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Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Morning Briefing: 4 more years for Sandy?

By Adam Rubin


John Minchillo/Associated PressSandy Alderson wants to be general manager of the Mets for two or three more years, according to the Post.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: With position players due to report Thursday and the first full-squad workout scheduled for Saturday, the Mets have all but two of their players already in camp -- Omar Quintanilla and Wilfredo Tovar.

Wednesday’s news reports:

• Sandy Alderson wants to remain Mets GM for two or three more years, but “definitely not five,” Mike Puma reports in the Post, quoting a source. Alderson is in the fourth year of his original four-year deal, which also includes a team option.

• Alderson confirmed to columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News that the Mets’ offer to closer Grant Balfour exceeded the two-year, $12 million deal he accepted from the Tampa Bay Rays. Alderson told Madden he did not make a similar offer to Fernando Rodney (who ultimately signed for two years, $14 million with the Seattle Mariners) because Rodney’s camp indicated it wanted $10 million-plus a season.

• The Pittsburgh Pirates will continue to monitor Ike Davis for a potential trade, ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports.

Meanwhile, will getting Davis double the typical number of spring-training at-bats help guard against another slow start to the season? Collins said it worked for Tim Salmon while Collins managed the Angels in the late 1990s. Still, Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger notes that the Phillies’ Domonic Brown led the majors last spring training with 90 at-bats and then hit only .233 in April.

• A Mets official severely downplayed a report the club is having dialogue with free-agent Nelson Cruz.

• The Mets signed right-hander Buddy Carlyle to a minor-league contract. Carlyle, 36, did not receive an invitation to big-league camp. Lefty Dana Eveland also received a minor-league contract with no invite.

• How excited can you really get about prospects, especially if you’re familiar with the bust that was Generation K? Writes columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post:

There’s only one proven method for the optimists to prevail, and that’s with sheer numbers. These Mets hope they’re building such a model for success.

“We know the history. Some guys don’t make it. That’s just what happens,” Paul DePodesta, the Mets’ vice president of player development and amateur scouting, said Monday. “They get hurt. They have a disappointing performance. They don’t continue to develop at the same rate they had previously.

“But I think we’ve gotten to the point now, in terms of volume, where some of them are going to make it. Not every one of them will, but a good number of them should, based on what we have at this point.”

• Terry Collins does not foresee Wilmer Flores on the big-league roster if Flores is not a starter. Flores, meanwhile, is confident he can play shortstop on the limited occasions he gets exposure there during spring training. Read more in the Journal, Star-Ledger, Record and Newsday.

• Collins affirmed right-handed prospect Cory Mazzoni will get consideration for the Opening Day roster as a reliever, despite serving as a starter in the minors. Mazzoni actually breaking camp with the Mets would appear an uphill battle, though, unless there are injuries or Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth are busts. Further complicating it: Mazzoni is not yet on the 40-man roster. John Rowe in the Record looks at the Mets’ late-inning relief.

• How can Eric Young Jr. increase his on-base percentage? By bunting more, Collins believes.

Regarding Young’s capability to increase his OBP, Alderson tells Marc Carig in Newsday: “The question is whether he has the potential to improve on that if it becomes a priority. On-base percentage is often a function of approach as opposed to mechanics. If we were asking him to hit 30 home runs, that’s not going to work. But guys can adjust.” Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Juan Lagares will start in center field in the Grapefruit League opener on Feb. 28, but will he be in the outfield on Opening Day at Citi Field? With Curtis Granderson and Chris Young now on board, that seems to depend upon whether EY Jr. is a starter. “I think I did good last year, but I know I can do a little better,” Lagares told the Post. Read more in the Daily News.

• Hitting coach Dave Hudgens believes Travis d’Arnaud will have more success at the plate now that he is not trying to hit every pitch for a homer.

• Mets pitchers in 2013 had their most strikeouts and fewest sacrifices in the team’s past five seasons, writes Marty Noble at MLB.com. Bartolo Colon, who has not played in the National League since 2002 with the Montreal Expos, has blisters from practicing hitting so much this offseason in the Dominican Republic, according to the report.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis is not forgotten, Collins told the outfielder Tuesday.

Zack Wheeler does not mind getting less attention this spring training with Noah Syndergaard generating the buzz.

• Mets pitchers are not keen on wearing the new protective hats, although several pledged to try it once a shipment arrives.

• With three Mets players’ surnames beginning with lower-case “D’s -- d’Arnaud, Matt den Dekker and Jacob deGrom -- team equipment manager Kevin Kierst worked with Majestic to design lower-case uniform letters, writes Jared Diamond in the Journal.

• Unemployed reliever Tim Byrdak had a little fun tweeting a job-wanted advertisement. Read more in the Daily News.

• Free-agent Johan Santana continues discussions with the Minnesota Twins, but no deal is imminent, Venezuelan journalist Efrain Ruiz tweeted.

• The Houston Astros may relocate their spring-training complex to the area, but there are no active discussions with the Mets about sharing the Port St. Lucie complex, according to a source. The Astros, who originally tried to pair with the Toronto Blue Jays to build a complex, now may partner with the Washington Nationals somewhere in Palm Beach County, the Houston Chronicle reports.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing is pleased WOR and the Mets have found 710 ways to please their listeners. … Mets Police asks if you would trade Syndergaard and d’Arnaud for R.A. Dickey. … John Delcos at Mets Report concludes the organization has future payroll flexibility. … NY Mets Life looks at the lost art of the complete game.

BIRTHDAYS: Poet and former Mets pitcher Miguel Batista turns 43. … Alvaro Espinoza is 52. … Tim Burke turns 55.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

Offers have been slow so I thought I'd practice for 2018. I should have followed IKEAs directions on the sled ! pic.twitter.com/7o1LwkLdaf

— Tim Byrdak (@Givemethelefty) February 18, 2014
YOU’RE UP: Do you want Sandy Alderson to remain GM a few more years?