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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mets sign RHP LaTroy Hawkins to a minor league deal

The Mets have signed LaTroy Hawkins to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale (on Twitter).

The 40-year-old Hawkins was effective in 42 innings for the Angels last season, pitching to a 3.64 ERA, 4.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9.

His fastball still averaged 92.3 mph, according to FanGraphs, though his 5.4% swinging strike rate was the lowest of his lengthy career.

If Hawkins makes the roster, the Mets will become the tenth team for which he's pitched at the Major League level. The Reynolds Sports Management client has a career 4.45 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and 47.8 percent ground-ball rate in 1303 2/3 innings.

He's been significantly better as a reliever (3.36 ERA in 518 1/3 innings) than he was a starter early on in his career (6.11 ERA in 785 1/3 innings).

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mets News and Notes: Murphy, Atchison, Bourn

Murphy gets raise
Mets News and Notes:

The Mets have avoided arbitration with Daniel Murphy by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $2.925MM, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports (Twitter links).  The final total is a bit less than the midpoint between the figures exchanged by the two sides; Murphy asked for $3.4MM, the Mets offered $2.55MM.  This was Murphy's first year of arbitration eligibility.

The Mets are still in the market for relief help and could even pursue a closer, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The Mets signed right-hander Scott Atchison to a minor league deal Tuesday.

Atchison pitched for the Red Sox in 2012, posting a 1.58 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 51 1/3 innings. The Red Sox non-tendered him at the end of November instead of proceeding through the arbitration process with a projected $800K salary. Atchison missed two months with forearm tightness last summer but returned to make five appearances in September. He considered Tommy John surgery, ultimately avoiding the procedure.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Report: Alderson thinks Bourn price too steep for Mets

According to the NY Times,  Sandy Alderson, the general manager of the Mets, suggested the loss of a first-round pick would be too steep a price for the team to consider signing Michael Bourn, the best outfielder left on the free-agent market.

If they signed Bourn, a speedy 30-year-old center fielder, the Mets would be forced to give up the 11th overall pick of the draft as compensation.

During an interview Sunday with MLB Network Radio, Alderson said the Mets had been “very reluctant to consider that,” as it would undermine their vision for the future.

He added, “The blueprint here is to rebuild the farm system at the same time that we try to be competitive and for us to lose a first-round pick would be counter to that approach.”

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mets Rumors: The Bourn Supremacy

Michael Bourn Rumors:

A source tells Marc Carig of Newsday (on Twitter) that the MLBPA could file a grievance on the Michael Bourn/compensatory draft pick issue, even if the Mets don't agree to terms with the outfielder first.

There has been talk of the players union supporting the Mets if they choose to argue against having to surrender a first-round pick to sign a free agent like Bourn.

It appears that the Mets will face some stiff competition in the NL East as they vie with the Nationals and Braves, but GM Sandy Alderson says that he isn't sweating it too much, writes Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
"I would agree that the Nationals and the Braves appear to be very good teams for '13 and beyond," Alderson said. "But many teams have been described as set up well for the long haul, and it hasn't always worked out as described."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Rosenthal: Mets and Bourn match unlikely

Scott Boras
According to Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports, the Mets and Michael Bourn seem a unlikely fit in Queens.

The Mets would have the support of the MLBPA if they continue lobbying for the right to surrender a second round pick instead of a first rounder should they sign a free agent linked to draft pick compensation.

But sympathy for the Mets would only go so far just one offseason after the completion of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement. MLB wouldn’t want to establish a precedent and would likely fight a grievance by the MLBPA.

Scott Boras, Bourn’s agent, is a factor in this as well, Rosenthal reports. MLB isn’t inclined to do Boras any favors such as making an exception for Bourn.

Turner and Lutz in the Mets Outfield?

The Mets plan to give infielders Justin Turner and Zach Lutz an opportunity at playing time in the outfield during spring training, manager Terry Collins told ESPNNewYork.com Thursday.

