LaCrosse Tribune: Vic Black happy to be a New Yorker

Mets reliever Vic Black never imagined living in New York, but now he’s a proud New Yorker.

Black has no interest in coaching after he retires, instead he’s likely to pursue a career in public speaking, broadcast or fishing >> Read more at the LaCrosse Tribune.

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Wally Backman will return to Las Vegas

Wally Backman will return as manager for the Mets Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas for the 2015 season, the team announced Wednesday.

This will be his third year in Las Vegas, where he was named the Pacific Coast League’s Manager of the Year last season going 81-63.

“I’m excited to return to Las Vegas for my third season,” Backman said. “We should have another good ball club, especially to start the season. I fully expect us to win and to further continue to develop players to get them ready to play in the big leagues.”

Backman is 763-690 (.525) managing for the White Sox, D-Backs and Mets organizations during his 12-year career.

The team also announced that Frank Viola will return for his second season as Backman’s pitching coach and Jack Voigt has been hired as his hitting coach.

In this past week’s MetsBlog Q&A Cast, Backman talked about several of the team’s top young talent, including Noah Syndegraard, Kevin Plawecki and others…

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Dillon Gee brushes off BP prediction for 82-80 record

Baseball Prospectus projected the Mets will finish 82-80, second place in the NL East and miss the Wild Card by one game (Baseball Pro., Jan. 28).

“New York City was expected to get hammered with an Armageddon blizzard. Sometimes, people get it wrong,” Dillon Gee later wrote online (Twitter, Jen. 28).

Bobby Parnell, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, David Wright, Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins and Matt Harvey have all said they expect their team to make the playoffs in 2015 (MetsBlog, Jan. 29).

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In case you missed it, pres. by Land Rover

Mets pitchers and catchers must report to Port St. Lucie in 21 days…

The Mets avoided arbitration with Jenrry Mejia, settling on a one-year contract worth $2.5 million >> Read more

The Mets are still not close to a trade involving Dillon Gee or one of their other starting pitchers >> Read more

Baseball Prospectus projected the Mets to be 82-80 in 2015 and finish in second place in the N.L. East >> Read more

According to Keith Law of ESPN, the Mets have the fourth-best farm system in baseball >> Read more

Cuban SS Yoan Moncada, who the Mets recently said was out of their budget, may officially be a free soon >> Read more

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Jenrry Mejia 18dv

Jenrry Mejia avoids arbitration, agrees to 1-year deal

The Mets and Jenrry Mejia agreed to a one-year, $2.595 million, avoiding salary arbitration (Heyman, Jan. 28).

Mejia,  25, began last season as a starter, but was sent to the bullpen in May. He quickly took over as the closer after Bobby Parnell needed Tommy John surgery in April.

Mejia finished with 28 saves, a 2.72 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 24.3 percent strikeout rate in 56 1/3 innings as a reliever.

In December, Mets manager Terry Collins said Parnell will be the closer when he returns from the DL this season, which didn’t upset Mejia (Daily News, Dec.  16).

“Whatever job they giving to me, I gotta be there to help my team,” Mejia said.

Listen to Mets: On the Air

Mets: On the Air, hosted by James Flippin, took calls about the team’s talk of October, Spring Training position battles, and more…

To listen live, click play below!

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Mets have 4th-best farm system in MLB

The Mets have the fourth-best farm system in MLB, according to Keith Law (ESPN, Jan. 28).

“They’re deep in arms and bats, especially guys who might play in the middle of the diamond or pitch in the top three spots of a major league rotation,” writes Law. “They’ve kept all their prospects while patiently building, but this is probably the year to swap some of their starting pitching prospect depth for a bat.”

The Cubs, Twins and Astros are the only teams to rank ahead of the Mets on Law’s list.

cerrone avatarMatthew Cerrone: We read so much about the pitching, but this is the first time I recall someone acknowledging the farm system’s hitters. In the last week, 1B Dom Smith, 2B Dilson Herrera and C Kevin Plawecki were all ranked in the top 10 of all prospects at their position. Also, Jim Callis of said Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto will crack the Top 100. The talent is there, despite them being a year or two from having a real impact at the big-league level. How Sandy Alderson handles this is the big question, especially if the Mets are winning and, say, Troy Tulowitzki is healthy and available this summer…