New York Mets: Luke Bonfield

Morning Briefing: Back to work!

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
5:04
AM ET
SAN DIEGO

FIRST PITCH: Play ball!

After a four-day All-Star break, the Mets get back to business, trying to build on their 8-2 homestand that closed the first half.

The Amazin’s resume play against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park at 10:10 p.m. ET Friday. Bartolo Colon (8-8, 3.99 ERA) opposes right-hander Ian Kennedy (7-9, 3.47).


USA TODAY SportsThe Mets open the second half facing Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross and Odrisamer Despaigne in San Diego.


That kicks off a 10-game trip that also includes stops in Seattle and Milwaukee.

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. However, San Diego’s staff has a 2.08 ERA in 24 games since June 18.

Read the Mets-Padres series preview here.

Friday’s news reports:

Daniel Murphy tells Marc Carig in Newsday that his agents have not had any extension talks with the Mets. Murphy, making $5.7 million this season, is eligible for arbitration a final time this winter. He is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season.

"I think that anybody would be willing to listen to an extension," Murphy told the newspaper. "They're not just passing out at-bats in this league. I don't know what the years or anything would look like. But at the point you come and say, 'Hey, we trust you with 600 at-bats [in each] of the next three to five years,' you're like, 'Yeah, I would like that.'”

• Former Mets GM Omar Minaya tells Mike Puma in the Post that the contribution of holdovers from his regime -- including Juan Lagares, Jacob deGrom, Murphy, Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia -- does not feel like vindication.

“I don’t think that way,” said Minaya, who is currently helping oversee the Padres in an interim capacity after the firing of Josh Byrnes as general manager. “You do your job. And when teams don’t win in [New York], people’s opinions are a product of it. We felt very comfortable and believed we had a plan in place to get athletes, to get good players to the major leagues. And it’s an organization, not just one person. Part of it has been Paul DePodesta and Sandy Alderson. They are part of bringing these guys along. It’s not an individual thing.”

• In a lengthy ESPNNewYork.com article by Andrew Marchand on Mets fandom, Jonathon Niese said: “We are not filling the stadium. Where are the Mets fans when we are down-and-out? They were here in '06 and '07 when we were really good, but we have struggled and they are not coming to the stadium."

• Puma in the Post chats with Terry Collins on the eve of the second half.

On the Mets’ postseason potential, Collins said: “We’ve got 67 games to go and we’ve got 39 in our division. If we end up having a good record against our division, I think we’re going to be in the mix at the end.”

On whether key bullpen pieces are overworked, the manager said: “Hell, I won’t know that until the end of August. That last month of the season is when those guys who are in the big leagues for that first full season, some of that stuff starts to show up. The fatigue, the pressure of 145 games at that time, and you can start to see it … because their minor-league seasons would have been over and they’re still playing. So how they handle that situation will determine how that last month will go.”

Carlos Torres leads all major league relievers with 59 1/3 innings. Familia’s 45 relief appearances trail MLB co-leaders Brad Ziegler (Arizona) and Will Smith (Milwaukee) by four.

• Back from the Futures Game, Noah Syndergaard allowed seven runs in five innings as Las Vegas lost to Salt Lake, 7-6. Dustin Lawley had a three-run homer and finished with four RBIs as Binghamton beat Trenton, 8-4. Michael Fulmer tossed six scoreless innings in the nightcap as St. Lucie split a doubleheader with Brevard County. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Ron Darling is “extremely optimistic” about the Mets, he tells Bob Raissman in the Daily News.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal asks three questions: Can the Mets continue to produce at the plate? Will the Mets wheel and deal before July 31? And will Syndergaard debut this season?

• Diamond in the Journal also revisits signing Chris Young over Nelson Cruz.

• Justin Terranova in the Post writes that the Mets can become deadline buyers.

• Matt Ehalt in the Record lists five people under scrutiny in the second half: Collins, Alderson, Travis d'Arnaud, Ruben Tejada and deGrom.

• Tim Healey at MLB.com revisits last August’s trade of Marlon Byrd, which yielded Vic Black and Dilson Herrera.

Jeremy Hefner tossed two innings in the Gulf Coast League on Thursday, in his second game since returning from Tommy John surgery.