That plan could change should the team supplement its current options with an addition via trade or free agency.

Lutz hasn't played in the outfield at any level since becoming a professional, while Turner hasn't spent time in the outfield since rookie ball in 2006.

Turner, 28, hit .269/.319/.392 with two home runs in 185 plate appearances for the Mets in 2012. He made at least 10 appearances at first base, second base, shortstop and third base for the team last season.

Lutz, 26, had just 11 plate appearances with the Mets in his first major-league action last season, but hit .299/.410/.496 with 10 home runs in 294 Triple-A plate appearances in 2012.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mets Rumors: Free Agent Bourn Becomes a "Realistic Possibility"

Michael Bourn has gone from barely a consideration by the Mets to a “realistic” possibility for the team’s beleaguered outfield.

Now that the Braves have are in agreement to a trade for outfielder Justin Upton with the Diamondbacks, it gives the Mets the first crack to signing the speedy outfielder.. The Mets and Braves were considered the top suitors for Bourn.

The Mets main concern has to be whether they have to give up the first round pick.. The Mets are lobbying the league to get their No. 11 overall pick protected (only the top 10 overall have such status), which would allow them to give up a second-round draft choice if they signed Bourn.

The Mets contend their request should be considered because the Pirates moved ahead of them, to No. 9 in the draft, after failing to sign their top pick last year.

If the price is right and the Mets get it their way,  Michael Bourn might be on his way to cover some ground in Citi-Field this summer.

CBS' Jon Heyman suggests it’ll take a five-year deal worth $15MM or so per season to sign Bourn, a Scott Boras client. B.J. Upton obtained a five-year, $75.2MM contract that could be a comparable for Bourn’s next deal. The Mets have money left in their payroll, with only about $80 million to $85 million committed and a budget with room for about $15 million more.

Bourn's Stats
2006 23 PHI 8 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 1 3 .125
2007 24 PHI 119 29 33 3 3 1 6 18 1 13 21 .277
2008 25 HOU 467 57 107 10 4 5 29 41 10 37 111 .229
2009 26 HOU 606 97 173 27 12 3 35 61 12 63 140 .285
2010 27 HOU 535 84 142 25 6 2 38 52 12 59 109 .265
2011 28 TOT 656 94 193 34 10 2 50 61 14 53 140 .294
2011 28 HOU 429 64 130 26 7 1 32 39 7 38 90 .303
2011 28 ATL 227 30 63 8 3 1 18 22 7 15 50 .278
2012 29 ATL 624 96 171 26 10 9 57 42 13 70 155 .274
7 Yrs 3015 459 820 125 45 22 215 276 64 296 679 .272
162 Game Avg. 561 85 153 23 8 4 40 51 12 55 126 .272
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/24/2013.

Enemy Report: Braves get Justin Upton from D-Backs

The Braves acquired Justin Upton from the D-backs on Thursday in exchange for five players, including Martin Prado.

The Braves received Upton and Chris Johnson in exchange for Prado, shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed, Class A infielder Brandon Drury and right-handed pitchers Randall Delgado and Zeke Spruill.

With this trade, Braves general manager Frank Wren provides his club arguably the game’s best outfield. Earlier in the offseason, Wren signed Justin Upton’s older brother, B.J. Upton, to a five-year, $75.25 million contract. Atlanta's projected outfield over at least the next three seasons will consist of Jason Heyward and the two Upton brothers.

To complete this trade, Wren had to part ways with Prado, who is one of the Braves’ most popular players among his teammates and the fans. But he was able to acquire Upton without giving up either of his top two pitching prospects, Julio Teheran or J.R. Graham.

Breaking News: Mets reach deal with RHP Shaun Marcum

The New York Mets, who had been the lone team not to sign a free agent to a major league contract this winter, have agreed to terms with right-hander Shaun Marcum.

