burkhardt’s replacement for SNY’s Mets telecast. Neil Best in Newsday reports the announcement is coming Monday.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report wonders if the Mets’ confidence in the playoffs is optimism or wishful thinking.

BIRTHDAYS: J.J. Putz turns 38. ... Minor-league right-hander Tim Peterson is 24.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What should the Mets’ batting order be this season?

deGrom delayed honeymoon for ROY award

February, 21, 2015
Feb 21
9:34
AM ET

Adam RubinJacob deGrom throws off a mound on Thursday in Port St. Lucie.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Jacob deGrom's storybook 2014 season was capped in November by a pair of joyous events in rapid succession. He became married on a Saturday. Two days later, he was named NL Rookie of the Year.

He then marched alongside wife Stacey the following day in the Veterans Day Parade in Manhattan, with both wearing camouflage jerseys.

DeGrom actually delayed his honeymoon to Hawaii for a week at PR director Jay Horwitz's request so he could be available for the Nov. 10 Rookie of the Year announcement, which was carried on live TV.

"That was a crazy week," deGrom said. "I was in that live thing when it was announced, and I didn't really know how to react. I just smiled. It kind of took a while to set in with everything else that was going on."

DeGrom, 26, initially had been summoned in mid-May as a reliever, but never pitched out of the pen. He earned a permanent spot in the rotation because Rafael Montero faltered and Dillon Gee had a prolonged DL stint with a strained right lat. Ultimately deGrom went 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA in 22 starts. He matched a modern-era MLB record by opening a Sept. 15 game against the Miami Marlins with eight consecutive strikeouts.

"It's crazy, getting called up to be in the bullpen and then getting a chance to start," deGrom said. "What happened was a really cool experience. I never would have thought it would have happened. It's crazy. My life has changed a lot this past year."

DeGrom insisted he did not give much thought to earning the Rookie of the Year Award in the days leading up to the announcement.

"I really didn't think that much about it because I had just gotten married," deGrom said.

2015 Mets pitching preview

February, 17, 2015
Feb 17
9:00
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- On Monday, ESPNNewYork.com posted a New York Mets position-player preview. Now, it’s equal time for the pitchers, who officially report to camp on Thursday and clearly are the strength of the 2015 Amazin’s.

lastname
Harvey
ROTATION: All eyes will be on Matt Harvey in spring training when he faces batters for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery on Oct. 22, 2013.

Although the Mets have suggested Harvey may be held back from the home opener, a team insider told ESPNNewYork.com on Monday that has not been determined. Harvey will not be allowed to reach 200 innings this season, so the Mets will have to strategically skip some of his starts. They also could pull him from some games after five innings when, say, the Mets have a four-run lead.

With Harvey back, the Mets potentially have three aces. Zack Wheeler finally seemed to hit his stride as last season progressed, posting a 2.71 ERA over his final 16 starts. Meanwhile, Jacob deGrom is the reigning NL Rookie of the Year.

Mets officials already are praising Jonathon Niese’s shape. Niese, actually an exceptional athlete despite recent injury issues, participated in the Mike Barwis-led fitness camp this offseason. Niese had elbow woes last year, which dropped his fastball velocity to an average of 88.8 mph -- down 1.7 mph from 2011 and ’12. So whether his zip has returned is something to watch as Grapefruit League play progresses.

Last season, Bartolo Colon logged 200 innings for the first time since 2005, but he turns 42 on May 24. The Mets would entertain trading him, and keeping Dillon Gee, if an opportunity arises this spring training, although there are no active conversations with other teams about either pitcher at this point.

If there’s no spring-training trade, Gee appears headed to the bullpen as a $5.3 million long reliever.

lastname
Parnell
BULLPEN: Bobby Parnell is expected to open the season on the disabled list, in the final stages of his return from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent last April 8. Manager Terry Collins has suggested it is Parnell’s closer’s job to lose once he returns, but Jenrry Mejia undoubtedly will get the first shot with Parnell idle for at least the opening few weeks. Jeurys Familia and Vic Black also should serve as capable late-inning arms.

Until Parnell returns, the Mets basically have five bullpen locks: Mejia, Familia, Black, Carlos Torres and Josh Edgin.

