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Love the Mets



Updated: 2017-12-14T18:37:38-05:00

 



Mets have had “serious talks” regarding a Jason Kipnis trade with Cleveland

2017-12-14T18:37:38-05:00

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The team was pretty quiet during the winter meetings, but behind the scenes, something big was brewing

SB Nation’s own Chris Cotillo reported on Thursday afternoon that the Mets got together with Cleveland Indians brass during the winter meetings to discuss a trade for Jason Kipnis. Considering that the winter meetings just ended, it’s a little surprising that this is the first we’re hearing of the talks. Usually stuff like this leaks out earlier.

Maybe the Mets are getting better at keeping secrets. Either way, it’s encouraging news to fans who have a veteran second baseman on their holiday wish list. Before signing Anthony Swarzak to a two-year deal, New York missed out on a number of relief options. Then, we heard that Ian Kinsler was headed to the Angels instead of to Queens.

The Mets have been linked to Kipnis before, and a deal would make sense for both sides. The Indians are a contending team, but they play in a medium-sized market and could be looking to cut Kipnis’s salary after he missed 72 games with neck and hamstring injuries last season. And we know how the Mets love acquiring injury-prone players.

Seriously, though, a Mets acquisition makes sense because Kipnis is still only 30 years old with plenty of upside left. Over 2015 and 2016 he was worth nearly 10 WAR while missing just 27 total games. If he’s able to bounce back towards those levels, he would boost the profile of New York’s lineup considerably. Even in his struggle-filled 2017 campaign, Kipnis still hit 12 home runs and stole six bases, an indication that the veteran’s power and athleticism are in tact.

Kipnis has two years and $30.5 million remaining on his contract, so New York could hold onto its top prospects in a trade if it’s willing to take on the whole obligation. Even if that happens, Kipnis would still be a bargain at that cost if he’s able to return to his past All-Star level of play.




Mets select Andrew Ely in Triple-A Rule 5 Draft, lose Jose Medina

2017-12-14T16:13:20-05:00

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The Mets gained a defensive-oriented shortstop, but lost a young left-hander.

After selecting (and subsequently trading) Burch Smith in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, the Mets selected Andrew Ely from the Chicago Cubs with their first pick in the Triple-A portion of the draft. The 24-year-old Ely was selected by the Cubs in the 32nd round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of the University of Washington. A .311/.391.384 hitter, the Idaho native was more known for his defense than his output at the plate. Possessing quick reaction times, lateral range, a quick transfer and release, and strong and accurate throws, Ely showed good shortstop instincts.

After hitting well for the AZL Cubs, Chicago’s Rookie-level affiliate, Ely was promoted all the way up to the Iowa Cubs, their Triple-A affiliate, bolstering their defense during their race with the Omaha Storm Chasers for first place in the PCL American Northern division. The infielder played the 2015 season with more age- and talent-appropriate teams, splitting the year with the South Bend Cubs, Chicago’s Low-A affiliate, and after he struggled, the Eugene Emeralds, their Short-A affiliate. Ely opened the 2016 season with the South Bend Cubs once more, and after hitting better, was promoted to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Chicago’s High-A affiliate. Though he struggled with the bat with the Pelicans and likely warranted repeating the level, the organization promoted him and assigned Ely to the Tennessee Smokies, their Double-A affiliate. There, he hit .259/.356/.355 in 97 games. Playing mostly shortstop and second base, Ely remains a primarily defensive-oriented player.

Selected by San Diego Padres pick after the Mets selected Ely was Mets left-hander Jose Carlos Medina. Signed by the Mets as an international rookie out of Mexico in 2012, the 16-year-old had an amazing season with the DSL Mets in 2013, posting a 0.35 ERA in 52.0 innings, allowing 35 hits, walking 6, and striking out 41. The results far outpaced the stuff, and the southpaw would go on to have a solid yet unremarkable tenure with the Mets near the bottom of the minor league ladder. Most recently, in 2017, he split time with the Columbia Fireflies and the Brooklyn Cyclones. In Columbia, Medina posted a 2.70 ERA in 23.1 innings, allowing 27 hits, 7 walks, and 17 strikeouts. With the Cyclones, he posted a 3.53 ERA in 51.0 innings, allowing 57 hits, 7 walks, and 30 strikeouts. The southpaw’s fastball sat in the mid-80s, and he complemented it with a developing slider and changeup. His control was his best asset, walking few batters, but his stuff was not equipped to handle batters in the upper minors.




