The Mets, Orioles and Mariners are all showing serious interest in free agent RHP Fernando Rodney (Nightengale, Feb. 4).
The Mets are still looking for a closer-type for the bullpen, even after signing Kyle Farnsworth on Monday (Rubin, Feb. 3). However, Sandy Alderson said last week he’s more likely to limit free-agent relievers to minor-league deals (DiComo, Jan. 29).
To read Michael Baron's thoughts on Rodney, click here...
Michael Baron, Contributor
The Mets have been looking for relievers who have experience closing, not just to deepen their bullpen but to provide insurance to Bobby Parnell in case he doesn’t return to form. Rodney certainly fits the criteria for what they were originally looking for, although I wonder if they have more confidence in Parnell’s abilities today than they did earlier in the off-season. Unless the Mets are looking to make Parnell a setup man, I can’t see Rodney ultimately joining the Mets with other opportunities to close elsewhere.
MLB Network’s Peter Gammons said Tuesday that he believes free-agent SS Stephen Drew will eventually sign with the Mets.
Last week, Sandy Alderson said he’s continuing to monitor Drew’s situation, but signing the shortstop remains unlikely (DiComo, Jan. 29).
It was reported late Tuesday that the Red Sox made a two-year offer to Drew (Bowden, Feb. 3). However, according to Gammons, Boston is asking Drew to essentially be a utility infielder, playing shortstop, third and second base.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
The way I understand it, Drew is still insisting on a three- or four-year deal, and no team (including the Mets) seems to want to go there. The Blue Jays, A’s and Twins are also reportedly interested (Martino, Jan. 27, Heyman, Jan. 28), so maybe he still feels he has leverage.
He’s reportedly willing to play multiple positions, but I assume that is simply a way to get more teams involved. In the end, I have to think he’d prefer to be a starting shortstop, which is something the Mets can offer him that Boston cannot. The Blue Jays have Jose Reyes and Houston has a bright, up-and-coming prospect ready to take over. The A’s have Nick Punto and Jed Lowrie. So, again, like I said months ago, the Twins and Mets may end up Drew’s best option…
Juan Lagares has joined Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada and Lucas Duda in Michigan for fitness training, according to Tim Rohan of the New York Times.
The fitness program in Michigan is voluntary, with the cost split between the team and any player.
“Sandy Alderson and other team executives decided after the 2013 season that they wanted to offer a more regimented offseason training program for some of their younger players,” Rohan said.
The program is run by Mike Barwis, a former strength and conditioning coach for the University of Michigan’s football program. He was recently hired as a consultant by the Mets.
Rohan says Duda has lost about 10 pounds, as Barwis’ program is focused mainly on balance, explosiveness, strength, speed and flexibility.
“I feel like I’m more coordinated,” Duda told Rohan.
Mets prospects Dominic Smith, Philip Evans, and Patrick Biondi have also participated in the program this winter.
Read more: Before Hitting and Fielding, Young Mets Seek Edge by Running and Stretching (NY Times)
The Royals have designated Emilio Bonifacio for assignment, the team announced on Saturday.
They have 10 days to trade or release him.
Bonifacio, 28, hit .243 with a .295 OBP, 22 doubles, three triples and 28 stolen bases with the Royals and Blue Jays in 2013. He hit .285 with a .352 OBP in 42 games after being acquired by Kansas City.
Bonifacio agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract to avoid arbitration last month, and he can be a free agent at the end of the 2014 season.
Michael Baron, Contributor
If the Mets are not going to sign a primary shortstop, Bonifacio could help provide depth. However, the Mets would probably have to swing a trade with Kansas City to acquire him.
Bonifacio is capable of playing second, short, third and the outfield, although he isn’t a particular good defensive player. He’s a switch hitter with speed, who handles lefties pretty well, and he’s a consistent base stealing threat that could serve the top of this lineup nicely. I’m not sure he’s an everyday player right now, but the same could certainly be said about Ruben Tejada. With the exception of Eric Young Jr., the Mets roster lacks the kind of speed Bonifacio possesses, and his game could play well with the large gaps at Citi Field if used in the right situations.
The Mets have signed IF/OF Matt Clark to a minor league contract and have invited him to Major League Spring Training, the team announced.
Clark, 27, hit .238 with a .328 OBP and .785 OPS, with 25 home runs and 70 RBI, for the Chunichi Dragons in Japan in 2013.
Clark – a left-handed hitter – has never played above Triple-A in the United States, last appearing Tucson Padres in the Pacific Coast League in 2012. He hit .290 with a .367 OBP and .872 OPS, 22 home runs and 77 RBI that season, and he’s a career .282 hitter with an .852 OPS in five minor league seasons.
Michael Baron, Contributor
In a report for MLB.com, Bernie Pleskoff said Mets RHP Jeurys Familia is one of the more promising and intriguing pitchers the Mets have in their organization.
“One has to look past Familia’s Fall League numbers to realize the upside and potential in his strong right arm,” Pleskoff said. “If he can control his best pitches, two-seam and four-seam fastballs and a slider, he will make a tremendous impact at the end of a ballgame.”
Pleskoff – who scouted Familia during the Arizona Fall League last season – said Familia still must work to improve his mechanics, but believes he can get through these problems to become a dominant reliever in the bullpen.
“There is a great deal of mechanical inconsistency in Familia’s delivery. He has to smooth out the motion, using less effort with repeated, clean finishes in his arm action to find rhythm,” Pleskoff said. “For smaller pitchers with less arm strength and not as much intensity, it might be a tall order. The task is less daunting because Familia has shown he can be reliable and overpowering. He just needs to be more consistent.”
