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Winter Meetings Update; Mets, Yankees, and More

Las Vegas-   Wednesday morning more rumors and nothing of a major blockbuster. Reportedly the Yankees have worked a deal to bring back Left-hander JA Happ to a three-year deal. The Yankees are not finished and also could still be bidding for Bryce Harper and have set up a meeting with Machado.

Of the two, Machado stands the better chance for the Yankees. They have obviously filled their needs in the rotation with James Paxton and now that Haap has apparently decided that three more years in the Bronx is a better fit.

Happ, of course is that weapon in a Yankees rotation to overtake the Red Sox in the Al East. Despite a bad outing against Boston in the ALDS, Happ had those quality starts in pinstripes and was the best option for the Yankees to fill out the rotation.

There is that discussion of free agency here at the meetings. Again, some of the top players on the market are still on the board. Scott Boras, the lead agent for most of the coveted players on the market, held court around the various meeting rooms and areas of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino the host of these Winter meetings.  

Gio Gonzalez, recipient of the 2017 Latino Sports NL Pitcher MVP Award, is one of those coveted pitchers still without a home.  Thing here again is teams are offering Gonzalez a one-year deal. Though Gonzalez had that off year in 2018, the WHIP and runs allowed were better than the numbers of Haap.

Though comparing numbers, more so gearing towards a contract, that appears to be out the door when analytics comes into the picture. Regardless, Gonzalez will eventually sign on with a team but won’t get the 3-year deal for a 33-year old pitcher and the wait will be longer than expected.

Yes, the complexion of the game has changed and that is certain as shown by the lack of movement of signing free agent players whether be a one or three year deal. Collusion of the owners has been questioned. But it has more to do with position players getting the better deal with length and the amount.

There was no change with Noah Syndergaard. He is a NY Met and J.T. Realmuto remained a Miami Marlin though sources say the Mets are still front runners in obtaining the Marlins’ catcher.  Speculate all you want about the Mets doing business with the Yankees and a blockbuster 3-team trade at the Winter Meetings, and realize these meetings are all about finding that one or two players that will make a difference.

Syndergaard was explored by the Yankees as they continued their quest to obtain another starter for the rotation.  The Mets could be making one or two moves before these meetings conclude Thursday and it may or may not include Realmuto.

Sources continue to say the Mets are in the market for a catcher, If not, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen will keep trying to upgrade at the position. He said, “There are other ways to upgrade.”  That could mean spending and free agency as could be expected.

If not, there appears to be this confidence builder regarding Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. More often Van Wagenen and manager Mickey Callaway continue to provide that vote of confidence with the current Mets catching situation.

And from the look of things, and after additional discussions, the sense is any possible trade for Realmuto would not involve Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto or Amed Rosario. Again a blockbuster trade that is enticing could change anything.

And the Mets, a dormant team over the years at these meetings, they remain the topic of discussion with a new and aggressive approach to winning in 2019.

With Day 3 of these Winter Meetings, there is expected to be more movemen There is optimism the Mets and Yankees will make a move or two and it could occur at the conclusion of these meetings on Thursday.

The good news, there is a lot of talking, exploring, and of course the buzz. Rumors always but nothing is official until it is.

Aaron Boone and Mickey Callaway, as all managers do at these meetings, met with the media late Tuesday afternoon. The word is optimism and they apparently have no clue about roster changes. They are in that preparation period of the offseason and confident.

It’s the confidence and Mickey Callaway along with Aaron Boone have that good working relationships with their GM’s  Brodie Van Wagenen and Brian Cashman.

Mickey Callaway: He said, Edwin Diaz will be the closer for several reasons. And that is expected with the trade that also brought him from Seattle to New York along with Robinson Cano.

Mets manager Mickey Callaway:

Credit: :Latino Sports

Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman are valuable tools out of the bullpen. They could fill a rotation spot if needed.  Callaway established that defense is a priority and of course the starters will need to get the appropriate run support.

“Lots of energy in the air,” he said. “This has to be all about the players. Callaway said he has that good relationship with his new GM.

Assuming there are some additions or subtractions, Callaway alluded to Brandon Nimmo. “He needs to leadoff,” he said. Juan Lagares is progressing and spring training will determine where he fits into the lineup as a starter or off the bench in a Mets outfield that will be without Yoenis Cespedes for the first half of the season.

Though Wednesday, Lagares came up in trade discussions leading to rumors that the Mets are exploring a significant move to upgrade at catcher or for that right-handed bat in the outfield.

And there was no mention about Cespedes. Which leads more to the Mets and their quest to find another right hand bat in the lineup.  Robinson Cano will be slotted third in the batting order and the manager was enthused to have him as an addition.

T.J. Rivera? Callaway said, “He is progressing well this point.” Rivera, assuming he is ready after this spring and recovered from Tommy John surgery, takes the spot that belonged to now free agent Wilmer Flores.

Callaway would rather see Nimmo leading off and Amed Rosario batting second.  Jeff McNeil will get plenty of playing time of the bench and as that occasional starter,

Peter Alonso? He  will get the opportunity to win a spot as the everyday first baseman coming out of spring training. Again, for the moment, Alonso is not a part of a trade package to obtain Realmuto or filling other pieces the Mets are seeking.

Expect the Mets to acquire a catcher. And at this point it looks more of the free agent route with Martin Maldonado, lately of the Houston Astros. When and for who is the prevailing question. As Callaway said, whether it be at catcher or something else, “Brodie is out there looking at external options to help our team improve. But we definitely need to get better.”

And that does not indicate any indications of signing the big two, Manny Machado or Bryce Harper.

YANKEES AND BOONE:  “Will be a little different,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said about spring training and roster changes.  So the Yankees always making moves are expected to do more before Thursday.

Boone said about the Red Sox: “They were unbelievable. They were a monster.” Will the Yankees pursue Manny Machado? Boone was not assertive about that and at these meetings Bryce Harper and a connection with the Yankees still remains a possibility,all of course on cost and how many years.

Thing is, the Red Sox are still there and other teams at these meetings are looking to improve and become the Red Sox.

Gary Sanchez? “Passed balls we want him to improve on,” Boone said. Sanchez is getting back to health after time on the disabled list with bad groins and the recovery from  left shoulder surgery is almost good enough to be 100 percent by spring training.

“This year in a lot of ways was a very tough year,” Boone said about Sanchez. “Dealing with injuries, offensively, The scrutiny that goes on with him behind the plate all the time. I think this year is going to be a huge year of growth for him.”

Credit: Latino Sports

Boone added that Sanchez spent a lot of time in Tampa this offseason. “He’s already in good shape and I feel he’s going to come back and have a really great season for us on both sides of the plate.”

Sanchez is the best hitter in a Yankees lineup when healthy. It’s that concern about passed balls that the Yankees hope has passed.   Didi Gregorius, according to Boone is recovering well from Tommy John surgery and the manager is leaving all these talks about additions to Brian Cashman,

Sonny Gray is still on the block. Boone did not address that potential move. Gray and the Yankees could soon say goodbye as the Reds and Oakland A’s seem to be talking trade with the Yankees…

Boone said about Aaron Judge: “Obviously he finished the season very strong for us in his play. So I’m not worried about anything with him. But I’m excited that he’s going to have a normal offseason fairly healthy and hopefully that benefits him and his ability to get ready for the season.”

Stay tuned, The Yankees never leave these meetings without coming up empty.

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786  Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso`

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