New York Mets: Marlon Byrd

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?

Rapid Reaction: Mets 11, Phillies 2

June, 2, 2014
Jun 2
10:23
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Matt den Dekker was Juan Lagares before Juan Lagares.

Given his first 2014 major league start on Monday, den Dekker displayed why as the New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 11-2, at Citizens Bank Park.

The rookie center fielder took away two Phillies runs, reaching over the center-field wall to rob Ryan Howard of a homer in the second, then throwing out Reid Brignac at the plate on an ill-advised send by third-base coach Pete Mackanin an inning later.

Playing five straight days in a road city for the first time in franchise history, the Mets went 4-1 against the Phillies to move within a game of .500. The teams played a total of 57 innings. Add in two wins to close the last homestand against the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Mets are 6-1 since the firing of hitting coach Dave Hudgens and release of Jose Valverde. New York (28-29) moved into third place in the NL East for the first time since May 13.


Drew Hallowell/Getty ImagesMatt den Dekker takes away a would-be second-inning homer from Ryan Howard.


Bobby Abreu and Lucas Duda had consecutive one-out doubles in the second inning Monday as the Mets took a 1-0 lead against Roberto Hernandez. After inning-opening singles by den Dekker and Daniel Murphy in the sixth, David Wright produced a two-run double for a 3-0 lead. Later that inning, second baseman Chase Utley’s error on a would-be inning-ending double play loaded the bases. Wilmer Flores then delivered a two-run double that snapped the Mets’ 14 at-bat hitless streak with the bases loaded.

Flores' grand slam capped a six-run ninth. He finished with six RBIs, doubling his previous career high. The Mets went 3-for-4 with the bases loaded. Ike Davis had the Mets' other grand slam this season, on April 5 against Cincinnati.

Bartolo Colon, aided by den Dekker, took a scoreless effort into the bottom of the sixth. Howard then delivered an RBI groundout, snapping Colon’s scoreless streak at 16⅓ innings.

The 26-year-old den Dekker had been the ballyhooed outfield defensive whiz in Mets camp in 2013, but he broke the wrist on his right, non-throwing hand in Grapefruit League play late that spring training and missed the first two months of the minor league season. When the opportunity for an in-season promotion arose, Lagares -- another human highlight film -- had leapfrogged den Dekker.

With the Mets having played consecutive 14-inning games, den Dekker actually had been demoted before Sunday’s matinee to clear a roster spot for an extra arm. He never even started to pack for a scheduled 8:30 p.m. flight to Las Vegas, though. Once Lagares departed Sunday’s game with an injury, den Dekker was told to sit tight in Philly. He officially was re-promoted to the Mets on Monday afternoon when Lagares was placed on the disabled list with a strained rib cage.

Colon, incidentally, now has been saved from serving up homers by both den Dekker and Lagares. Lagares took away a would-be homer from Jayson Werth in D.C. on May 17.

Mets manager Terry Collins indicated den Dekker will get first dibs at trying to claim the leadoff spot in Lagares’ absence. He led off three different innings and finished 1-for-5.

Debutant: Left-hander Dana Eveland made his Mets debut in the eighth inning, inheriting a 5-1 lead and two baserunners from Colon with none out. He coaxed a fly out from Utley, struck out Howard and departed with righty-hitting Marlon Byrd next up. Jeurys Familia entered and uncorked a wild pitch on his first offering as the Phillies moved within three runs. Byrd then flied out.

Eveland, 30, last pitched in a major game on July 13, 2012, with the Baltimore Orioles. He spent last season in South Korea.

What’s next: The Mets head to the Windy City. Zack Wheeler (2-5, 4.31 ERA) opposes Chicago Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta (1-1, 3.20) in Tuesday’s 8:05 p.m. ET series opener.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Phillies 3 (11)

June, 1, 2014
Jun 1
5:06
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- The Mets won! And it only took 11 innings to do it!

After consecutive 14-inning games, the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-3, Sunday afternoon courtesy a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 11th by Lucas Duda against Phillippe Aumont.

The Mets tied a franchise record with their third straight extra-inning game. It has now happened four times, most recently with three straight 10-inning affairs at Houston from July 31 through Aug. 2 in 2001.

Josh Edgin earned the win after striking out the side in the 10th. Jenrry Mejia recorded the save despite surrendering a solo homer to Marlon Byrd with one out in the bottom half.

Ouch: Juan Lagares left Sunday's game in the 10th inning with right rib-cage pain and appears headed to the disabled list.

Deep thoughts: Ryan Howard produced a two-run homer against Jonathon Niese in the fourth to stake Philadelphia to a 2-1 lead. It was Howard’s 40th homer against the Mets, more than any other active player. Teammates Chase Utley (31) and Jimmy Rollins (28) are next on the list, followed by Atlanta’s Dan Uggla and Washington’s Adam LaRoche (24 apiece).

Sloppy play: The Mets evened the score at 2 in the sixth on an unearned run against Cole Hamels. After a leadoff double, Eric Campbell advanced to third base on Rollins’ throwing error to first base on Chris Young’s grounder. That put Campbell in position to score on Curtis Granderson’s ensuing sacrifice fly.

The Mets had a chance to take the lead in the seventh after more Phillies sloppiness. Lagares reached on an error by third baseman Reid Brignac. Daniel Murphy then hit into a would-be 4-6-3 double play. However, second baseman Cesar Hernandez's flip to Rollins at second base was wide and Lagares was safe there. The Mets eventually stranded two baserunners when Campbell and Young consecutively struck out.

The Phillies had more sloppiness against Niese the following half-inning. With Hernandez on second base and one out, Domonic Brown -- pinch-hitting for Hamels -- singled to left field to advance Hernandez to third base. But Brown got caught between first and second and was tagged out. Niese then stranded Hernandez at third base by retiring Ben Revere.

Niese departed after eight innings and 91 pitches with the score tied at 2 when his spot came up to lead off the ninth. He likely would have been able to continue pitching had he batted in the eighth as planned. Instead, with Niese at the plate, Ruben Tejada was caught stealing to end that frame, delaying Niese’s at-bat until the ninth.

