Results tagged ‘ mets ’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
- 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
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.”
One of the relievers on the Mets’ Trade Deadline wish list, according to a report Tuesday in the New York Post, is former closer Francisco Rodriguez.
From a purely baseball perspective, that makes plenty of sense. Because of Rodriguez’s 4.00 ERA and $8-million salary as Milwaukee’s setup man, the Brewers cannot rightfully ask for a significant haul of prospects in return. But Rodriguez does have a long track record of excellence in late-game situations and holds a 2.66 ERA in 25 outings since May 4, striking out nearly a batter per inning and walking one-third as many.
Rodriguez, for what it’s worth, also has experience pitching in New York. He was mellower last season after taking anger management classes following his 2010 arrest at Citi Field for assault, so that New York experience could make him more valuable than other late-inning options.
Other relievers available include Brett Myers of the Astros, Huston Street of the Padres and Grant Balfour of the A’s.
Though the Mets are still feeling out their own roster before deciding what to do at the Trade Deadline, it’s clear that the top priority here is bullpen help. Despite the offseason acquisitions of Frank Francisco (who is injured), Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez, the bullpen still ranks last in baseball by a significant margin.
Buster Olney indicated Thursday on Twitter that the Mets could be a match for A’s reliever Grant Balfour, which would make sense. The Mets are not going to pay enormous sums of money or prospects to acquire a reliever, but someone such as Balfour could potentially provide a decent return without the Mets having to give up any of their top prospects or take on significant salary.
But with many teams still in legitimate playoff contention and the market for relievers consequently developing slowly, the Mets are not likely to swing a trade until after the All-Star break.