New York Mets: Jordany Valdespin
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. --
FIRST PITCH: It should be quite a day at Tradition Field on Sunday -- Matt Harvey Day and the New York Yankees paying a visit.
The Mets are targeting 75 pitches for Harvey’s start in the 1:10 p.m. ET game (SNY/WOR).
Harvey opposes CC Sabathia, who is not particularly excited about facing Harvey.
“Not really,” Sabathia said. “I saw he started the All-Star Game and stuff, but no, sorry.”
Harvey tossed 53 pitches spanning four scoreless innings against the Boston Red Sox on Monday, in his third Grapefruit League start. He has a 2.08 Grapefruit League ERA.
SUNDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:
- The San Francisco Giants were interested in reacquiring Zack Wheeler during the winter, but the Mets mostly portrayed him as off limits because they did not think his elbow would pass a physical, columnist Joel Sherman reports in the Post. Sherman also suggests that if the Mets were to acquire lefty reliever Brian Matusz from the Baltimore Orioles, one piece in the trade could be right-hander Logan Verrett, who already is in Orioles camp as a Rule 5 pick from the Mets. Verrett would have to clear waivers in such a scenario.
- Long Island native Steven Matz allowed a solo homer but no other damage in 2 2/3 innings on Saturday against the Detroit Tigers, then was demoted to minor league camp. Matz will join Noah Syndergaard in Triple-A Las Vegas’ rotation to open the season. First baseman Brandon Allen was demoted earlier in the day. Forty players remain in major league camp, although that includes Wheeler and Josh Edgin, both of whom are out for the season. Read more in the Times, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.
- Jeurys Familia and Dario Alvarez each uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch in the eighth inning and the Tigers beat the Mets, 6-4, in Lakeland. Danny Muno went 2-for-4 with an RBI in a start at second base. Alex Castellanos rolled his right ankle during a collision while playing first base. The Mets announced he had a bruised foot. Zack Thornton had two scoreless relief innings, albeit with two walks.
- Read a feature on Muno, a switch-hitting Fresno State product, here. Matt Reynolds and Muno would be the primary considerations for Opening Day second baseman if Daniel Murphy opens the season on the DL with a pulled right hamstring. Reynolds, perhaps the favorite, is due to start at second base Sunday against the Yanks. Read more in the Post and Daily News.
- Wheeler’s Tommy John surgery will be performed Wednesday by team doctor David Altchek, according to Newsday’s Marc Carig.
- On Saturday, Bobby Parnell pitched in his first game since undergoing Tommy John surgery, although it was only a minor league intrasquad game. He threw 20 pitches. Parnell underwent the elbow procedure last April 8. He will open the season on the disabled list for a few weeks. Read more in Newsday.
- Read more on Sabathia’s lack of enthusiasm to face the Mets and Harvey in the Post.
- Read more on Harvey’s start in Newsday.
- Columnist John Harper in the Daily News suggests it is time for the Mets to make the proper decisions for winning now -- not simply the conservative financial decisions. Harper wants Matz or Syndergaard promoted before the Super 2 deadline if warranted, Dilson Herrera over Muno or Reynolds if Murphy opens the year on the DL, and Matusz and his $3.2 million price tag over a waiver claim for left-handed relief.
- Matt Ehalt in the Record chats with lefty relief candidate Scott Rice. Rice underwent elbow surgery to remove a bone spur and move a nerve last July 23.
- Ex-Met Jordany Valdespin's mother told him to grow up, Clark Spencer writes in the Miami Herald.
- From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear says "Jerry's Kids" -- the seven players who made the majors on Jerry Manuel’s his watch -- form the true core of the 2015 Mets. ... Mets Report suggests the club should release Ruben Tejada now if he is not in the plans.