Marcum, 31, will get a one-year deal contingent on passing a physical, a major league source confirmed. CBSSports and Fox reported the deal earlier Thursday.

He would fill the void left after NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays and join Johan Santana, Matt Harvey, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee in the Mets' rotation.

Marcum's Stats
2005 23 TOR 0 0 0.00 5 0 8.0 6 0 0 0 4 4
2006 24 TOR 3 4 5.06 21 0 78.1 87 44 44 14 38 65
2007 25 TOR 12 6 4.13 38 1 159.0 149 76 73 27 49 122
2008 26 TOR 9 7 3.39 25 0 151.1 126 60 57 21 50 123
2010 28 TOR 13 8 3.64 31 0 195.1 181 84 79 24 43 165
2011 29 MIL 13 7 3.54 33 0 200.2 175 84 79 22 57 158
2012 30 MIL 7 4 3.70 21 0 124.0 116 57 51 16 41 109
7 Yrs 57 36 3.76 174 1 916.2 840 405 383 124 282 746
162 Game Avg. 12 8 3.76 37 0 193 177 85 81 26 59 157
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/24/2013.

Mets Rumors: No Hairston, Mets Looking at Bourn to upgrade outfield

Free agent Scott Hairston, whose power from the right side made him a potential fit for both the Mets and the Yankees, has agreed to a two-year deal with the Cubs.

But the Mets reportedly have moved on, exploring the idea of signing Michael Bourn.

The free-agent centerfielder may still remain out of the Mets' price range. But the Mets, according to a Daily News report, are working to clear one major hurdle that stands in the way of any agreement with Bourn.

By rule, the Mets would have to surrender their 11th overall draft pick in June as compensation if they were to sign Bourn.

However, the top 10 picks in the draft are protected by rule, and the Mets are looking to see if their pick qualifies for protection because it originally was within the top 10. The Mets were bumped out of the top 10 only after the Pirates were awarded a draft pick as compensation for not signing first-rounder Mark Appel last year.

But even if the Mets get their draft pick protected, Bourn may prove to be out of their price range....

Mets could use a lead off guy that gets on base and steals bases, remember the more times your team is in scoring position the more runs you can possibly score, period...

But the Mets lack a right-handed bat to compensate David Wright in the Lineup... Upton would be a better fit, but looks as though the Mets are out of reach..

Mets miss the boat on outfielder, Scott Hairston sails to Cubs

According to ESPN Chicago, the Chicago Cubs have signed free agent outfielder Scott Hairston to a two-year contract worth up to $6 million, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

Hairston will fit into the Cubs' mix as a platoon corner outfielder.

The other teams that had been talking to Hairston's agent were the New York Mets, New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves.

The 32-year-old Hairston's deal includes incentive clauses that could increase the value to $6 million, pending a physical.

Hairston who played for the Mets in 2012, put up his best power numbers. The outfielder had 48 extra-base hits, including a career-high 20 home runs, in just 377 at-bats.

Hairston made $1.1 million last season before becoming a free agent for the first time in his career. He most likely will platoon with left-handed hitters Nate Schierholtz in right field and David DeJesus in center.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fans Have a Chance to Vote for Banner Day

A Mets tradition, Banner Day includes a parade in which fans can show off  22″ by 28″ banners that express their love for their favorite team.

But when will it take place in 2013?

That’s up in the air at the moment, and it’s up to the fans to decide.

Banner Day is currently scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 26. After this was set in stone by the Mets’ promotional department, however, ESPN selected the contest for its Sunday Night Baseball telecast, making the start time 8:05 p.m.

The event is historically known for being held during the day, so the franchise is considering moving it to another day. The following day is Memorial Day, however, so the organization feels that fans might be OK with the event being held at night.

The Mets have offered two alternate dates for which Banner Day can be held, and fan voting is taking place on the Mets’ official website.

