Ever since the New York Post reported last weekend that the Mets “want in on” a potential Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez trade, the baseball world has become awash with rumors. Most have centered around the Rockies sending Tulowitzki to the Mets for a package of Noah Syndergaard, Kevin Plawecki and multiple other young players.
If it seemed improbable, that’s because it is. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson admitted as much Monday without referring to Tulowitzki by name, calling it “unlikely” that he acquires anyone — including a superstar shortstop — prior to Thursday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline.
“If I had to make a guess, I would say nothing will happen,” Alderson said. “But you never know what’s going to transpire in the next three days or so. Clubs that may be having conversations elsewhere circle back based on what they think their options might be. I’d say we have an opportunity to do a thing or two, but we’re not inclined to at this point. It’s speculation, but I wouldn’t bet on something happening before the deadline.”
Tulowitzki created more tabloid drama Sunday when he showed up at Yankee Stadium, in advance of a doctor’s appointment in Philadelphia, to watch Derek Jeter play one last time in person. But returning to New York as a player remains unlikely.
In addition to the Mets’ hesitance, Rockies owner Dick Monfort has been adamantly against trading Tulowitzki for some time. Then there is the matter of money; Tulowitzki is owed $100 million over the next five years of a deal that runs through 2019, meaning the Mets would need to increase their payroll significantly to support the salaries of him, David Wright ($20 million in 2015) and Curtis Granderson ($16 million).
Bartolo Colon did his best to avoid the subject of trade rumors after his win over the Mariners on Wednesday, calling them a “decision for upper management.”
“I can’t control that stuff,” Colon said.
What Colon can control is making himself attractive to contenders, should the Mets fall out of realistic contention and decide to deal him. After posting a 5.88 ERA over his previous four starts, Colon rebounded by taking a perfect game into the seventh against the Mariners. He finished with 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball.
ESPN Deportes reported earlier this week that the Giants have expressed interest in the 41-year-old right-hander.
Multiple published reports this week stated that the Mets have not received much interest on Bartolo Colon, their 41-year-old starter who is available on the trade market. That may be partially because teams are waiting to see what happens with David Price, and partially because Colon is 0-3 with a 5.88 ERA over his last four starts.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson made it clear last week that he would be hesitant to become a seller at the deadline, but if the team’s recent slide — three straight losses after winning nine of 11 — continues, things could change rapidly. Colon is due $11 million next season in the final year of his contract.
Should the Mets become full-blown sellers, second baseman Daniel Murphy is also a prime candidate to be traded. A first-time All-Star, Murphy has one more year under team control and should make around $8 million through arbitration — a hefty sum for a Mets team that has seen its payroll hover from $85-95 million in recent seasons.
Two weeks ago, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said his team’s upcoming homestand would be critical in determining how the rest of this month unfolds. The Mets proceeded to win eight of 10, reestablishing themselves as fringe contenders in a crowded National League playoff race.
Alderson has since been quiet, and no deals appear imminent. But if nothing else, the Mets’ recent run decreased the likelihood that they will trade away veteran starting pitcher Bartolo Colon or second baseman Daniel Murphy before the non-waiver deadline.
Murphy, a first-time All-Star, is under team control through next season and is due for a hefty raise in his final year of arbitration. The argument for trading him is that his value may never be higher than it is right now. Colon, 41, has been mostly successful with patches of inconsistency in his first year with the Mets. The argument for trading him is that he is 41.
If the Mets decide to add pieces instead, their most significant need is another bat for their lineup — perhaps an everyday left fielder to replace the rotating trio of Eric Young, Chris Young and Bobby Abreu. Shortstop is less of a concern considering Ruben Tejada’s recent reemergence, as is first base given Lucas Duda’s recent surge.
Most likely, the Mets will do something minor, or nothing at all, in the next two weeks.
When the Cubs traded Jeff Samardzija last week in a deal that landed them shortstop prospect Addison Russell, they were left with a glut of high-ceiling shortstops in their organization. Russell and Javier Baez are both uber-prospects blocked by current starter Starlin Castro.
Enter the Mets, who spent most of the offseason fruitlessly searching for a shortstop to replace incumbent Ruben Tejada. General manager Sandy Alderson balked at signing Jhonny Peralta, passed on multiple chances to ink Stephen Drew, and never delved too deep in trade discussions for Arizona’s Didi Gregorius or Seattle’s Nick Franklin or Chris Owings.
The Mets, meanwhile, converted Wilmer Flores to shortstop, where he is currently raking at Triple-A Las Vegas, then watched Flores’ success spark some semblance of a renaissance in Tejada. So their need at the position is not as great as it once was.
Yet neither Tejada nor Flores is a guarantee, and acquiring a shortstop of Castro’s caliber would allow the Mets to deal second baseman Daniel Murphy before he becomes a free agent after next season. It makes sense on multiple levels for the Mets to pursue Castro, provided they can stomach giving up young pitching to do it.
The Daily News’ John Harper estimated that the Cubs would ask for a package of Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom, or something similar, which would almost assuredly make Alderson balk. Most likely, the Mets could center a deal around their own top prospect, Noah Syndergaard, who is struggling at Las Vegas but still boasts an immense ceiling.
