Buster Olney: Wright not a top-10 3B

November, 23, 2014
Nov 23
12:04
PM ET
NEW YORK -- ESPN Insiders can read Buster Olney's list of the top 10 third basemen in the majors, which is headlined by Oakland's Josh Donaldson.

One player not on the list, though?

The Mets' David Wright.

Olney writes that Wright "would normally be in this group, but is coming off a tough season."

Wright, who will turn 32 next month, finished the 2014 season inactive because of instability in his non-throwing shoulder. He had a career-low eight homers.

Backman hired for Dominican managing gig

November, 22, 2014
Nov 22
12:06
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Adam RubinWally Backman will complete his winter managing in the Dominican Republic.


NEW YORK -- Wally Backman has been named manager for Licey in the Dominican Republic, replacing the winter-league club's fired manager, Jose Offerman.

Licey general manager Manny Acta announced the move Saturday. The Tigers opened the season 10-17.

Licey's roster includes Dilson Herrera and Hansel Robles.

Backman remains poised to manage Las Vegas again in 2015, although there has been no announcement.

Josh Satin signs with Reds

November, 22, 2014
Nov 22
9:08
AM ET
NEW YORK -- Josh Satin has signed a minor-league contract with the Cincinnati Reds.

The 29-year-old Satin had become a minor-league free agent after being outrighted off the 40-man roster on Oct. 31.

Satin made his first Opening Day roster in 2014, but ultimately was supplanted by Eric Campbell as a righty-hitting backup corner infielder. Satin was 3-for-35 at the major league level this season. He has a .243 average (61-for-251) in 116 career games.

A September call-up from Triple-A Las Vegas, Satin finished this year with a fracture in his right hand.

Satin originally was drafted in the sixth round in 2008 out of Cal.

• Right-hander Miguel Socolovich, who pitched for Vegas this past season, has signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. ... Right-hander Ryan Reid, also with the 51s in 2014, has signed with the Miami Marlins. ... First baseman Allan Dykstra signed with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Mets nemesis LaRoche is outta here!

November, 21, 2014
Nov 21
9:54
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Adam LaRoche is no longer the Mets' headache.

LaRoche, formerly of the Washington Nationals, has signed a two-year, $25 million deal with the Chicago White Sox as a free agent.

LaRoche hit .321 with six homers and 18 RBIs in 53 at-bats and had a .471 on-base percentage against the Mets this past season.

Podcast: Michael Cuddyer

November, 21, 2014
Nov 21
4:41
PM ET
On Friday, Mets RF Michael Cuddyer joined Lupica on ESPN New York 98.7 FM to talk about his expectations for his first season in New York.

Play Download

Single-game tickets now on sale

November, 21, 2014
Nov 21
9:45
AM ET
From the Mets ...

Single-game tickets for the Mets’ 2015 season will go on sale today, Nov. 21, at 10 a.m. at mets.com/tickets and 718-507-TIXX. Tickets start at $11.

The Mets open their home schedule, Monday, April 13 vs. Philadelphia. The seven-game opening homestand also features four with the Marlins and runs through April 19. The Yankees make their annual visit to Citi Field Sept. 18-20.

The Mets’ promo schedule features 13 Free Shirt Fridays, 13 Family Sundays and three postgame concerts. Three fireworks nights are also planned.

Some giveaways include a Jacob deGrom Garden Gnome on May 2 vs. Washington, a David Wright replica jersey on June 13 vs. Atlanta and a National League Gold Glove winner Juan Lagares bobblehead on July 13 vs. Arizona. There will also be a 1986 World Championship bobblehead featuring Jesse Orosco on August 29 vs. Boston.

Pirates designate Ike Davis

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20
8:34
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Former Mets first baseman Ike Davis has been designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Davis hit .235 with 10 homers and 46 RBIs in 336 at-bats with Pittsburgh after the April 18 trade for minor league right-hander Zack Thornton as well as left-hander Blake Taylor, who subsequently arrived as the player to be named.

Davis was a probable non-tender anyway by the Dec. 2 deadline, since he earned $3.5 million in 2014.

Pedro Alvarez will serve as Pittsburgh's first baseman. He also bats left-handed and primarily played third base this past season.

"It comes down to spots," Davis told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "There's only one first baseman on a team. When you have three, there's going to be an odd man out. It was me."

