New York Mets: Jeff Wilpon
"Their rocket ship has room for about six more astronauts, not just two," Boras quipped, building off commentary he made during the GM Meetings last month about the ballclub.
"Sure," Wilpon said. "Matt getting hurt has taken away unquestionably a guy who looked like he was going to be our ace. It changes things a little bit. We don't need an extra pitcher if Matt is the guy there. And you might use the resources elsewhere."
As for whether it also downgraded the Mets' expectations for next season, Wilpon added: "I don't have an answer. You'd like to say no. But if he was going to be out there for 200 innings, you'd think the results would be pretty good. Taking away those 200 innings is definitely an issue."
Meanwhile, Wilpon insisted that any front-office decisions at this point are not constrained by the team's finances. If Sandy Alderson wanted to pursue Stephen Drew, Wilpon intimated, he could.
"Right now it's a baseball decision," Wilpon said, " because Sandy hasn't come to say, 'Gee, we have to go sign Stephen Drew,' or anybody else for that matter. ...
"I haven't heard him say that that's the best thing to do with our resources," Wilpon added. "He hasn't come to me and said, 'Gee, if we had X, we would go take somebody like that.' So there's still discussion on who we're looking at in a trade scenario and what else might be out there."
The entertainer and fledgling agent met with New York Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, general manager Sandy Alderson and assistant GM John Ricco for dinner Monday night to discuss free agent client Robinson Cano, the New York Post reported.
Read the full news story here.
At the Boys & Girls Club of Garfield, N.J., I had asked Wilpon: "Are there some things going into the offseason that you're really happy with, where they don't need touching? Third base, David Wright, is an obvious thing. But are there other, less obvious things that you're pretty pleased with?"
Wilpon answered: "I think three of the starting pitchers we're very pleased with -- Niese, Gee and Wheeler. That, along with David, I think would probably be the three or four we're solidified on."
Wilpon indicated Thursday that he omitted other players who belonged on that list, including Daniel Murphy, Travis d'Arnaud, Juan Lagares and some of the up-and-coming pitching prospects.
"I should have mentioned Murphy," Wilpon specifically added.
Team insiders previously have indicated that Murphy should be available to other teams via trade, but it is far from a likelihood he will be dealt. The Mets also are expected to consider using Murphy at first base, but that would seem to require the Mets trading Ike Davis and potentially Lucas Duda, too.
Adam RubinJeff Wilpon spends part of Tuesday morning painting walls at the Boys & Girls Club of Garfield, N.J.
• Wilpon indicated the Mets do not seek an external first baseman, which is why they did not pursue Cuban defector Jose Abreu. Abreu eventually signed a six-year, $68 million deal with the Chicago White Sox.
Wilpon acknowledged the Mets likely would be trading first basemen, with something having to give between Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. Whoever remains will have the position in 2014.
"There's probably a glut of first basemen. You can count five, if you wanted to," Wilpon said. "Something has got to happen there with the logjam. There's been some interest already. Where that interest goes and what that brings back, that you've to let play out a little bit. And it probably won't be until the GM Meetings [in mid-November] or maybe even the winter meetings [in December]."
• Wilpon indicated the Mets are only fully pleased with four of the 25 spots on the roster: third base and three spots in the starting rotation. "I think three of the starting pitchers we're very pleased with -- [Jonathon] Niese, [Dillon] Gee and [Zack] Wheeler," Wilpon said. "That, along with David [Wright], I think would be the three or four we're solidified on."
• On Matt Harvey expressing confidence in the success of his week-old surgery Monday and saying he was "ahead of schedule," Wilpon said: "We heard from him right after the surgery, and he was very happy. The doctor was happy. It's hard to say he's ahead of schedule 10 days in. So does that mean he's an hour ahead? Or two hours ahead? The brace came off 30 minutes in front of schedule? I don't really know what it means. It's a long road. That obviously he's feeling good is great news."
Wilpon added that Harvey did not compromise his availability for 2015 by delaying the procedure after the injury originally occurred in August. The Mets thought Harvey undergoing Tommy John surgery any time before Dec. 1 would allow the right-hander to comfortably be ready for the season after next, since the recovery time typically is between 12 and 15 months.
"I think we all thought that it was the right move to do it," Wilpon said about Harvey having the procedure. "We just had to let the individual come to that decision. You can't force surgery on somebody."
Wilpon said he did not believe Harvey would try to come back too quickly and compromise his return.
"He'll follow the program," Wilpon said. "I mean, the program is so good now that it's really pretty exact in what you can do and when you can do it. I don't think he's going to mess with it."
Often pitchers need a full season back in the majors after Tommy John surgery to reach their former level. On that subject, Wilpon said: "I think 80 percent of Matt Harvey is pretty good, so we'll take it. You hope he's back 100 percent, but I have full confidence he's going to be back and as good as he was. How quickly that happens, only someone with higher authority can tell you that."
• On where the franchise is after suffering its fifth straight losing season in 2013, Wilpon said: "I would say a little bit of transition, because we have definite deficiencies that we've got to fill this offseason, and the ability to do it. So I think that's good."