Fans can choose either Sun., May 26 vs. Atlanta at 8:05 p.m. — the original date – Sat., May 11 vs. Pittsburgh at 1:10 p.m. or Sat., June 8 vs. Miami at 1:10 p.m.

You can cast your vote here.

Voting will conclude on Friday, January 25, at 11:59 p.m.

Banner Day was held at Shea Stadium until 1996, when it was discontinued. The tradition was revived on May 27 of last season in honor of the 50th anniversary of the franchise.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mets sign Feliciano to Minor League Deal, Settle with Ike Davis

Left-hander Pedro Feliciano is returning to the New York Mets, who also settled their salary arbitration case with first baseman Ike Davis.

The Mets said Monday that Feliciano had agreed to a minor league contract after two injury-plagued seasons across town with the Yankees. The 36-year-old left-hander never pitched in a game for the Yankees, spending two years of the disabled list because of a torn capsule in his left shoulder after signing an $8 million contract.

Feliciano had surgery Sept. 8, 2011, and made 10 injury rehabilitation appearances in the minors last year. He has a 1.23 ERA in seven games with Leones de Ponce of the Puerto Rican Winter League.

Eligible for arbitration for the first time, Davis gets $3,125,000, six times the $506,690 he earned last year when he hit .227 with 32 homers and 90 RBIs. He had asked for $3.7 million when players and teams swapped figures last week and had been offered $2,825,000.

The Mets announced the agreement Saturday.

Second baseman Daniel Murphy is the only Mets player remaining in arbitration. He asked for a raise from $512,196 to $3.4 million. The team offered $2.55 million.

Without an agreement, a hearing would be held next month.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Mets GM Alderson said Mets are "Incomplete" at this point

In a interview with Marc Carig of NY Newsday, Mets GM Sandy Alderson Claimed The State of the New York Mets is "Incomplete" at this point of the off-season...

Alderson said the Mets are pursuing "a number of things.'' He added, "To say that we've been patient is probably an understatement. But that's what we've been.''

That patience could translate into bargains for the Mets, who have cast a wide net in their search for a back-end starting pitcher.

But waiting out the market comes with some risk, namely that they ultimately come away without any upgrades.

Alderson said he is "uneasy'' about the state of the bullpen and that the outfield could use "an upgrade at virtually every one of those positions.''

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mets Rumors: Brian Wilson, Scott Hairston, Brandon Webb, Justin Upton, Grady Sizemore

Mets Rumors:

The Mets watched free agent reliever Brian Wilson this weekend, and weren’t impressed, Mike Puma of the NY Post reports.

The Mets don’t consider the rehabbing right-hander to be worthy of a big league deal at this point. Wilson, who’s recovering from Tommy John surgery, wasn’t interested in a minor league contract, according to Puma.

The Mets could watch him pitch later on, but right now he’s not physically ready in the view of Mets personnel. “He’s got a ways to go,” one person said. The Mets were known to have interest in Wilson.

It’s believed that the Mets countered Scott Hairston’s asking price of two years and $8MM with a one-year, $2MM offer, Puma reports. One source suggested to the Post that the Mets will find a way of adding an outfielder even if they don’t re-sign the free agent Hairston.

Mets Rumors: Mets "Balk" at Hairston's Contract demands

Free-agent outfielder Scott Hairston requested a two-year, $8-million contract from the New York Mets, at which the team balked, according to CBSSports.com baseball insider Jon Heyman.

Heyman also reports that the Yankees are not in discussions with Hairston, 32, but the Cubs have talked with the free agent.

Hairston hit .263/.299/.504 with 20 home runs in 398 plate appearances for the Mets in 2012. His line jumps to .286/.317/.550 against lefties in 2012, against whom he made half of his plate appearances.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mets invite five to Spring Training

The Mets on Monday announced they have invited catcher Juan Centeno, infielder Josh Satin, outfielder Matt den Dekker and right-handed pitchers Rafael Montero and Cory Mazzoni to Major League Spring Training.