Mets add Syndergaard, 5 others to roster

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20
5:15
PM ET

Jeff Roberson/Associated PressNoah Syndergaard headlines the newest additions to the Mets' 40-man roster.
NEW YORK -- The Mets added right-handers Noah Syndergaard, Cory Mazzoni, Hansel Robles, Gabriel Ynoa and Akeel Morris and left-hander Jack Leathersich to the 40-man roster in order to shield them from Rule 5 draft eligibility.

Right-handed reliever Jeff Walters, who was added to the roster a year ago, cleared waivers and was removed. He was outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas. Walters underwent Tommy John surgery last June 17 and presumably will not be ready to contribute until the summer.

The Mets' 40-man roster is full.

Among the players left exposed and eligible to be taken at the Rule 5 draft on Dec. 11: right-handers Logan Verrett, Tyler Pill and Darwin Frias, outfielder/third baseman Dustin Lawley and infielder T.J. Rivera.

Syndergaard, 22, went 9-7 with a 4.60 ERA and 145 strikeouts in 26 starts for Las Vegas.

Mazzoni, 25, went a combined 7-2 with a 4.68 ERA in 14 starts with four teams. He missed the opening two months after suffering a lat-muscle strain in the final Grapefruit League game.

Robles, 24, went 7-6 with a 4.31 ERA in 30 appearances (18 starts) with Binghamton.

Ynoa, 21, went a combined 11-4 with a 4.07 ERA in 25 starts for Binghamton and St. Lucie.

Morris, 22, went 4-1 with a 0.63 ERA and 16 saves in 41 relief appearances with Savannah.

Leathersich, 24, had 48 relief appearances with Las Vegas and Binghamton. He went a combined 3-3 with a 3.31 ERA. For his career, Leathersich has 334 strikeouts in 197 1/3 innings.

Roessler to join Mets coaching staff

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20
4:51
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Pat Roessler, the lone external candidate for the Mets assistant coaching position, is joining the organization as Kevin Long's deputy.

Roessler has served as farm director for the Yankees. He also managed Charleston in the low-A South Atlantic League in 2006.

Terry Collins' staff also includes holdovers Dan Warthen (pitching), Bob Geren (bench), Tim Teufel (third base), Tom Goodwin (first base) and Ricky Bones (bullpen).

Black maintains shoulder issue in past

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20
2:12
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Vic Black, who was shut down for the remainder of the season after a Sept. 13 relief appearance, suggested Thursday that the slightly herniated disk in his neck that was pressing on nerves and causing shoulder weakness is no longer an issue.

Black started workouts three weeks ago and began playing catch last week. He plans soon to start tossing a baseball every other day.

"Everything feels good," Black said. "I haven't had any aches or issues. I wake up in the morning and feel normal."

'Bitter' Wheeler ready to win title with Mets

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20
2:00
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Zack Wheeler is jealous that he has missed out on two World Series championships with the San Francisco Giants since getting traded for Carlos Beltran in 2011. He believes the Mets are close to equipped to start matching that success, though.

"I know what's about to happen here," Wheeler said Thursday at Citi Field, as he and teammate Vic Black helped to distribute food to local families in need as Thanksgiving approaches. "If you're human, you can only look at our staff and be like, 'Yeah, they're going to make it to the playoffs here soon, and get a couple of bats and be ready to go.'


Adam RubinZack Wheeler speaks on Thursday at Citi Field.


"I came from the Giants. I saw it happen over there -- a lot of homegrown talent, young guys coming up and stuff. They've won three World Series [in five years]. It sort of puts a bitter taste in my mouth. Now I want to do it over here with these guys and show them a little bit. Obviously you look at them and you're like, 'Man, I could have won a World Series this year.' But now it makes me want to work that much harder and do it over here with this group of guys."

Wheeler cited the return of Matt Harvey from Tommy John surgery as one reason for optimism.

"He was ready to pitch last year. Obviously they wouldn't let him," Wheeler said. "You all know just as much as I do how much he loves baseball and how much he loves playing and competing. And so I think he's going to be 100 percent when he goes out there and he's going to be ready to go from the get-go. I don't think it's going to take him any time to get going."