Mets select Burch Smith from Rays in Rule 5 draft, immediately trade him to Royals for cash

2017-12-14T11:12:54-05:00

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Smith’s Mets career lasted a few minutes.

In Major League Baseball’s Rule 5 draft on Thursday, the Mets selected Burch Smith from the Tampa Bay Rays only to trade him to the Kansas City Royals a few minutes later. New York received cash considerations for its trouble.

Smith, a tall right-handed pitcher from Texas, began his professional career with the Padres in 2011 before being moved to Tampa Bay in the same deal that sent Wil Myers to San Diego and Trea Turner to Washington. That trade occurred in December 2014, but Smith didn’t pitch for the Rays until this past year due to Tommy John surgery. The 2017 campaign was a success for Smith, as he surpassed Rookie and High-A ball to reach Triple-A before the end of the year.

At the highest level of the minors, Smith only made three starts, but he made a solid impression with 19 strikeouts, four walks, and just three runs allowed in 16.1 innings. Back in 2013, Smith made his only major league appearances, starting seven games and making three relief outings for San Diego. Although he struck out more than 11 batters per nine during the sample, Smith struggled with walks and home runs, finishing with a 6.44 ERA that season.

The strong minor league showing in 2017 could foreshadow another shot at the majors for Smith, but that shot will not come with the Mets. Instead, Kansas City will get a chance to watch the 27-year-old shine. Per Rule 5 rules, if the Royals do not keep Smith on their 25-man roster for the entire 2018 season, they must waive him. If he passes through waivers, the Rays would then get a chance to re-sign their old prospect.




Amazin’ Avenue Audio, Episode 263: Winter Meetings Wonderland

2017-12-14T09:24:51-05:00

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The Mets have signed a reliever! Huzzah!

Welcome back to Amazin' Avenue Audio, where we report on all the Orlando-based shenanigans of the Winter Meetings.

First up, Brian Salvatore and Aaron Yorke discuss the newest Met, Anthony Swarzak, the failed pursuit of Ian Kinsler, and more Winter Meetings news. (1:18)

Next, Steve Sypa looks at what the Mets might do in the Rule 5 Draft. (49:32)

Finally, Brian Wright brings us the Top 5 Mets single season pitching performances of all time. (1:04:34)

As always, you can listen or subscribe to the podcast through Apple Podcasts, where we encourage you to leave a review if you enjoy the show. It really helps! And you can find us on the Stitcher app, listen through the embedded player below, or download the podcast directly from Blog Talk Radio.

You can follow all of our contributors on Twitter: Brian (@BrianNeedsaNap), Aaron (@AaronPYorke), Brian (@BrianWright86), and Steve (@SteveSypa).

And don't forget you can email the show at podcast@amazinavenueaudio.com, and we'll be back next week for another edition of Amazin' Avenue Audio.

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Mets Morning News: Mets add to their bullpen, Michael Conforto close to swinging a bat

2017-12-14T08:45:02-05:00

Your Thursday morning dose of New York Mets and MLB news, notes, and links. Meet the Mets The Mets have reportedly signed reliever Anthony Swarzak to a two-year deal worth $14 million. Swarzak is coming off a great year with both the White Sox and Brewers where he saw an uptick in velocity on his pitches. Michael Conforto has not yet begun to swing a bat but he is hopeful that will change shortly as his shoulder continues to heal from surgery. Despite his status, and the lack of moves this offseason, Conforto still believes they can contend next season. Of course with this team their success is dependent on the health of their pitchers including Matt Harvey. One addition the Mets did make was of course at the manager position, and the man Mickey Callaway used to work beside believes the Mets are in good hands under Callaway. The Mets did try to improve their second base situation, but they were unable to acquire Ian Kinsler who was instead traded to the Angels. After making some intriguing decisions at the beginning of the offseason, the Mets have stagnated and are refusing to go after any of the top free agents. Instead of hanging around mediocrity, why won’t they do a full-scale rebuild? Around the National League East Marcell Ozuna was the next one traded in the Marlins’ fire sale. He was acquired by the Cardinals in exchange for some of St. Louis’s top prospects. Miami also released pitcher Edinson Volquez to make room on the 40-man roster. Unfortunately for Christian Yelich he is most likely not going anywhere. The Phillies are one of several teams that have submitted an offer for Orioles’ third baseman Manny Machado. The Nationals have reportedly signed reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year deal. They have also had a preliminary discussion about a possible extension for Bryce Harper. Around Major League Baseball The Mariners signed pitcher Juan Nicasio to a two-year deal worth $17 million. The Astros have reportedly signed reliever Joe Smith for two-years. The Cardinals traded outfielder Stephen Piscotty to the Athletics. The Rangers, Yankees, and Phillies have expressed interest in acquiring Diamondbacks’ ace Zack Greinke. Bob Costas will be inducted into Cooperstown next summer as the recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award. Yesterday at Amazin’ Avenue Steve Sypa looked ahead to the Rule 5 Draft and the available starters and relievers. Brian Salvatore wrote about the Swarzak signing. This Date in Mets History The Mets signed outfielder Lance Johnson on this date in 1995. [...]