The 24-year-old, has a 5.09 ERA in only 17 career games the big leagues, allowing 18 walks with 18 strikeouts in 23 innings. He missed most of the 2013 season after undergoing surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow.
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The A’s and Twins have emerged as possible landing spots for free-agent SS Stephen Drew (Martino, Jan. 27), who could be willing to play multiple positions, according to his agent Scott Boras (Gammons, Jan. 15).
The Mets continue to see Drew as worth only a one-year deal (Martino, Jan. 27). Similarly, Red Sox are still considering re-signing Drew, but prefer to give him just a one or two-year deal (Martino, Jan. 27).
Drew has been reportedly seeking a three- or four-year contract worth as much as $12 million a season.
The Yankees are unlikely to pursue Drew, after spending $155 million on Masahiro Tanaka, according to league sources (Martino, Jan. 27).
Michael Baron, Contributor
Sam Dykstra of MiLB.com says Mets RHP prospect Rafael Montero is the most underrated prospect in MLB.com’s top 100 prospects list.
“Any talk about Montero, who owns a plus fastball with an improving breaking ball and changeup, starts with his control,” Dykstra said. “I’m not saying Montero deserves a top-50 spot, but I’d take him over [Brewers' Jimmy] Nelson and [Cleveland's] Trevor Bauer at this point.”
Montero is ranked as MLB.com’s 85th best prospect for 2014.
The organization has been particularly impressed with Montero’s command over the last couple of seasons. They’ve generally felt Montero has been ahead of the curve in the developmental process, as he’s showed impressive command of not only his fastball, but his secondary pitches as well. While his off-speed looked electric, it was still a little raw when I saw him pitch in camp last year, but it greatly improved over the course of the season.
Montero has accumulated enough innings above Double-A to qualify for a promotion. In fact, I’ve heard over the course of the offseason he had been considered for a spot in the rotation on Opening Day, as they feel he is big league ready right now. However, since they’ve signed John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka, it appears that’s a long shot (and might’ve been anyway considering the “Super Two” issue), but that could be a good thing. Montero only came to the organization in 2011, so he does lack years of experience in the minor leagues. Another few months at Las Vegas, with the possibility of enjoying more success before getting here, can only serve as a benefit in the final stages of his development.
Read more: Rounding The Bases: Top 100 talk (MiLB.com)
Josh Satin is continuing his work as an outfielder at his home this winter, according to Tim Rohan of the New York Times.
Satin says he has consulted with former Met Marlon Byrd about improving as an outfielder after struggling to catch balls over his head during drills.
Satin wants to show he can play the outfield in an effort to become a more versatile utility player for the Mets in 2014.
Maggie Wiggin, ContributorSep. 8:
I really like Satin as a player and I appreciate his dedication to the team and his willingness to do anything to contribute. It’s a great attitude and I think it’s a big part of why he’s playing himself into a bench role for next year. That said, enough is enough with the infielders playing the outfield. It didn’t work for Daniel Murphy
, it didn’t work for Lucas Duda
, and while I suspect Satin is a bit more athletic than either of them, I don’t see this experiment ending with anything other than frustration and embarrassment for all involved.
Read more: A Met Who Can Reach Base Is Trying to Stretch (New York Times)
Mets OF Curtis Granderson said he does not regret saying, “true New Yorkers are Mets fans,” noting he meant no harm to the Yankees with his remarks.
“My comment wasn’t a dig at anybody, it was just some things that people said to me on a consistent basis,’’ Granderson said, according to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. “I’m excited to see the New York sports fans that are Mets fans come out in droves. I’ve heard great things about the past, and now to get a chance to be a part of it in the present and the future, I’m very optimistic about it.”
Sandy Alderson liked what Granderson had to say about Mets fans as well.
“I was pleased,” Alderson told the New York Post. “I like somebody with a little edge.”
Mets COO Jeff Wilpon agreed, and said he’s excited for what Granderson brings to the Mets.
“I thought it was a great comment,” Wilpon said. “I knew it was going to be controversial, but he’s speaking from the heart, and if that’s what he feels, guess what, he’s the type of guy who can back it up. He’s a Met now. He’s turned the page. Curtis brings an outside view to the organization, and that’s a good thing. I’m very happy to get to know him.’’
Granderson recognizes the need to back up those comments on the field, and he is excited to be in a leadership role with the Mets.
“I will help build team bonding and communication. I’m in a different position now in my career. It’s exciting to be a veteran,” Granderson said.
Read more: Granderson’s leadership skills on display (New York Post)
The Mets have recently expressed interest in free agent RHP Fernando Rodney (Rubin, Jan. 24),
However, while the team has engaged Rodney’s agent, a team official has indicated signing Rodney is a long shot (Martin, Jan. 25).
The Mets, Orioles and two other teams are interested Rodney (Brown, Jan. 24), although Baltimore’s interest in Rodney is only, “lukewarm” at the moment (Ghiroli, Jan. 24).
The Mets are interested in signing a late-inning reliever with experience to a big league contract as both depth and insurance to Bobby Parnell. They recently made a significant offer to RHP Grant Balfour before he decided to sign with the Rays earlier this week (Rosenthal, Jan. 23; Rubin, Jan. 23).
They Mets have also been linked to free agent RHP Mitchell Boggs (Sherman, Dec. 9) but nothing appears imminent with him (Puma, Jan. 21).