Montero, 22, notched an 11-5 record with a 2.36 ERA in his 20 starts for Class A Savannah of the South Atlantic League and Class A St. Lucie of the Florida State League. The 6-foot-2, 168-pound native of the Dominican Republic went 6-3 with a 2.52 ERA (20 earned runs in 71 1/3 innings) in 12 starts for the Sand Gnats and 5-2 with a 2.13 ERA (12 earned runs in 50 2/3 innings) for the St. Lucie club. The Mets signed the right-hander, ranked as the team's No. 11 prospect by MLB.com, as a non-drafted free agent in 2011.

Mazzoni, 23, played for St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton of the Eastern League last season. He combined for 26 starts and had a 10-6 record with a 3.93 ERA. The right-hander, selected by the Mets in the second round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, is ranked as the team's No. 15 prospect by MLB.com.

Mets Rumors: Mets seeking bargain basement pitchers??

Mets Rumors:

The New York Mets have been linked in rumors with outfielder Justin Upton, but the realism is they can't score him without dealing prospects that they just received.

The Mets with a glaring hole in their outfield might have to settle on Scott Hairston and give him a two year deal. There has been mention of the Nationals trying to move OF/1B Mike Morse, but the realism is the Nationals probably would not trade him within their own division.

The Mets have been playing possum with the starting pitching market as many think they are waiting for the price to drop as each day passes and spring training looms closer. The Mets have room for at least one starter with Johan Santana, Matt Harvey, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee penciled into the rotation right now.

Under GM Sandy Alderson, the Mets have typically looked to low cost, one year options signing players like Chris Capuano and Chris Young, who were looking to rebuild their value.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Rumor Mill: Mets have strong interest in "The Beard" Brian Wilson

Rumor Mill:

The Mets are showing strong interest in former Giants closer Brian Wilson, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter).

Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson watched Wilson yesterday in a private workout.

Alderson is "not sure" if the Mets will extend Wilson an offer, reports the New York Post's Mike Puma.

Before the New Year, Brian Wilson narrowed down his list of suitors in half from about nine or ten to approximately five.

The Giants are open to a reunion but are only willing to give Wilson a deal with a low base salary and performance-based incentives. The 30-year-old made only two appearances in 2012 before suffering a season-ending elbow injury.

Wilson has said in the past, that he does not want to go back to San Francisco because of the way he was treated and released..

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Rumor Mill: Mets interested in Trading for Justin Upton, Hairston back up plan?

Rumor Mill:

The Mets are again interested in trading for Arizona Diamondback Outfielder Justin Upton, reports Marc Carig of Newsday (on Twitter).

Carig also says it's a long shot they'll surrender the prospects required to made a deal.

Recently Justin Upton invoked his no-trade clause to reject a proposed deal to the Mariners, one of four teams on his no-trade list.

The trade would have sent four players to Arizona: (# 5 Prospect) Nick Franklin, (MLB) Charlie Furbush, (# 11 Prospect) Stephen Pryor and (# 2 Prospect) Taijuan Walker.

Upton who can also block trades to the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Cubs... The Mets would have no problem in obtaining the outfielder if the case presented itself..

The Texas Rangers appear to be moving on from Upton.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Rumor Mill: Mets in Dogfight with Yanks for Hairston's Services?

ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews spoke to Hairston's agent Casey Close and was told that Hairston is in ongoing talks with the Yankees and Mets. Close told Matthews that his client will likely make a decision in "a matter of days."

The Yankees are pessimistic about signing Hairston, Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com reports (on Twitter). The outfielder could get more playing time elsewhere.

Hairston would likely have to settle for a fourth outfielder's role with the Yankees, in which he'd back up Ichiro Suzuki and Brett Gardner while providing manager Joe Girardi with a lethal weapon against left-handed pitching off the bench.