Gee would be No. 6 if the Mets do not make a spring-training trade.

No. 7 ideally would be a second lefty to complement Edgin, but that’s no slam dunk. Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin served as a starting pitcher last season in Double-A and Triple-A with the Twins, but will get a chance to emerge as that second lefty. He must be offered back to Minnesota if he fails to make the major league roster. Scott Rice, who underwent elbow surgery last July 23 to address a nerve issue and remove a bone spur, is back on a minor league contract to compete for that spot too. Left-handed prospects Dario Alvarez and Jack Leathersich are in camp, although Leathersich probably needs more seasoning in Triple-A. He has walked 36 in 37 1/3 career innings with Las Vegas.

If the Mets do not carry a second left-hander, that potentially opens the door for Rafael Montero, Buddy Carlyle or Erik Goeddel to make the roster in the bullpen as a sixth righty.

MINORS: There’s clearly no room for Noah Syndergaard in the majors at his point, even if he were deemed ready, so he should headline a standout Vegas rotation that also may also include left-hander Steven Matz as well as Montero (if he’s not in the major league pen), Princeton product Matt Bowman and Cory Mazzoni. Vegas manager Wally Backman recently suggested Matz may be a better prospect than Syndergaaard. And that’s high praise.

Morning Briefing: We're back!

February, 16, 2015
Feb 16
6:50
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: We’re back!

Pitchers and catchers don’t officially report until Thursday, but “Morning Briefing” already is reporting for duty.

Actually, plenty of Mets already are working out at the team’s spring-training complex, including Matt Harvey, David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee and Bobby Parnell.

Besides Thursday, other notable dates:

Saturday: First pitchers and catchers workout.

Feb. 24: Position players report.

Feb. 26: First full-squad workout.

March 4: First Grapefruit League game, versus the Atlanta Braves at ESPN Wide World of Sports.

April 6: Opening Day, at Washington Nationals.

Monday’s news reports:

Nelson Figueroa has signed a contract to succeed Bobby Ojeda as SNY’s pregame and postgame analyst on Mets telecasts, Bob Raissman writes in the Daily News. The Brooklyn-raised Figueroa went 6-11 with a 4.28 ERA in 32 appearances (16 starts) for the Mets in 2008 and ’09. He was in camp with the Mets the following year, but ended up on waivers and was claimed by the Philadelphia Phillies in what became a messy breakup.

• Joe Lemire in the Journal computed that the other 29 major league teams each added, on average, 15 pitchers this offseason from outside their organizations. The Mets added only two: Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin and Duane Below, the latter of whom is headed directly to minor-league camp. “We’re happy with the competition we’re going to have in camp given the number of young people that we have added to our [40-man] roster [who] have high upside,” Sandy Alderson told Lemire.

• Columnist Bob Klapisch in the Record asks: Which team will own New York in 2015? Writes Klapisch:

Put it this way: Most major league executives don’t see the Yankees as anything more than an 84-win team this year. Las Vegas odds makers take an even dimmer view, predicting the Bombers' first losing season since 1992. The Mets project only slightly better, at 81-81, according to Vegas, but that's a step forward for a franchise steeped in a six-year losing streak.

Harvey doesn’t just make the Mets better on the field, he makes them more exciting to watch, more compelling to write about. He’s a latter-day Joe Namath -- full of swagger and ego, in love with the spotlight and the perfect medicine for Mets fans who hate ownership.

• Columnist Anthony Rieber in Newsday contrasts the offseasons of the free-spending San Diego Padres and the Mets. Writes Rieber:

It's hard not to get excited by the Mets' young pitching. Matt Harvey. Jacob deGrom. Zack Wheeler. Jenrry Mejia. Jeurys Familia. Noah Syndergaard and Long Island's Steven Matz on the doorstep. They all could be real good for a real long time. It's also hard not to get depressed when thinking about what the Mets could be if Alderson had more dollars at his disposal. If it were Mets fans instead of Padres fans who welcomed new owners last year.

Unlike the Padres, who had one of the worst everyday lineups in recent memory, the Mets didn't need a total makeover this offseason. But Alderson is banking on everything going right -- health from the pitchers, bounce-back years from [Michael] Cuddyer, David Wright and Curtis Granderson, continuing improvement from Lucas Duda, Juan Lagares and Travis d'Arnaud, and decent defense from the double-play combo of Daniel Murphy and Wilmer Flores.