As for any pressure on Sandy Alderson to produce a winner, Wilpon added: "I think he feels the pressure, like we all do, to try to get this turned around and start winning. But I don't think there's any added pressure on him, Terry [Collins], the players, anybody."
Wilpon said it is too soon to know whether free agency or trades ends up the primary route to improve the club, but he insisted payroll flexibility exists.
"That's always been part of the plan, to use the money that is coming off the books and try to improve the team," Wilpon said. "I can't tell you exactly what's going to happen, though. As we get further into the offseason, we'll know a little bit better. ...
"The hardest part right now, and I explain this to a lot of people that ask not in the business: I can't control what the other team wants to give us for a player. Sandy can't control that. All he can do right now is have conversations saying, 'Hey, you're looking for these three spots. We're looking for these three or four spots. Where is there a match?' The thing everybody forgets is that as smart as Sandy is, trying to make a great deal for us, he's got 29 other guys out there looking to be just as smart and make a great deal for their team. So where that match comes, when it comes, it doesn't happen quickly. As much as we'd like to say, 'Boom, do a deal today,' that might sound great on the radio or something, but it doesn't always work that way."
• The Mets went 33-48 at Citi Field and 41-40 on the road last season. On that topic, Wilpon said: "We have a number of theories and no exact answer."
• Wilpon said there would be a radio announcement "any day." The Mets are expected to confirm their new partnership with WOR, replacing WFAN.
"Would it be the right player? And would it be prudent to do it, even for the right player? Factor in what's left to do the kind of things we want to do. But is it out of the question? It's not out of the question," Alderson said of a $100-million deal. "Will we do it? That's more of a strategic question than a resource question. At this point, it's not a matter of resources."
The Mets have not been very active in free agency under Alderson in his first three years as they have tried to get out from previous long-term contracts that didn't work out well.
Alderson's deals were always low-year, low-money deals, and even some of those haven't panned out. This year, they're finally getting some of those long-term deals off the books.
Alderson said excluding the money owed to former Met Jason Bay, the Mets payroll for this past season ended up around $87-88 million. He said the Mets have approximately $40 million coming off the books this winter, and they have just $25 million committed next season before arbitration raises. Alderson said the Mets will have "a substantial amount of money" available.
Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said the team has already discussed the budget, but said it will depend on how the trade and free agency markets shake out. The team is heading down to Florida for organizational meetings and will start developing different scenarios. He did add that Alderson and the team's front office staff have a number they're targeting.
While the Mets would like to be active in free agency, Alderson hedged against making a splash just for the sake of making one. He mentioned, not by name, last year's failed pursuit of center fielder Michael Bourn, who ultimately signed with Cleveland. He said it's conceivable the team would have a lower pay roll.
Alderson specifically said the team could use upgrades at the corner outfield spots and shortstop, and potential outfielders to choose from include Cincinnati's Shin-Soo Choo, Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury and Texas' Nelson Cruz.
"The bottom line is yes, it's conceivable we won't sign a player," Alderson said. "But look, we have to be realistic about the marketplace, so I'm hopeful we'll get some things done."
Knowing that some of previous long-term deals hurt the squad for the past few years, Alderson said there is some hesitation about big-money deals because the team wants to maintain payroll flexibility moving forward.
"It's great to say, well, we have financial flexibility, and then blow it on players' deals that don't work out and put yourself right back in the same situation you were in before," Alderson said. "At the same time, at some point, you’ve got to go for it. Having flexibility is great, but at some point, you’ve got to put yourself on the line."
That total further declines when Wheeler (7-4, 3.38 ERA) opposes Washington Nationals right-hander Dan Haren (8-13, 5.23) at 7:10 tonight at Citi Field.
Wheeler’s next outing would come against his former employer, the San Francisco Giants, likely next Tuesday. It looks like Wheeler would get one more start beyond that before skipping one turn at the very end of the season.
For the record: The Mets’ tragic number for postseason elimination stands at two. A loss tonight would drop them a season-worst 16 games under .500.
Wednesday’s news reports:
• Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon confirmed he expects the Mets to be changing radio affiliates for next season. The team has partnered with WFAN since 1987. The Yankees reportedly will move to that spot on the dial. Read more in Newsday, the Times, Post, Daily News, Journal, Star-Ledger and Record.
• Dr. Robert Watkins performed surgery on Bobby Parnell on Tuesday in California to repair a herniated disk in the closer’s back. Sandy Alderson said he expected Parnell to be unaffected during spring training. Lefty reliever Scott Rice also underwent surgery, in Philadelphia to repair bilateral sports hernias.
• Matt Harvey said he feels great and remains hopeful he will avoid Tommy John surgery, but conceded he will lean on doctors’ advice, including James Andrews. Harvey is due to visit Andrews on Monday for a second opinion regarding the ace’s partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. Harvey’s comments came as he joined David Wright, Wheeler and Wilpon for a visit to a midtown firehouse. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and MLB.com.
