Results tagged ‘ mets ’

Is there still room on the Angels’ 2013 payroll?

The acquisition of Josh Hamilton was, in many ways, a two-for-one signing because it also allows general manager Jerry Dipoto to trade a suddenly-expendable player for another starting pitcher.

Question is: Can the Angels take on more payroll in the process?

Hamilton’s five-year, $125 million contract will pay him $17 million in 2013 ($15 million in salary, plus a $10 million signing bonus that’s dispersed evenly over the course of his five-year contract). That, in addition to arbitration projections and minimum contracts, puts the Angels’ 2013 payroll at roughly $159 million, which is about where they finished at last year.

Asked about expanding it further in case of adding a pricey arm, Angels president John Carpino basically said it would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

“Instead of putting [the payroll] at a place where it’s, ‘This is where we’re at,’ it’s, ‘What’s the opportunity cost of doing it?'” Carpino said at Hamilton’s Saturday news conference. “So, if something became available that’s an opportunity cost, it just comes down to wanting to win. But it also has to make sense fiscally.”

Teams are a lot more willing to give up a would-be free agent than a cost-controlled arm, of course.

That’s why, with R.A. Dickey off the board, names like Ricky Nolasco of the Marlins ($11.5 million in his walk year), Gavin Floyd of the White Sox ($9.5 million in his walk year) and Matt Garza of the Cubs (projected $10 million in his final arbitration year) seem to be the most feasible. Rick Porcello of the Tigers (projected $4.7 million in his second arbitration year) has also been mentioned.

Peter Bourjos, who’s still a year away from arbitration and will make about $500,000 in 2013, appeals to many teams. Kendrys Morales, Vernon Wells and — seemingly to a lesser extent — Mark Trumbo can also be made available.

The Angels’ preference would be to acquire a young, pre-arbitration starter who won’t add to the budget (Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore of the Rays comes to mind). But whether or not that situation presents itself remains to be seen.

– Alden Gonzalez

Dickey could be moving north of the border

R.A. Dickey’s storybook three-year run with the Mets may be coming to an end. The Mets are seriously discussing a trade of the reigning Cy Young Award-winner, according to multiple people involved in the negotiations, and could strike a deal as soon as Saturday. The Blue Jays are reportedly frontrunners for his services.

But people involved with the negotiations said Friday evening that nothing was imminent. For at least one more night, the Mets expected Dickey to remain in their employ.

The Jays, who possess surplus catching and outfield depth, have long been considered natural trade partners for the Mets, and now appear to be closing in on his services. Some combination of catchers Travis d’Arnaud or J.P. Arencibia, in addition to outfielder Anthony Gose, could land Dickey.

MLB.com reported late Friday afternoon that the Rangers, long considered serious suitors for Dickey, are no longer in the running. And despite rampant speculation that Josh Hamilton’s arrival in Orange County could prompt the Angels to trade some of their outfield surplus, a deal with the Halos appears no more likely now than it was at the beginning of this week.

–Anthony DiComo

Royals’ interest in R.A. Dickey reported

Could the Royals be in the hunt for the National League Cy Young Award winner?

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes that the Royals have discussed knuckleballer R.A. Dickey with the Mets as they continue efforts to upgrade the rotation. They’ve already traded for Ervin Santana from the Angels and re-signed Jeremy Guthrie.

Dickey is 38 but has a 2013 contract for $5 million that would be affordable for the Royals. But it’d loom as a one-year deal because Dickey would be a free agent in 2014.

There’s that 20-6 record, that 2.73 ERA and those 230 strikeouts to consider, however. For his part, Dickey has said he wants to remain with the Mets.

Earlier, the Royals have been reported interested in James Shields of the Rays and Jon Lester of the Red Sox.

– Dick Kaegel.

Report: Mets only “50-50″ to re-sign Wright

Despite public optimism from COO Jeff Wilpon, the New York Post quoted an anonymous source Tuesday in saying that the Mets are only a “50-50″ bet to ink third baseman David Wright to a long-term contract extension this winter.