What’s clear is that the Mets and Cubs are ideal trade partners on paper leading up to the deadline. Whether they can consummate a deal will go a long way toward understanding the mindsets of both.
The Mets planned to send scouts to watch reliever Joel Hanrahan throw a bullpen session Friday in Texas, general manager Sandy Alderson told season ticketholders at an event Thursday evening.
Hanrahan, 32, is coming off surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right arm. He posted a 9.82 ERA in nine appearances for the Red Sox prior to his injury last season, but over the two previous seasons collected 76 saves with a 2.24 ERA for the Pirates.
The Mets recently signed Kyle Farnsworth to a Minor League deal, and already have Bobby Parnell at closer. But they are looking for veteran depth to compliment the young arms in their relief corps.
Three days after their initial offseason meeting in San Diego, the Mets and Curtis Granderson are deep in talks to bring the free agent outfielder to Flushing.
One person familiar with the situation said the two sides were “in the process” late Wednesday afternoon, confirming that talks began simmering not long after general manager Sandy Alderson met Granderson for an introductory dinner Sunday evening. But the source stopped short of calling anything imminent. With the Red Sox, White Sox, Cubs and Mariners all reportedly interested in him, Granderson may take his time making a decision.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and Granderson’s agent, Matt Brown, did not return messages seeking comment. The negotiations may be centering around the Mets’ willingness to give Granderson a four-year deal as opposed to three.
Granderson, 32, was limited to 61 games last season due to a broken right forearm and broken left pinkie, each the product of hit-by-pitches. He hit 84 homers with the Yankees from 2011-12.
Last month, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson dined with Robinson Cano’s agents, including Jay-Z at a posh Manhattan hotel. A few weeks later, Alderson continued his dinner circuit with what appears to be a more serious pursuit of outfielder Curtis Granderson.
Alderson dined with Granderson Sunday night in San Diego, touching base with a power-hitting outfielder who could fill one of the team’s most pressing needs.
“We ate a nice meal and it was great to enjoy some salmon,” Granderson said on a conference call Tuesday to announce Tony Clark’s appointment as executive director of the MLB Players’ Association. “Other than that, it was kind of what you would expect: a conversation, a Q and A, and continue the process moving forward.”
Asked if he had any additional meetings on his calendar, Granderson quipped that he had one scheduled with union executives later Tuesday afternoon. Neither Alderson nor Granderson’s agent, Matt Brown, returned messages seeking comment.
Seafood aside, a marriage between Granderson and the Mets would make sense on multiple levels. Granderson, 32, is accustomed to playing in New York, having spent the past four seasons with the Yankees. He took to the city, hitting 84 homers from 2011-12 before multiple injuries derailed his 2013 season.
The Mets, meanwhile, are searching for a corner outfielder to pair with Chris Young and Juan Lagares, potentially pushing Eric Young, Jr. into a utility role. Granderson’s left-handed power would also make it easier for the team to part with first basemen Ike Davis or Lucas Duda, perhaps in a deal for starting pitching.
But no marriage is perfect. There are significant questions regarding Granderson’s ability to transition from Yankee Stadium — arguably the most left-handed power-friendly ballpark in the Majors — to more neutral Citi Field. Granderson will also be 33 on Opening Day and is coming off an injury-plagued season.
Then there is the matter of money. The Mets have openly balked at the prospect of handing out nine-figure deals to top free agents Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo, and are not expected to pursue marquee free agents at any position. While Granderson would certainly come cheaper than Ellsbury or Choo, the industry assumption is that he can land a four-year deal in the neighborhood of $60 million.
A popular clubhouse presence in New York, Granderson has already been linked to the Yankees, Cubs and White Sox, among others.
“The free agent market has been enjoyable,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited about what the next step and chapter is in my baseball career.”
Last month, Alderson, assistant GM John Ricco and COO Jeff Wilpon met with Cano’s representatives at a Manhattan hotel. The GM later defined the meeting as more of an introduction to Jay-Z, who recently founded the talent agency Roc Nation Sports, than a negotiation session.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson met Sunday with free agent outfielder Curtis Granderson, according to FOX Sports.
Granderson would fill the Mets’ obvious hole at one of their corner outfield spots, even if Citi Field’s spacious dimensions would strip him of the 40-homer power he displayed for years at Yankee Stadium. He could be out of the Mets’ price range if he is seeking a lucrative multi-year deal, but would likely come cheaper than top-of-the-line free agent outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo.
Granderson, 32, hit .229 with seven home runs in 61 games last season, missing much of the campaign with a broken finger. He hit 84 homers combined over his previous two seasons in New York.
The Mets began addressing their outfield vacancies on Friday morning, signing Chris Young to a one-year contract pending a physical, according to two sources with knowledge of the negotiations. The Mets have not commented on the signing because it is not yet official.
Young, 30, hit .200 with 12 home runs and 10 stolen bases last season, his first in Oakland after seven years with the D-backs. His best year came in 2010, when he hit .257 with 27 home runs and 28 steals, making his only All-Star appearance.
Though Young has played mostly center field throughout his career, he also played 26 games in right field last season and 24 games in left. If the Mets choose to keep Juan Lagares in center in 2014, they could plug Young into either corner.