BIRTHDAYS: Ike Davis, now with Oakland, turns 28. ... Sidearm reliever Joe Smith is 31. ... Former reliever Jeremy Griffiths is 37. ... Luis Mateo, who briefly pitched for Brooklyn last season, is 25.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Awesome afternoon fishing for snook. This baby was too big to keep!! https://t.co/1iZDvUQREj
— Dillon Gee (@DillonGee35) March 22, 2015
YOU’RE UP: Do you want the Mets to trade for Matusz?
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Jacob deGrom tossed five scoreless innings and retired the final 14 batters he faced and the New York Mets rallied with five runs in the eighth to beat a Miami Marlins split squad 6-4 Tuesday at Tradition Field.
Catchers Kevin Plawecki and Johnny Monell, who both are ticketed for Triple-A Las Vegas, contributed homers.
Monell capped an eighth-inning outburst with a three-run homer on the first pitch of Marlins right-hander Preston Claiborne's appearance. Against left-hander Mike Dunn earlier in that frame, John Mayberry Jr. scored on a wild pitch and Brandon Allen contributed a sacrifice fly.
Plawecki had been charged with a passed ball on Monday in Fort Myers that led to a Boston Red Sox walk-off win. A day later he launched a solo homer against A.J. Ramos in the fifth for the game’s opening run.
DeGrom allowed only one hit -- a leadoff single in the first by ex-Met Jordany Valdespin, whom he promptly erased with a double play. The reigning NL Rookie of the Year faced the minimum while striking out six. DeGrom has now walked only one batter and has a 2.45 ERA in 11 Grapefruit League innings.
“I’m just going out there trying to repeat my delivery and pound the strike zone and locate, and try to eliminate those walks -- because every time I walk somebody, they seem to score,” deGrom said.
DeGrom described himself as “very pleased” by Tuesday’s outing. He put an emphasis on throwing fastballs at the upper end of the strike zone.
“This week I worked on my delivery a little,” he said. “The last time I got a little herky-jerky in the third inning, maybe trying to overthrow.”
Steven Matz, who is not considered a candidate for relief and it ticketed for the Triple-A rotation to open the season, tossed a scoreless inning after deGrom departed. Matz only worked an inning because he is scheduled to be used Saturday in Lakeland against the Detroit Tigers, in a game Noah Syndergaard will start.
“I feel good,” Matz said. “I think I only have one walk. Early in the spring, that’s really what I focus on -- just getting a feel for all the pitches, throwing strikes. And I’m pretty happy with that.”
What’s next: The Mets enjoy their lone day off of camp on Wednesday. They then regroup Thursday for split-squad games. Dillon Gee begins ramping up for starting duty in place of Zack Wheeler in the home game against the Houston Astros. He will start opposite ex-Met Collin McHugh. Jonathon Niese heads to Jupiter to face left-hander Jaime Garcia and the St. Louis Cardinals.St. Louis Cardinals
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Zack Wheeler had the most pitches per plate appearance among qualified pitchers in the National League last season at 4.17. His first Grapefruit League attempt to refine his control went poorly.
After a perfect, 10-pitch first inning Monday, Wheeler hit a wall in the second. He hit two batters, walked two others and threw 37 pitches in the frame before manager Terry Collins pulled him with two outs and the bases loaded. Prospect Chasen Bradford allowed all three inherited runners to score, so Wheeler was charged with six earned runs in 1 2/3 innings.
The Miami Marlins ultimately beat the Mets 13-2 at Tradition Field.
Wheeler actually could have been out of the second inning with only two runs having scored. Instead, first-base ump Mike Estabrook ruled ex-Met Jordany Valdespin beat out an infield single, although replays suggested otherwise.
“I was happy with the outing overall,” Wheeler insisted. “I did hit two batters and walk a couple, but it’s still early. The fastball command was a little off. The offspeed was there. It was sharp, and I was throwing strikes with it. That part I was happy with.”
Said Collins: “I think the two hit batters, a lot of it was due the fact he’s throwing about 96 mph and he was pitching in. He just had balls inside. They couldn’t get out of the way of them. But it’s not an excuse for the fact that he didn’t have his command in the second inning. As we’ve seen thus far in this camp, when you walk guys, the gates are going to open up.”