• Mike Vorkunov at NJ.com notes that the Atlantis sports book has the Mets at 81 wins. (Take the over?)

• Also at NJ.com, Vorkunov presents the case that looming Hall of Famer Mike Piazza was a better defensive catcher than previously thought, because he was successful at framing pitches, based on a recent study by Baseball Prospectus.

Back in December, ESPN’s Mark Simon computed the numbers for current catchers for last season. Travis d'Arnaud got 79 more called strikes than the average catcher in comparable locations, which ranked 16th-best in the majors. Anthony Recker ranked eighth-worst in MLB, with 86 fewer strike calls than the average catcher. At the extremes, the Angels’ Hank Conger was best at +181. Miami’s Jarrod Saltalamacchia was worst at -169.

• Matt Ehalt in the Record, Kristie Ackert in the Daily News, and Marc Carig in Newsday examine five spring-training storylines to watch.

• Paul Ivice in Newsday looks at the competition among Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Eric Campbell and Matt den Dekker to make the Opening Day roster. At least right now, the bench projects to include Recker, Ruben Tejada, John Mayberry Jr., Nieuwenhuis and Campbell. Nieuwenhuis is out of options, so he would need to pass through waivers to be sent to Triple-A. The fellow lefty-hitting outfielder den Dekker can be sent freely to the minors without that exposure.

• Kevin Kernan in the Post profiles shortstop prospect Matt Reynolds, who hit a combined .343 with six homers and 61 RBIs between Binghamton and Las Vegas last season. Reynolds tells Kernan he gets his focus from his father, a former Army Ranger. Reynolds and Dilson Herrera should form the middle infield at Vegas to open the season.

• Actor/Mets fan Viggo Mortensen offers his opinion of the 2015 team in the Post.

• Gary Buiso in the Post quotes Mets fans’ thoughts about the upcoming season.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report highlights 10 questions entering spring training.

BIRTHDAYS: Bill Pecota turns 55.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will the Mets reach the postseason in 2015?

deGrom collects NL Rookie of Year award

January, 24, 2015
Jan 24
9:23
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Jacob deGrom received his NL Rookie of the Year hardware during the annual Baseball Writers' Association of America New York chapter dinner on Saturday night in Manhattan.

DeGrom became the fifth Rookie of the Year in franchise history back in November. He appeared first on 26 ballots and second on the other four.

View from NYC: deGrom parades with vets

November, 11, 2014
11/11/14
4:05
PM ET

Courtesy of New York MetsA day after winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award, Jacob deGrom participated in Tuesday's Veterans Day Parade with wife Stacey in New York. The couple was married Saturday.

Official: deGrom wins Rookie of the Year

November, 10, 2014
11/10/14
7:00
PM ET
PHOENIX -- Jacob deGrom officially is the fifth Rookie of the Year in franchise history.

DeGrom appeared first on 26 ballots and second on the other four.

Jeurys Familia and Travis d'Arnaud each received two third-place votes.

Here are the voting totals, including number of first-, second- and third-place votes and total points:

1. deGrom 26-4-0-142

2. Billy Hamilton 4-23-3-92

3. Kolten Wong 0-1-11-14

4. Ken Giles 0-2-2-8

5. Ender Inciarte 0-0-4-4

6. Joe Panik 0-0-3-3

T7. d'Arnaud 0-0-2-2

T7. Familia 0-0-2-2

T7. Kyle Hendricks 0-0-2-2

10. Chase Anderson 0-0-1-1

Here's how the 30 voters filled out their ballots:

Guy Curtright, The Sports Xchange (ATL): DeGrom Hamilton Panik

Justin McGuire, Sporting News (ATL*): DeGrom Hamilton Wong

Robert Nightengale, USA TODAY (AZ): DeGrom Hamilton Wong

Jonah Keri, Grantland (AZ): DeGrom Hamilton Giles

Phil Rogers, MLB.com (CHI): Hamilton DeGrom Wong

Fred Mitchell, Chicago Tribune (CHI): Hamilton DeGrom Wong

John Erardi, Cincinnati Enquirer (CIN): Hamilton DeGrom Inciarte

C. Trent Rosecrans, Cincinnati Enquirer (CIN): DeGrom Hamilton Hendricks

Barney Hutchinson, Daily Camera (COL): DeGrom Hamilton Anderson

Jack Etkin, Honorary (COL): DeGrom Hamilton Inciarte

Keith Law, ESPN (LA): DeGrom Hamilton d'Arnaud

Brian Golden, Antelope Valley Press (LA): Hamilton DeGrom Wong

Clark Spencer, Miami Herald (MIA): DeGrom Hamilton Familia

Tom D'Angelo, Palm Beach Post (MIA): DeGrom Wong Hamilton

Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MIL): DeGrom Hamilton Wong

Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MIL): DeGrom Hamilton Wong

Ken Davidoff, New York Post (NY): DeGrom Hamilton Inciarte

Roger Rubin, NY Daily News (NY): DeGrom Hamilton Familia

Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com (PHI): DeGrom Hamilton Giles

John Finger, CSNPhilly.com (PHI): DeGrom Ken Giles Hamilton

Karen Price, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PIT): DeGrom Hamilton Wong

Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post Gazette (PIT): DeGrom Hamilton Wong

Matt Calkins, San Diego Union Tribune (SD): DeGrom Hamilton Hendricks

John Maffei, U-T San Diego (SD): DeGrom Hamilton Wong

Carl Steward, Oakland Tribune/Bay Area News Group (SF): DeGrom Hamilton Panik

Ray Ratto, CSN Bay Area,com (SF): DeGrom Hamilton Panik

Joseph Ostermeier, Belleville News-Democrat (STL): DeGrom Giles Hamilton

David Wilhelm, Belleville News-Democrat (STL): DeGrom Hamilton Wong

Paul White, USA TODAY (WAS): DeGrom Hamilton d'Arnaud

Brian McNally, Washington Times (WAS): DeGrom Hamilton Inciarte

deGrom coronation slated for Monday night

November, 10, 2014
11/10/14
9:00
AM ET

Frank Franklin II/Associated PressJacob deGrom should become the fifth NL Rookie of the Year winner in franchise history on Monday night.
NEW YORK -- Jacob deGrom's coronation as NL Rookie of the Year should occur about 6:45 p.m. ET on Monday, when the award winner is due to be announced.

Officially, deGrom is now one of three finalists, joining Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton and St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong.

DeGrom led NL rookies in ERA (2.69) and strikeouts (144) while compiling a 9-6 record in 22 major league starts.

He would become the fifth Rookie of the Year in franchise history, joining Tom Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972), Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984).

DeGrom, 26, already has been named “Outstanding Rookie” in the NL in the Players Choice Awards, which are selected by his peers.

His 140 1/3 innings logged would become the second fewest in MLB history for a Rookie of the Year winner who served as a starting pitcher. Dave Righetti won in 1981 with the Yankees with 105 1/3 innings during a strike-interrupted season. The low for a starting pitcher during a full MLB season: Dontrelle Willis, who tossed 160 2/3 innings with the Marlins in 2003.

The former college shortstop at Stetson made his major league debut on May 15, when he limited the Yankees to one run in a hard-luck 1-0 loss -- on a two-out RBI double in the seventh inning by Alfonso Soriano. In his first career plate appearance, deGrom produced a third-inning single that day against Chase Whitley. That snapped Mets pitchers’ 0-for-64 drought -- the longest in major league history by a staff at the plate to open a season. (He finished the season with a credible .217 batting average.)

Initially slated to work out of the bullpen during much of his rookie season, deGrom instead remained in the rotation because Dillon Gee's lat-muscle strain lingered and because deGrom outperformed Rafael Montero, who had debuted the previous day against the Yankees.

Among deGrom’s other accomplishments during his rookie season:

• Tying Jim Deshaies' 1986 modern-day MLB record by opening a Sept. 15 game against the Miami Marlins with eight consecutive strikeouts.

• Taking a no-hit bid two outs into the seventh inning on Aug. 7 against the San Francisco Giants, when Pablo Sandoval doubled.