What’s next: The teams complete the five-game series at 7:05 p.m. Monday. Bartolo Colon (4-5, 4.73 ERA) opposes right-hander Roberto Hernandez (2-2, 3.76).

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Phillies 4 (14)

May, 31, 2014
May 31
8:41
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Jacob deGrom again was deprived of his first major league win in agonizing fashion. At least this time the New York Mets salvaged a victory.

With Jenrry Mejia unavailable after working the previous two days, Jeurys Familia tried to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning. Instead, the Philadelphia Phillies evened the score.

Ex-Met Marlon Byrd had a leadoff double and Domonic Brown followed with a game-tying single against Familia.

The Mets finally notched a 5-4 win in the 14th at Citizens Bank Park after David Wright delivered an RBI single against Antonio Bastardo. It was the Mets' first hit since the ninth inning. Bastardo had entered only because Jeff Manship, after four no-hit innings, had suffered a left quad strain as a batter unsuccessfully trying to beat out a two-out grounder with the winning run at third base to end the 13th.

It was the second straight start that deGrom departed with a lead only to be deprived of his first win. After tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Memorial Day at Citi Field, Jose Valverde eventually blew the lead by surrendering four runs. Valverde was released after that game. DeGrom remains 0-2.

With his fourth straight quality start to begin his major league career, deGrom now has a 2.42 ERA. The only other pitcher in franchise history to be winless through four career appearances while producing a quality start in each outing is Ron Darling in 1983.

The Mets, meanwhile, have now played seven games of at least four hours this season, matching the Los Angeles Dodgers for the most in the majors.

These two teams have now played consecutive 14-inning games. The only other instance in which the Mets played consecutive 14-plus-inning games in one season was Sept. 7-8, 1979, against the Pirates (14 and 15 innings). The Mets played consecutive five-hour games for the first time in franchise history. Saturday's lasted five hours and 32 minutes.

DeGrom had taken a one-hit shutout into the seventh. He retired the first 11 batters he faced, until Chase Utley’s two-out single in the fourth. The 25-year-old right-hander ultimately struck out a career-high 11, the most by a Mets pitcher this season.


Chris Szagola/Associated PressJacob deGrom again was deprived of his first major league win Saturday.


His sterling outing unraveled in the seventh, however. Staked to a 4-0 lead, deGrom allowed a leadoff single to Jimmy Rollins and then walked Utley. Ryan Howard followed with an opposite-field, three-run homer. DeGrom remained in to strike out Byrd, then departed with his pitch count at 101 and the Mets holding a 4-3 lead.

His line: 6 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, 1 HR.

About the only issue for deGrom before the seventh inning? A mound visit from trainer Ray Ramirez after the rookie delivered a first-pitch ball to Reid Brignac with two outs in the fifth. DeGrom threw one warm-up pitch for the staff, manager Terry Collins and Ramirez retreated to the dugout, and deGrom’s dominance continued until the seventh.

Ruben stud: Ruben Tejada snapped the longest active homerless drought in MLB with a fourth-inning solo shot against Kyle Kendrick that gave the Mets a 3-0 lead. He finished 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and two walks to lift his batting average 17 points, to .227.

It was Tejada’s first homer since Aug. 1, 2012, against San Francisco’s Matt Cain. Tejada had gone 552 at-bats without a homer.

The longest active homerless streak in MLB now belongs to Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Kyle Lohse (434 at-bats). Chicago Cubs catcher John Baker (430 at-bats) is the new leader among position players, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Philadelphia’s Ben Revere had paved the way for Tejada to briefly sit atop the active leaderboard. Revere’s first career homer came in his 1,466th career at-bat, on Tuesday.

Debutant: Buddy Carlyle tossed three scoreless innings in his Mets debut, from the 11th through the 13th. The 36-year-old call-up from Las Vegas last had appeared in the majors on June 25, 2011, with the Yankees. He earned his first major league win since Sept. 24, 2008, with the Braves. Carlos Torres notched the save with a scoreless 14th despite allowing the first two batters to reach.

Bobby O: Bobby Abreu, starting for the second straight day, finished 2-for-4 with a double and RBI. He is 10-for-21 with five walks in his past six starts.

The Mets took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on two-out run-scoring hits by Abreu and Lucas Duda.

Last call: Daisuke Matsuzaka, slated to enter the rotation Wednesday at Wrigley Field with Rafael Montero’s demotion, made a final relief appearance. Matsuzaka overcame an error from Daniel Murphy by striking out Brignac to record the final out of the seventh inning. Matsuzaka then surrendered a one-out triple to Revere in the eighth. Revere ultimately was stranded at third base. Scott Rice entered with two outs and walked Utley on four pitches, but then struck out Howard to preserve the 4-3 lead.

In a pinch: Juan Lagares pinch hit for bunting purposes and delivered a sacrifice in the 14th. He had been scratched from the starting lineup with a right rib cage spasm.

Bad form? The Mets were incredulous that second-base ump Doug Eddings ruled Brown safe on a two-out steal attempt in the fifth inning. So Collins challenged the ruling on the field. Once the Mets saw the replay on the scoreboard and concluded they were in the right, they left the field, even though the crew had yet to formally reverse the safe call.

The Phillies, under similar circumstances in the top of the ninth, stayed on the field until umps confirmed the ruling of a third out even though scoreboard replays already suggested they would prevail.

What’s next: Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.74 ERA) opposes left-hander Cole Hamels (1-3, 4.43) on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. Hamels is 7-14 with a 4.51 ERA in 28 career starts against the Mets.

Morning Briefing: deGrom Day up next

May, 31, 2014
May 31
5:56
AM ET
PHILADELPHIA

FIRST PITCH: After a 14-inning loss to the Philadelphia Phillies that lasted five hours, 23 minutes, the Mets attempt to bounce back Saturday at Citizens Bank Park.

Jacob deGrom, still in search of his first major-league win despite a 1.83 ERA, opposes right-hander Kyle Kendrick (1-5, 4.04) in the 3:05 p.m. game.

