New York Mets: Josh Byrnes

Series preview: Mets at Padres

July, 16, 2014
Jul 16
11:45
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USA TODAY SportsThe Mets open the second half facing Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross and Odrisamer Despaigne in San Diego.
METS (45-50, third place/NL East) vs. SAN DIEGO PADRES (41-54, third place/NL West)

Friday: RHP Bartolo Colon (8-8, 3.99) vs. RHP Ian Kennedy (7-9, 3.47), 10:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-1, 2.56) vs. RHP Tyson Ross (7-10, 2.85), 8:40 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.90) vs. RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (2-1, 1.35), 4:10 p.m. ET

Padres short hops

• The Padres fired GM Josh Byrnes on June 22 and are currently being led by Omar Minaya, A.J. Hinch and Fred Uhlman Jr. in an interim capacity. The reported list of interviewees who remain under consideration to succeed Byrnes include former Marlins GM Larry Beinfest, Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen, Diamondbacks director of scouting Ray Montgomery, MLB senior VP Kim Ng, Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller and Padres assistant GM Josh Stein.

• Padres legend Tony Gwynn died June 16. The team’s uniforms now include a patch featuring a No. 19 inside the logo of a home plate, which is being worn over the players’ hearts. The team already had a patch recognizing Hall of Fame broadcaster Jerry Coleman, who died Jan. 5 at age 89.

• Although neither pitched, right-hander Tyson Ross and closer Huston Street represented the Padres at Tuesday’s All-Star Game. Street actually was selected late to replace Ross, who started San Diego’s first-half finale and was ineligible.

Ross, 27, became the first Padres starting pitcher selected to the team since Jake Peavy in 2007. In his final five starts of the first half, Ross posted a 1.75 ERA and opponents had only a .229 OBP against him. He nonetheless went 1-4 during that stretch. Since June 6, the Padres have scored a total of eight runs in his eight starts.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Ross has induced an MLB-high 164 swings and misses with his slider this season. He throws the pitch 39.4 percent of the time, also the most in the majors among qualified pitchers.


Lenny Ignelzi/Associated PressSeth Smith signed a two-year, $13 million contract extension.


• The Padres rank last in the majors in runs (279), average (.214), OBP (.273) and slugging percentage (.334). They lost consecutive 1-0 games to the Los Angeles Dodgers to close the first half. San Diego’s pitching has been stellar, though. In 24 games since June 18, the staff has produced a 2.08 ERA.

• San Diego signed outfielder Seth Smith to a two-year, $13 million extension that includes a $7 million team option for 2017. He otherwise would have been eligible for free agency this offseason and would have been traded this month. Smith, 31, was acquired from the Oakland Athletics in December for reliever Luke Gregerson. He is hitting .283 with 10 homers and 27 RBIs and has a .387 OBP this season.

• Third baseman Chase Headley, who is eligible for free agency this winter, should be on the move by the end of the month. The Toronto Blue Jays reportedly are among the teams interested. Headley is earning $10.5 million in 2014. Although he is hitting only .226 for the season, the 30-year-old Headley does have a .327 average with one homer and six RBIs in 12 starts in July. Headley told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the production uptick coincides with a grip adjustment with his bat in which the fingers overlap. Headley used that grip for most of his career before abandoning it. “It’s just an overlap,” he told the newspaper. “Not a golf grip, but similar.”

• Left fielder Carlos Quentin is hitting .145 (8-for-55) with one homer since June 17.

Ian Kennedy has 133 strikeouts, trailing only Washington’s Stephen Strasburg (149) and Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto (141) in the National League. Kennedy’s strikeout total was the second-most in franchise history before the All-Star break. Andy Benes had 138 strikeouts in the first half in 1994. The Los Angeles Angels reportedly are interested in acquiring Kennedy, who is under San Diego’s control for another season.

• Second baseman Jedd Gyorko (plantar fasciitis) and shortstop Everth Cabrera (hamstring) closed the first half on the disabled list.

• Cuban defector Odrisamer Despaigne, 27, has a 1.35 ERA in four starts since making his major league debut on June 23. His fastball averages 90.7 mph and cutter averages 87.1 mph. He defected in June 2013 at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris while the Cuban team was en route to a tournament in the Netherlands. He received a $1 million bonus to sign with the Padres on May 2.