• Justin Turner plans to get an MRI of his right hamstring this morning after an issue arose as he rounded third base last night.
• With his free-agency eligibility delayed until after the 2017 season, Ruben Tejada joined the Mets on Tuesday. In response to Alderson’s recent criticism of his work ethic, Tejada said he is a hard worker. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Newsday, Star-Ledger and Record.
• Dillon Gee allowed solo homers to Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche and Nats beat the Mets, 6-3, Tuesday. Read game recaps in the Post and MLB.com.
• The Mets released their 2014 schedule. They open at home on March 31 against the Nats. There are four separate West Coast trips. The Mets play in the Bronx on May 12 and 13, then at Citi Field against the Yankees the following two days. Interleague series include trips to the L.A. Angels (April 11-13), Seattle (July 21-23) and Oakland (Aug. 19-20). The A’s (June 24-25), Rangers (July 4-6) and Astros (Sept. 26-28, to close the season) visit Citi Field. The last time the Mets visited Anaheim, back in June 2008, there was a 3 a.m. ET firing. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• The Toronto Blue Jays confirmed they will face the Mets in exhibition games at Olympic Stadium in Montreal on March 28 and 29, 2014.
• In remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Mets will wear caps tonight representing different New York City first-responder organizations during batting practice -- but not in-game.
• Seth Lugo tossed six scoreless innings and Jeff Glenn went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs as Savannah beat Hagerstown, 6-2. The Gnats evened their best-of-five South Atlantic League championship series at a game apiece. Gabriel Ynoa gets Game 3 on Thursday in Savannah, with Long Island native Steven Matz set for Game 4. Read the full recap here.
• Read more on the Mets’ firehouse visit in the Daily News.
• From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report considers what still drives people to watch the Mets. … Faith and Fear tunes in to the Mets' impending departure from WFAN.
BIRTHDAYS: Frank Francisco turns 34.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Is there a particular must-see Mets series in 2014?
@AdamRubinESPN Mayeb you should just post a surgery schedule instead of a game schedule.— Drew Kerr (@DrewKerr) September 10, 2013
Harvey plans to discuss his status as he joins Jeff Wilpon, David Wright and Zack Wheeler for a Manhattan firehouse visit.
Also, Ruben Tejada is expected to join the Mets as soon as today, now that his free-agency eligibility has been delayed until after the 2017 season.
The series continues tonight at Citi Field with Dillon Gee (11-9, 3.53 ERA) opposing right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (16-8, 3.30) at 7:10.
• Bobby Parnell requires surgery for a herniated disk in his neck. Parnell “should” be ready for the 2014 season, according to Terry Collins. “I’m not doing the surgery,” the manager said. Read more in the Post.
• Carlos Torres surrendered four homers and the Mets did not produce a hit against Gio Gonzalez until Zach Lutz’s leadoff single down the first-base line in the seventh as the Nats pounded the Mets, 9-0, Monday.
“I hit it off the end of the bat a little bit and it landed right on the line,” Lutz said. “Just some good luck right there. … Gio was just dominating the whole night.”
“It’s a bittersweet moment,” Gonzalez told D.C. reporters. “You’re happy you got the win. The team did great. Everybody looked alive today. It’s a sad moment when you lose a no-hitter down the line.”
Read game recaps from new beat writer Tim Rohan in the Times as well as in The Washington Post, Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and MLB.com.
• Aaron Harang will make his Mets debut Thursday, in the matinee series finale against Washington. That will push Jonathon Niese to Friday, giving him an extra day of rest.
• Wright rejoined the Mets on Monday. He still has yet to run the bases, but again resolved to return before the season ends Sept. 29. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Journal and Newsday.
In July in Toronto, a large contingent of Expos fans staged a rally during a Blue Jays game for the second straight year meant to demonstrate the support for baseball in Montreal, and exhibition contests in their own city would serve their cause even more.
Also standing to benefit is the Montreal Baseball Project, fronted by Warren Cromartie, which is conducting a feasibility study on bringing a team back to the city permanently. A strong showing is sure to get noticed among the game’s power-brokers.
Read more in the Daily News.
• Mets season ticket holders received notification Monday that prices will remain the same in 2014.
• Savannah lost Game 1 of its best-of-five South Atlantic League championship series, 6-1, at Hagerstown. Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless inning in his third minor league appearance since surgery to clean out his right elbow. Read the full recap here.
• The Mets may end up trading Ike Davis this offseason, but they have no intention of non-tendering him, team insiders told ESPNNewYork.com.
• Trading Frank Francisco remains a possibility, a team insider told ESPNNewYork.com. Collins says he is not yet comfortable using Francisco on back-to-back days, because the ex-closer had not done that during his rehab assignment.
• Left-hander Scott Rice is due to undergo surgery today in Philadelphia for a sports hernia.