Saturday’s news reports:

Chris Young dropped a leadoff fly ball to right field off the bat of Marlon Byrd in the bottom of the 14th and the ex-Met eventually scored the winning run as Philadelphia beat the Mets, 6-5, Friday night. Rafael Montero lasted only 3 2/3 innings in his fourth major-league start. The Mets had won six straight games in Philly before Friday’s defeat.


Matt Slocum/Associated PressRafael Montero gathers himself on the bench after a rough outing against the Phillies on Friday night.


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

• With the bullpen having to log 9 1/3 innings Friday, 36-year-old reliever Buddy Carlyle will be promoted from Las Vegas for Saturday’s game. The Mets did not announce a corresponding move late Friday, but Montero could be headed to Vegas, according to a team source. If that materialized, it presumably would mean Daisuke Matsuzaka enters the rotation until Dillon Gee returns from the DL. Montero has a 5.40 ERA and 11 walks and has surrendered five homers in 20 innings spanning four starts.

If Montero does end up back in Triple-A, it will be interesting to see if he reenters Vegas’ depleted rotation, or if he slips into the bullpen there to get groomed for a potential return in a relief role. Another month in the minors likely would ensure Montero misses becoming a Super 2 after the 2016 season.

Read more at MLB.com.

• Noah Syndergaard, who was diagnosed with a mild forearm strain, reportedly is due to reenter the Vegas rotation Thursday. Read more in the Post.

• 50 Cent talked about his ugly ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field on Good Morning America.

David Wright and Daniel Murphy each will get a day off during this road trip, which also includes stops in Chicago and San Francisco, Terry Collins said.

• Gonzalez Germen’s infection is “starting to get cleaned up” and he is returning to the mound, Collins said.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal writes that a youth infusion is paying dividends in the bullpen.

• Tim Rohan in the Times lightheartedly wonders if deGrom, who struck out as a pinch hitter in the 14th, could be a shortstop candidate, at least in a pinch. Of course, one reason deGrom switched from shortstop to pitcher at Stetson was his light offensive production. Still, deGrom noted, his lone collegiate home run did come against Chris Sale, formerly of Florida Gulf Coast University and now a standout with the Chicago White Sox.

Josh Satin had a two-out RBI triple in the top of the ninth to pull Vegas within a run, but the 51s lost to El Paso, 4-3. 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo will miss three days with St. Lucie because of pinkeye. Read the full minor-league recap here.

BIRTHDAYS: Binghamton Mets right-hander Matt Bowman, a Princeton product, turns 23. ... Fellow minor-league pitcher Juan Urbina, son of ex-MLB pitcher Ugueth Urbina, is 21. ... Joe Orsulak was born on this date in 1962.

TWEETS OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets demote Rafael Montero or give him a start against the Cubs?

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 6, Mets 5 (14)

May, 31, 2014
May 31
12:30
AM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Better late than ... oh, never mind.

Jenrry Mejia surrendered a walk-off single to Reid Brignac that plated Marlon Byrd as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Mets, 6-5, in 14 innings on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Byrd had reached on a two-base error by Chris Young, who dropped a routine fly ball to right field to open the inning.

Mets manager Terry Collins used Jacob deGrom as a pinch hitter in the top of the 14th and had Anthony Recker in the bullpen next to pitch after Mejia. DeGrom struck out to fall to 4-for-6 in his major league career.

The game lasted five hours, 23 minutes.

The Mets had a six-game Philly winning streak snapped, one shy of matching the franchise record set in 1969-70 at Connie Mack Stadium.

Growing pains: Rafael Montero lasted only 3⅔ innings in his fourth major league start. The 23-year-old rookie surrendered a three-run homer to Domonic Brown that staked Philadelphia to a 4-3 lead in the fourth. Montero departed later in the inning with runners on the corners. He was bailed out of further damage when, with Daisuke Matsuzaka pitching, David Wright retreated into left field to make a stellar catch on Chase Utley’s flare.

Montero’s line: 3⅔ IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR. He threw 80 pitches (45 strikes). His ERA rose to 5.40.

Montero has allowed at least one home run in each of his first four major league appearances. The only other pitchers in franchise history to do so? Jack Fisher surrendered homers in his first five career games in 1964. Don Schulze allowed homers in each of his first four appearances in 1987.

40-something: Bobby Abreu went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a walk. He also notched his 400th career stolen base.

Abreu is 8-for-17 with five walks in his past five starts.

With the score tied at 5, he had a leadoff infield single in the eighth, then stole second with none out. However, Abreu ultimately was stranded at third base when Ruben Tejada grounded out.

The Mets had taken a 5-4 lead in the fifth on Abreu’s two-out, two-run double against A.J. Burnett. The Phillies, however, evened the score in the bottom half when Brown picked up his fourth RBI of the game, on a run-scoring groundout against Matsuzaka.

Three of the five runs the Mets scored against Burnett reached on walks, including Abreu in a three-run second inning.

Abreu, despite a solid game, struck out to strand three baserunners in the top of the ninth. The Mets are now hitless in their past 13 at-bats with the bases loaded.

Inside Edge: Josh Edgin breezed through the lefties in the Phillies' lineup, retiring all four batters he faced spanning the sixth and seven innings. Jeurys Familia enjoyed similar dominance, following with 1⅔ scoreless innings to send the game to the ninth tied at 5. Carlos Torres contributed 2⅔ scoreless innings. Vic Black tossed two scoreless innings.

What’s next: DeGrom (0-2, 1.83 ERA) -- still bidding for his first major league win after Jose Valverde failed to hold a lead in the rookie’s last start -- opposes right-hander Kyle Kendrick (1-5, 4.04) on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. Kendrick snapped a streak of 16 straight winless starts in his last outing. He tossed 6⅔ scoreless innings in a 9-0 win against the Colorado Rockies.