O No: Minaya not candidate for Pads GM

July, 2, 2014
Jul 2
9:29
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Adam RubinOmar Minaya caught up with Terry Collins and Jay Horwitz when the Mets visited San Diego last season.


ATLANTA -- Former Mets general manager Omar Minaya, who is helping to lead the San Diego Padres front office after the firing of Josh Byrnes, is not a candidate for the permanent position.

Padres chairman Ron Fowler told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Minaya will not pursue the vacant GM job but would like to remain with the organization. Minaya had served as a special assistant to Byrnes.

According to the newspaper, Los Angeles Dodgers VP of amateur scouting Logan White interviewed for the GM job Monday, while the Padres also are expected to interview Boston Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen and Texas Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller.

White (as well as Byrnes) interviewed with the Mets when the GM job went to Sandy Alderson.

Morning Briefing: A day to exhale

June, 23, 2014
Jun 23
5:40
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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: The Mets exhale Monday with a day off before opening a brief two-game homestand against the American League West-leading Oakland Athletics (47-29).

The Mets originally lined up to draw Sonny Gray in Tuesday’s 7:10 p.m. opener. Instead, the A’s will delay the 24-year-old Gray’s next start until Saturday in Miami to conserve his innings.

So Scott Kazmir will pitch for the first time in Queens on Tuesday, opposite Bartolo Colon. Kazmir was signed by Oakland for two years, $22 million after Colon departed for a two-year, $20 million deal with the Mets.

Zack Wheeler now faces left-hander Brad Mills on Wednesday. The Mets then head out again for a trip to Pittsburgh and Atlanta.

Monday’s news reports:

• Seven Mets starters had multi-hit games and Jonathon Niese, with unaccustomed run support, won his first game in a month as the Mets beat the Marlins, 11-5, on Sunday. The Mets, who even pulled off a successful suicide squeeze on Niese’s bunt, won three of four games in the series.

Mets players have been celebrating hits by waving towels in the dugout. And the practice has been picking up steam. The team had a season-high-matching 17 hits Sunday.

“We started thinking about it, and it popped right from my memory of the Bulls and their three-peat championship -- Cliff Levingston or Stacey King out there waving a towel all the time,” Curtis Granderson told reporters postgame. “It just popped in my head, and we’ll do that when we get a hit. We started doing it and then a couple other guys did it and now we just needed the guy on the base to do it back. Then it got a little bigger. Now we’ve seen the guys in the bullpen doing it and some of the fans in the stands are doing it.”

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

• The San Diego Padres fired GM Josh Byrnes, and elevated Omar Minaya to an interim position helping lead the baseball-operations department. Read the news story at ESPN.com.

Juan Lagares is due to play with Double-A Binghamton on Monday as his rehab assignment continues. Lagares is expected to be activated later this week.

Travis d'Arnaud, who is expected to be promoted during the Oakland series, struck out as a pinch hitter and Zack Thornton surrendered two runs in the 11th as Las Vegas lost to Memphis, 7-5. Eudy Pina and L.J. Mazzilli had two doubles apiece as St. Lucie beat Jupiter, 10-6, in a rain-shortened game. Brandon Brosher and Ivan Wilson homered in Kingsport’s 5-2 win against Bluefield. Gaither Burmgardner tossed four scoreless relief innings to earn a save as Brooklyn beat Aberdeen, 2-1. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• A team insider told ESPNNewYork.com that team officials were still weighing which catcher -- Anthony Recker or Taylor Teagarden -- would be dropped once d’Arnaud is promoted. Read more in the Daily News.

• Zach Braziller in the Post reviews Nelson Cruz’s accomplishments since the Mets did not sign him this offseason.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear advises taking things one game, one inning and one pitch at a time.

BIRTHDAYS: Right-hander Juan Castillo, who made his only two major league starts for the Mets, was born in Venezuela, on this date in 1970.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Have you forgiven the Mets for trading Scott Kazmir?