• Davey Johnson, 70, is making his final visit to Queens as Nats manager. Writes columnist George Vecsey in the Times:
Johnson has been around. He was a teammate of Hank Aaron’s in Atlanta and Sadaharu Oh’s in Tokyo when each of them passed Babe Ruth’s career record of 714 home runs. He won three Gold Gloves, hit 43 home runs one season, played in four World Series and was the last out of the 1969 Series, in Shea Stadium, just before the hordes almost tore the place down in ecstasy.
In 1986, he took stock of the talent and close finishes the two previous years.
“I just remember him saying we were going to win the World Series,” said Keith Hernandez, now a Mets broadcaster, and an admirer of Johnson. “I thought, ‘O.K.’ That was something I wouldn’t have done, but he put the challenge out there.”
Read more in the Record.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing explores the September of the Metropolitan soul.
BIRTHDAYS: Outfielder Andrew Brown turns 29.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Are you concerned about Bobby Parnell’s availability early in 2014?
So first new discovery... take the express 7 train rather than the local. Hitting every stop is slightly annoying #newguy— Victor Black (@Vic_Black_2) September 9, 2013
Harry E. Walker/MCTJustin Turner ultimately left Game 2. He collided with Andrew Brown in the first inning.
FIRST PITCH: Better late than never for Jenrry Mejia, the one-time hyped prospect who has been derailed by injuries, including Tommy John surgery on May 16, 2011.
After Mejia's stellar season debut Friday, LaTroy Hawkins said: “That’s the first time I saw him pitch. Man, I heard that his ball moves like a DUI drunk. But I got a chance to see it today and I was really impressed.”
Opined Matt Harvey: “I don’t think he had a walk. That was huge for him to go seven innings and do what he did. It was fun to watch. He’s got nasty stuff, that’s for sure.”
Meanwhile, after splitting Friday’s pair of games with a disappointing ending to the nightcap, the Mets send Dillon Gee (7-7, 4.07 ERA) to the mound Saturday at 3:05 p.m., in a game televised by Fox. Gee opposes right-hander Dan Haren (4-11, 5.79).
Saturday’s news reports:
• Mejia dominated the troubled Nationals for seven scoreless innings and Daniel Murphy slugged two homers and produced five RBIs as the Mets shut out Washington, 11-0, in the matinee of a day-night doubleheader.
The Mets could have moved even with Washington for third place and to within a half-game of second-place Philadelphia with a Friday sweep.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and MLB.com.
• Mejia will stay at the major league level as the Mets plan to employ a six-man rotation. That will allow team officials to somewhat curtail the innings of Harvey and Zack Wheeler, who face caps. Harvey is up to 145 innings this season, leaving him roughly 75 remaining. Wheeler is at 107 1/3 innings between the majors and minors, leaving him about 72 innings. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.
• Kirk Nieuwenhuis was demoted to Vegas after Friday’s nightcap, leaving the Mets with a four-man bench. That signals Eric Young Jr. is healthy enough to be back in the lineup after sitting out Friday’s games with a sore right knee. Nieuwenhuis had been hitless in his final 15 at-bats, and Terry Collins had anointed Juan Lagares the regular center fielder earlier in the day. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and Newsday.
• Can the Mets can make a run at a playoff berth? Friday’s split did not help. The Mets actually lost ground. They are 10½ behind the Atlanta Braves in the division and 11 games back of the Cincinnati Reds for the second wild-card spot. Sixty-two games remain.
“We’ll have to play a lot better -- a lot more consistent,” Hawkins told Mike Puma in the Post. “But I was with the Rockies when we had that unbelievable run, we had the unbelievable September, so you never know. We’ve got to go play the Marlins, and they’re very tough against us. I’ve been on a lot of teams and there’s always one team that’s your nemesis. There is always that one team.”
• The Nationals demoted former closer Drew Storen to Syracuse late Friday, leaving teammate Tyler Clippard to express his displeasure. Storen once had 43 saves in a season, but had the rocky Game 5 of the NLDS last October. The Nats then went out and signed Rafael Soriano during the offseason.
“You basically send a guy a message this offseason for having one bad game -- that he’s not the guy for the job,” Clippard told Nats beat writers, according to The Washington Post. “He’s only human. It’s going to get to anybody. … Eight months later, you get to a point where he’s struggling, and you turn the page on him and you send him down. It’s not necessarily turning the page on him, because I think he needs to regroup and get out of this environment and take a deep breath and regather himself. I just think it’s been handled very poorly.”
• Justin Turner was forced to leave Game 2 after his shoulder and leg tightened. Turner had collided with Andrew Brown on a first-inning catch in shallow left field. Read more in the Post.
• Read more on Lagares in the Star-Ledger.
• Read more on Murphy in the Record.
• Jordany Valdespin went 4-for-4 and drove in all three runs, but Sacramento beat Las Vegas, 9-3. Jeff Walters set a Binghamton single-season saves record as the B-Mets split a doubleheader with Trenton. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Travis d’Arnaud (foot) and Lucas Duda (side) played full games Friday for the first time in the Gulf Coast League, in their third games with the club. Duda only served as the DH.
• Jeff Wilpon’s son Bradley, a right-handed pitcher, has committed to play baseball at the University of Pennsylvania, according to a source.
