Mets have 3 primary needs to fill ahead of the Winter Meetings

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BaronIts only been five weeks since the last time the Mets played a baseball game, but the club has spent those five weeks looking for ways to get over the top of the mountain and win the 2016 World Series, exactly 30 years after their last championship.

They will begin to do so at the Winter Meetings which technically begin tomorrow morning at the at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Mets are already projected to have a $92-95 million in payroll for 2016 with players currently under contract, projected salaries through arbitration, and players earning the league minimum. That’s all without adding new talent.

And the Mets need to add and replenish some of the talent lost on the big league roster.

2015 Winter MeetingsYoenis Cespedes, Jerry Blevins, Eric O’Flaherty, Bartolo Colon, Bobby Parnell, Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, Tyler Clippard, and Daniel Murphy are all free agents.

The Mets added OF Brandon Nimmo, RHP Seth Lugo, and RHP Robert Gsellman to the 40-man roster in late November to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, which takes place Thursday morning at the Winter Meetings. They did not protect Matt Bowman or Wuilmer Becerra, so they could conceivably taken in the Rule 5 draft by other teams.

The 40-man roster currently stands at 39.

The Mets have already signed RHP Jim Henderson, RHP Stolmy Pimentel and infielder Ty Kelly to minor league contracts, but have yet to sign anyone to a Major League deal this winter.

That could change this week, as team insiders insist they will be active in their attempt to fortify the roster this week in Nashville.

DePodesta Ricciardi Ricco WilponHowever, the front office will be missing a key presence to their contingent in Nashville this week, as Sandy Alderson will stay in New York as he undergoes treatment for cancer.

Instead, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon will join assistant GM John Ricco, manager Terry Collins, Vice President, Player Development & Amateur Scouting Paul DePodesta, and special assistant JP Ricciardi as the continent for the Mets at the Winter Meetings.

The Mets have identified three primary needs as they head to the Winter Meetings, with hopes their activity can lead to solutions as they look ahead to Spring Training.

Their goal is to lengthen their lineup by improving their contact rate, reducing their strikeouts, and lengthening their lineup with a greater ability to get on-base.

They also want to create a lockdown formula in their bullpen, and improve their overall defense behind their championship-caliber starting pitching, the latter they hope will make them more efficient and lengthen their outings.

Here’s a look at how the Mets hope to reach those goals this winter… Continue reading

The Mets have some needs in the bullpen, but will need to be creative to find upgrades

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Baron

–Originally posted November 9, 2015–

Aside from being tasked with upgrading the team’s speed, defense, and swing-and-miss offense, one of the trouble points for the Mets which ultimately became exposed in the postseason, and specifically in the World Series, is their bullpen.

In five games in the World Series, the Mets bullpen gave up 24 earned runs in 51 1/3 innings, allowing 47 hits and 17 walks while blowing all three save opportunities they had, arguably costing them a World Championship in 2015.

In the process, the Royals outscored the Mets 15-to-1 in the seventh inning and later in the World Series. The Royals had eight extra-base hits, the Mets had none.

One could argue the Mets offense struggled in the World Series, and it unquestionably did. One could also argue the defense left the Mets vulnerable in the late innings, and also led to their demise in the World Series.

But World Series games typically feature low-scoring games, leaving it up to a bullpen to manage one or two-run leads in the final third of a game.

In the end, the Royals did that with their lockdown bullpen, the Mets did not with their porous bullpen. Continue reading

Jerry Blevins to start baseball activities soon

Jerry Blevins 1 slice


Rich MacLeodSome good news came on Mets reliever Jerry Blevins today as our own Michael Baron reported on Twitter today that the left-hander will soon resume baseball activities in Port St. Lucie.

Blevins was evaluated by team doctors recently, says Baron, and is no longer wearing a cast on his forearm. While he will soon resume baseball activities, Blevins recently told Baron that he needs to build strength back into his forearm, and it may still be awhile until he returns.

Blevins, acquired in a trade with the Nationals late in Spring Training, fractured his forearm when he was hit by a comebacker on April 20th against the Marlins.

Mets still confident they’ll acquire a left-handed reliever before Opening Day

M BaronThe clock is ticking on Spring Training, and still, nobody among the Mets’ internal candidates for left-handed relief is standing out.

But as more and more players become available into the last week of the exhibition season, the Mets remain confident they’ll be able to fill one of their left-handed relief voids via the external markets, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes.

Nationals manager Matt Williams told Sherman Washington would like to take two of Jerry BlevinsMatt ThorntonXavier Cedeno, and Rich Hill north with the club. But while there might be some availability among this group, Sherman says the Mets view these relievers as more of a, “fallback position” in the event they are unable to acquire anyone else.

The Mets have shown interest in Orioles LHP Brian Matusz, according to Dan Martin of the New York Post. But while Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports said on Monday the Mets, “really want Matusz, they want Baltimore to offer some relief to Matusz’s $3.2 million salary in 2015.

The Mets are also said to be keeping an eye on Dodgers LHP’s JP Howell, Adam Liberatore, and Paco Rodriguez in the event one or more of them become available before Opening Day, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN.com.

Sherman also says the Mets are scouting left-handed relievers from the Braves and Rockies.