Series preview: Mets vs. Padres

June, 13, 2014
Jun 13
10:45
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Getty ImagesThe Mets are scheduled to face Andrew Cashner and Ian Kennedy this weekend at Citi Field.
METS (29-37, fourth place/NL East) vs. SAN DIEGO PADRES (28-38, fourth place/NL West)

Friday: RHP Bartolo Colon (5-5, 4.31) vs. RHP Andrew Cashner (2-5, 2.13), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Zack Wheeler (2-6, 4.19) vs. TBA, 4:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-0, 2.95) vs. RHP Ian Kennedy (5-7, 3.63), 1:10 p.m. ET

Padres short hops

• The Mets had been lined up to face left-hander Eric Stults in the series opener. He instead pitched on short rest Thursday in Philadelphia -- a better matchup for a southpaw -- after getting knocked out the previous start by the Washington Nationals after 2 1/3 innings and 48 pitches.

Andrew Cashner now draws the Friday assignment against the Mets on an extra day of rest. Cashner is a former first-round pick of the Chicago Cubs, who was traded on Jan. 6, 2012 for Anthony Rizzo.

Cashner is winless in his last six starts despite posting a 2.83 ERA during that stretch. San Diego was shut out in three straight starts by him from April 26 through May 7. Cashner’s last start -- six scoreless innings against the Nats -- marked his return from the disabled list after missing more than three weeks with a sore right elbow.

• Saturday’s San Diego starter has not yet been announced. With left-hander Robbie Erlin on the disabled list since May 22 with elbow soreness, the Padres briefly had been using Tim Stauffer in the rotation. However, Stauffer lasted a combined three innings and surrendered nine runs in consecutive starts against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Pittsburgh Pirates and has been returned to the bullpen. He then tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings in long relief his last appearance, Sunday against the Nats.

Reported candidates to make Saturday’s start include Triple-A right-hander Donn Roach and Double-A right-hander Jesse Hahn, both of whom debuted in the major leagues earlier this season. Hahn attended Fitch Senior High School in Groton, Conn.

• Second baseman Jedd Gyorko, who had 23 homers last season, has been on the disabled list since last Friday with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Rookie Jace Peterson and Alexi Amarista -- both left-handed hitters -- have handled the position in Gyorko’s absence.

• The Padres rank at or near the bottom in the major leagues in nearly every major offensive category: runs (200, last), home runs (48, 26th), average (.216, last), on-base percentage (.275, last) and slugging percentage (.344, last).

The players’ individual averages also reflect that anemic production. Thursday’s starting lineup at Philly included leadoff man Will Venable (now batting .216), shortstop Everth Cabrera (.226), cleanup hitter Chase Headley (.200), first baseman Yonder Alonso (.208), catcher Yasmani Grandal (.185) and the second baseman Amarista (.202).

One exception: Left fielder Seth Smith, acquired from the Oakland Athletics in December for right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson, is hitting .294 with six homers and 21 RBIs in 180 at-bats.

• Padres GM Josh Byrnes was a finalist for the GM job that went to Sandy Alderson with the Mets. Omar Minaya remains a deputy to Byrnes in San Diego.

Series preview: Mets vs. Padres

May, 24, 2012
5/24/12
11:53
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Getty Images
The Mets will face Eric Stults (l), Anthony Bass (r) and Clayton Richard (c) in the opening three games of the weekend series.
METS (24-20, third place/NL East) vs. SAN DIEGO PADRES (16-29, fifth place/NL West)

Thursday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-1, 2.25) vs. LHP Eric Stults (0-0, 2.70), 7:10 p.m. ET

Friday: RHP Dillon Gee (3-3, 5.44) vs. RHP Anthony Bass (2-4, 2.89), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Johan Santana (1-2, 3.24) vs. LHP Clayton Richard (2-5, 4.63), 1:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP R.A. Dickey (6-1, 3.45) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (2-4, 3.49), 1:10 p.m. ET

Padres short hops

• Closer Huston Street, who was acquired from Colorado in December for the final year of a guaranteed three-year, $22.5 million deal, landed on the disabled list May 5 with a strained right lat.

Right-hander Dale Thayer, who made 11 relief appearances with the Mets last season, signed with the Padres as a minor league free agent and now has stepped into the closer’s role and excelled. Thayer retired the first 10 batters he faced this season, has retired 28 of 36 overall and has worked a scoreless inning in each of his 10 appearances. He is 5-for-5 in save chances since recording his first as a Padre on May 7. Thayer had only one previous save -- on May 22, 2009, by pitching the final three innings of a 15-2 win with the Tampa Bay Rays in his major league debut.


Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Dale Thayer has emerged as the unexpected closer of the Padres in Huston Street's absence.


