Mets jettison Khalil Lee, Steve Cohen has a message for the league, and the songs of baseball have begun in Port St. Lucie
Khalil Lee is under investigation for a domestic violence incident from last summer
What’s Up with the Mets? 🍎
The Mets claimed RHP Sam Coonrod off waivers from the Phillies, and designated OF Khalil Lee - who was under investigation for a domestic violence incident - for assignment (official release)
Brandon Nimmo, Mark Vientos and Eduardo Escobar are among those who have already arrived at the Mets spring training complex in Port St. Lucie
"I've heard what everyone else has heard: that they're not happy with me," Cohen said. "I hear things from people who are maybe more neutral -- that they're taking a lot of heat from their fans. I kind of look at that like, you're looking at the wrong person. They're putting it on me. Maybe they need to look more at themselves. I'm not responsible for how other teams run their clubs. I'm really not. That's not my job. And there are disparities in baseball. We know that to be true. I'm following the rules. They set the rules down, I'm following them."
6 days until Mets pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie! ⚾️🌴
‘Tis the season to be merry… 📝
The best time of the baseball calendar has arrived.
Yes, that is spring training. Players are starting to trickle in to big league camps from the winter hideaways, expressive of all of the hope and positive energy that you would expect spring to bring.
‘Tis the season to be merry, right?
Or should it be, happy new year?
For the Mets of course, there is every reason for optimism. They had another stellar off-season and it was nearly better than that if not for the miss with Carlos Correa. Their rotation is as good as any as their is in the league with a 1-2 punch which is arguably the best with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, that which is now without Jacob deGrom. They have addressed their bullpen as well as anyone might’ve expected highlighted by procurements of Adam Ottavino, Brooks Raley and David Robertson all in the fold, even if they maybe short on the left side for now.
But who can argue with Mr. Cohen’s endless desire for an elite squad in baseball, and the ability of Billy Eppler’s crew to follow through on his boss’ desire? Even if there were some misses?
They can’t sign everyone, can they?
There aren’t a lot of roster spots open for the Mets this spring, if any, assuming everyone is healthy. So, there are no running competition stories to focus on, no real wild cards with paths to the opening day roster either.
That is of course if everyone stays healthy, a storyline which will undoubtedly trail the Mets the moment Verlander and Scherzer and all of their other players walk through that clubhouse door next Monday.
As interesting as the likes of Verlander, Scherzer, Kodai Senga and all of their new arrivals are, I am keenly interested in the spring stories of the big Mets prospects, specifically Francisco Álvarez who is currently baseball’s third-best prospect, according to MLB.com. It doesn’t sound for the moment Álvarez is going to make the club out of camp, as the Mets would like Álvarez to catch full-time, continue to develop his receiving and throwing skills, and the only place for that right now is at Triple-A Syracuse. But he should get a lot of opportunities when Grapefruit League play begins in 18 days and if he has a big camp, he could make it hard for them to not carry him north, especially if nobody else stands out among their options for the right-handed designated hitter spot on the roster.
It’s also going to be a big camp for both Brett Baty and Mark Vientos, especially with the World Baseball Classic sandwiched in the middle and Eduardo Escobar slated to leave for Team Venezuela. As such, both will get nods at third base, perhaps more than they would otherwise get in a normal camp.
For Vientos, its an opportunity for him to show off his power while demonstrating improvement at third base. As for Baty, he too will get looks at third base but the Mets really need to learn how versatile he can be as well, so it’s important they see how he fares under the February winds in left field at Clover Park.
And then of course there’s 21-year-old Ronny Mauricio, a big power bat from the left side who is coming off two straight 20-plus homer campaigns in the minor leagues and a strong winter league season with Licey in the Dominican Republic. Strikeouts are a problem for him and he’s a player with no position should he reach the big leagues as a Met (it’s always been assumed he won’t play shortstop in the big leagues anyway), but as is the case with Vientos and Baty this spring, Mauricio should find plenty of playing time at shortstop with Francisco Lindor slated to play for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.
The Mets have also quietly snuck catching prospect Kevin Parada onto their list of invites to big league camp this spring. He is baseball’s 36th-ranked prospect in 2023 after being drafted with the 11th overall selection in the 2022 June amateur draft. He’s still further away than the aforementioned prospects but still represents an interesting story this spring, as it truly the first look anyone will have had of him since he joined the organization last summer.
In the end though, it’s just going to fun and refreshing to hear those cracks of the bat, the refreshed and recharged players strolling in with all of their hopes and dreams for a championship in 2023, and just getting out there and doing baseball things with their full uniform on.
After all, hope springs eternal. And it’s getting time for that hope to spring into reality.
Hot Stove 🔥
Carlos Correa has opted out of his roster spot with Team Puerto Rico for the World Baseball Classic, as his wife is expecting a new baby during the tournament (ESPN)
Ian Kinsler is returning to the Rangers as a special assistant to GM Chris Young (MLB.com)
Former Mets prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong is among those invited to big league camp by the Cubs (official release)