The source told the Post that Wright “is less than thrilled with the length of contract and amount of guaranteed money the Mets have offered,” which “could set up a game of chicken between Mets brass and Wright’s agents.”

“Part of it is [COO] Jeff Wilpon tries to win every negotiation, he doesn’t go for the middle ground,” an anonymous source told the paper.

Later Tuesday, Wilpon appeared publicly in Far Rockaway, Queens, and said he is more optimistic than he was two months ago that the Mets will be able to re-sign Wright and pitcher R.A. Dickey.

“Certainly it’s gotten better because there’s conversations going back and forth,” Wilpon said. “So when you look at it from the end of the season when you didn’t really know how they were going to accept, or look at how we were positioning things and they were positioning things, there’s more optimism.”

Both Wright and Dickey are under team control for one more season.

–Anthony DiComo

Ike Davis not among Mets players on the block

Unprompted this week, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson mentioned Jon Niese and Dillon Gee as trade candidates in addition to R.A. Dickey.

But not everyone is up for grabs. The New York Post reported that Ike Davis is unavailable and Daniel Murphy is “unlikely” to be traded, as the Mets do not know how they would replace the offense of either player. If the Mets strike a significant deal, it will be drawing from their strength — starting pitching — to plug up holes in their lineup.

–Anthony DiComo

Hairston trying to ignore trade rumors

If the Mets make any move prior to Tuesday’s deadline, it will likely involve outfielder Scott Hairston, the only player on their roster generating significant interest from other clubs. Hairston could bolster a contender’s bench with his power right-handed bat.

Of course, Hairston also knows this, which is why he has been trying his hardest to block out trade rumors. Until his agent contacts him, Hairston said, he will do his best to keep his focus on the field.

“It’s kind of hard to ignore them,” Hairston said. “I have friends that send me texts every day. Right now, once I get to the ballpark I just focus in on doing my job that given day. I know a lot can happen in the next few days, but I’m a Met now, I’m happy to be a Met and I’m enjoying my time here.”

General manager Sandy Alderson has said that he will not trade Hairston for a low-level prospect. But he did not rule out dealing Hairston for a piece that could legitimately help the Mets in 2013 and beyond. As a pending free agent, Hairston may be playing out his final months with the Mets, anyway, giving them added incentive to deal him.

–Anthony DiComo

Teams inquiring about Hairston; Mets saying “no”

Though blockbuster trades — Zack Greinke, anyone? — receive most of the attention around Trade Deadline time, role players such as Scott Hairston can also make significant impacts on pennant races.

To that end, the Mets have been fielding offers for fourth outfielder Scott Hairston, one of the league’s best bench bats against left-handed pitching. General manager Sandy Alderson said last week that he does not want to do anything to hurt his team prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. But if a team approaches the Mets with an offer of a valuable chip under team control, they may not be able to say no. Hairston will be a free agent in three months, anyway, and his strong season may price him out of returning to Flushing.

Hairston could be a valuable bench bat for a contending team. He is batting .308 with nine home runs and a .958 OPS in 120 at-bats against left-handers, and owns an .836 career OPS against them.

–Anthony DiComo

Mets appear likely to stand pat at deadline

General manager Sandy Alderson reassured reporters last week that the Mets would certainly be buyers at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

How things have changed.

“You’ve got to be realistic and take into account where you are from day to day,” Alderson said. The Mets are 1-8 since the All-Star break, and Sunday’s 12th-inning loss to the Dodgers dipped them below .500 for the first time all season.

“We’re certainly not in the same position today that we were four, five days ago,” he continued. “That doesn’t mean we’re sellers, but I’d say right now that we’re exploring a lot of different scenarios.”

The Mets’ needs are obvious — New York’s bullpen has the worst ERA in the Majors and the team is left with just two members of its Opening Day starting rotation. Top pitching prospect Matt Harvey will make his Major League debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, but Alderson knows that one arm won’t turn around a season that has so quickly spiraled out of control.