• Left-hander Eric Stults was claimed off waivers from the Chicago White Sox on May 17. Stults, 32, is making his second Padres start. He allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday. Stults had made two appearances (one start) for the Sox this season. He was 1-1 with a 2.20 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Charlotte. Starters Cory Luebke and Joe Wieland landed on the DL eight days apart earlier this month. Luebke required Tommy John surgery.

• Rampant injuries have forced the Padres to use 39 players this season, tied with the Boston Red Sox for most in the majors. The Padres have 13 players currently on the DL. The absentees also include shortstop Jason Bartlett and outfielder Carlos Quentin, who was acquired from the White Sox after slugging a combined 107 homers in four years with Chicago.

• Former Mets GM Omar Minaya is an assistant to San Diego GM Josh Byrnes. Byrnes was a finalist for the Mets job that went to Sandy Alderson.

• The Padres released Orlando Hudson, who was hitting .211 through 123 at-bats. Alexi Amarista was acquired in a trade with the Angels on May 3 and is manning second base.

• Third baseman Chase Headley denied an ESPN.com report that he and ex-teammate Ryan Ludwick, now with Cincinnati, had a clubhouse altercation with Mike Adams last season, before Adams was dealt to Texas. The report stated that Adams had told the players to stop griping about Petco Park’s spacious dimensions.

• First baseman Yonder Alonso has hit safely in 22 of his past 25 games. He is hitting .362 (34-for-94) during that span, upping his average to .300. He leads NL rookies in average, hits, on-base percentage and doubles. Alonso arrived from Cincinnati in a steep package with Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger in December for Mat Latos.

• Catcher Nick Hundley has thrown out a major league-high 14 would-be base stealers.

• Center fielder Cameron Maybin, a former Marlin, is hitting only .212.

• San Diego has scored 139 runs and has a team .220 batting average. Both rank 15th in the NL, ahead of only the Pirates (126 runs/.217). The Mets rank second-to-last in homers with 25. San Diego is last at 17.

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at Petco Park, Aug. 15-17, 2011 (AP game recaps)

Mets 5, Padres 4 (10 innings): Everybody with the Mets wanted to make a big deal about Jason Isringhausen’s 300th career save except the pitcher himself. Isringhausen notched his milestone save with runners on second and third. The save came after Scott Hairston drove in the go-ahead run with a fielder's choice in the top of the inning. The Mets had a small champagne party in the clubhouse afterward. More

Padres 6, Mets 1: Nick Hundley had three hits, including two triples, to lead a 15-hit attack as the San Diego Padres defeated the slumping Mets. Orlando Hudson drove in two runs and Cameron Maybin hit his eighth homer, a leadoff drive in the seventh, for San Diego, which reached double figures in hits for the second straight game. Hundley's second triple led off the eighth inning and came off Mike Pelfrey. More

Mets 7, Padres 3: After hitting a big home run, David Wright faked out Cameron Maybin. Wright hit a three-run homer and Angel Pagan added three RBIs to lift the Mets to their first series win in San Diego in more than nine years. Maybin was on second base when Logan Forysthe hit a hard grounder down the third-base line with two outs. Wright dived and stopped the ball some 15 feet behind the bag and then popped to his feet and faked the throw to first when he saw Maybin wasn't watching him. More

Friday introduction for Alderson?

October, 26, 2010
10/26/10
6:56
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The Mets did not commit to a press conference Friday, but it is expected the new general manager may be introduced that day, since it's an off-day between Games 2 and 3 of the World Series.

Sandy Alderson completed the interview process Tuesday at Citi Field when he met with principal owner Fred Wilpon, president Saul Katz and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon. Alderson is widely expected throughout baseball to be the hire. The other finalist, former Arizona Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes, had his final-round interview Monday.

"We will have no further comment on the process until we are ready to announce our new general manager," Jeff Wilpon said in a statement.

Money matters, Taka on clock, AFL

October, 24, 2010
10/24/10
11:57
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Josh Byrnes still has five years remaining on his contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. And that means he likely would cost the Mets significantly less than the other GM finalist, Sandy Alderson.

The Mets could not pay Byrnes $1 annually for five years, but they would only be responsible for a "reasonable" payment. That's because every dollar Byrnes gets from the Mets is deducted from the amount Byrnes would receive from his Diamondbacks contract -- so Byrnes gets the same amount either way.