Mets 2017 Rule 5 Draft Preview: Relief Pitchers

2017-12-13T14:00:01-05:00

There are numerous intriguing relievers available in the Rule 5 Draft. The Rule 5 Draft began as a means to prevent teams from stockpiling players in their minor league systems. For $100,000, a team may select a player that has been left exposed to the Rule 5 Draft. In order to avoid exposing a player, a team must add to its 40-man roster players signed at age 18 or younger that have five seasons of minor league experience, or players that were signed at age 19 or beyond with four years of minor league experience. For the 2018 Rule 5 Draft, this means players that were signed at age 18 or younger in 2013, or players that were signed at age 19 or older in 2014. The 2017 Rule 5 Draft will take place on Thursday, December 14. Draft order is based on reverse order of 2017 standings, so thanks to a 70-92 record, the Mets will be making the 6th selection. Players selected in the major league portion of the Rule 5 Draft must be kept on a team's major league roster for all of the 2018 season or be offered back to the original club for $50,000. RHP Nick Burdi (Minnesota) A lights-out closer at Louisville, Minnesota drafted Nick Burdi in the second round of the 2014 Draft hoping that he would be a contributor to the Twins’ bullpen relative quickly. After a successful 2015 season that saw him reach Double-A, it looked like that would be the case. A bone bruise in his right elbow cost him virtually the entire 2016 season, and after getting off to a strong start in 2017, Burdi tore his UCL in May, requiring Tommy John surgery. In order to comply with Rule 5 requirements, Burdi would only have to be carrier for 90 days on the MLB roster between 2018 and 2019. Fastball velocity runs in the Burdi family. Like his brother, Zack, Nick has a fastball that sits in the upper-90s and regularly touches triple digits. Far from a one-trick pony, Nick also throws a plus slider. The Twins were also having him develop a changeup to throw against left-handed hitters, but due to the amount of developmental time he will have missed once he finally gets back on the mound in mid-2018, the pitch is still in its fledgling stages and very raw. Burdi did not have the best control, and his command of his fastball and slider could sometimes get erratic, but with his stuff pre-Tommy John, he simply needed to be near the strike zone. LHP Nestor Cortes (New York Yankees) An unheralded selection in the 2013 Draft, picked in the thirty-sixth round by the Yankees, Nestor Cortes has had nothing but success as he climbed through their minor league system. In 2015, his dominance in the Appalachian League got people talking, and in 2016, he enjoyed a breakout season that saw him dominate the South Atlantic League, have a lot of success in the Florida State League, and make cameo appearances in Double- and Triple-A. The southpaw split the 2017 season with the Trenton Thunder and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, and was characteristically good once again. Listed graciously at 5’11”, 190 lbs., Cortes’ fastball sits in the upper-80s to low-90s, topping out at 93 MPH. His changeup sits in the mid-70s, and the left-hander does a good job of mirroring his fastball arm action when throwing it, resulting in the majority of his swing-and-misses. He supplements his fastball-changeup combo with a low-to-mid 70s curveball and an sweeping upper-70s slider to change batters’ planes and timing. The southpaw hides the ball well in his delivery, and is able to command all of his pitches in the strike zone and work out of it with intent. The left-hander has not shown any major platoon splits, though in 2017 he exhibited a reverse platoon split. RHP Cale Coshow (New York Yankees) Selected in the thirteenth round of the 2013 Draft, Coshow cuts an imposing figure on the mound at 6’5”, 250 lbs. After getting his career starter as a semi-successful starter, he was transitioned into the bullpen full-time in 2017. Coshow has touc[...]



