M’s less likely to put Brad Miller in OF, after acquiring Ruggiano

The Mariners have acquired OF Justin Ruggiano from the Cubs, meaning they’re less likely to move SS Brad Miller to the outfield (Dutton, Dec. 17), which was reportedly being considered earlier in the off season.

Miller and teammate Chris Taylor (also a shortstop) are two of three potential trade targets to be pursued by Sandy Alderson this winter, according to sources (Carig, Dec. 9).

In the days after the MLB Winter Meetings, a Mariners official said the team was not looking to trade Miller (News-Tribune, Dec. 12), since Taylor is considered to be more of a defensive shortstop.

In November, a front office person, an agent and multiple insiders said the Mariners and Mets match up well for a trade (Rubin, Nov. 11).

miniMCavatarMatthew Cerrone: I heard the Mariners would be willing to use Miller in a deal to get an every-day outfielder, but instead it looks like they may go with a platoon and cobble the position together. They’re rumored to still be seeking a reliable, mid-rotation starting pitcher, which is where I’m people see the Mets coming in to play. I still think Dillon Gee and, say, Rafael Montero could get Miller or Taylor.

I think once the Seattle has their outfield buttoned up, they’ll turn their attention to the market for remaining pitchers, likely in January, which should still include Gee, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon. At that point, I suspect these two teams will circle back and see if they still have a match, because — as Adam Rubin’s sources said — they’re the best possible fit. Frankly, at this point, Seattle may be Alderson’s only fit.

FTW: Piazza reminisces about old hair styles

Ted Berg sits down with Mike Piazza to look back on the best and worst hairstyles of the catcher’s playing career >> Read more at For the Win.

“The stuff you try when you’re trying to be different, and edgy, it doesn’t end up edgy,” Piazza admits. “It ends up dorky.”


Why did the Mets sign John Mayberry Jr.?

The Mets signed John Mayberry Jr. to a one-year, $1.45 million deal because they needed someone to come off the bench against left-handed pitchers, Sandy Alderson explained to reporters at Citi Field on Tuesday.

“We weren’t very good against left-handed pitching last year,” Alderson explained, noting that Mayberry may get an occasional start in right field depending on how Terry Collins handles first base when facing a left-handed starting pitcher.

Mayberry has a career .857 OPS against left-handed pitchers, while slugging .533. Meanwhile, the Mets hit the fewest home runs against left-handed pitching in baseball last season, and they were second to last in OPS.

Alderson said the Mets chose Mayberry over other available options, such as Ryan Ludwick and Kyle Blanks, because Mayberry had the desired skills and track record needed, plus he was willing to accept a role on the bench.

Mejia turned entrance in to the Santa Stomp on Tuesday

The Mets hosted more than 150 school children at Citi Field for their annual Kids Holiday Party on Tuesday.

Jenrry Mejia dressed as Santa Claus, who entered the room doing his patented Mejia Stomp. Jeurys Familia dressed up an elf. The two relievers handed out gifts to all the children in attendance.

“It was great being able to hand out the presents and see the smiles on all the kids’ faces,” Familia said. “It definitely made me feel good, and it makes you happy doing something like this.”

Tuesday’s event hosted children from six schools in the New York City area.

“It’s always good to give back to the community any way we can, especially this time of year,” Sandy Alderson added. “All these kids out here are clearly in the holiday spirit today, and knowing we’re able to be a part of that, that’s what this organization is all about.”

Syndergaard, Matz and Nimmo lead Baseball America’s Top 10 Mets Prospects

Baseball America released their annual Top 10 Mets Prospect List on Wednesday (Eddy, Dec. 17).

Rank Prospect  Pos.  Last Year
1  Noah Syndergaard RHP  1
2 Steven Matz LHP  -
3 Brandon Nimmo OF  8
4 Dilson Herrera 2B  -
5 Kevin Plawecki C  5
6 Amed Rosario SS  7
7 Michael Conforto OF  -
8 Rafeal Montero RHP  3
9 Marcos Molina RHP  -
10 Gavin Cecchini SS  9

“For the first time in a four-year tenure, general manager Sandy Alderson, his front office and field staff can glimpse light at the end of the tunnel,” the list’s author, Matt Eddy, said.

miniMCavatarMatthew Cerrone: These lists are fun. However, it’s worth noting that BA ranked Jacob deGrom as the organization’s No. 10 prospect a year ago, after which he immediately won the National League Rookie of the Year. BA was also the only major outlet to list deGrom in their Top 10 at all.

That said, it’s worth noting that six of the 10 prospects are position players, which is nice to see considering how much attention we pay to pitching and the big-league team’s need for offense. I’m working on a Prospect Buzz List, which I try to do every year, and I can tell you that Molina, Rosario, Matz and Plawecki are talked about a lot…

On the other hand, I’m surprised to see 1B Dominic Smith go from No. 4 on last year’s list to not even in the top 10 this year. This may be a credit to other players rising up, just as much as it’s about him falling down. However, he’s probably also getting beaten up for his lack of power, which may be mostly attributed to his league. We’ll know soon enough, since I suspect he’ll get to Double-A before the end of this year. In either case, I bet he’s back in their Top 10 by summer.


Mets may push back Harvey’s first start, wait for home opener

The Mets are considering whether to hold Matt Harvey back at the start of the season, perhaps until the home opener at Citi Field on April 13, Terry Collins told reporter Kevin Kernan (New York Post, Dec. 17).

Sandy Alderson and Collins have repeatedly said they plan to skip starts to limit Harvey’s innings, keeping him available for the September and a possible post-season appearance.

“He’s got the competitiveness of a stinkin’ bear,” Collins said of Harvey. “I love that attitude he brings and it spreads. Guys want to top each other. … I can see Zack watching deGrom and Harvey, saying, ‘I can do that. Matter of fact, I might be able to do better than they do.’ So now he steps up. This kid has grown up.’’

Collins said he expects Noah Syndergaard to fill in for Harvey at some point this season, so Harvey is fresh for playoff run in September and October.

Harvey had Tommy John surgery at the end of 2013, he missed all of 2014. He told reporters in December that he is expected to be 100 percent and ready to throw from a mound February 1 in Port St. Lucie.

Juan Lagares 7866d

The 2015 starting lineup, according to Terry Collins

According to Terry Collins, if the season started today, he would bat Juan Lagares in the leadoff spot, followed in order by Curtis Granderson in left field, David Wright, Lucas Duda, Michael Cuddyer in right field, Daniel Murphy, Travis d’Arnaud, Wilmer Flores and then the pitcher (New York Post, Dec. 17).

Cuddyer will shift to first base, with John Mayberry Jr. in right field, pushing Duda to the bench, when facing a difficult left-handed starting pitcher, Collins said.

miniMCavatarMatthew Cerrone: This is idealistic, and it’s December, with hopefully another shortstop on their way, and more than 100 days until Opening Day, so…

To me, the news is that Collins intends to move Granderson to left field, which is smart. Curtis did not have a good year in right field and his arm looked rather weak. Cuddyer isn’t going to win a Gold Glove either, by any means, but it’s the right positioning. The bottom line is Lagares will be doing a lot of running around out there, more than ever before. Also, it’s another reason to carry Matt den Dekker over Kirk Nieuwenhuis, since having the strongest defensive replacement will be more important.