Wheeler said he could not blame a tight strike zone for his struggles.
“Honestly, it’s early for everybody,” Wheeler said. “But I was supposed to throw to one side of the plate and it was on the other. That’s always hard to call a strike. You and I both know that if you’re not consistent, it’s harder to get strikes.”
Welcome back: Daniel Murphy played in his first game since departing three days earlier with a right hand injury -- the result of getting struck by a pitch from David Price. Murphy went 0-for-2 and played four innings at second base.
Not so special: Southpaw Josh Edgin entered in the third inning to face the lefty hitters Valdespin and Derek Dietrich. They produced consecutive run-scoring triples against the lefty specialist as the Marlins took a 9-0 lead. Collins expressed concern afterward with Edgin’s sluggish velocity. … Righty-hitting Avery Romero, the Marlins’ No. 5-rated prospect, belted a three-run homer against Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin, another southpaw, in the seventh.
Odds & ends: Ex-Yankee David Phelps limited the Mets to one run in three innings. He surrendered a leadoff single to Matt den Dekker in the third and sacrifice fly to Curtis Granderson. … Valdespin (2-for-4) produced three RBIs against his old club.
What’s next: The Mets return to Disney for another meeting with the Atlanta Braves. Bartolo Colon opposes right-hander Julio Teheran at 1:05 p.m. ET Tuesday at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Hansel Robles, Buddy Carlyle and Akeel Morris also are due to pitch.
Colon tossed two perfect innings against the Washington Nationals on Thursday in his 2015 Grapefruit League debut. Travis d'Arnaud, who cut his left ring finger Sunday, is on the trip and expected to catch.
DeGrom matched a modern-day major league record by striking out the first eight Miami Marlins batters and took a scoreless effort into the seventh inning. He ended up with a no-decision, however, as the Mets twice squandered two-run leads and lost, 6-5, Monday at Citi Field.
Jeurys Familia, whose 20 holds are a franchise rookie record, surrendered a two-run single to Adeiny Hechavarria in the eighth as the Marlins pulled even at 5.
Jenrry Mejia, entering with two outs in the eighth, allowed an inherited run to score on Jeff Mathis' go-ahead RBI single later in the frame.
The Mets (72-79) dropped two games behind the Giancarlo Stanton-less Marlins (73-76) for third place in the NL East. The Mets must go 9-2 the rest of the way to avoid their sixth straight losing season.
DeGrom is now 8-6 with a 2.68 ERA through 21 career starts.
He finished with 13 strikeouts -- the most by a Met since Matt Harvey achieved the same total on June 18, 2013 against the Atlanta Braves.
Newly installed No. 3 hitter Travis d'Arnaud had produced a tiebreaking RBI single in a three-run bottom of the seventh as the Mets took a 5-3 lead.
Nursing a 2-0 lead a half-inning earlier, deGrom surrendered a two-run single to ex-Met Jordany Valdespin and sacrifice fly to pinch hitter Reed Johnson. The three-run frame snapped deGrom’s streak without allowing an earned run at 28 innings.
It was the longest streak by a rookie in franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Previous record-holder John Maine had gone 26 innings without allowing an earned run in 2006. Overall, it was the fifth-longest streak in the majors this season, trailing only efforts by Clayton Kershaw (41.0 IP without an earned run), Burke Badenhop (32.1 IP), Wade Davis (30.2 IP) and Kelvin Herrera (29.2 IP).
Marlins pitcher Jarred Cosart broke up deGrom’s game-opening string of strikeouts at eight with an opposite-field single through the right side of the infield with two outs in the top of the third. DeGrom matched Jim Deshaies of the 1986 Houston Astros for the modern-day record for consecutive Ks to open a game. Pete Falcone formerly held the Mets record. He had six straight strikeouts to open a game in 1980 against the Philadelphia Phillies.
What’s next: Bartolo Colon (13-12, 4.14 ERA) opposes right-hander Nathan Eovaldo (6-11, 4.29) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.