• Earning NL Rookie of the Month honors for July and September.

• Eclipsing Mark Bomback's 1980 franchise rookie record (60 1/3 innings) by tossing 67 1/3 innings without allowing a home run from June 5 through Aug. 7.

The Rookie of the Year honor would cap an eventful few days for deGrom. He was married to Stacey Harris in Deland, Florida, on Saturday.

deGrom officially finalist for Rookie of Year

November, 4, 2014
11/04/14
6:04
PM ET
NEW YORK -- No shock here: Jacob deGrom officially is a finalist for the NL Rookie of the Year.

The other finalists: Billy Hamilton and Kolten Wong.

The award will be announced Monday, with deGrom the heavy favorite after going 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA in 22 starts.

DeGrom led NL rookies in strikeouts (144) and ERA and tied for the league lead in wins.

Players vote deGrom top NL rookie

November, 3, 2014
11/03/14
8:04
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NEW YORK -- The official NL Rookie of the Year Award will be announced next Monday, but Jacob deGrom picked up another honor in the interim.

DeGrom on Monday night was named Outstanding Rookie in the NL as part of the Players Choice Awards, which are voted on by players.

DeGrom beat out fellow finalists Billy Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds and David Peralta of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

DeGrom, who is due to be married Saturday, is a heavy favorite to earn the Rookie of the Year Award next week.

deGrom finalist for players' award

October, 1, 2014
10/01/14
5:11
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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.

deGrom again named NL Rookie of Month

September, 30, 2014
9/30/14
5:27
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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.

deGrom heavy favorite for Rookie of Year

September, 29, 2014
9/29/14
1:06
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NEW YORK -- Jacob deGrom is getting married on Nov. 8. The NL Rookie of the Year Award will be announced the following week.

Let's just say it figures to be a pretty good month for deGrom.

Oddsmaker Bovada has labeled deGrom a 1-to-3 favorite to win the award.

That's not 3-to-1. That's 1-to-3, as in wager three units to win one.

The only other candidate on the board is Cincinnati outfielder Billy Hamilton. He's listed at 2-to-1.

Morning Briefing: Montero day

September, 27, 2014
9/27/14
7:00
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: It's deGrom Day!

Oh yeah, that's right. The Mets decided 178 2/3 innings were enough for Jacob deGrom, and shut him down for the season after last week's win in Atlanta.

So it's Montero Day!

Sorry if that doesn't sound as exciting. deGrom is the National League Rookie of the Year favorite. Rafael Montero (1-3, 4.38), who will start in deGrom's place Saturday night against the Astros, is still trying to establish that he can succeed in the major leagues.

It's interesting to think back and remember that in mid-May, when deGrom and Montero were called up to the big leagues on the same day, Montero was the guy guaranteed a spot in the rotation, and deGrom was headed for the bullpen until Dillon Gee's injury left the Mets in need of another starter.

We know how it turned out. deGrom pitched so well he stayed in the rotation for good, and is now guaranteed a spot next April as well. Montero was back in the minor leagues in a few weeks, and the Mets now wonder if his future is in the bullpen.

Anyway, Montero gets another chance Saturday. Samuel Deduno (2-6, 4.66) starts for the Astros.

Saturday's news reports:

Jonathon Niese threw 5 1/3 shutout innings Friday night, but then he had to leave the game with an elevated heart rate, a recurrence of a problem he last had in 2012. Read game stories in the Post, Daily News, Record and MLB.com.

Travis d'Arnaud had a bone spur in his right elbow, and it came loose while he made a throw Tuesday in Washington. Now he's going to need surgery to remove it, and his season is done. Read more in Newsday and MLB.com.

Bobby Abreu announced his retirement, effective at the end of the season. Abreu isn't yet ready to commit to coaching, but said he would like to be a hitting coach at some point in the future. Given how the Mets feel about him and about his approach to hitting, it's hardly a reach to think that he'll be working for them. Read more in Newsday and MLB.com.

BIRTHDAYS: John Lannan turns 30 today ... Jon Rauch is 36 ... Jason Phillips is 38 ... Don Schulze is 52.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU'RE UP: What are your hopes for Rafael Montero?

Morning Briefing: .500 or bust?