Zack Wheeler is one of nine candidates in MLB who could demonstrate significant second-half improvement, Baseball Prospectus suggests. The site writes:

Wheeler has walked more than two batters just twice in past 11 starts (after cracking that threshold five times in his first eight games), and he entered the All-Star break with a string of three consecutive starts in which he pitched six or more innings and surrendered just a single run. He has also honed his stuff since last season, adding 0.5 mph to his fastball (which is now averaging 95.9 mph) and diversifying his pitch mix. He has doubled the frequency of his changeup, and though it is still the weakest offering in a repertoire that features a pair of plus breaking pitches, Wheeler has the potential to be dominant if he can refine el cambio. He has also kept the ball on the ground this season, upping his ground-ball rate by 10 percentage points while surrendering just seven bombs across 108.3 innings (only two homers have come since he turned 24 on May 30th), while his component stats have all trended in positive directions.

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger looks at the value of catchers framing pitches.

• Mets first-round pick Michael Conforto was in L.A. on Thursday as a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award as the nation’s top collegiate player. The honor went to the University of Kentucky product A.J. Reed. Conforto is due to rejoin Brooklyn on Friday and make his professional debut shortly thereafter.

• Keith Law placed four Mets prospects in his top 50 in MLB: Syndergaard at No. 16, Conforto at No. 32, Brandon Nimmo at No. 34 and Dominic Smith at No. 49. ESPN Insiders can read the commentary here.

• Friday is the MLB deadline to sign players from June’s draft. The Mets do not plan to sign any more of their remaining picks, DePodesta told ESPNNewYork.com. Eleven college-bound prep players went unsigned: Luke Bonfield (21st round), Richard Moesker (23rd), Tommy Pincin (26th), Keaton McKinney (28th), Chris Glover (32nd), Brady Puckett (33rd), Jordan Hand (34th), Jonathan Teaney (35th), Garett King (36th), Tristan Gray (37th) and Kyle Dunster (38th). Bonfield and McKinney are headed to the University of Arkansas.

• The Padres have narrowed their GM search to four finalists, Scott Miller tweets: Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen, MLB senior VP Kim Ng and Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller.

BIRTHDAYS: Hall of Famer Joe Torre, who finished his playing career with the Mets, turns 74. ... Minor-league pitcher Robert Gsellman is 21.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Which Mets player will take the biggest leap forward in the second half?

Morning Briefing: Kaz in Queens looms

June, 22, 2014
Jun 22
5:45
AM ET

Ben Margot/Associated PressScott Kazmir is coming to town this week with the Oakland Athletics.
MIAMI

FIRST PITCH: The Mets will not be home for long, but they will get to head to NYC for a few days after completing a series at Marlins Park on Sunday at 1:10 p.m.

Jonathon Niese (3-4, 2.67 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander/New Jersey native Anthony DeSclafani (1-1, 5.60).

The Mets are off Monday, then host the Oakland Athletics in a two-game series.

Scott Kazmir will pitch in Queens on Wednesday for the first time since he infamously was traded away by the Mets on July 30, 2004. He will be opposite Zack Wheeler.

Those two pitchers actually lined up last September in Cleveland, in Kazmir’s first-ever matchup against the Mets. Kazmir tossed six scoreless innings that day, striking out 12 in an 8-1 win by the Indians.

After the two-game series against the A’s at Citi Field, the Mets ship out to Pittsburgh and Atlanta to complete a stretch in which they will have played 25 of 33 on the road.

Sunday’s news reports:

• In his eighth major league start, rookie Jacob deGrom finally earned his first career win. DeGrom tossed seven scoreless innings and combined with Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia as the Mets shut out the Marlins, 4-0. David Wright went 3-for-4 with a double, RBI and two runs scored. Lucas Duda added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Wright has a six-game hitting streak and has driven in a run in five straight games. He is hitting .435 (10-for-23) with two homers during the mini-spurt. Mets pitchers have a 1.27 ERA in the past five games.

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

• Read more on Wright in the Daily News.


Koji Sasahara/Associated PressWould the Mets actually fork over big money for Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas? That remains to be seen.


• Will the Mets open up their wallets and pursue Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas? Writes Mike Puma in the Post:

General manager Sandy Alderson said it’s too early to say if he will pursue Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas. But Alderson clearly seems intrigued by the 23-year-old.

