Hot Stove: Sox acquire Bailey, Jays discussing Garza

Here is the latest hot stove buzz circulating around MLB:

Sickels: Harvey, Wheeler & Famila lead Mets Top 20

In a post to his blog Minor League Ball, prospect guru John Sickels lists his Top 10 Mets prospects (and grades) as:

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  1. 1. Matt Harvey, RHP, Grade B+
  2. 2. Zack Wheeler, RHP, Grade B+
  3. 3. Jeurys Familia, RHP, Grade B
  4. 4. Brandon Nimmo, OF, Grade B
  5. 5. Cesar Puello, OF, Grade B-
  6. 6. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF, Grade B-
  7. 7. Jenrry Mejia, RHP, Grade B-
  8. 8. Reese Havens, 2B, Grade B-
  9. 9. Wilmer Flores, 3B-SS, Grade B-
  10. 10. Cory Mazzoni, RHP, Grade C+

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According to Sickels, “The Mets farm system has improved and I don’t think it gets enough respect. He says he likes the team’s young pitching, saying, “Harvey, Wheeler, and Familia are three hard-throwing right-handers with the ability to be staff anchors.”

Sickels expects it will be difficult for the Mets to keep from rushing Harvey and Familia to the majors during 2012, “but both will be better-positioned to help in 2013.” He sees Harvey and Wheeler as eventual No. 2 starters and pitchers the Mets can build around, while Familia could be a No. 3 starter or a closer (depending on how he develops his change-up).

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Matthew Cerrone: This is good news. I love the resurgence of young pitching in the organization, especially when you look at what successful teams have been doing over the last decade. He’s right, there will be pressure from fans and media to move Harvey to the Mets this year. He’ll make some noise in Spring Training, but he should return to Double-A to start 2012. In June, after he’s made 10 starts or so, I bet we might start hearing rumblings that he could finally be ready to pitch in the big leagues, which means his name will undoubtedly pop up in trade talks. But, I don’t think he’s going any place…

Sickels had Harvey in his top 3 last year, while Familia was in the mid teens. Wheeler was with the Giants. So, this year is an improvement. Jenrry Mejia will hopefully be back on the mound at the end of this season, as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery. And so, I’d say by the end of this summer we all will have a real good idea of where this young crop of pitchers will be, all while guys like Cory Mazzoni, Michael Fulmer, and Logan Verrett complete their first full year of professional baseball.

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To see John’s list of the top 20 prospect and full commentary for each player, read his entire post for Minor League Ball here.

Omar Vizquel will not join the Mets

In a post to Twitter, SS Omar Vizquel said, if offered a contract, he would not be interested in joining the Mets next season.

Vizquel, who will be 45 in April, hit .251 with eight RBI in 58 games for the White Sox last season. In 23 big league seasons, Vizquel is a .272 career hitter with 2841 hits and 402 stolen bases and an 11-time Gold Glove Award winner at shortstop.

Michael Baron: Vizquel is one of the best shortstops I’ve ever seen. However, at this point in his career, even as a mentor to the middle infielders, he is less valuable than everyone else on the current roster.

The problem with aging veterans to this degree is there can be zero expectations placed with them. The Mets cannot sign someone like Vizquel to a major league deal, and even if he somehow made the team out of camp, he could never be depended upon for any sort of consistent on-field contribution. Right now, the more dependable a player is for the Mets on the diamond, the more valuable he is to them right now.

Hot Stove Recap: Fielder won't sign a short-term deal

Here is the latest hot stove buzz circulating around MLB over the last day or so:

Koufax, Mays and Seaver added to BAT's Mets dinner

Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays and Tom Seaver have joined the list of the more than 100 current and former Major Leaguers who are scheduled to attend the 23rd annual B.A.T. Fundraising Dinner, which will celebrrate the 50th anniversary of the Mets.

The annual fundraising dinner will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012 at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.