As for his own 2014 performance, Wheeler said: "Every pitcher, they'd be lying to you if they didn't say that they get a little bit tired through the season, or aches and pains here and there. I had plenty of those, and I was able to get through every start -- which my goal at the beginning of the season was to get through every start. I turned my season around a little right after the All-Star break. I was real happy about last season. I think at the beginning of the season a lot of groundballs got through, stuff was just falling in -- that type of stuff. It sort of hurt me a lot more than helped me."

As for Giancarlo Stanton's mega-deal with the Miami Marlins, Wheeler recently considered what he would need to do to get such a deal for himself.

"I was thinking about that the other day -- probably four Cy Youngs in a row," Wheeler said. "It has to be, right? It might be more. Look at Kershaw."

Random thoughts and notes: NL East

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20
1:45
PM ET
Let's try this this today and Friday ... just whatever pops into my head for each team or a chance to look at some of the minor transactions. We'll do one division per post. We'll start with the NL East ...

Washington Nationals: Considering Ryan Zimmerman has been injury-prone and Anthony Rendon has been injury-prone in his college and minor league days, the Nationals may need a strong bench. I guess Kevin Frandsen is the backup at third and Tyler Moore the backup at first, neither of whom is too inspiring. ... Without Adam LaRoche, who hit cleanup in 134 games, it will be interesting how your National League manager of the year constructs his lineup. ... Will Bryce Harper be old enough yet to bat higher than sixth? ... Are you willing to trust Drew Storen in a save situation in the postseason? Wonder if the Nats could be in on David Robertson. ... How about Steven Souza Jr. to the Mariners for Brad Miller, with Miller playing second base? Mariners need right-handed outfield bats and are reportedly very interested in Hanley Ramirez. ... They released Matt Purke. He was left-hander the Rangers drafted 14th overall in 2009, didn't sign, went to TCU and the Nationals gave him a huge bonus in 2011 as a draft-eligible sophomore they took in the third round. He has a career 5.00 ERA in the minors. ...

New York Mets: It looks like the Mets will do with Matt Harvey what the Nationals should have done with Stephen Strasburg in 2012: limit his innings by skipping an occasional start but keeping him in the rotation all season. ... I'm not sure Dilson Herrera gets enough prospect love. ... Speaking of Miller, Jim Bowden predicts a Mariners-Mets trade involving Miller or Chris Taylor, with one of New York's back-end starters going to Seattle. Makes sense. ... You know what the Mets really need more than anything? David Wright to hit. He's only season removed from a .307/.390/.514 line. ... The fences are moving in again, the second time since Citi Field opened in 2009. Citi Field ranked 18th in home run park factor in 2014, although it did rank 28th in runs factor. Home runs are just one reason it's difficult to hit there; the park also seems to suppress singles and doubles (much like Shea, where the lighting was never great). ... Ruben Tejada had a .342 OBP last year, second on the Mets. ...

Atlanta Braves: Braves keep saying they need pitching. They were fourth in the NL in rotation ERA in 2014 and third in strikeout percentage, so I don't quite get it. ... Yes, I realize Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang are free agents, but those are the kind of veterans you can get in free agency. ... It's not that the Jason Heyward trade was bad (since the Braves had apparently given up on re-signing him), but it doesn't help the offense and makes the outfield defense a lot worse if Evan Gattis ends up there regularly. ... Still think Justin Upton gets traded, but maybe John Hart has some sort of secret sauce plan brewing. ... Jonny Venters designated for assignment. Many will say he was abused in 2010 and 2011 when he pitched 79 and 85 games and topped 80 innings both years, but that would be speculation. ... Jose Peraza was added to the 40-man roster. He's considered the second baseman of the future after hitting .339 in Class A and Double-A. With two home runs. And 17 walks. Yes, he's young (21 in April) and stole 60 bases, but call me skeptical that's he going to be an impact player. ... Steamer projection system has Freddie Freeman hitting .285/.376/.481 in 2015, very good but not MVP-level production for a first baseman. If Braves lose Upton after 2015, not sure all the pitching in the world will cover up for the offense. ...