Mets sign Anthony Swarzak to 2 year, $14 million dollar contract

2017-12-13T12:41:12-05:00

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After missing out on a few of their relief pitching targets yesterday, the Mets signed a bullpen arm this morning. Anthony Swarzak, who split last year between the White Sox and the Brewers, signed a two-year, $14 million dollar contract with the team, pending a physical, according to Mark Carig of Newsday.

Andy Martino did a quick video update for SNY.tv, and suggested that the Mets were attracted to the idea of a versatile power arm that would fit into new manager Mickey Callaway’s desire to have a more flexible bullpen. It is also worth noting that Callaway was briefly Swarzak’s pitching coach in 2015 with the Indians.




Mets 2017 Rule 5 Draft Preview: Starting Pitchers

2017-12-13T11:00:02-05:00

There are numerous intriguing pitchers available in the Rule 5 Draft. The Rule 5 Draft began as a means to prevent teams from stockpiling players in their minor league systems. For $100,000, a team may select a player that has been left exposed to the Rule 5 Draft. In order to avoid exposing a player, a team must add to its 40-man roster players signed at age 18 or younger that have five seasons of minor league experience, or players that were signed at age 19 or beyond with four years of minor league experience. For the 2018 Rule 5 Draft, this means players that were signed at age 18 or younger in 2013, or players that were signed at age 19 or older in 2014. The 2017 Rule 5 Draft will take place on Thursday, December 14. Draft order is based on reverse order of 2017 standings, so thanks to a 70-92 record, the Mets will be making the 6th selection. Players selected in the major league portion of the Rule 5 Draft must be kept on a team's major league roster for all of the 2018 season or be offered back to the original club for $50,000. RHP Jeff Brigham (Miami Marlins) Jeff Brigham underwent Tommy John surgery during his sophomore years at the University of Washington, but that didn’t stop the Los Angeles Dodgers from drafting him, selecting him with their fourth round pick in the 2014 Draft. He spent very little time in their system, as he was included in three-team trade between the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, and Miami Marlins at the 2015 trade deadline and was sent to Miami. He has been up-and-down in their system, but the 25-year-old is coming off of a successful 2017 season- though it began in June due to a shoulder injury sustained during the Arizona Fall League. Brigham’s biggest strength is his fastball, which sits in the mid-to-high 90s with late arm-side run. He complements his fastball with an above-average slider that sits in the low-80s with sharp break. He also throws a changeup that he has shown a feel for, but lags well behind his other pitches. Thanks to a stiff delivery and a pair of pitches that have a lot of movement to them, Brigham has demonstrated below-average control over his relatively brief minor league career. RHP Trevor Clifton (Chicago Cubs) Drafted out of Heritage High School as a very raw thrower in the twelfth round of the 2013 Draft, Trevor Clifton has come far in his baseball development, going as far as being named Carolina League Pitcher of the Year and Chicago Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors in 2016. Promoted to Double-A in 2017, the 22-year-old started out the season strong, but struggled in the second half, to the point that the Tennessee Smokies had him end his season prematurely, in mid-August. Bigger and heavier than his listed height and weight, Clifton sits in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball, occasionally touching the high 90s. He complements it with an above-average curveball and an average changeup, giving him three potential big league pitches. His delivery is still high effort despite having toned it down earlier in his career, which has contributed to his fringy command. RHP Sam Coonrod (San Francisco Giants) Drafted out of Southern Illinois University in the fifth round of the 2014 Draft by the San Francisco Giants, Sam Coonrod has enjoyed success at virtually every level of the Giants’ minor league system. Moving through their system rather quickly, he made his Double-A debut in 2016 and fared well with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, but took a step backwards in the 2017 season in his second stint there. He eventually needed Tommy John surgery, which he will likely miss all of 2018 recovering from. In order to comply with Rule 5 requirements, Coonrod would only have to be carrier for 90 days on the MLB roster between 2018 and 2019. Coonrod’s repertoire includes two fastballs, a four-seamer that can hit the mid-to-high and a two-seam fas[...]