“We’ll see whether it’s important for us to invest more heavily in 2012,” he said. “I don’t think we want to invest too heavily in ’13 or ’14 to the significant detriment of 2012.

“It’s important for us to win games. We’re trying to change the perception here, and part of that is actually winning games, which we realize. So if we were to make a trade, we would want to make sure that it made sense — not just in terms of acquiring additional talent, but also taking into account the importance of the balance of this year.”

Though unexpected, New York’s post-All-Star-break slump isn’t entirely shocking — the team lost Dillon Gee to likely season-ending surgery over the break, and ace Johan Santana’s ankle injury culminated in sub-par outings. With a new playoff format to include a second Wild Card team, New York hasn’t jumped ship on 2012, but Alderson’s original self-labeling of the Mets as buyers has seemingly shifted into a holding pattern.

“You can make deals that aren’t blockbusters that are going to really improve you significantly for the remainder of this year, but set you up nicely — in some way — for the following year.”

–Adam Rosenbloom

July 19 Late Night Roundup

  • The Cubs’ Ryan Dempster is said to be attracting a lot of trade interest. The Dodgers are one team that has proposed a deal for the veteran right-handed pitcher, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. The Cubs would like to add young pitching in return. Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reported that the two clubs were “having somewhat constructive conversations” about a deal by Thursday but that the Tigers and Braves figure to be among the other teams vying for Dempster.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweeted that teams also are expressing interest in two other Cubs, infielder Jeff Baker and outfielder Reed Johnson, who could serve as right-handed bats off the bench.
  • Rosenthal and colleague Jon Morosi also reported that the Pirates, Red Sox and Tigers are among the clubs pursuing D-backs shortstop Stephen Drew. The Pirates are still after Arizona outfielder Justin Upton as well, according to Morosi.
  • The Tigers, Rangers and Pirates are a few of the teams that have asked the Rockies about second baseman Marco Scutaro, according to the Denver Post. With Colorado in last place in the NL West, the team also could deal relievers such as closer Rafael Betancourt, as well as catchers Ramon Hernandez and Wil Nieves.
  • Teams interested in outfielder Carlos Quentin and closer Huston Street of the Padres might end up disappointed. San Diego plans to sign both players to long-term deals before the trade deadline, reported Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
  • The Twins will look to acquire pitching in exchange for surging lefty Francisco Liriano, wrote Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. The Yankees, Mets, Angels, Braves, Blue Jays and Red Sox highlight the group looking into Liriano.

– Andrew Simon

Mets looking for bullpen help (and not much else)

Rumors aside, the Mets have just one main concern in advance of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Dismissing a right-handed bat or starting pitcher as priorities, general manager Sandy Alderson said Tuesday that his focus is to acquire help for the club’s 30th-ranked bullpen. Outside of that, Alderson is hesitant to mortgage any fraction of the organization’s future in exchange for a short-term fix.

“That’s the number one priority,” Alderson said of the bullpen. “We’ve looked at other things. Other things could develop. But we’re focused on a long-term plan with the recognition that 2012 is very important, and we want to be as competitive as we can possibly be. Hopefully we don’t have to compromise the vision.”

Rumors have swirled throughout July that the Mets might be interested in a power right-handed bat or a catcher, possibly in the form of the same person. Then, when right-hander Dillon Gee underwent potentially season-ending surgery last week, the Mets became potential buyers for a starting pitcher.

But starters are expensive in terms of the prospects that other teams expect back, and the Mets already added a right-handed bat Tuesday when they activated Jason Bay from the disabled list. So rather than focus on either of their areas, they will use their lower-tier prospects and available cash to try to score a solid reliever.

At the least, they are committed to that goal. The Mets have assigned all of their Major League scouts to cover big league clubs this week, rather than check out prospects in the Minors.

“So if that’s any evidence of our point of view, our state of mind, we are buyers,” Alderson said. “Right now, we’re buyers.”

–Anthony DiComo

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