Jan 14

Mets Not Aggressive In Pursuing Fifth Starter

The New York Mets are in the market for another starter. Despite there being several high-profile pitchers available, don’t expect Sandy Alderson to make a bid unless they remain unsigned right before spring training.

By then, the asking prices should have dropped. Then again, the shelves could be empty.

The Mets’ approach in the current free-agent pitching market underscores the belief they aren’t serious about making a wild-card run this season, but instead are waiting for Matt Harvey’s return in 2015.

The list includes Bronson Arroyo, Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Ervin Santana. Any of them would represent an immediate upgrade, but at a substantial cost.

There are also a handful of familiar faces: Johan Santana, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

None from either list are expected to get a sniff from the Mets because they are too pricey or want a multi-year deal. Alderson also wants to avoid signing a pitcher who would become an obstacle to bringing up a prospect.

The Mets made their pitching splash with Bartolo Colon, and Alderson’s plan is to wait for the young arms to develop and Harvey to return from Tommy John surgery. Read that to mean 2015. In that regard, Colon’s contract is perfect because he fills a need for this season and would be around for insurance and stability in 2015.

Most of the pitchers available are middle of the rotation arms – such as John Lannan – but Alderson wants an inexpensive fifth starter, somebody they can easily replace with Jenrry Mejia, and prospects Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.

Assuming they don’t sign anybody, Mejia – who underwent elbow surgery – goes in as the fifth starter. The timetable for the prospects is not before June.

If the Mets sign a free-agent pitcher, they would want to give him a minor-league contract, which immediately eliminates about 75 percent of the field. Nobody wants to sign with a team knowing they could be phased out before the All-Star break.

Reportedly, the Mets are considering Freddy Garcia, 37, who went 4-7 with Baltimore and Atlanta last season. Garcia also worked out of the bullpen.

So, you can see the bar is set quite low.

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Jan 13

Mets Could Have Busy Week With Arbitration Players

The New York Mets have often avoided the arbitration process by settling with their eligible players prior to the deadline, which is Friday.

The Mets have seven such players, one of whom is Ike Davis.

If an agreement isn’t reached by Friday, the team and agent will submit their salary parameters. The arbitrator will then select one of the figures. The arbitrator can’t choose a midpoint figure, or any other number.

In addition to Davis, Daniel Murphy, Bobby Parnell, Dillon Gee, Eric Young, Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada, are eligible.

MLB Trade Rumors projected the players will receive the following salaries along with their anticipated 2014 roles:

Murphy ($5.1 million): Contrary to reports following the season, the Mets aren’t going to trade their starting second baseman and their second most productive hitter behind David Wright.

Davis ($3.825 million): What salary Davis is projected to make is not an excessive number, making it viable for the Mets to keep him. It’s no secret the Mets have been trying to trade him all winter. Currently, general manager Sandy Alderson said there’s nothing warm in the trade market.

Parnell ($3.725 million): Underwent neck surgery that resulted in a 30-pound weight loss. Parnell has resumed baseball activities, but that’s not a guarantee he’ll be ready for the start of the season. If Parnell isn’t ready, Vic Black will be the closer.

Gee ($3.55 million): Gee threw 199 innings last year and for the first time in his career enters the season with a spot in the rotation.

Young ($1.9 million): A mid-season acquisition, Young won the leadoff spot and gave the Mets a legitimate stolen base threat. Young could lose that job if Juan Lagares starts. Curtis Granderson and Chris Young already have spots.

Duda ($1.8 million): After showing an improvement with his on-base percentage, Duda goes into spring training expected to compete with Davis for the starting job at first base. The Mets believe Duda can give them numbers, but for less than Davis would make. The Mets will also listen to trade proposals for Duda.

Tejada ($1.0 million): With Jhonny Peralta signing a four-year deal with St. Louis and Stephen Drew’s asking price being too high, the Mets are expected to give Tejada another chance at the shortstop job.

With a Friday deadline, the Mets could have several announcements this week, however, I’m getting one of a trade for Davis won’t be forthcoming.

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

 

Jan 12

How Can Ike Davis Not Be Upset By The Trade Talk?

New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson recently told MLB.com Ike Davis was not annoyed by the persistent trade talk since the end of the season.

“I don’t think any of this talk over the winter has bothered him,’’ Alderson said. “I think he’s anxious to get to spring training and show what he can do.’’

I can buy him being anxious for spring training, if for no other reason, than to prove he can play so he can get out of Dodge.

If you’re the Mets and think Davis isn’t bothered by the talk of him being a bust and of him being traded, then do you really want him back? If you’re the Mets, you don’t want to hear Davis is in a good mood as Alderson said, but royally hacked off.

What Alderson said and what Davis told the New York Daily News are two different things. Davis sounded hurt, which should be construed as a positive.