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

May, 8, 2014
May 8
10:36
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Roberto Hernandez, Kyle Kendrick and Cole Hamels this weekend at Citi Field.
METS (16-17, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (15-18, fifth place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Jenrry Mejia (3-0, 5.23) vs. RHP Roberto Hernandez (2-1, 4.50), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Dillon Gee (3-1, 2.51) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (0-3, 3.58), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Jonathon Niese (2-2, 1.82) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (0-2, 7.02), 1:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

Jimmy Rollins tweaked his right groin muscle Sunday against the Washington Nationals. He has yet to return to shortstop. In a home-and-home four-game series against Toronto, Rollins pinch-hit Monday and Tuesday in Philly. He then served as the designated hitter on Wednesday and Thursday in the American League ballpark.


Kathy Willens/Associated PressJimmy Rollins has been dealing with a groin issue.


Freddy Galvis has started three of the past four games at shortstop, with Jayson Nix starting the other game. After going hitless in three at-bats Thursday, Galvis is hitting .048 (2-for-42) this season.

Rollins is 28 hits shy of matching the Phillies’ all-time record, held by Mike Schmidt with 2,234. Richie Ashburn ranks second with 2,217 hits as a Phillie, from 1948-59.

Roberto Hernandez formerly was known as Fausto Carmona. He signed with the Phillies as a free agent for one year at $4.5 million on Dec. 12. After spending seven seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Hernandez went 6-13 with a 4.89 ERA in 32 appearances (24 starts) with the Tampa Bay Rays last season.

• Ex-Met Marlon Byrd faces the Mets at Citi Field for the first time since signing with the Phillies for two years, $16 million on Nov. 12. Byrd homered last Tuesday against Jonathon Niese in the first meeting between the clubs since his defection. He went 2-for-4 Thursday in Toronto to up his season totals to .317/.348/.516.

• The Phillies have been held to one run or fewer in four of their past eight games, beginning with the Mets’ 6-1 win at Citizens Bank Park last week.

Except for Byrd, they are getting woeful offensive production from their outfield. Center fielder Ben Revere (.283/.295/.317) did not start Thursday, with Tony Gwynn Jr. instead getting the nod. Soon, Byrd could shift to center field, displacing Revere from the starting lineup. That likely would coincide with Darin Ruf returning from a season-opening DL stint. Ruf (strained left oblique) has started a rehab assignment. Ruf had 14 homers in 251 at-bats last season.

Left fielder Domonic Brown is hitting .226 with one homer and 11 RBIs in 115 at-bats.

Cole Hamels needs one win for 100 in his career. He followed up the outing in which he allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Mets by surrendering five runs on 10 hits and a walk in six innings against the Jays on Tuesday. Hamels surrendered homers to Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus in that outing as his ERA swelled to 7.02. Hamels has made three starts overall since returning from a season-opening trip to the disabled list for biceps tendinitis.

• Closer Jonathan Papelbon has tossed 12 straight scoreless innings.

Morning Briefing: Hamels 'embarrassed'

April, 30, 2014
Apr 30
5:45
AM ET

Drew Hallowell/Getty ImagesCole Hamels gave himself a harsh critique after losing to the Mets on Tuesday.
PHILADELPHIA

FIRST PITCH: The Mets sit at four games over .500 for the first time since July 14, 2012. And they now have 15 wins, their most in April since 2007.

Now, Bartolo Colon attempts to keep the Amazin’s rolling Wednesday night. Although the game may end up a washout given the dire weather forecast, Colon (2-3, 4.50 ERA) is scheduled to oppose right-hander Kyle Kendrick (0-2, 3.52) at 7:05 p.m. at Citizens Bank Park.

Wednesday’s news reports:

Jonathon Niese overcame rainy weather and allowed one run in seven innings and the Mets beat the Phillies, 6-1, Tuesday night. Cole Hamels, who was charged with all six runs, fell to 7-14 with a 4.65 ERA in his career against the Mets. He walked four, including Niese to force in a run, in the fourth.

“Sometimes when you pitch, you have to battle the elements, and the elements definitely got the best of me today,” Hamels told reporters postgame, as quoted in the Star-Ledger. “Just not being able to locate pitches or throw strikes or even apply a plan of attack to hitters, when you’re not able to execute, it creates a serious issue. It led to a very poor performance. I’m truly embarrassed.

“I didn’t give anybody a chance. Balls weren’t being put in play because I wasn’t allowing them to be put in play. It’s an embarrassment because I’m not allowing my team to get in the game. Even for the fans who stayed today, it’s pretty embarrassing. The type of game I went out there and pitched is not the type of game I’d like to credit myself on. It was very poor.”

Byrd, who homered against Niese for Philadelphia’s lone run, said pregame that he appreciated the opportunity the Mets gave him last season when his career was on the ropes. Byrd had Lucas Duda work with him on hitting early this past offseason in Los Angeles.

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

• The Mets intend to activate Juan Lagares from the disabled list on Thursday, for the series opener at Colorado. Terry Collins indicated he plans to rotate his four primary outfielders once Lagares returns. Lagares had a pinch-hit double for Las Vegas on Tuesday night. He is due to start for the 51s again on Wednesday as he returns from a pulled right hamstring. Read more in Newsday and at MLB.com.

• 1986 hero Mookie Wilson appeared on “The Daily Show” with Mets fan Jon Stewart. “Who would have thought that that would be the last championship the Mets ever won?” quipped Stewart to Mookie as the appearance concluded. Watch here.

• The Mets emailed a letter to fans, signed by ’86 and ’69 Mets including Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez, asking the fans to sign a letter and write a note supporting the team, which will be presented to players.

• Duda reportedly filed a report with police alleging he was the victim of theft, including the loss of a knock-off Breitling watch. Duda declined to comment Tuesday.

• Assistant GM John Ricco tells Ken Davidoff in the Post that Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero beginning to work in relief at Triple-A is "not that far off."

• Savannah’s Kevin McGowan and Robert Coles combined to blank Delmarva, 4-0. Read the full minor-league recap here.

From the bloggers … Mets Police wonders if the Open Letter from Keith and Ron is actually an overreaction to the recent survey suggesting the Mets are not the most popular team in Queens. … The Eddie Kranepool Society writes about the 50th anniversary of Shea Stadium and how it's also the 50th anniversary of the author becoming a Mets fan.