The 32-year-old batted .286/.317/.550 against southpaws in 2012 and boasts a career line of .276/.325/.500 against opposite-handed pitching.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Rumor Mill: Mets have discussed trades for Arizona's Upton and Kubel

The Mets have discussed trades for Jason Kubel and Justin Upton, according to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.

Neither of the talks seems promising. The price for Upton was too high for the Mets, and Kubel was not a “perfect fit,” according to Heyman. The Mets are in need of outfielders. The team currently has a mix of Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin to occupy their three starting spots.

Much has already been written about the 25-year-old Upton. He's looking to rebound after a .280/.355/.430 season at the plate. Because of his former prospect status, and performance during the 2011 season, the Diamondbacks are going to ask a lot for his services. He's signed through the 2015 season.

Kubel is signed through next season with the Diamondbacks, and is scheduled to make $7.5 million. His contract also includes a mutual $7.5 million option for 2014. The 30-year-old outfielder hit .253/.327/.506 in 571 plate appearances last season.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Special Report: Mets Have Some Cash to Spend, Maybe on Players???

The Mets’ owners, who were financially hobbled by Bernard L. Madoff’s immense fraud scheme, now have about $160 million in new money to spend..

The cash infusion, comes thanks to their majority ownership of the SNY regional sports network. One benefit of owning a network like SNY is the ability to borrow money against it. SNY’s annual revenue is in the hundreds of millions of dollars because of monthly subscriber fees that keep increasing regardless of team performance.

The resulting stability and financial muscularity of SNY and similar networks make them low risks to banks. Late last month, SNY refinanced $450 million in existing bank loans at lower interest rates and borrowed at least $250 million more. With their 65 percent ownership of SNY, Wilpon and Katz should have walked away with about $162.5 million. The refinancing was first reported Friday by Bloomberg.

The Mets could use the money to either pay back loans or working capital... A New York Times report suggest the Mets can also get into the Free Agent Market, especially the outfield market...

The best free-agent outfielder still available, by far, is Michael Bourn, the 30-year-old, left-handed-hitting center fielder who hit .274 for the Atlanta Braves last season with 42 stolen bases. But Bourn is looking for big money, perhaps as much as $100 million in a multiyear deal, and is represented by the uncompromising Scott Boras, so rule the Mets out.....

But then again,  Vince Gennaro, a consultant to several major league teams, suggested the Mets should at least think about Michael Bourn, particularly if he remains unsigned as spring training draws closer and his price drops.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Mets sign Infielder Omar Quintanilla again to a minor league contract

Former Orioles infielder Omar Quintanilla has signed a minor league deal with the Mets.

The Orioles acquired Quintanilla from the Mets in July for cash and he immediately became a contributor at second base, becoming the everyday starter there from late July through mid-August. But as Quintanilla's bat cooled, he made just four starts over the regular season’s final six weeks.

Quintanilla recorded a .232/.284/.354 batting line with three homers and 12 RBIs in 36 games with the Orioles while providing steady defense at second. He was 13-for-32 in his first nine starts, hitting .406 in that span.

The Orioles did not tender a contract to Quintanilla in late November, making him a free agent. The organization still expressed interest in signing Quintanilla to aid middle-infield organizational depth.

But instead Quintanilla chose to return to the Mets. He will receive an invitation to major league spring training.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Mets sign OF Andrew Brown to a minor league contract

The Mets announced that they signed outfielder Andrew Brown to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training.

Brown made his MLB with the 2011 Cardinals before the Rockies claimed him off of waivers from St. Louis. The 28-year-old spent part of the 2012 season with the Rockies, appearing in 46 games as a corner outfielder.

Brown, a right-handed hitter, posted a .232/.302/.429 batting line with five home runs in 126 plate appearances with the Rockies this past season.

He also appeared in 100 games at Triple-A, posting a .308/.364/.597 batting line with 24 home runs and 33 doubles. However, Colorado granted him free agency in November.

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