Last week, the Mets designated C Johnny Monell for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Bartolo Colon.
On Wednesday, the Mets announced Monell had cleared waivers, and he was outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas.
However, Monell can decide to become a free agent if he chooses.
Monell hit .167/.231/.208 with four RBI in 27 games for the Mets in 2015, having spent most of the season with Triple-A Las Vegas.
The Mets have been searching for a left-handed outfielder to complement Juan Lagares throughout the first half of the off-season.
Have they found one?
On Monday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported the Mets are closing to signing free agent OF Alejandro De Aza.
The Mets made their deal with De Aza official on Tuesday.
This is an interesting play for the Mets, assuming De Aza is indeed going to be Lagares’ complement, and not an upgrade over Kirk Nieuwenhuis on the bench. Even with Nieuwenhuis, the Mets bench could stand to get a little more left-handed, and De Aza certainly can be seen as an upgrade in that area of the roster.
However, Heyman indicates De Aza will platoon with Lagares in center field. But De Aza doesn’t really check the boxes the Mets were seeking to fill if he is going to see significant playing time.
De Aza, who turns 32 in April, is capable of playing all three outfield positions, although he started just one game in center field in 2015. And the year prior, he started just 15 games in center, thus making him less of a fit for this team.
He isn’t a very good defensive player in general, although he could be considered an average to slightly above average left fielder.
However, the Mets do not have a need for a left-handed hitting left fielder. They have Michael Conforto.
De Aza profiles as a top-of-the-order bat and has been known for his speed throughout his career, but he didn’t log too many stolen bases in 2015. He’s also not the textbook-type player the Mets typically seek as he doesn’t get on-base very much while striking out quite a bit as well (he walked only 8.5 percent of the time while striking out 23 percent of the time in 2015).
De Aza has proven to be effective against left-handed pitching, however. He posted an .800 OPS against southpaws in 2015 with only a .470 OPS against right-handers, which mostly aligns with his career tendencies, although his ineffectiveness against the right side was unusually poor.
In 2015, De Aza hit .278/.351/.448 with 17 doubles, five triples, 33 RBI in 114 games for the Giants, Red Sox and Orioles.
The Mets have filled their need from the left side of their bullpen, agreeing to re-sign LHP Jerry Blevins to a one-year contract worth $4 million, according to Matt Yallof of MLB Network.
The deal is pending a physical and includes $1 million in incentives, according to Yallof.
Blevins missed most of the 2015 season after breaking his arm from a comebacker on April 19 against the Marlins. He required season-ending surgery in late July after falling on that same arm in Port St. Lucie.
Blevins was acquired for Matt den Dekker just before Opening Day in 2015, and left-handed hitters went 0-for-15 against him before he got injured.
Left-handlers have hit just .206 against Blevins in his career.
The Mets announced on Monday the procurement of four players to minor league contracts, signing LHP Duane Below, RHP Buddy Carlyle, 1B Marc Krauss, and LHP Andrew Barbosa .
All but Barbosa have received invitations to Major League Spring Training.
Carlyle, 37, was with the Mets in 2015 and recorded his first big league save on Opening Day against the Nationals in 2015, but was limited to only 11 games and required season-ending hip surgery on June 16. He went 1-0 with a 5.63 ERA for the Mets in 2015 after making the team out of Spring Training.
Below, 30, was signed by the organization in 2015 and went 4-3 with a 2.19 ERA in 11 games, five starts with Triple-A Las Vegas in 2015. He has gone 2-4 with a 4.27 ERA in 43 major league games with the Tigers and Marlins from 2011-2013.
Krauss, 28, played in 27 major league games for three different teams in 2015, hitting .141 with three runs scored, three doubles, two home runs and eight RBI with the Angels, Rays and Tigers. Krauss hit .275 with 12 doubles, five triples, four home runs and 38 RBI in 70 minor league games last season. Krauss has hit .188 with 30 runs scored, 18 doubles, 12 home runs and 42 RBI in 146 major league games with the Astros, Rays, Angels and Tigers over parts of three seasons from 2013-2015.
Barbosa, 28 went 5-3 with a 3.42 ERA in 19 games, six starts for Single-A Mobile and Double-A Mississippi in 2015. He was released by the Diamondbacks on April 23 and signed with the Braves on July 10. In four minor league seasons, Barbosa is 26-19 with a 3.65 ERA and 423 strikeouts in 80 games, 67 starts.
Michael Cuddyer signed a two-year, $21 million contract before the 2015 season, costing the Mets a first-round pick in the 2015 draft after receiving a qualifying offer from the Rockies following the 2014 season.
But after a rough first year in New York, in which he dealt with a bone bruise in his knee and was relegated to part-time duty in the second half, Cuddyer has surprisingly retired from baseball with one year remaining on his deal.
“While battling injuries this past season, he was one of our team’s true leaders in the clubhouse, playing a significant role in our National League Championship,” Mets GM Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “He leaves an indelible, positive impact on our organization.
“We salute Michael on his career and thank him for his contributions to our success in 2015. We wish him, Claudia and their kids all the health and happiness.”
Kristie Ackert of the Daily News says Cuddyer had recently asked people in the organization about future opportunities, suggesting retirement has been on the 36-year-old’s mind for quite some time.
Cuddyer will forfeit the $12.5 million owed to him in 2015, although its possible he will receive a buyout for the final year of his deal, Rubin tweets.
While this is speculation right now, such a buyout could be the result of an injury.
Cuddyer’s performance should not diminish the kind of person and presence he is, and what his value was to this organization while David Wright was rehabbing his back in Los Angeles for most of the season. He is a tremendous person with a down-to-earth personality, and it’s a shame he faded so quickly after some fabulous years with the Rockies.
He would indeed have tremendous value as an organizational resource or in a role with the big league club.
Now, even with a small buyout, this gives the Mets a lot more payroll flexibility this winter. What they do with that flexibility remains to be seen, but there should certainly be more room to add an upper echelon player in the outfield, and an ability to augment their bullpen even more than they originally envisioned.
Cuddyer hit .259/.309/.391 with 10 home runs and 41 RBI in 117 games with the Mets in 2015. He hit .277/.344/.461 with 333 doubles, 42 triples, 197 home runs and 794 RBI in 15 seasons with the Mets, Twins, and Rockies.
Cuddyer has penned a thoughtful piece for the Players Tribune, which can be read here.