September, 24, 2014
9/24/14
8:25
AM ET
WASHINGTON

FIRST PITCH: With five games remaining, the Mets still share second place with the freefalling Atlanta Braves. Both teams are 76-81.

So how long has it been since the second-place team in the NL East finished with a sub-.500 record?

Nineteen years ago.

In 1995, the Braves won the division at 90-64, then went on to win the World Series. The Mets and Philadelphia Phillies tied for second in the division in the strike-shortened season at 69-75.

Of course, the Mets are not resigned to their sixth straight losing season just yet. They can avoid such a fate by winning their final five games.

That pursuit begins Wednesday at Nationals Park, when Dillon Gee makes his final 2014 start. Gee (7-8, 3.88 ERA) opposes left-hander Gio Gonzalez (9-10, 3.74) at 7:05 p.m.

Wednesday’s news reports:

• Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon on Tuesday formally announced an extension for general manager Sandy Alderson that guarantees his contract through 2017. Alderson then announced Terry Collins would return as manager for next season. The Mets hold an option on Collins for 2016, but are not picking it up at this point.

Alderson indicated the coaching staff would be addressed shortly after the season, but confirmed Tim Teufel will remain the third-base coach. Minimal turnover is expected. The exception is hitting coach, which could preclude Wally Backman from getting onto the staff. If the Mets stayed internal for a hitting coach, perhaps a list of candidates would include Las Vegas hitting coach George Greer, Savannah hitting coach Valentino Pascucci, current player Bobby Abreu and roving instructor Jack Voigt.

Read a transcript of Wilpon and Alderson’s remarks here.

Read more on the retention of Alderson and Collins in the Post, Daily News, Times, Journal, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.

Jacob deGrom's Rookie of the Year-caliber season is in the books. Finding no upside in deGrom making a final start Saturday against the Houston Astros, the Mets opted to shut down the right-hander. DeGrom logged 178 2/3 innings between the majors and minors, an increase of 31 innings over his 2013 workload. Ex-Met Collin McHugh, who was lined up to face deGrom on Saturday, also has been shut down. Rafael Montero instead starts against Houston.

ESPN’s Mark Simon statistically breaks down just how good deGrom’s season was here.

Read more in the Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.

Bartolo Colon failed to cover first base at a critical point, then surrendered a tiebreaking three-run homer to Adam LaRoche and the Nationals beat the Mets, 4-2, Tuesday. Washington is 14-3 against the Mets this season. LaRoche is batting .327 (16-for-49) with six homers and 18 RBIs against the Mets in 2014. He also has been walked 15 times.

Read game recaps in the Post, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post examines the size of the gap between the Mets and Nats.

Jenrry Mejia will undergo surgery on Oct. 2 in Philadelphia to repair a sports hernia. Dr. Bill Meyers, who operated on Scott Rice last September, will perform the procedure. Meanwhile, Juan Lagares (elbow) will not require surgery. Lagares, Dilson Herrera (quadriceps) and Vic Black (shoulder) are all done for the season.

• Sophia Rosenbaum and Jonathan Lehman in the Post have fun checking out responses to the Mets asking fans on Twitter to say why they’re a fan of the team, while using the hashtag #ImAMetsFanBecause …

From @MitchNYM: #ImAMetsFanBecause they were all out of Yankees gear

From @FrankDonato1: #imametsfanbecause it’s marginally less painful than smashing your hand with a hammer

From @BorrisQ: #ImAMetsFanBecause my parents didn’t love me as a child

From @AndrewGould4: #ImAMetsFanBecause I don’t feel like I deserve true happiness.

David Wright is bullish on the Mets in 2015. “We’ve gotten ourselves to the point where I think we’re going to be a very good team next year," Wright told reporters pregame, as reported in the Star-Ledger. "We finally have gone through some of these rough years where the expectations we have on ourselves should be pretty high."

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News constructs one team by combining the Mets and Yankees.

• Lloyd Carroll at NY Sports Day reviews retiring commissioner Bud Selig’s visit to Citi Field.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear offers a historical guide to the Mets and their second-place finishes.

BIRTHDAYS: Hubie Brooks turns 58. … Bernard Gilkey is 48.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Does second place matter?

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187