BIRTHDAYS: Left-hander Bob Hendley, who finished his career with the Mets, was born on this date in 1939.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Are you getting excited about the Mets’ play?

Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Phillies 1

April, 29, 2014
Apr 29
11:26
PM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- True New Yorkers will relish this: The Mets are four games over .500 for the first time since July 14, 2012.

After an 88-minute delay at the start, the Mets scored six runs against a wild Cole Hamels, and Jonathon Niese limited the Phillies to four hits in seven innings en route to a 6-1 win on a rainy Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The Mets improved to 15-11. They are 14-5 in Philly since the start of the 2012 season.


H. Rumph Jr./Associated PressJon Niese limited Philadelphia to one run in seven innings.


Niese’s final line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR.

Daniel Murphy went 3-for-5 with an RBI. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games and extended his streak of consecutive successful steals to 28, within five of matching Kevin McReynolds for the franchise record.

Hamels fell to 7-14 with a 4.65 ERA in his career against the Mets. That is his most losses against any club. The ERA is his highest against any current National League member, although all of Hamels’ 10 starts against the Houston Astros (4.90) came before they moved to the American League.

Hamels departed after Ruben Tejada’s two-out, two-run single in the fifth staked the Mets to a 6-1 lead. The southpaw surrendered eight hits and five walks.

Four of the walks came in the fourth inning, including a bases-loaded free pass to Niese that forced in a run as the Mets took a 3-0 lead.

Josh Satin, who entered the game with a .125 average, perhaps imperiling his big-league roster spot, contributed an RBI single earlier in the fourth.

Murphy actually was thrown out on the basepaths, but it was not considered a caught stealing. When a pitch from Hamels bounced away from catcher Carlos Ruiz in the third, Murphy broke for second and was thrown out. That was considered a fielder’s choice.

Ex-Met Marlon Byrd gave Philadelphia its first hit with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, on a solo homer to left field against Niese.

What’s next: Weather-permitting, the Mets send Bartolo Colon (2-3, 4.50 ERA) to the mound at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday. Colon opposes right-hander Kyle Kendrick (0-2, 3.52).

Byrd grateful to Mets for reviving career

April, 29, 2014
Apr 29
5:34
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Marlon Byrd appeared in only 117 games and spent only a partial season with the New York Mets. He has appeared in more games with four other clubs.

Still, Byrd remains grateful to the Mets.

The club signed him last offseason to a minor-league deal when his career was otherwise potentially over. He proceeded to hit .285 with 21 homers in 425 at-bats, got to experience his first postseason after a trade to the Pittsburgh Pirates with John Buck, then parlayed his 2013 success into a two-year, $16 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies on Nov. 12.

“I needed a team to sign me, believe in me,” Byrd said Tuesday, before starting in the cleanup spot in the series opener between the Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. “They let me go out there and play my game. They gave me a chance to make a team. When I made the team, and they needed me to run out there every single day starting right around June, I did and I put my game together. Hopefully I helped them out a little bit, me and Bucky bringing Vic Black back [in the trade] -- a strong arm, a closer for the future. Hopefully we helped each other out.”

The Phillies surprised many around baseball when they were so aggressive early in signing the 36-year-old Byrd to that deal.

Byrd said the Mets did talk with his agents earlier that month. But the money, and the appeal of finishing his career with the organization that originally drafted him, made signing with Philadelphia a no-brainer. Byrd played with the Phillies from 2002 through May 2005, when he was traded to the Washington Nationals for Endy Chavez.

“This was a good fit for me,” Byrd said. “This is where my roots are. I have friends over here that my family considers family. But they were very aggressive. They wanted me. They showed they wanted me. So it was an easy decision for me to make.”

Byrd invited Lucas Duda to work with him on hitting early in the offseason, before Duda went to Michigan for fitness and nutrition camp. Josh Satin and Justin Turner also participated in the Los Angeles sessions.

Byrd texted Duda on Tuesday morning to say hello.

“He’s one of those guys, I love his work ethic,” Byrd said about Duda. “He wants to get better. He doesn’t want to hit 15 home runs. He wants to hit 30. He knows he has that power. It doesn’t matter what field he’s playing on. He knows he can play the game. He wasn’t happy the way he played left field last year. He worked on it and tried to get better. But now he’s back to the position he knows and he’s very good at.

“Watching his swing in the offseason before he left for Michigan was very exciting for me, because he knew he could get there. He just knew he had to put the right work in, work with the right people. And I think everybody is starting to see the power -- the consistent power come -- that everybody sees in BP with him. So I expect big things from him.”

Said Duda, of Byrd: “He’s a big-leaguer and a great hitter. I just kind of learned from him and tried to apply what I can.”

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
12:30
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Kyle Kendrick in Game 2 of the series, after Cole Hamels in the opener.
METS (14-11, second place/NL East) at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (13-12, fourth place/NL East)

Tuesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (1-2, 2.45) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (0-1, 3.00), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Bartolo Colon (2-3, 4.50) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (0-2, 3.52), 7:05 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

Cole Hamels made his season debut Wednesday. He allowed two runs on six hits in six innings while tossing 86 pitches at Dodger Stadium. He had opened the season on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Hamels averaged 91.4 mph with his fastball, consistent with last year’s velocity. He is 7-13 with a 4.44 ERA in 26 career starts against the Mets.

• Ex-Met Marlon Byrd signed a two-year, $16 million deal on Nov. 12 to play right field. He is hitting .269 with two homers and 16 RBIs through 93 at-bats.

Chase Utley ranks second in the NL in batting average at .360, trailing only Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon (.402). Utley became the first Phillie since Von Hayes in 1989 to produce 20 hits in his first 40 at-bats of a season.


Charlie Neibergall/Associated PressThe Phillies are no longer the team to beat, but Jimmy Rollins remains the shortstop.


Jimmy Rollins and Utley have started 1,090 games together as a double-play combination, the most among active shortstop/second-base pairings. Similarly, Utley and Ryan Howard are the active leaders in games started alongside each other at second and first base, at 965.

Rollins, historically a leadoff man, has been a fixture in the No. 2 hole this season, with center fielder Ben Revere leading off. Howard largely remains the cleanup hitter, although he was placed No. 5 a couple of times during the opening week against left-handed pitching.

Rollins briefly clashed with manager Ryne Sandberg during spring training, when Rollins was held out of games for three days over apparent manager concerns about his “dedication,” to use the Philadelphia Inquirer’s term.

• After batting .204 with no RBIs in his first 14 games, catcher Carlos Ruiz has been on a tear. Ruiz enters the Mets series hitting .500 (11-for-22) with six extra-base hits, seven RBIs and eight runs scored in six games. Ruiz signed a three-year, $26 million deal on Nov. 18 to remain a Phillie after receiving strong interest from the Boston Red Sox.

• Closer Jonathan Papelbon has made 10 straight scoreless relief appearances and is 8-for-8 in saves during that span.

Overall, though, the Phillies have an NL-worst 5.14 bullpen ERA. Already, three members of the Opening Day bullpen have been demoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley: Justin De Fratus (7.20 ERA), Brad Lincoln (11.57) and B.J. Rosenberg (7.11).

Now active with the big-league club: Mike Adams, Shawn Camp and Jeff Manship. Adams opened the season on the disabled list still recovering from shoulder surgery last July to repair his right labrum and rotator cuff. Camp and Manship (who has a career 6.44 ERA) were signed as minor-league free agents during the offseason.

• Left fielder Domonic Brown is hitting .435 (10-for-23) with a homer, five RBIs and two walks against left-handed pitching this season.

• Lefty hitters are 3-for-their-last-30 against left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo since last June 27.

A.J. Burnett, who will not pitch in the Mets series, has a 0.83 ERA in three starts since learning he has a hernia, which he will wait until after the season to have surgically repaired.

• Third baseman Cody Asche, 23, went 3-for-4 with a homer on Opening Day. He since is hitting .173 (9-for-52) with no homers and four RBIs in 20 games (14 starts). Now, Asche has only started two of the Phillies’ past six games. Freddy Galvis has started three games and Jayson Nix once at third base during that span.

• Galvis dealt with a MRSA infection late in spring training. He required hospitalization to treat the staph infection in his leg.

Morning Briefing: Drew drama continues

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
6:38
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Position players officially are due to report Thursday, although only two Mets have not been working out at the team’s complex.

The duo not early this year: infielders Omar Quintanilla and Wilfredo Tovar.

Pitchers and catchers workouts enter Day 3 Thursday. The first official full-squad workout is Saturday.

Thursday’s news reports:


Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesStephen Drew remains a free agent.


• In the never-ending Stephen Drew free agency, a Mets source tells MLB.com: “At the numbers he’s looking for, we don’t think he’s worth it compared with what we have.” Sandy Alderson has publicly labeled signing Drew unlikely, although the Mets do not completely dismiss it. Team insiders bluntly say that the difference in potential production between Drew and Ruben Tejada, especially via the WAR statistic, is not enough to justify paying a $12 million annual salary or thereabouts.

Tejada agents, incidentally, met with Mets brass Wednesday while making an annual spring-training visit to Port St. Lucie.

Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News portrays the Drew market as limited, writing:

The developments over in Tampa have certainly not helped his cause either. Despite their spending spree on other needs at catcher and the outfield, the Yankees were always lying in the weeds on Drew, ready to pounce once his market came down to a two-year deal in the $20 million range. But that was before they emptied their coffers of $155 million on Masahiro Tanaka and Derek Jeter announced this would be his final season. Now there is no way they could bring in a proven first-string shortstop to intrude on the Jeter farewell tour.

• The Baltimore Orioles remain interested in Ike Davis, the Post reported. So do the Pittsburgh Pirates. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• The collective bargaining agreement stipulates that Matt Harvey can mostly rehab in New York rather than Port St. Lucie if he desires.

• While variables exist, Paul DePodesta said a fair estimate of Noah Syndergaard’s innings limit is 30 more than last season.

• The latest prospect list -- the top 100 in MLB, according to Baseball America -- has Syndergaard at No. 16, Travis d’Arnaud at No. 38, Rafael Montero at No. 68 and Dominic Smith at No. 92.

• DePodesta spoke with the Post about specific Mets pitching prospects …

DePodesta said: “Montero is certainly close. He spent a good chunk of last year in Triple-A -- 90 innings -- similar to what [Zack] Wheeler and Harvey had when they came up. That said, he got to Triple-A at a younger age in terms of overall experience. Harvey got there quick, too, but he had three years at North Carolina that Montero didn’t have.”


Adam RubinJacob deGrom is "close" to being MLB-ready, Paul DePodesta says.


On Jacob deGrom, DePodesta said: “Jake can be close, too. Jake has really flown through the system. He was mainly a shortstop in college, didn’t pitch until 2010, missed ’11 with Tommy John surgery, started ’12 in Savannah and finished last year in Vegas. Certainly he’s close, but in terms of pitching years, he’s very young.”

And on lefty reliever Jack Leathersich, DePodesta said: “He’s an interesting guy. I think he led all of professional baseball in strikeouts-per-nine. And it’s left-handed. There’s something there. We’ve pushed him really aggressively through the system. We’ve tried to get him to the point where he’s challenged. Through Double-A, it wasn’t happening. He was able to keep striking everybody out. Finally, in Triple-A, it was like, ‘OK, there were some things I need to do to get to the highest point.’ It’ll be interesting to see that adjustment he makes this year.”

• Fred Wilpon declined to comment Wednesday at Mets camp, perhaps putting in jeopardy his streak of annual spring-training press conferences.

• Alderson declined to clear up a report that stated he intended to remain GM another two to three years. He lightheartedly noted his contract expires this year, so it is not necessarily his call.

• Triple-A pitching coach Frank Viola knows he has a huge responsibility this season.

• Fifth-starter favorite Daisuke Matsuzaka says he wanted to arrive in camp already ready to face batters. Dice-K is performing without much fanfare from the Japanese press, unlike Tanaka in Yankees camp. Read more in the Journal, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and MLB.com.

