Dec 11

Wilpon Says Alderson Doesn’t Have Financial Shackles

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – As the Winter Meetings draw to a close, if Sandy Alderson wants to make a move, New York Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said resources aren’t stopping him.

That includes pitcher Bronson Arroyo and shortstop Stephen Drew, both of whom have been linked to the Mets since the free agent period began.

The Mets are in desperate need of a starter, but Arroyo is close to signing with Minnesota. They also began the offseason saying upgrading shortstop was a priority, but yesterday Terry Collins said Ruben Tejada is his shortstop.

Speaking specifically to Drew, Wilpon said: “Right now it’s a baseball decision, because Sandy hasn’t come to say, ‘Gee, we have to go sign Stephen Drew,’ or anybody else for that matter.

“I haven’t heard him say that that’s the best thing to do with our resources. He hasn’t come to me and said, ‘Gee, if we had X, we would go take somebody like that.’ So there’s still discussion on who we’re looking at in a trade scenario and what else might be out there.’’

Boston gave Drew a $14.1 million qualifying offer for arbitration, and now wants to retain him. Boston’s plan appears to wait out the market before intensifying talks with Drew. Given that scenario, the Mets aren’t going to get in a bidding war for Drew, regardless of how much Wilpon said Alderson can spend.

The Mets do not want to trade any of their young pitching, and their current trade chips on the major league level continue to be first baseman Ike Davis and second baseman Daniel Murphy.

Davis is hard to deal because teams in need of a first baseman are considering free-agent options before looking to trade.

Reportedly, the Orioles have an interest in both Davis and Murphy, but nothing is close with either.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 10

Manager Terry Collins Touches On All Things Mets

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – New York Mets manager Terry Collins addressed a myriad of issues surrounding his club two months away from spring training.

Among them:

* He has the mindset both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda will be on the roster in February, and he’ll “adjust’’ accordingly.

* Said one of the reasons why Davis hasn’t reached his potential is because he presses trying to hit home runs.

COLLINS: Optimistic.

COLLINS: Optimistic.

* He’s prepared to start the season with Ruben Tejada at shortstop. Collins said Tejada understood, “his career is at stake.’’

* Zack Wheeler should be able to throw 200-plus innings. Collins said he liked Wheeler’s composure and ability to throw strikes when asked if he’s ready to take a Matt Harvey step.

* He’s prepared to have Anthony Recker as the back-up catcher.

* Is not worried about strikeouts from Curtis Granderson and Chris Young because they offset the strikeouts with run production. Collins named Young as the player most poised to be a surprise this season. Collins indicated Granderson will hit fourth behind David Wright.

* Is pleased with Wilmer Flores attending fitness camp in Michigan. Said he’s added quickness and speed and did not rule out playing some shortstop.

* With Eric Young delegated to the bench, said there’s no clear-cut candidate to hit lead off. Named Daniel Murphy and Tejada as possibilities.

* Has not come up with an outfield rotation, but Juan Lagares will be in it.

* Said he’ll wait until what he sees in spring training before deciding if Bobby Parnell will be ready. Vic Black is the presumed closer if he is not.

Collins said pitchers and catchers will report to Port St. Lucie for spring training on Feb. 15.

ON DECK:  Jeff Wilpon dishes on how Mets’ offseason plans changed with Harvey’s injury.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 09

Mets GM Sandy Alderson Not Enthused With Second Base Options If Daniel Murphy Is Traded

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Should the New York Mets trade Daniel Murphy, which has been widely speculated, general manager Sandy Alderson didn’t seem enamored with his replacement options.

“I think we’d be comfortable if we had a number of candidates we could sort through during spring training,’’ Alderson said when asked if he’d be comfortable with Eric Young as Murphy’s replacement.

MURPHY: Alderson not happy with replacement options.

MURPHY: Alderson not happy with replacement options.

Alderson named Young and Wilmer Flores as options, as well as Ruben Tejada should the Mets trade or sign a shortstop. The Mets aren’t close to either.

There’s been speculation since the Mets signed Curtis Granderson that Murphy’s job was in jeopardy because of the proposed move of Young to second base.

Should the Mets opt to keep Murphy and not move Young, they’ll have the problem of deciding who would be their leadoff hitter.

One option might be Juan Lagares, but his high strikeout ratio isn’t conducive to hitting leadoff. Another possibility could be Murphy, who has performed well hitting leadoff in the past, but has the potential for greater run production batting lower in the order.