Getty ImagesThe Mets are due to face Jarred Cosart, Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez this series.
Monday: RHP Jacob deGrom (8-6, 2.62) vs. RHP Jarred Cosart (13-9, 3.70), 7:10 p.m. ET
Tuesday: RHP Bartolo Colon (13-12, 4.14) vs. RHP Nathan Eovaldi (6-11, 4.29), 7:10 p.m. ET
Wednesday: RHP Dillon Gee (7-7, 3.80) vs. RHP Henderson Alvarez (10-6, 2.81), 7:10 p.m. ET
Marlins short hops
• Giancarlo Stanton's MVP-caliber season is not necessarily over. Stanton, who was struck in the face with an 88 mph pitch from Milwaukee’s Mike Fiers on Thursday, is due to have stitches removed on Tuesday. He suffered facial fractures and lost teeth in the beaning.
“We'll probably know a little more on Tuesday,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond told reporters. “For me, knowing G, and the kind of guy he is, he's going to want to come back and play. But we'll see if that's even a possibility."
Stanton, 24, leads the National League in homers with 37 -- seven ahead of runner-up Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs. For now, Stanton has a league-leading 105 RBIs. That’s two ahead of the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez.
• Jarred Cosart is 4-2 with a 1.93 ERA in seven starts since joining the Marlins. He arrived in a July 31 trade that included outfielder Jake Marisnick and a 2015 compensation pick going to the Houston Astros.
• Jordany Valdespin returns to Queens as a visitor for the first time. Valdespin is hitting .216 (19-for-88) with three homers and eight RBIs since a promotion from Triple-A New Orleans. Valdespin is tied with Jonny Gomes and Scott Hairston for the most pinch-hit homers in the majors since the start of the 2012 season (seven).
• Outfielder Christian Yelich lost a streak of 27 straight games reaching base on Thursday. It had been tied with Freddie Freeman and Hunter Pence for the longest active streak in the majors.
• Outfielder Marcell Ozuna homered in four straight games last week.
• Miami has scored a combined 10 runs in its past five games. And that’s with producing five runs Sunday at Philadelphia to snap a four-game losing streak.
Three errors in the inning later -- two committed by Familia -- the Marlins had scored three runs despite producing only one hit en route to a 9-6 win against the Mets.
One run scored on a wild pitch by Familia. Another came when he fielded a comebacker and fired wide to the plate.
Erik Goeddel eventually entered in his major league debut. He issued a walk to Giancarlo Stanton with first base open to load the bases, then forced in a run by walking Casey McGehee.
The Mets committed six errors in the game, one shy of matching the franchise record. It marked their most since also committing six in an 18-9 loss at Colorado on April 27, 2012, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Mets have allowed at least one unearned run in six of their last 11 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. They surrendered five unearned runs Monday.
It’s a first: Rookie Dilson Herrera had a big day at the plate and two-error game at second base.
Herrera’s two-run triple against Sam Dyson in the sixth staked the Mets to a 6-5 lead.
Earlier, Herrera produced his first major league homer -- a solo shot to open what became a four-run third inning against Henderson Alvarez as the Mets pulled ahead, 4-2.
Herrera, 20, became the fifth-youngest player to homer for the Mets. Only Jose Reyes, Jose Oquendo, Greg Goossen and Ed Kranepool had gone deep while younger.
Herrera did commit two errors, giving him three in four games.
He booted a two-out grounder from Garrett Jones in the third inning, although Zack Wheeler bailed Herrera out and left the bases loaded that inning by striking out Marcell Ozuna.
Then, making a hurried throw in the sixth after fielding Adeiny Hechavarria’s bunt, Herrera tossed the ball into the stands. He should have held the baseball, with Hechavarria comfortably safe. The misthrow allowed Hechavarria to advance to second base as the potential tying run. Christian Yelich eventually followed with an RBI single against Carlos Torres that evened the score at 6.