“I want to go back,’’ Davis said. “I want to have another chance. I want to win with the Mets. I don’t want to leave on this kind of note.’’

But, he seems resigned to the possibility of him leaving.

I’m no longer thinking the Mets will work a deal with Milwaukee, or to anybody else for that matter, before the start of spring training, which is little more than a month away.

If the Mets are to trade Davis, it will be closer to the start of the season, after teams have gone through spring training and know what holes they have in their line-up.

Until then, Davis isn’t going anywhere, at least not for the asking price for those on the line with Alderson.

“We’re not going to move Ike just to move Ike – or any other player for that matter,’’ Alderson said. “This is a trade market, not a yard sale, and right now we’re perfectly happy to go into spring training with Davis and [Lucas] Duda both on the team.’’

Alderson insists the Mets aren’t actively talking with anybody about Davis, and such discussions would come suddenly; say after an injury strikes down somebody else’s first baseman.

While the Brewers have been most prominently mentioned, the call could come from anywhere.

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

Jan 10

Mets Matters: Glavine Addresses 2007 Finale; Parnell Cleared

Tom Glavine knows you were disappointed, but New York Mets fans should let it go. All those seven runs he gave up won’t get off the board.

Glavine didn’t make it out of the first in the season finale, when the Mets completed a historic collapse in which they blew a seven-game lead with 17 to play. Even now, that seems incomprehensible.

mets-matters logo“I still get people hating on me on Twitter and everywhere else over that game,’’ Glavine told reporters yesterday in New York following the announcement of being elected to the Hall of Fame. “Like I’ve said to people, for what was an otherwise lot of fun for five years, that was not the way I wanted to end things here. I wish people could get past that a little bit and look at the other good things that I did, but I understand that there’s still some anger from some people out there.’’

Perhaps the real anger from many Mets fans was his answer to the question of whether he was devastated.

“Devastation is for things in life that are much more important than this,’’ Glavine said. “I’m certainly disappointed.’’

Intellectually, he’s correct. But, logic gets thrown out the window when your team is eliminated on the final day.

As I’ve written the past several days, Glavine was a good signing by the Mets. He always took the ball and he produced. A few more runs would have been nice for him.

PARNELL CLEARED: Closer Bobby Parnell has been cleared for baseball activities following his Sept. 10 surgery for a herniated disk in his neck.

However, being cleared does not mean he will be ready to start the season.

Parnell will report to Port St. Lucie next week.

NON-ROSTER INVITEES:

The following non-roster players have been invited to spring training:

Right-handed pitchers: Chasen Bradford,  Joel CarrenoJohn Church, Jeremy HefnerRafael MonteroMiguel SocolovichNoah SyndergaardCory Mazzoni and Logan Verrett.

Left-handed pitchers: Adam Kolarek and  Jack Leathersich.

Catchers: Taylor Teagarden and  Kevin Plawecki.

Infielders: Brandon Allen,  Anthony Seratelli and  Danny Muno.

Outfielders: Dustin LawleyCory Vaughn and Brandon Nimmo

Jan 09

Mets Need Breakout Year From Jon Niese

If there’s one player the New York Mets urgently, if not desperately need a breakout year from it is left-hander Jon Niese.

Some might say Ike Davis, which might be true if we even knew he’d be on the team. Another could be outfielder Chris Young, but odds are he won’t be back in 2015, so does it matter what kind of year he has? If he’s having a good season he might get dealt at the deadline. If he plays the season out and does well, the Mets would think he’d be too pricey to retain.

NIESE: Mets need big things from him.

NIESE: Mets need big things from him.

Niese, however, is cut from a different cloth.  He’s in a five-year contract, but coming off a disappointing season in 2013 in which he was injured and won only nine games.

“He was hurt and took a step back,’’ said one National League scout. “Two years ago he was on the verge of a breakout season if the Mets had hit for him.’’

The tightness in his neck and shoulder surfaced after consecutive freezing-weather starts in Minneapolis and Denver.

Niese was 13-9 in 2012, and with a little run and bullpen support could have won 17 games. He was the Opening Day starter last season when Johan Santana was injured, but if the appointment were based on solely on merit, he would have been named regardless.

Despite never having pitched a complete season – defined as 34-35 starts – Niese had steadily improved, winning nine, 11 and 13 games, respectively, from 2010-12, until a shoulder limited him to 24 starts, 143 innings and an 8-8 record.

Everybody is looking at Zack Wheeler to take a Matt Harvey-like step in his second year. I could happen, but what must happen is for Niese to start living up to the high expectations.

Wheeler is far from a given and Harvey is out, which leaves Niese, Dillon Gee and Bartolo Colon in the rotation. Of the three, Niese has the highest upside.

It’s time he lives up to it.

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