David Schoenfield | ESPN.com - I'm picking the Mets to win a wild card! My gut says either the Mets or the Marlins win a wild card, thanks in part to how bad the Phillies and Braves may be. I like the Mets better because of the depth in the rotation. Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom is the real deal and Zack Wheeler has the arm strength and now the experience to take a leap forward. Obviously, a lot hinges on the comeback of Harvey and return to form of Wright. Everybody's concerned about Wilmer Flores at shortstop, but he doesn't project to be as terrible as everyone thinks. Anyway, every year there's at least one team that climbs from under .500 into the postseason (actually, there were two last season and three in 2013). The Mets are my pick for 2015. Prediction: 86-76
(Chris Soto: I think Dave is spot on point with his predicted W-L total. Now, that said, whether 86 wins is enough to win a Wild Care spot or not is an entirely different story. Generally the wild card winners win roughly 88-90 games. Love the the confidence he has in deGrom and Wheeler.)
Neil Best | Newsday - Cohen traditionally has not called every spring training game, so for seven of SNY's 16 telecasts from Florida this March a rookie play-by-play man is going to give it a try. His name: Ron Darling. With Kevin Burkhardt, SNY's longtime Mets reporter and fill-in play-by-play voice, leaving for Fox after last season, Darling asked executive producer Curt Gowdy Jr. if he could take a crack at it. Darling, 54, will call his first game March 7, when the Mets face the Braves.
(Chris Soto: I've never really been a big Kevin Burkhardt fan to begin with. I'm happy to see that Ron Darling will get the opportunity to call a few games during the spring but Gary Cohen is an amazing play by play caller. After listening to other broadcasters on my car's SiriusXM radio, I continue to be thoroughly convinced that the Mets have one of the best broadcast teams in baseball.)
Steve Phillips | MLB Network Radio - Phillips quoted a baseball axiom on Wednesday, stating that “the best deal is often the one you don’t make.” He reminisced about a conversation he had during his tenure as Mets' GM, with Nelson Doubleday, then the half owner of the Mets, with Doubleday telling him that “Fans here love stars, they love super stars.” Further, he said, “If we get a super star, we’ll fill this stadium up like we did in the 80s, so I really want you to focus on getting that super-star, marquee player.'” That admonition, Phillips said, led him to make the deal to acquire Mike Piazza during the 1998 season. Previously, Phillips had opportunities to possibly get Kevin Brown and Gary Sheffield, but passed on those potential deals. If Phillips had bitten on one of those deals instead of exhibiting patience, he would not have been able to get Piazza.
(Herb G: Very interesting to me. Firstly, I have to wonder whether Fred Wilpon would echo Nelson Doubleday’s sentiments and admonish Sandy Alderson to go out and get a superstar, now that the Mets seem to be on the cusp of contending. Secondly, could Alderson’s patience during this off season be a precursor to a major deal that might be made in July. There has been enough talk about Troy Tulowitzki this winter to choke a horse. Tulo, of course, is a legitimate superstar. Yoan Moncada, discussed as a potential future superstar, has also drawn a great deal of interest during this off season. As of now, the Mets are not going to be players for Moncada due to the exorbitant cost of signing him, primarily associated with the penalties for exceeding the international pool limit. Perhaps passing on Tulo and Moncada now will enable the Mets to make a big deal in July. Who knows what superstars might become available from teams that have become sellers at that time?)
- With the San Diego Padres signing the final Qualifying Offer Free Agent (James Shields), the 2015 draft order is officially set. Due to their signing of Michael Cuddyer, the Mets will not be making a selections until the 53rd overall pick. The team's bonus pool is also the lowest in the MLB this year at only $3,604,500. A more detailed account of the picks and draft bonus slot numbers can be found here. For what it's worth, the 2015 draft class is viewed as one of the weakest in the past few years.
- Multiple sources are reporting that the Mets are among ten teams expressing interest in offering LHRP Joe Thatcher a minor league deal. He's had parts of eight seasons in the big leagues and has had great success against lefties, limiting them to a .230 BAA. With the other NY Mets reliever options from the left side after Edgin -- Sean Gilmartin (never before a full time reliever), Dario Alvarez (converted infielder who dominated the lower levels but at a considerably more advanced age than the batters he faced), Darin Gorski (soft tossing starter being shoehorned into a new role) are less than ideal. The more the merrier. It's certainly worth taking a look, but there are new reports suggesting the Astros are now the frontrunner for Thatcher's services. (RK)