Oh, captain: As Wheeler’s pitch count climbed upward, Terry Collins tried to get him through five innings and qualified for a win. Instead, David Wright committed a one-out error in the fifth and three unearned runs charged to Wheeler subsequently scored as Miami took a 5-4 lead.
With the Mets ahead 4-2 and two outs in the fifth, McGehee delivered an RBI double against Wheeler. Then, on his 114th and final pitch, Wheeler surrendered a game-tying RBI single to Jones. Buddy Carlyle entered and allowed an inherited runner to score on Ozuna’s single.
Wheeler’s line in what became a no-decision: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 1 HBP, 1 HR.
It marked Wheeler’s shortest start since lasting two innings at Oakland on June 25. He had been 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA in five previous career starts against the Marlins.
Ouch: After surrendering a bases-loaded single to Wright in the third, Alvarez departed with a strained left oblique. Three runs scored on the play, including the runner from first after Ozuna threw the ball from center field into the home dugout.
MVP? Stanton opened the game’s scoring by belting a first-inning homer against Wheeler. Stanton now leads the National League with 34 homers and 99 RBIs.
Looks familiar: Ex-Met Jordany Valdespin walked as a pinch hitter in the sixth in his first plate appearance against his former club.
What’s next: Jonathon Niese (7-10, 3.48 ERA) opposes right-hander Brad Penny (1-0, 5.40) on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m.
USA TODAY SportsThe Mets face Henderson Alvarez, Brad Penny and Tom Koehler in Miami.
Monday: RHP Zack Wheeler (9-9, 3.44) vs. RHP Henderson Alvarez (10-6, 2.75), 1:10 p.m. ET
Tuesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (7-10, 3.48) vs. RHP Brad Penny (1-0, 5.40), 7:10 p.m. ET
Wednesday: RHP Jacob deGrom (7-6, 2.94) vs. RHP Tom Koehler (9-9, 3.79), 7:10 p.m. ET
Marlins short hops
• Giancarlo Stanton leads the National League with 33 homers and a career-high 98 RBIs. Dan Uggla was the last Marlin to drive in 100 runs, back in 2010 (105).
• After spending the first portion of the season at Triple-A, ex-Met Jordany Valdespin made his Marlins debut on July 19. He started 16 games in a three-week stretch, primarily at second base, but since has receded to a backup role, with Donovan Solano handling the position. Valdespin, 26, is hitting .228 with three homers and seven RBIs in 79 at-bats.
• Brad Penny went 48-42 with a 4.04 ERA with the Marlins from 2000 through ’04, when he was the batterymate of current manager Mike Redmond. He had been out of the majors since 2012 until he was promoted on Aug. 9. Penny made starts that day and Aug. 14, but since has worked out of the bullpen. He will take Tuesday’s start after a couple of turns for Brad Hand.
• The Marlins traded reliever Chaz Roe to the Yankees for cash on Sunday. Roe exclusively had pitched at Triple-A this season.
• Garrett Jones' 13 errors lead all MLB first basemen.
• Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Braves snapped a string of 60 straight games not being shut out, which had been the longest active streak in the majors. The Marlins last had been shut out on June 21, by Jacob deGrom and the Mets.
FIRST PITCH: If the Mets want to be taken seriously in the second half, it sure would help to produce a win Sunday.
Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.90 ERA) opposes Cuban right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne (2-1, 1.35) in the 4:10 p.m. ET rubber game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
Wheeler allowed one run and pitched into the seventh inning in each of his final three first-half starts.
Sunday’s news reports:
• Dillon Gee surrendered a pair of solo homers and All-Star Tyson Ross tossed seven scoreless innings as the Padres beat the Mets, 6-0, Saturday at Petco Park. The Mets now trail the Braves and Nationals by seven games in the NL East. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.
• More than 250 folks spent Saturday night at Citi Field participating in a sleepover at the ballpark.
• Veteran San Diego sportswriter Bill Center deduced an interesting stat: Mets reliever Buddy Carlyle is the lone active major league player to have been a teammate of the late Tony Gwynn. Carlyle pitched for the Padres in 1999 and 2000.