• Kristie Ackert in the Daily News speaks with Jenrry Mejia as well as Dice-K.

• Like with Mejia, Terry Collins says John Lannan may get consideration for a bullpen role if he fails to become the No. 5 starter. There really is a negligible difference between lefty batters and right batters against the southpaw, though -- a .267 versus .276 career batting average against. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Mets staff is due to get a better explanation during a Thursday meeting in Jupiter regarding what is allowable and unallowable with the new rule preventing catchers from blocking the plate. Read more in the Daily News.

• The Mets will continue their weekly bowling tradition this spring training.

Josh Satin had more than a half-dozen workouts with ex-Met Marlon Byrd during the offseason to learn to play the outfield, Mike Puma writes in the Post. Still, Satin would only be used there in a pinch in all likelihood, and probably would not see any Grapefruit League action there until later in camp when prospects such as Brandon Nimmo are dispatched to the minor-league side.

• Ken Davidoff in the Post catches up with Curtis Granderson, who discusses Jeter being a big influence on his career.

Dillon Gee wants to log 200 innings this season. He notched a career-high 199 innings a season ago. Read a profile in the Post.

• Read a profile of outfield prospect Dustin Lawley, who led the Florida State League in homers last season.

• John Rowe discusses Eric Young Jr.’s leadoff candidacy in the Record.

• Matt Ehalt has been hired as the new Mets beat writer at the Record, succeeding Mike Kerwick, who left the industry. Ehalt, formerly of ESPNNewYork.com, starts March 2.

From the bloggers … Shannon at Mets Police proposes a late-night show about the Mets. … John Delcos at Mets Report analyzes Alderson’s Mets tenure.

BIRTHDAYS: Shane Spencer, whose Mets tenure is most remembered for a tangle with a Big Apple Pizza deliveryman in Port St. Lucie, turns 42.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you think Stephen Drew will end up being a Met?

Alderson weighs in on Byrd deal, outfield

November, 12, 2013
11/12/13
5:12
PM ET

Getty ImagesSandy Alderson reacted Tuesday afternoon to Marlon Byrd getting a two-year, $16 million deal from Phillies GM Ruben Amaro.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Sandy Alderson expressed no shock with the $16 million the Philadelphia Phillies plan to commit to Marlon Byrd over two years -- not after the other early offseason signings, which include fellow outfielder Hunter Pence receiving $90 million over five years to remain with the San Francisco Giants.

"Given what we've seen so far, I wasn't surprised," Alderson said Tuesday afternoon, on Day 2 of the GM Meetings at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes. "Had you asked me the question three or four months ago, I might have been surprised. But not in light of what's happened since the end of the season. There haven't been that many signings, but this one is consistent with the others."

Alderson said the Mets had not had serious dialogue about bringing Byrd back to Queens, despite the Mets' need to add two corner outfielders and Byrd's positive performance before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"We didn't have extensive discussions with Marlon," Alderson said. "It wasn't a place where we were prepared to be aggressive. And if it turned out that the market was as it turned out to be, then I'm happy for him."

Alderson suggested getting two starting outfielders this winter might be an uphill battle because of all the teams searching for those types of bats.

"We might bring in more than two starting outfielders. Who knows how things are going to break?" Alderson said. "I'd be surprised if that happens only because there's so much interest in corner outfielders among many clubs."

Asked to clarify whether he meant he would be surprised if the Mets brought in two or three starting outfielders, Alderson added: "I'd be surprised if we were that successful because of the demand for that position among other teams."

Alderson said he does expect to meet with Scott Boras this week before departing the GM Meetings on Thursday morning. Boras represents Shin-Soo Choo among many other clients. The Mets have acknowledged interest in Curtis Granderson, but Alderson said Granderson's agent is not in Orlando this week.

"We're looking for outfielders," Alderson said.

Ideally power guys?

"Yeah," he said.

Alderson was asked how he might judge a power hitter coming from a homer-friendly ballpark to Citi Field. His response was not specifically about Granderson, who benefited from the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium, nor about Shin-Soo Choo, who played at long-ball-friendly Great American Ball Park. But Alderson noted Citi Field, after the alterations three years ago, is not that difficult a ballpark for homers.

"Our ballpark is not sufficiently unique that the composition of our team should be radically different than it is for most clubs," Alderson said.

If Alderson fails to land two corner outfielders, Eric Young Jr. likely would have a prominent outfield role. Of course, if the Mets end up trading Daniel Murphy, Young also could end up at second base. Juan Lagares should handle center field, unless something dramatic happens this offseason.

"I think Eric is going to be a part of our team," Alderson said. "And what his exact role might be, I think, will depend on our final roster. There's no question about that. It also might depend on how things go in spring training. But I expect he'll be a valuable part of the team."

On whether free agency or trades end up being the route the Mets go to fill their outfield needs, Alderson said: "I think it's very early to tell. As I said, I think there's a lot of demand for corner outfielders."

The trade market might develop later, the GM added. That's because teams become more receptive to trades once free agents come off the board or the price of free agents becomes too high for some teams' appetites.

"Sometimes the trade market is a derivative of the free-agent market, and so it takes a while to develop, because everything is a function of what has transpired in the free-agent market," Alderson said. "Until some guys come off the board, the trades don't develop as fully as they can."

Of course, Alderson could not resist one quip.

Asked if there were many agents at the GM Meetings, the GM said: "There are some. There are some nearby. They're in Tomorrowland right now."

On other topics:

• Alderson downplayed bringing in a veteran catcher to pair with Travis d'Arnaud as a priority. The GM indicated he would be prepared to pair Anthony Recker with d'Arnaud if that's how things work out.

"First of all, we like Anthony Recker as a backup," Alderson said. "So if we were to get a more veteran guy, it would be in part out of concern that somebody is going to have to play every day if d'Arnaud gets hurt. Part of it might be a desire to have a little bit of mentorship for both d'Arnaud and Recker. The nice thing is we have a guy like [coach] Bob Geren on our staff, who had been very good at that himself. So the backup veteran backup catcher is not really a high priority for us. I mean, it's nice to have. We've got some other need-to-have holes to fill."