Needless to say, the Diamondbacks are rooting for Byrnes to get the job, too. That's because whatever the Mets pay him is less out of their pockets.

There is no indication that financial consideration is a dominant factor. But if two qualified candidates end up being neck-and-neck, perhaps potentiially saving $1 million or more a year on GM and using that for player procurement could come into play.

ON THE CLOCK: Bidding on other teams' free agents doesn't start until five days after the World Series under the revised guidelines (down from 15 days afterward), but the Mets face a hard deadline looming with left-hander Hisanori Takahashi.

When the Mets signed Takahashi to a minor-league deal in February, they guaranteed to make him a free agent after Oct. 31 if he was not signed to a longer-term deal by then. And if the Mets do cut Takahashi loose next Sunday per that obligation, they would not be able to re-sign him to a major-league contract and use him in the big leagues until May 15, as The New York Times noted this morning.

So, essentially, if Takahashi is not re-signed by the Mets by next Sunday, he's going elsewhere.

Even if Takahashi had more success as a reliever, he could be particularly valuable to the 2011 Mets because of his versatility given the uncertainty over when Johan Santana might be fully recovered from shoulder surgery. Also, the Mets' other primary left-hander in the bullpen, workhorse Pedro Feliciano, is a pending free agent.

UNDER CONTROL: Right-hander Brad Holt, the 33rd overall pick in the 2008 draft out of UNC Wilmington, finally appears to be putting things together in the Arizona Fall League. Holt, who turned 24 on Oct. 13, struggled with control during the regular season, prompting a demotion from Double-A Binghamton to Class A St. Lucie. His combined numbers between the levels: 3-14 with an 8.34 ERA, 111 hits and 79 walks in 95 innings.

In three AFL starts, Holt has yet to allow an earned run over nine innings. His line: 2-0, one run (unearned), four hits, four walks, nine strikeouts.

Also in the AFL, center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis returned Saturday. He struck out in both at-bats after entering in the fourth inning. Nieuwenhuis had been out four days because of a wrist injury suffered during a slide.

SECOND COMING: Daniel Murphy, who had worked at second base in Fort Myers, Fla., during the instructional league, has moved on to winter ball with Aguilas in the Dominican Republic. Murphy has started Aguilas' first two games at second base. He is hitless so far in eight at-bats.

While it's difficult to forecast Murphy's 2011 role before a GM and manager are named and without viewing the spring-training competition, some combination of Murphy and Ruben Tejada could be viable at second base. That would serve as a lefty-righty/offensive-defensive complement.

At the least, by getting proficient at second base, Murphy would be a more valuable lefty pinch-hit bat for the bench, since he conceivably could fill in at three infield positions and left field.

Murphy missed the entire 2010 season at the major league level because of a pair of MCL injuries to his right knee.

BLANC SLATE: Henry Blanco has started three of the past four games for Margarita in Venezuela. Blanco will be a free agent, although it's conceivable he returns to the Mets. If Josh Thole is going to be the No. 1 catcher, the Mets can use a righty-hitting backup, so Blanco fits the bill. And Blanco was popular with the pitching staff. One reason for caution: Blanco does turn 40 next season.

And then there were two ...

October, 22, 2010
10/22/10
7:44
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Getty Images
Sandy Alderson (left) and Josh Byrnes (right) are the finalists for the Mets' GM job.

Former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes interviews Monday with the Mets ownership group. Sandy Alderson goes Tuesday. Details here.

Baird leads off

October, 11, 2010
10/11/10
4:47
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Boston Red Sox scouting director Allard Baird opened the Mets' GM interview process Monday, meeting with chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, acting GM John Ricco and other Mets executives.

Chicago White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn is due to interview Tuesday, followed by former Arizona Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes on Wednesday.

Sandy Alderson, the former Oakland GM and San Diego president who is currently working for Major League Baseball, is due to interview at the end of the week.

The Mets do plan for a second round of interviews with finalists.

Three on tap for interviews

October, 7, 2010
10/07/10
8:26
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Getty Images, Icon SMI
Former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes, former Royals GM Allard Baird (center) and White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn (right) will interview for the Mets' GM job next week.

The Mets have arranged interviews with Josh Byrnes, Allard Baird and Rick Hahn for next week to fill the GM position. The organization expects to interview five to seven candidates in all. Read the full story here.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187