“A corner outfielder with power?” Alderson said, smiling.

Tomas must establish legal residency and clear hurdles with the State Department before he can sign with a club, according to Alderson.

• Terry Collins has heard that MLB will institute a must-slide rule on contested plays at the plate next season. Read more on plate collisions and the Mets’ Friday dispute in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Juan Lagares (side muscle) played a full game in center field and went 0-for-4 in his second rehab appearance in the Gulf Coast League.

Jeremy Hefner plans to throw breaking balls off a mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery as well as increase his fastball velocity to near-normal levels during a throwing session Sunday at Marlins Park. Hefner, who underwent the procedure last Aug. 28, expects to be available to pitch in the majors this season. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Kaja Whitehouse in the Post wonders if embattled Mets minority owner Steve Cohen will be forced to sell his investment in the club.

• “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on HBO will do a segment featuring Darryl Strawberry on Tuesday at 10 p.m. The program visits Strawberry and his wife Tracy Boulware Strawberry in St. Louis.

The 52-year-old Strawberry is now an ordained minister and founder of a recovery center for substance-abuse users. He discusses losing his entire baseball earnings, drug addiction, two bouts with colon cancer and jail time.

Strawberry tells the program he became a heroin user after his playing career.

“It was like I was completely out of my mind, sittin' there for four or five days, smokin' crack,” he says. “Doesn't matter if you Darryl Strawberry or, you know, you the richest man on earth. When -- if you're addicted, it will take you to places that you could never imagine.”

Strawberry and his future wife met at a Narcotics Anonymous convention, according to the program. She had her demons in check. He did not.

“The clothes are just hanging off of his body. He's sitting in a chair and he's like part of the fabric in the chair. He looks like the walking dead,” Mrs. Strawberry now says. “He told me not to get involved with him. ‘Girl, you have no idea what you're gettin' yourself into.’ He said, ‘You stay with me and I'm gonna take you through.’

“There were several times where he would go out to use and he would call me on the phone and just say, ‘I’m done. I can't do it anymore. I can't get well. I just -- there's no hope for a person like me. I’m tryin’ everything. Nothin’s enough. Love is not enough.’ He said, ‘I’m gonna use tonight until I die.’

“I’m running out and I’m banging down crack-house doors and I’m pulling him outta places that I used to be in.”

The future Mrs. Strawberry resolved at that point to leave Florida and head to her native St. Louis. Recalling how she told her parents, she said: “I call them halfway into the drive, ‘Mom and Dad, I'm coming home.’ And they're ecstatic. They're happy. They're crying. And, ‘By the way … I’m bringing Darryl Strawberry with me.’”

• Noah Syndergaard allowed two homers and five runs in 6 2/3 innings with Las Vegas. Steven Matz allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings in his Double-A debut, but the B-Mets rallied for a 7-6 win against Bowie. Michael Fulmer was struck with a line drive on the left forearm and departed after three pitches in Game 1 of a doubleheader. St. Lucie lost the opener, but rebounded for a 2-0 win against Fort Myers in Game 2 behind Matt Koch’s 5 2/3 scoreless innings.

Champ Stuart stole the show in the 11th as Savannah beat Greenville, 7-6. Brandon Brosher had two homers in Kingsport’s 9-5 win against Danville.

Cory Mazzoni (lat) and Luis Mateo (elbow) both pitched in their first official games since suffering injuries as the GCL Mets were blanked by the GCL Nats, 8-0. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Outfielder Luke Bonfield, the Mets’ 21st-round pick, tweeted he will attend the University of Arkansas rather than sign with the Mets. Dale Burdick, the 40th-round pick, tweeted he will sign with the Mets. Fifteenth-round pick Gabriel Llanes, a prep right-hander from California, signed entering the weekend, he tweeted.

Burdick, a high school shortstop selected in the final round, will receive a $150,000 signing bonus to lure him away from attending Mississippi State, Chip Cirillo writes in the Tennessean. Burdick told the newspaper the Mets originally offered $100,000, but decided to give him an extra $50,000 since they had the sum remaining after agreeing to the monetary terms with first-round pick Michael Conforto. An agreement with Conforto has not yet been announced.