You might infer then that a reunion with John Buck would not seem overly likely.

"Ultimately if we have to go with Recker and d'Arnaud, we're happy with that," Alderson said. "It would be nice to have somebody else available to us. [Rookie Juan] Centeno is the only other guy that we have under contract at the Triple-A level, so we'd like to have somebody else. But it's not a high priority."

• Alderson said finding an external shortstop is "important."

Source: Ex-Met Byrd headed to Phillies

November, 12, 2013
11/12/13
11:16
AM ET
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Ex-Met Marlon Byrd has reached a two-year, $16 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.

Read the full news story here.

10 to buy: Potential free agents for Mets

November, 5, 2013
11/05/13
10:00
AM ET
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesShin-Soo Choo would give the Mets the offensive punch they lacked in 2012.
With free agency upon us, here's a ranking of the 10 players whose combination of skills and cost best fit what the Mets are looking for.

1. Shin-Soo Choo, OF A few weeks ago, Matt Meyers laid out an articulate case for why not to sign Choo. Here's the argument for signing him: The Mets had a .236/.306/.366 slashline (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) against right-handed pitching. Those ranked 28th, 24th and 28th in the majors respectively. But for one exception (2011), Choo has been a ferocious hitter against right-handers. His slashline against them over the last five seasons is .311/.416/.521 with a large chunk of that coming in Cleveland (as opposed to hitter-favorable Cincinnati).

A typical team will get about 70 percent of its plate appearances against righties (as the Mets did in 2013). The Mets need to improve their performance against that 70 percent. Choo would do that in a big way.

2. Stephen Drew, SS Drew is the best shortstop in this free-agent market, one that does not contain a lot of offensive-minded players at the position. Drew is a two-to-three Wins Above Replacement player (when healthy) at a position in which the Mets are just trying to get back to neutral. He too plays a role in solving the struggles against right-handers, brings an adequate glove, and has shown a willingness to work a walk that would fit well within this team's plan.

3. Carlos Beltran, RF We're not saying this is likely, because it isn't, but of all the players in free agency, Beltran would fit the Mets idea of following the "Red Sox model" best -- a well-experienced player with a history of quality production who would be gettable on a short-term deal. Granted this is not the Beltran of 2006 to 2008, but it's a player who looks like he still has 130 to 140 games left in the tank for the next couple of seasons.

4. Curtis Granderson, OF What you're buying in Granderson is a seven-year track record from 2006 to 2012 rather than the one hindered by injuries and limited to 61 games last season. It would be foolish to think that Granderson could replicate the 40-homer seasons (2011 and 2012) from Yankee Stadium's bandbox ballpark in Citi Field, but 25 homers over 500 at-bats seems realistic given his pre-Yankee history.

5. Marlon Byrd, OF This might be the most tepid endorsement of Byrd that you'll read. There are two reasons for a lack of enthusiasm. 1) His success rate when hitting a ground ball was extraordinarily high, particularly given his history, and a return to his usual rate could mean about a 20-point dip in batting average. 2) Byrd is one of a number of Mets with ugly Citi Field numbers -- a .249/.297/.415 slashline last season and only seven home runs in Flushing. His monster home runs may have made it look like he relished hitting in Citi Field. He didn't.

That said, Byrd is a good defender and he's well liked by Mets management. And he can hit, though to what degree 2012 is repeatable, we don't know.

The key to understand with Byrd is this: In an ideal world, he's the second-best bat the team adds this winter. If he's the best, that would be a reason to be nervous about the Mets 2014 hopes.

6. Nelson Cruz, RF Cruz strikes us as Byrd like with comparable strikeout/walk numbers and little more power, though how much of that power was enhanced by PEDS is a good subject for discussion.

The risk with Cruz is that the expectation in getting him would be that he'd be a 30-homer guy. But given the difficulties of right-handers hitting for power in Citi Field (see our Marlon Byrd note), we'd take the under. We put Byrd ahead of Cruz because Byrd is more of a known player at this point and a better defender.

7. Jhonny Peralta, SS We stacked the two Biogenesis players together, as the concerns with Peralta would be similar to those of Cruz: Can he replicate his past performance without PEDs? That said, there is a big drop-off after Peralta on the shortstop market (the next-best option might be Nick Punto).

If you're wondering why we rated Drew ahead of Peralta, there are a few reasons:

a) Drew's left-handed bat is needed more than Peralta's right-handed bat.

b) Drew rates better defensively.

c) Though Peralta hits more homers, Drew offsets that with an advantage by hitting doubles and triples.

d) Drew rates slightly better as a baserunner.

8. Bronson Arroyo, RHP Despite an astronomical home-run rate, Arroyo is a survivor and a winner, mainly because he doesn't walk anyone (1.5 per 9 innings over the last two seasons). And his high-3s ERA should come down a bit given 15 to 18 starts at Citi Field instead of Great American Ball Park. He's pitched 199 innings or more nine years running, so any health concerns are minimized, and he pitched in Boston, so New York wouldn't scare him. The worry spot would be his age (36), which would likely limit how many years the Mets would offer him.

9. David Murphy, OF Murphy looms as a potential free-agent bargain. He hit only .220 with 13 home runs in 142 games with the Rangers last season, but that belies his .283/.346/.449, track record of the previous five seasons. If Murphy can fix what troubled him, he'd provide value as an outfielder in either left or right. He's one with a good glove and decent speed who can play either corner outfield spot, either as an everyday guy or in a platoon.

10. J.P. Howell, LHP The Mets left-handed specialists are currently Josh Edgin and Scott Rice and this free-agent class provides room for an upgrade. Howell is the best of a lot that includes Javier Lopez, Boone Logan and Scott Downs because he can get right-handed hitters out with a reasonable amount of success as well.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
9 4.03 100 134
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .287
HRL. Duda 15
RBID. Wright 51
RD. Murphy 57
OPSL. Duda .840
ERAJ. Niese 3.13
SOZ. Wheeler 112