• From the bloggers … Rising Apple looks at Mejia’s journey since 2010.
BIRTHDAYS: Nobody to appear in a game for the Mets celebrates a birthday today, but almost 24-plus-one-Met Alex Rodriguez turns 38. And Mets first-base coach Tom Goodwin turns 45.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
FIRST PITCH: Matt Harvey Day! In the All-Star Game at Citi Field!
After officially being named the All-Star starter on Monday afternoon by NL manager Bruce Bochy, Harvey is expected to handle the first two innings opposite Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer.
David Wright will bat cleanup for the NL squad.
The All-Stars will parade across 42nd St. at 1 p.m.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Earlier Monday, Wright downplayed playing on an injured foot as the first half closed.
• Jeff Wilpon, while appearing on WFAN, pledged the Mets would spend money next offseason.
"We haven't set a payroll for next year, but I can tell you we're ready to invest with those big contracts coming off the books," Wilpon said, according to Newsday. "We have the money to invest. We're going to invest it prudently. Sandy [Alderson] is going to set a path. There's no predetermined, set way we're going to spend the money, but we do have the money to spend."
• Speaking with the Times during a charity event with MLB, Fred Wilpon addressed a handful of topics:
On Terry Collins: “We all love Terry, who has done a very good job with what we have.”
On Alderson: “We haven’t turned him down on anything.”
On whether the payroll will return to $140 million, like it had been in the past: “I asked Sandy about that. He said he couldn’t invest that much money.”
• Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw did not appear thrilled Bruce Bochy said Harvey would have been his choice to start no matter where the game was held. At one point Kershaw told reporters about the starting snub: “It hurts.”
• In a very funny skit on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” Harvey -- without disclosing his identity -- asked New Yorkers what they thought of him. Watch here.
• Collins acknowledged Harvey will have second-half starts skipped.
• Writes columnist Bob Klapsich in the Record on Harvey:
For one, maybe two innings tonight, Harvey has a chance to pull Mets fans into the organization’s time tunnel -- back to 1984 when Doc Gooden introduced himself to the world with a blow-away fifth inning in that year’s All-Star Game.
Gooden struck out Lance Parrish, Chet Lemon and Alvin Davis with a fastball that might as well have been shot out of a rifle -- that’s how overmatched the American League’s sluggers were. Gooden, only 19, was the advertisement of the gathering storm in Flushing, which is why the parallel to Harvey is so striking, even though he’s five years older.
Harvey is the Mets’ vehicle for legitimacy, smart and articulate and much hungrier for attention than David Wright. It’s no sin for the Mets to milk this opportunity for good PR, even if it looks like they sacrificed a chance to take a series from the red-hot Bucs this weekend. Truth is, the choice isn’t quite so stark.
Writes columnist David Lennon in Newsday:
Harvey may have blindsided the Mets with the nude layout, and surprised even more people by telling another publication of his post-baseball aspirations to be a movie star -- a full 29 starts into his major-league career.
But there's no need to hang up his spikes first. Look at R.A. Dickey. The knuckleballer released a book, starred in a documentary and won a Cy Young Award in the same season. Don't think Harvey wasn't paying attention.
When asked Monday about his inspiration, guess who Harvey brought up? Dickey, a multi-media darling who prepped for his career year by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
"I came up and obviously wanted to do everything I could to fill in for R.A. Dickey," Harvey said. "We knew him not being with us, it was going to take a lot and someone needed to step in. It was a role I wanted to take."
Writes columnist John Harper in the Daily News:
As for Boras, he joked on Monday that Harvey sure is in good company posing naked along with Gary Player, among others, noting that the 77-year-old golfer is renowned for being one of the most disciplined athletes in the world.
Still, a person close to the situation said Boras wasn’t thrilled with Harvey’s appearance in the magazine. On Monday he said he doesn’t make such decisions for his athletes, and chose his words carefully on the subject.
“Each individual athlete has to determine what they want to do when they’re approached about that,” he said. “All I care about is, you can do what you want off the field but it cannot affect your commitment, your focus, your ability to be ready for the next game.”
Read more on Harvey’s start tonight in the Post, Times, USA Today, Star-Ledger, Daily News, Journal and Newsday.
• The Mets actually owe Bobby Bonilla more than the originally reported $1.19 million a year. Read more in the Post.
• An ill-timed subway line fire left the No. 7 train without service as the Home Run Derby was letting out. Read more in Newsday.
• Collins spoke openly about Jordany Valdespin acting immaturely in the clubhouse Saturday in Pittsburgh. The manager said Valdespin’s biggest mistake may have been having the histrionics with Sandy Alderson as a witness. Valdespin wanted to land on the DL rather than be dispatched to Las Vegas. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Journal and Newsday.
• Wright says Carlos Beltran was underappreciated as a Met. Read more on Beltran in the Star-Ledger.
• Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez, a first-time All-Star, said Mookie Wilson was a major influence as he was a young player in the Mets system.