Choo Choo Coleman, David Cone, John Franco, Dwight Gooden, Bud Harrelson, Keith Hernandez, Jerry Koosman, Ed Kranepool, Ron Darling, Al Leiter, Darryl Strawberry, Rusty Staub and many others will be in attendance.

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Matthew Cerrone: It’s a pretty impressive program. However, in learning more about it, the thing I found most interesting is that B.A.T. is also in the business of helping ushers, people who work concessions, etc., as well as other departments in an organization, up and down the franchise from the big leaguers to the minors. I wrongly assumed they were only about helping former players, like Barry Lyons (who appealed to B.A.T., and was helped out after Hurricane Katrina). But, it’s also for other people in the ‘baseball family,’ who help make the game just as possible as the players on the field. I’m trying to find a way to attend this, as it looks like it should be a fun time.

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For more info about B.A.T., or to purchase tickets to the dinner, click here.

Rockies in contract talks with Cody Ross

Buster Olney of ESPN says the Rockies are pursuing OF Cody Ross and the two sides are negotiating the terms of a new contract.

However, Troy Renck of the Denver Post says while the Rockies are interested in Ross, they will only sign him at the right price, which Olney speculates is a one-year deal plus an option.

Earlier this month, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports said the Mets are among five teams to show interest in Rockies OF Seth Smith, who is now available after Colorado signed Michael Cuddyer and could become more expendable if they sign Ross.

In 147 games for the Rockies last year, Smith, 29, hit .284 with a .347 on-base percentage, 15 HR and 59 RBI in 476 at-bats. He is eligible for arbitration and, according to MLB Trade Rumors, could earn around $2.6 million in 2012.

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Michael Baron: From a Mets perspective, Ross is the more versatile option over Smith. Ross is a right-handed hitter who is capable of playing all three outfield positions and could serve in a platoon should either Andres Torres or Lucas Duda struggle against left-handed pitching. Ross also wouldn’t cost any talent in return, unlike Smith would have to be acquired in a trade.

In regards to Smith, like a lot of hitters, he’s been much more consistent at Coors Field than he has been elsewhere over the course of his career. In addition, Smith does not hit left-handed pitching at all; he’s hit .290 against right-handed pitching and .202 against left-handed pitching in five big-league seasons. He’s mostly played the corner outfield positions in his career, but hasn’t really distinguished himself defensively.

Bill Price: How long can it go before Selig steps in?

In a post to his blog for the Daily News, Bill Price writes:

Letting Jose Reyes walk – in a vacuum – was a good baseball decision. With his injury history, six years is risky. Still, the perception is that the Mets don’t have enough money to keep their homegrown stars – and that is not only bad for Met business, it’s bad for baseball business… especially in New York City. If the Mets have to give up David Wright, perhaps their last marquee attraction, it looks even worse. So, you wonder if something like that makes Bud Selig put aside his friendship to Fred Wilpon and pressure him to sell the team. … How low can the Mets go before Selig steps in? It puts Sandy Alderson in a tricky spot, too. He works for the Mets, but was basically put there by Selig. While I think he would love to someday be known as the guy who rebuilt the Mets into a big-time team, he may not want to go down as the guy who let Wright and Reyes and who knows who else go. Anyway you slice it, it’s a bad situation all the way around.”

Wright is entering the final year of a six-year, $55 million contract. He has a $16 million club option for 2013 with a $1 million buyout. If he is traded, Wright can void the option.

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Matthew Cerrone: It’s too early to assess this, because a lot will hinge on how Wright performs in the first half (considering the new dimensions of the park, etc.). Nevertheless, Bill poses a fair and hypothetical question, assuming Wright does well and then ends up being traded. I mean, if he struggles, it will be similar to the situation with Jose (in that there will be a legit discussion about his talent and ability going forward, regardless of money). However, I think all hell will break loose if he returns to form and makes the All Star team and he gets traded, especially if the team is actually playing well and there is reason to think he should be re-signed or at least retained with his option.

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To read Price’s post for the Daily News, click here.