• Andrew Brown had a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth and Wilmer Flores extended his hitting streak to 20 games with an RBI single in the ninth as Las Vegas beat Salt Lake, 6-2. Phillip Evans drove in three runs with St. Lucie down to its final out and the Mets beat Brevard County, 8-6. Yoryi Nuez tossed six scoreless innings as Kingsport blanked Princeton, 3-0. First-round pick Michael Conforto went 1-for-4 with a sixth-inning single and run scored in his professional debut as Brooklyn beat Williamsport, 8-4. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Read more on Conforto’s debut in the Daily News and Newsday.
• Jordany Valdespin returned to the majors with the Miami Marlins on Saturday. He batted second and played second base and went 1-for-4 in a loss to the San Francisco Giants. "This is an opportunity to bring up a guy who's been playing well in the minor leagues and hopefully can give us a little bit of a boost," Marlins manager Mike Redmond told Juan Rodriguez in the Sun-Sentinel. "Our offense has been sluggish, so we're looking for a guy that can hit at the top of the order, give us some good at-bats, get on base for the big boys and see if he can get us going a little bit."
• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger looks at Travis d'Arnaud’s success since returning from Triple-A.
• Billy Witz in the Times looks at Sandy Alderson’s task as the trade deadline approaches.
BIRTHDAYS: No one to play for the Mets celebrates a birthday Sunday, but Gisele Bundchen, Sandra Oh and Chris Cornell all were born on this date.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Valdespin, 26, was hitting .270 with eight homers and 29 RBIs in 222 at-bats with Triple-A New Orleans.
His last major league game came on July 13, 2013 with the Mets at Pittsburgh. It was during that series that Valdespin cursed out Terry Collins after learning he had been demoted.
Valdespin, who signed a minor-league deal with the Miami Marlins this offseason that does not include a major league invite, has a long history of tantrums.
There are plenty of never-publicly-told stories as well about Valdespin's brash behavior.
According to team insiders, after getting promoted to the majors for the first time in 2012, Valdespin demanded closer Frank Francisco buy the rookie suits. Now, it often is a tradition for veterans to buy call-ups one nice suit for road trips since many of the young players do not yet have big bank accounts. But demanding suits? That's not quite how it works.
Major league players already had their antennae raised about Valdespin's antics that spring training.
In a Grapefruit League game, Valdespin reached first base, then started taunting All-Star catcher Yadier Molina from the St. Louis Cardinals, telling Molina he would steal. Mets infielder Ronny Cedeno subsequently pulled Valdespin aside and told him that is not how a player who has yet to appear in the majors ought to treat an esteemed veteran. Valdespin proceeded to curse out the well-meaning Cedeno, who was so upset he no longer wanted to talk to Valdespin.
Valdespin was cut loose by the Mets last month, at the tender deadline. He had served a 50-game Biogenesis-related suspension late in the season.
Valdespin was dropped by the Mets at the Dec. 2 non-tender deadline.
Ironically (or maybe not), Valdespin caused a mini-stir last offseason when he was photographed wearing a Marlins cap.
Scott Atchison and Omar Quintanilla were cut loose earlier in the day.
Valdespin had plenty of flair, and his signature moment came with a pinch-hit homer against Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. But he also had plenty of drama that agitated teammates and Terry Collins. That came to a head in Pittsburgh last season when Valdespin, upset at being demoted, lashed out at Collins. Sandy Alderson was present at PNC Park that day.
Valdespin served a 50-game Biogenesis-related suspension last season.
He was not yet eligible for arbitration.
• 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.
FIRST PITCH: The Mets have all but knocked the Cincinnati Reds into the wild-card game. The Amazin’s also may have helped ensure the Pittsburgh Pirates host their first postseason game since 1992.
Rookie Michael Wacha came within one out of a no-hitter as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals, 2-0, Tuesday night. Meanwhile, the Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs, 8-2.