• Logan Verrett tossed eight innings and rehabbing Justin Turner went 2-for-3 with an RBI as Binghamton beat Richmond, 7-3. Chris Flexen tossed a shutout as Kingsport swept Burlington. Matt Oberste’s RBI double in the 12th lifted Brooklyn past Connecticut, 5-4. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Turner told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin about the left intercostal strain that landed him on the DL: “I haven’t had any setbacks so far. The process, obviously, took a long time. I was down there for a month. It went a lot slower than I was hoping. You get that cortisone shot and I was hoping to respond to it pretty quickly. It’s one of those things that it takes time. It’s a real small muscle.”
• Forbes ranks the Mets as the 45th-most valuable sports franchise in the world. Read more in Newsday.
• The Mets’ income at Citi Field continues to nosedive, Newsday reports.
• Charles V. Bagli writes in the Times that Citi Field’s neighbors plan a protest today over getting evicted for the development of a mall and other projects to complement the stadium.
• Read a feature on Wright at CBSSports.com.
• From the bloggers … Mets Police caught up with some of the visiting mascots at Citi Field.
BIRTHDAYS: Catcher Norm Sherry was born on this date in 1931.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
FIRST PITCH: After two days on the bench, Josh Satin is due to be back in the starting lineup today, according to Terry Collins.
Satin, who has a 10-game hitting streak, benefited from the Milwaukee Brewers making a late switch in pitching assignment. Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny replaces right-hander Wily Peralta, to allow Peralta a couple of extra days to rest a strained hamstring.
Collins would not reveal where Satin will start. First base would not seem the best bet, since Ike Davis just returned and now has reached base in seven of 11 plate appearances. Perhaps it will be second base, where Satin worked pregame Saturday -- although Daniel Murphy’s bat seemed to wake up with a three-hit game after going 0-for-11 the previous two days. Or might it be in left field, where Satin has only appeared in one minor league game, plus a brief and ill-fated stint in winter ball in Venezuela in October 2011?
Meanwhile, Anthony Recker should find himself at catcher. Recker was in Saturday’s original lineup, but Shaun Marcum preferred to throw to John Buck, and Collins obliged and made the switch.
Jeremy Hefner (3-6, 3.54 ERA) pitches for the Mets. Hefner has a 1.70 ERA and has struck out 29 in 37 innings over his past six starts.
Sunday’s news reports:
• After trailing 5-0, the Mets rallied to within a run three different times, only to lose 7-6 to the Brewers on Saturday night. Marcum dropped to 1-10, becoming the quickest Met to double-digit losses since Steve Trachsel in 2001. Afterward, Marcum acknowledged he again dealt with numbness, tingling and coldness in his pitching hand.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and MLB.com.
• David Wright and Matt Harvey will represent the Mets in the July 16 All-Star Game at Citi Field. Wright topped San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval by more than 1.9 million votes for the NL starting assignment at third base. Harvey received the most votes among starting pitchers on the players’ ballot.
Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and MLB.com.
• See more photos from Harvey’s ESPN The Magazine “Body Issue” shoot in the Daily News.
• Ruben Tejada no longer is on the disabled list. Instead, he officially is a minor leaguer, having been removed from his rehab assignment and optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Record.
• Davis told Newsday he appreciated Jeff Wilpon dropping by Las Vegas two days before the first baseman's promotion to assure him he still was part of the future. "It's nice to hear that the guy that I'm working for has confidence in me," Davis said. "If they didn't have confidence in me and they didn't want me here, [it] would have been a little tougher."
• Steve Serby in the Post has a Q&A with Hefner. Hefner revealed he tries to pattern his delivery after Adam Wainwright. Among the other exchanges:
Q: What is it like watching Matt Harvey?
A: "We played together in Buffalo last year, we both started the year in Triple-A together, and to see where he was then, to where he is now, is not even the same person. If you would have told me last year at the beginning of the year that he would be doing what he is now, I would have told you no way. Not that he didn’t have it in him, but I didn’t see it on the field in Buffalo, as far as that killer instinct, the stuff. ... The stuff was there, but not what it is right now, as far as velocity, location, the delivery being repeated, the ability to throw strikes with all of his pitches -- his changeup was nonexistent at the beginning of the year last year."
• Kirk Nieuwenhuis banged his right knee getting tangled with Eric Young Jr. on an eighth-inning-ending catch by Young on the track in left-center, but did not suffer serious damage.
• Mookie Wilson will have an autobiography coming out next year. “People know me, but they only know me because of that groundball,” Wilson tells the Daily News, referring to Bill Buckner’s World Series gaffe. “Basically [the book] is going to provide a little more light on who I am, how I came to be who I am and where I’m headed.”
• Binghamton launched five homers and Darrell Ceciliani had a career-high five RBIs as Binghamton routed New Hampshire, 14-3. Charley Thurber, Jayce Boyd and Dustin Lawley homered in St. Lucie’s 6-3 win against Fort Myers. Steven Matz had a seven-inning shutout as Savannah split a doubleheader. Patrick Biondi had three hits and scored three runs in Brooklyn’s 5-3 win at Aberdeen. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Wayne Coffey in the Daily News profiles lefty reliever Scott Rice, who spent 14 seasons in the minors before making his major league debut this year.