Miami Marlins: Whether you think the Giancarlo Stanton contract made perfect sense for the Marlins or whether Marlins ownership still can't be trusted, I'm just glad to see a small-revenue team lock up their star player. ... Reports have the Marlins offering two years and $20 million for LaRoche; I think it will take more like two and $28 to get him. ... Relievers A.J. Ramos and Mike Dunn went a combined 17-6 in 2014. Read between the lines. ... The Marlins say they will increase payroll to $60 million. Baseball-Reference estimates they're already at $52 with estimated arbitration raises; MLB Trade Rumors estimates they're at $42 million with arbitration players. ... Not sure that leaves money for both LaRoche and James Shields, although it's possibly a long-term Shields deal could be heavily backloaded. ... Still think third base is going to be a problem in 2015. Just don't trust Casey McGehee, who wasn't really that good in 2014 anyway. You need more than four home runs from your third baseman and cleanup hitter. ... Can't wait for Jose Fernandez to return. ...

Philadelphia Phillies: Reports have the Phillies checking out the makeup of Red Sox prospects like second baseman/outfielder Mookie Betts, catcher Christian Vazquez and pitcher Matt Barnes. ... Sorry, Phillies, you're not getting Betts for Cole Hamels, even straight up. ... Hamels' salary PLUS a future star like Betts isn't worth the price for the Red Sox. ... Vazquez, a defense-first catcher, certainly makes sense as the Red Sox have a better prospect in Blake Swihart. ... Phillies fans will be surprised that if/when Hamels is traded, the haul is nearly what they think it will be. ... I still think the Phillies' cream jerseys are the best in the game. ... Can't wait to see why Kenny Giles can do over a full season in the bullpen. ... You know, Mike Schmidt is kind of underrated as an all-time great. You can make a case he's a top-10 position player. ... Steve Carlton's 1972 season (27-10 for a team that went 59-97) was one for the ages, but his 1980 season when the Phillies won the World Series was nearly as great. ... Jeff Francoeur signed to a minor league contract. Hey, he drove in 100 runs back in 2006 and 2007! ... Marlon Byrd to the Reds or Mariners could happen. ... Imagine what Schmidt and Carlton would make today. ... Whatever happened to Jeff Stone and Len Matuszek? ...

Twins interview, pass on Viola as coach

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20
12:46
PM ET

Adam RubinFrank Viola is expected to remain pitching coach for Triple-A Las Vegas.
NEW YORK -- Frank Viola interviewed by phone for the vacant Minnesota Twins pitching coach position, but will not be hired, he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Viola, who starred for the Twins before a 1989 trade to the Mets, expects to return to Triple-A Las Vegas as Wally Backman's pitching coach.

“Things have gone well in that organization," Viola told the Pioneer Press about the Mets, "but I’ve always been a Twin a heart. That never leaves you.

"I thought it was a good scenario, but people make choices," he continued, referring to being passed over for the Minnesota job. "That’s their prerogative. One thing the Twins have done, from the manager to the coaches, is they’ve really done a long process. Hopefully they get it right. The Twins deserve to get a winner again.

“It’s very tough for guys to get a foot in the door. You have all these other guys recycling all over the place. But there’s always a reason for everything. Hopefully I’m meant for better things down the line with somebody else. Right now the Mets are the ones who believe in me. I’ve really enjoyed my time here.”

Duda finishes trip 3-for-3, in right field

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20
8:36
AM ET
NEW YORK -- Lucas Duda went 3-for-3 with a walk and started in right field in the final game of the MLB All-Stars' trip to Japan. MLB lost the game, 6-4, in Okinawa.

The Japan squad won four of the six games during the exhibition tour.

Mets interested in Eveland, Carlyle returns

November, 19, 2014
Nov 19
2:16
PM ET
lastname
Carlyle
lastname
Eveland
NEW YORK -- The Mets maintain interest in re-signing Dana Eveland and Buddy Carlyle, even though both relievers were cut loose after the season to avoid $1 million-plus salaries in 2015 as arbitration-eligible players.

The Mets particularly could use Eveland, since they are light on left-handed relief beyond Josh Edgin.

Still, Eveland did not pitch after Sept. 6 and eventually was sent home during the season with inflammation in his pitching elbow. So the Mets would need to be assured the 31-year-old journeyman is OK before bringing him back.

Eveland had a 2.63 ERA in 30 relief appearances this past season.

Carlyle, 36, had a 1.45 ERA in 27 relief appearances after largely being absent from the majors since 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187