Mets News and Notes:
Santana (.658) entered the season with the third-highest winning percentage among active major league pitchers with at least 125 starts -- trailing only Jon Lester (.691) and Roy Halladay (.671). With Santana's career winning percentage having slipped to .644, Jered Weaver, Tim Hudson, CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander now have overtaken him, too.
Sandy Alderson told Brian Costa in the Journal the past two seasons under the GM's direction have been beneficial in terms of information gathering. Writes Costa:
No one expected the Mets to be a legitimate contender this season. But nearly six years after their last playoff appearance, it is hard to say when such an expectation will be reasonable again. How close are the Mets to competing for a championship? "It's a very difficult question to answer," general manager Sandy Alderson said. Alderson views the benefit of this season largely in terms of collecting information. Some of it has been good. Some of it hasn't. Ruben Tejada, for example, has established himself as a solid everyday player at shortstop. Zack Wheeler has emerged as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. But the struggles of Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis and the continued deterioration of Jason Bay leave the Mets devoid of everyday outfielders going into 2013. And Ike Davis hasn't come close to resembling the All-Star he likely would have been before an injury wrecked his 2011 season.
"I think we have a much better sense now of who our players are, who we think are going to develop into those championship-caliber players, who may not, and are in a position to act on that," Alderson said. "The last couple of years, we've done a lot of experimenting. Some things have worked out. Some haven't. But I feel a lot more confident about where we're going than I did a couple of years ago."
The Mets completed the trade for Shoppach on Thursday, when right-hander Pedro Beato was sent to the Red Sox through the waiver process. Beato was not held in high regard, but dealing anyone who can contribute at the major league level for a pending free agent such as Shoppach would seem to verify the Mets' intent to attempt to re-sign the catcher this offseason.
Regarding Wednesday's Dickey bracelet debacle , the Daily News' Andy Martino tweeted: "Ump supervisor Randy Marsh approached Dickey in BP & said [he] regretted [the] way [it] was handled. Should've been more discreet."
Collins said that four people texted him to note that Seattle's Felix Hernandez had a larger object on the wrist on his glove hand during his perfect game the same night as Dickey pitched in Cincinnati.
Zack Wheeler allowed five runs in five innings in his third Triple-A start as the Mets lost to Lehigh Valley, 5-2. "They really didn't hit me around too hard," Wheeler said. "I mean, I did let up the [solo] home run and I gave up a bunch of singles. I was just not locating very well." Said manager Wally Backman: "He didn't have good command today, and good command is a key. Those guys were swinging early, and they hurt him swinging early in the count."
Terry Collins has indicated Lucas Duda should return before rosters expand Sept. 1, the manager said Duda is not ready because he is still adjusting to a new, wider stance.
Also on the outfield front: Collins expects Justin Turner will see some action in the outfield during spring training to increase his versatility. Because of a crowded infield, Turner's start Thursday was his first since July 31.