• Ken Belson in the Times reports how technology has allowed players to scout rivals on their iPads at their lockers or on planes.
• Zack Wheeler is looking forward to facing the San Francisco Giants, his former organization, on Wednesday, notes the Daily News.
• Anthony McCarron in the Daily News catches up with 72-year-old Ron Hunt, who represented the Mets as a starter in the 1964 All-Star Game at Shea Stadium.
• BIRTHDAYS: John Buck turns 33. … Third-base coach Tim Teufel is 55. … Infielder Andy Green, now the manager of Double-A Mobile for the Arizona Diamondbacks, is 36.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets let Shaun Marcum continue in the rotation, put him on the disabled list or designate him for assignment?
Wow! What an honor it truly is to be selected to the @AllStarGame! Best of all, it is at home with all you mets fans. Thank you all...— Matt Harvey (@MattHarvey33) July 7, 2013
Julie Scheidegger/US PresswireBack in 2010, the Mets selected Matt Harvey with the seventh overall pick.
FIRST PITCH: Gavin Cecchini won’t be the new kid on the block much longer.
Paul DePodesta and crew begin drafting the 2013 class tonight. The Mets’ first pick is 11th overall, which you probably recall because that was the first pick not protected last offseason -- meaning the Mets would have forfeited it to sign Michael Bourn.
ESPN’s Keith Law projects the Mets will select California high school first baseman Dominic Smith.
Here’s a look at the Mets’ top picks of the past decade:
2012, Cecchini, 12th overall
2011, Brandon Nimmo, 13th
2010, Matt Harvey, seventh
2009, Steven Matz, 72nd
2008, Ike Davis, 18th
2007, Eddie Kunz, 42nd
2006, Kevin Mulvey, 62nd
2005, Mike Pelfrey, ninth
2004, Philip Humber, third
2003, Lastings Milledge, 12th
Under the previous regime, the Mets made a habit of forfeiting first-round picks in order to sign Type A free agents. That was the case in 2009 (for Francisco Rodriguez), 2007 (for Moises Alou) and 2006 (for Billy Wagner). The Mets later essentially sold two first-round picks to the Red Sox when they traded Wagner to Boston as a rental.
Also tonight, Shaun Marcum (0-6, 5.71 ERA) searches for his first Mets win when he opposes left-hander Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.64) at Nationals Park.
Thursday’s news reports:
• Jeff Wilpon visited Double-A Binghamton. He told the Press & Sun-Bulletin:
“There’s a plan. You can’t change the plan every year. OK? Sandy [Alderson], it’s taken him two or three years to get the plan into effect, and we have to wait and see it out.
“I think we’re definitely happy with the plan and the direction we’re going. Is it happening as fast as anybody wants? No.
“You know, we’re fans. I’m a fan. I’m here to see good baseball. I want to see good baseball in New York. I want to see it up and down the organization. Sometimes it happens quicker, sometimes it doesn’t.”
• Marlon Byrd homered twice, David Wright also went deep and Anthony Recker drove in three as the Mets enjoyed a rare laugher and snapped a four-game losing streak with a 10-1 win at D.C. Dillon Gee went seven innings, allowing one run, despite dealing with baserunners all night. It was Byrd’s sixth career multi-homer game, and first since June 9, 2010.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and MLB.com.
• Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com and Ken Davidoff in the Post review how the Mets landed Matt Harvey in the 2010 draft.
• Jonathon Niese threw a 39-pitch bullpen session Wednesday at Nationals Park and pronounced himself fit to face the Miami Marlins on Saturday at Citi Field after missing one turn in the rotation. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Journal and Record.
• SNY analyst Ron Darling has signed a long-term extension with TBS to continue his weekend and postseason work analyzing national games. “He has established himself as one of the preeminent baseball analysts in the game today and we’re excited he’ll continue to be an integral part of our MLB regular season and postseason coverage on TBS for many years to come,” said David Levy, president of TBS sales, distribution and sports.
• Andrew Keh in the Times profiles the overused left-handed specialist Scott Rice. “It’s funny,” Rice told Keh. “My arm feels awesome. But people keep coming up to me like: ‘How’s your arm? Are you OK?’ And I’m like: ‘Man, it feels good, but now I don’t know. Is it supposed to be hurting?’”
• Fueled in part by Cesar Puello’s 10th homer, Binghamton tried to rally from an eight-run deficit, but lost to Trenton, 10-6, Wednesday. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Puello faces a potential MLB suspension for his link to the South Florida clinic Biogensis, “Outside the Lines” has reported. Said Binghamton manager Pedro Lopez to the Press & Sun-Bulletin: “The funny thing about it is when everything happened in spring training, I found out a week later. When I got the message last night, I was naïve. I didn’t know what they were talking about. I was lost. … I don’t know much about it, only the stuff that I’ve read and that I’ve heard on TV. Basically, we have to wait and see what happens. Hopefully nothing happens to him. He’s having a terrific year to this point.”
• Collins does not expect Jeurys Familia to return this season. Familia was expected to undergo a cleanout of his right elbow Wednesday in New York.
• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger and Mike Kerwick in the Record profile shortstop Omar Quintanilla.
• John Buck faces wearing down in the second half, notes Jared Diamond in the Journal. Only Yadier Molina has started a higher percentage of his team’s games behind the plate.
• From the bloggers … Rising Apple believes it is time to promote lefty reliever Jack Leathersich from Double-A Binghamton. … Faith and Fear in Flushing chats with Howie Rose. … John Delcos at Mets Report believes the way to create room for Zack Wheeler is by trading Shaun Marcum.
BIRTHDAYS: Bud Harrelson is 69.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Jeff Wilpon and NYC fire commissioner Salvatore Cassano presented Mariano Rivera with gifts pregame Tuesday at Citi Field.
Terry Collins tactfully took on that question before Thursday's series finale.
Wilpon had said at Tuesday afternoon's gift presentation to Mariano Rivera: "I wish we could see you in the World Series, but I'm not sure that's going to happen this year."
Said Collins about motivation: "You'd have to take a poll in there how many guys read that stuff. If that motivated them, we'll be blasting them again tonight."
The Mets indicated that team executives Paul Asencio, Leigh Castergine and David Newman will now join Mike Landeen in reporting to Jeff Wilpon to absorb Howard's role for the near future. Wilpon also will pick up some of Howard's duties.
Here is the full release from MSG Sports:
Hank Ratner, president and chief executive officer of The Madison Square Garden Company, today announced that distinguished sports executive, Dave Howard, has joined the company as president, MSG Sports, effective April 9. In this role, Mr. Howard will be responsible for running the business operations of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Liberty and Hartford Whale, as well as the management of the company’s Sports Properties unit.
Mets executive VP Dave Howard is departing for MSG Sports.
As president of MSG Sports, Mr. Howard will have a wide range of responsibilities tied to the successful operations of the sports division, including optimizing the core businesses, while creating and driving new revenue streams, and enhancing the value of the MSG Sports brand. In addition to managing the strategic plan, budgets and forecasting for the businesses, he will oversee the marketing and game presentations of the Knicks, Rangers and Liberty, as well as the sale of their season and individual game tickets, suites and Madison Club memberships. He will help direct integrated sales, including establishing strategic sponsorships through the development of new inventory packages that drive increased marketing partnerships. Mr. Howard will manage the Sports Properties division, including the presentation of sporting events such college and high school basketball, boxing and tennis, along with the development of new growth opportunities.
“I am honored to be joining The Madison Square Garden Company, and particularly thrilled to have the privilege of leading MSG Sports,” said Mr. Howard. “There are very few organizations anywhere with the strength of MSG’s sports brands, and I look forward to utilizing my experience to ensure we build on MSG’s position as one of the world’s leading sports organizations. I would also like to thank the Mets’ ownership and organization for what has been an amazing professional experience in Flushing.”
Mr. Howard joins MSG Sports following more than two decades at the New York Mets organization and Major League Baseball. Most recently, he served as executive vice president of business operations for the Mets, where he oversaw all business departments, including ticket sales & services, corporate sales & partnerships, marketing &communications, broadcasting, media relations, venue services, ballpark operations, guest experience and security. In addition, he was responsible for the team’s Florida training facility and the St. Lucie Mets and Brooklyn Cyclones minor league business operations. During his 20 years with the Mets organization, Mr. Howard held a number of significant roles, including as the team’s general counsel, corporate secretary, vice president of business affairs and senior vice president of business and legal affairs. He played a key role in moving the Mets from Shea Stadium to Citi Field, where he was also instrumental in attracting other premier events, including top concerts and college lacrosse, as well as the first-ever major soccer matches. Prior to joining the Mets, Mr. Howard was an associate counsel in the office of the commissioner’s office at Major League Baseball, and an associate at the firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell. He began his career as a law clerk for the Honorable George C. Pratt at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Mr. Howard graduated cum laude from Fordham University of Law and received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Dartmouth College, where he graduated magna cum laude. He has served on a number of community and charitable boards, including: The Bridge Church of the Nazarene, Rockville Centre Little League; Baseball Chapel, Inc; Molly College Board of Trustees; CCFA-Long Island Chapter Advisory Board; Tufts University Athletics Board of Advisors. Mr. Howard, his wife, Nancy, and their children make their home on Long Island.
Final/2OT New York 107 Milwaukee 101 Final Washington 113 Brooklyn 107
7:00 PM ET Anaheim NY Islanders 7:00 PM ET New Jersey Washington
5:00 PM ET E Washington Seton Hall 2:00 PM ET Army Rutgers 4:05 PM ET Iona Nevada 2:00 PM ET St. Peter's Hartford 6:00 PM ET Cornell Stony Brook