• Lynn Worthy in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin explains how B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez will attempt to juggle his overcrowded roster with the addition of five highly regarded prospects from St. Lucie.

• The St. Lucie Mets have been awarded the 2015 Florida State League All-Star Game. It will be played on June 20 at Tradition Field.

• Terry Collins explained why umpire Gary Cederstrom laughed before ejecting the manager on June 11 at Citi Field.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear decides it could do without most of the current Mets. ... Faith and Fear also noticed the arrival of summer coincided with deGrom's arrival in the win column.

BIRTHDAYS: Former catcher Ron Hodges turns 65. ... Ex-Mets outfielder Willie Harris is 36. ... Binghamton outfielder Darrell Ceciliani, who is just returning from a concussion, is 24. ... Savannah right-hander Miller Diaz (5-1, 2.40 ERA) is 22.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Is a must-slide rule at the plate sensible in Major League Baseball?

Draft Day 3: Mets complete selections

June, 7, 2014
Jun 7
8:06
PM ET

Courtesy of Embry-Riddle, Dowling and USC UpstateThe Mets' Day 3 draft picks included (l to r) Embry-Riddle's Darryl Knight, Dowling's Tyler Badamo and USC Upstate's David Roseboom.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Mets complete their 2014 draft on Saturday with their final 30 picks.

Here's the list of players the Mets drafted on Saturday:

Rd. 11 (325th overall), Connor Buchmann, RHP, Oklahoma U., college bio

Rd. 12 (355), Alex Durham, RHP, Southern Alamance (N.C.) HS

Rd. 13 (385), Erik Manoah, RHP, South Dade (Fla.) HS

Rd. 14 (415), Darryl Knight, C, Embry-Riddle U., college bio

Rd. 15 (445), Gabriel Llanes, RHP, Downey (Calif.) HS

Rd. 16 (475), Joel Huertas, LHP, Carmen Sol (Puerto Rico) HS

Rd. 17 (505), David Roseboom, LHP, U. South Carolina Upstate, college bio

Rd. 18 (535), Raphael Ramirez, CF, Pace Academy (Ga.) HS

Rd. 19 (565), Bryce Beeler, RHP, U. Memphis, college bio

Rd. 20 (595), Jim Duff, RHP, Stonehill (Mass.) College, college bio

Rd. 21 (625), Luke Bonfield, OF, The Pendleton School (Fla.) HS

Rd. 22 (655), Will Fulmer, 2B, U. Montevallo (Ala.), college bio

Rd. 23 (685), Richard Moesker, RHP, Trinity Christian Academy (Fla.) HS

Rd. 24 (715), Tyler Badamo, RHP, Dowling (N.Y.) College, college bio

Rd. 25 (745), Nicco Blank, RHP, Central Arizona College, college bio

Rd. 26 (775), Tommy Pincin, C, Upland (Calif.) HS

Rd. 27 (805), Alex Palsha, RHP, Sacramento State U., college bio

Rd. 28 (835), Keaton McKinney, RHP, Akeny Centennial (Iowa) HS

Rd. 29 (865), Matt Blackham, RHP, Middle Tennessee State U., college bio

Rd. 30 (895), Tucker Tharp, OF, U. of Kansas, college bio

Rd. 31 (925), Kurtis Horne, LHP, Edward Milne (British Columbia) HS

Rd. 32 (955), Chris Glover, RHP, Rockwall (Texas) HS

Rd. 33 (985), Brady Puckett, RHP, Riverdale (Tenn.) HS

Rd. 34, (1,015), Jordan Hand, C, Shadow Ridge (Nev.) HS

Rd. 35 (1,045), Jonathan Teaney, RHP, Quartz Hill (Calif.) HS

Rd. 36 (1,075), Garett King, RHP, Orange Lutheran (Calif.) HS

Rd. 37 (1,105), Tristan Gray, SS, Elkins (Texas) HS

Rd. 38 (1,135), Kyle Dunster, RHP, Greenwich (Conn.) HS

Rd. 39 (1,165), Arnaldo Berrios, CF, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (Puerto Rico) HS

Rd. 40 (1,195), Dale Burdick, SS, Summit (Tenn.) HS

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

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