That leaves the NL Central standings with four games remaining as:
St. Louis, 93-65, --
Pittsburgh, 91-67, 2 GB
Cincinnati 90-68, 3 GB
If the Pirates and Reds end up tied, the better head-to-head record would host the wild-card game. The season series is tied, 8-8, entering the final weekend -- when those teams play head to head in Cincy for three games.
The Mets, meanwhile, have won four of five on their final road trip entering today’s 12:35 p.m. series finale.
If the season ended right now, the Mets (72-85) would pick 10th in the draft, but that is tenuous. The Amazin’s have the same record as the San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays.
Ties are resolved by going back to 2012 winning percentage, with the poorer record picking first.
So the order would be No. 9 Toronto (.451 winning percentage in 2012), No. 10 Mets (.457), No. 11 Philadelphia (.500) and No. 12 San Francisco (.580).
That is not entirely accurate, either, though.
Because the Jays failed to sign the No. 10 overall pick a year ago, they get an extra pick at No. 11 pick this year. So the actual order right now is No. 9 Toronto, No. 10 Mets, No. 11 Toronto, No. 12 Philadelphia, No. 13 San Francisco.
The top 10 picks in the draft are protected -- even if the team signs a premium free agent who has received a qualifying offer from his former club.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-3, 5.52), in what should be his final Mets start, now opposes Mat Latos (14-6, 3.23) this afternoon.
The Reds moved up Latos a day so he can line up to pitch in Tuesday’s wild-card game on an extra day of rest. Latos just told the Cincinnati Enquirer he has been pitching with an abdominal strain for three months.
The Mets are 40-40 on the road entering their final game away from Citi Field.
Wednesday’s news reports:
• Daniel Murphy produced a three-run homer in a four-run second inning against Mike Leake and the Mets beat the Reds, 4-2, Tuesday at Great American Ball Park. Jonathon Niese allowed two runs in seven innings to even his record at 8-8.
Terry Collins indicated it remained undetermined whether Niese would start Sunday’s season finale against the Milwaukee Brewers or call it a season, but the southpaw indicated he wanted to make that start.
Vic Black, who may be the primary setup man to Bobby Parnell next season, or the closer if Parnell has a slow recovery from herniated disk surgery, earned his first major league save. Collins described himself on Tuesday as “worried” about Parnell.
Juan Lagares recorded his 13th outfield assist, passing Tsuyoshi Shinjo’s 2001 total for the franchise rookie record.
Read recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and MLB.com.
• Mike Puma in the Post suggests the Mets will pursue right-hander Bronson Arroyo this offseason in free agency.
“There’s going to be some ballclubs, maybe like the Mets, that have that nice mix of young arms, but need somebody to kind of anchor a rotation with 200 innings, so it’s going to be a very interesting offseason for me,” Arroyo told Puma.
Sandy Alderson has given conflicting statements on how aggressively he will pursue a pricy starting pitcher.
• Jordany Valdespin has completed his 50-game suspension related to Biogenesis. The Mets shifted Josh Edgin (rib) to the 60-day DL to return Valdespin to the 40-man roster.
It would appear unlikely Valdespin is with the organization at the start of the season, but the Mets have the 40-man roster room to retain him for now.
The Mets will need to shift Ruben Tejada to the 60-day DL on Thursday, when Double-A outfielder Cesar Puello has completed his suspension.
• Jeurys Familia will pitch in the Arizona Fall League.
• From the bloggers … Rising Apple debates the merits of an extension for Collins.
BIRTHDAYS: Reliever David Weathers turns 44. … Infielder Argenis Reyes is 31.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Would you like to see Bronson Arroyo as a Met?
Hate day games during school especially when there is only 5 games left #Mets— Bobby Oldfield (@snoopbobbybob10) September 25, 2013
In order to free the 40-man roster spot, Josh Edgin (rib fracture) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
The Mets will need to make a similar move in two days when Cesar Puello's suspension ends. Ruben Tejada can be transferred to the 60-day DL at that point.