LATER TONIGHT: Breaking news if any. Otherwise a first-day wrap.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 09

Mets Should Consider Trade For Brett Gardner

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The New York Mets rarely trade with the Yankees, but recent developments could make a trade conducive for a Daniel Murphy-Brett Gardner trade.

Better still, it is a trade the Mets should make.

GARDNER: Would help Mets.

GARDNER: Would help Mets.

The possibility is ripe after the Mets signed Curtis Granderson and the Yankees landed Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, but general manager Sandy Alderson isn’t biting.

“Let’s not categorize players quite yet,’’ Alderson told reporters in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. “I mean, I know it looks like, ‘Well, OK, you’ve got this guy and that guy … ‘ But let’s see how it plays out, because I think that’s a little bit unfair to sort of predetermine.’’

The addition of Granderson completes the Mets’ outfield, with Juan Lagares in center and Chris Young in right. The Mets are kicking the tires of moving Eric Young to second base, thereby opening the door for dealing Murphy.

And, with Robinson Cano now in Seattle, the Yankees could use a second baseman, and Murphy’s home run numbers would increase in that ballpark.

The trade has been debunked in several corners, which is all the more reason why it should happen. Teams never disclose whom they are talking trade with, but the Mets have been known to listen to offers for Murphy, who’ll make $5 million to likely price himself off the Mets.

Regardless of how their outfield is currently constructed, remember the Mets could still have holes considering Chris Young is signed for one year.

Gardner and Eric Young would add speed at the top of the order, something the Mets haven’t had in a long time.

Gardner and Granderson would greatly upgrade the Mets’ outfield defense. Pitching and defense were supposed to be the Mets’ foundation when they moved into Citi Field, and Gardner could be a mainstay even after Granderson’s four-year contract expires.

I like Murphy, but if Eric Young is the answer at second base as the Mets might think, this trade is a definite upgrade.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

 

Dec 08

Granderson Signing Doesn’t Answer All Mets Concerns

We can no longer say the Mets won’t doing anything in the Hot Stove League. While I have been cool on Chris Young, landing Curtis Granderson gives the Mets’ offseason a warmer sense of legitimacy and that more could be coming.

General manager Sandy Alderson projects a payroll in the low-$90 million level, and even with the Granderson and Young signings, the Mets will have more to spend to reach that plateau.

There could be more flexibility if they are able to trade Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy, which would be roughly a combined $8 million they could take on.

Last month Alderson said there were a half-dozen teams interested in Davis, and even Lucas Duda fielded some inquiries, but nothing has come of that since.

The Mets’ priority remains starting pitching. Ricky Nolasco and/or Phil Hughes would have looked good in the back end of the Mets’ rotation, but both signed long-term deals totaling $73 million by the small-market Minnesota Twins. Jason Vargas got $32 million over four years from the small-market Kansas City Royals. All this could have the Mets looking harder at Bronson Arroyo, who earlier had been talking to the Twins.

With Matt Harvey gone for the season and two holes in the rotation there are a couple of certainties: 1) Jon Niese will not be traded as some had speculated, and 2) prospect Rafael Montero will not be traded, unless a major league ready starter comes in return.

The Mets also need to increase depth in their bullpen, especially considering Bobby Parnell is coming off surgery. If he’s fine, he’ll resume the closer role. If not, Vic Black will get the first shot in spring training.

The Mets also like Jeurys Familia, Gonzalez Germen and lefty Scott Rice. That’s five, meaning they’ll need to pick up one or two more arms.

Shortstop was a significant question after the season, but considering how the market developed it appears as if Ruben Tejada will have the first opportunity to reclaim his job. The Mets were hot for Jhonny Peralta, and also kicked the tires on Rafael Furcal, but they signed elsewhere. Stephen Drew is still available, but he’s priced himself out of consideration.

There is also a need for a veteran reserve catcher. Immediately coming to mind is to bring back John Buck, who was not brought back by the Pirates.

The Mets won 74 games last year, just seven games below .500. If they had Harvey, I would say they could be a .500 team with the addition of Granderson. But, he’s not here and what remains in a hole in the rotation.

No Shaun Marcum this time. Alderson needs to land quality starters if this will be a quality summer.

LATER TODAY: Would a Daniel Murphy-Brett Gardner trade make sense?

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos