Around the Horn: Outfield

Cespedes, Granderson and Conforto must keep hitting to offset defensive shortcomings

Around the Horn: Outfield

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Port St. Lucie, Fla., by Feb. 17, it's time to dissect the Mets' 2016 roster. This is the third of a six-part Around the Horn series taking a position-by-position look at projected starters and backups heading into the season. Next up: outfielders.

NEW YORK -- On few occasions in franchise history has one man changed so much. The Mets could have entered the 2016 season with an adequate outfield -- perhaps even a good one if things broke their way.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Beyonce to perform at Citi Field on June 7

Dead & Company set for June 25-26, others to be announced soon

Beyonce to perform at Citi Field on June 7

NEW YORK -- Beyonce is coming to Citi Field, headlining another summer full of musical acts at the ballpark.

Just moments after performing in the Super Bowl 50 halftime show, Beyonce announced a new world tour in a television ad spot, which includes a June 7 date at Citi Field. A day later, the Mets announced that Dead & Company will perform at their ballpark on June 25 and 26.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets sign Bernadina to Minor League deal

Veteran outfielder will report to big league Spring Training

Mets sign Bernadina to Minor League deal

NEW YORK -- The Mets signed veteran outfielder Roger Bernadina to a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league Spring Training on Monday.

Bernadina, 31, spent all of last season in the Minors, batting .276 with 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 119 games for the Rockies' Triple-A Albuquerque affiliate.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets to hold open house at Citi Field on Feb. 15

NEW YORK -- To celebrate their equipment truck departing for Spring Training, the Mets will hold an open house at Citi Field on Feb. 15. Beginning at noon ET, fans are invited to take part in free clubhouse tours, receive vouchers for tickets to select 2016 home games and take photos with longtime Mets first baseman Ed Kranepool, Mr. and Mrs. Met and the truck. The Mets Hall of Fame will also be open, with inflatables and face painters on site.

The team plans to hold a raffle of autographed memorabilia beginning at 1:15 p.m., with the grand prize a flight and accommodations for two to Spring Training in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Around the Horn: Catcher

Mets hopeful about d'Arnaud's health, hitting in 2016

Around the Horn: Catcher

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Port St. Lucie, Fla., by Feb. 17, it's time to dissect the Mets' 2016 roster. This is the second of a six-part Around the Horn series taking a position-by-position look at projected starters and backups heading into the season. Next up: Catchers.

NEW YORK -- Among the more memorable moments of last year's National League Championship Series was the 430-foot home run that Travis d'Arnaud clubbed off Cubs starter Jon Lester in Game 1, clanking it onto Citi Field's home run apple. A day later, Citi Field employees affixed a larger-than-life bandage to the iconic apple, a visible nod to d'Arnaud's burgeoning power.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Granderson: Reflecting on black history

Outfielder grateful for elders, gives back to inner-city youth

Granderson: Reflecting on black history

Black History Month is a time to remember the important contributions and achievements of African-Americans throughout our nation's history. Personally, the observation of black history is a time for me to reflect on all those who have come before me in the African-American community and their countless sacrifices and struggles, shaping the way for future generations -- including my own.

In addition to Martin Luther King Jr., Jackie Robinson, George Washington Carver and other leaders in the African-American community, I also celebrate my grandparents and parents, who accomplished so much in an effort to provide opportunity for my family. Learning from my elders about how things were and how things have changed has helped me understand the importance of hard work -- encouraging me to "play hard" every day and pay it forward for generations to come.

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Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson is entering his 13th season in the Major Leagues. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Alderson: Payroll restrictions no longer issue

Alderson: Payroll restrictions no longer issue

NEW YORK -- For years, Mets fans have largely taken a "We'll believe it when we see it" approach to the team raising payroll, while general manager Sandy Alderson has at times been combative regarding the budget. But no longer. With the Mets' recent signing of Yoenis Cespedes pushing their 2016 payroll up over $140 million, the GM was insistent Wednesday that financial bounds will no longer hinder him.

That means if the Mets want to add even more payroll come midseason, they can do so. It also means if they want to offer contract extensions to one or more of their young starting pitchers, they can do that as well. Asked specifically if there is a scenario in which the Mets could keep their entire rotation intact for the long term, Alderson answered optimistically.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cespedes eager to help Mets finish job in '16

Slugger discusses new three-year contract, title aspirations in news conference

Cespedes eager to help Mets finish job in '16

NEW YORK -- In the week-plus since the Mets agreed to terms with Yoenis Cespedes on a relatively unusual three-year contract, the baseball world has chewed on it and chewed on it, rationalizing the deal a dozen times over. Ask Cespedes, however, and it's all really quite simple.

"It's not always about the amount of money being offered," the outfielder said Wednesday at a news conference at Citi Field. "It's about being in a place that you want to play in, that you're happy in. That's just what happened in this case."

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seinfeld and Cespedes plan to share Cuban sandwich

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Seinfeld and Cespedes plan to share Cuban sandwich

When Yoenis Cespedes came to the Mets at last year's non-waiver Trade Deadline, all of Mets fandom rejoiced -- none moreso than Jerry Seinfeld, who invited the newest resident of Queens out to lunch to celebrate.

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July 1 return date set for Wheeler

Righty underwent Tommy John surgery last March

July 1 return date set for Wheeler

NEW YORK -- With Matt Harvey's successful return from Tommy John surgery as their blueprint, the Mets are now eyeing July 1 as a return date for Zack Wheeler.

"It could accelerate a little bit, but we feel real comfortable with that," general manager Sandy Alderson said on Wednesday. "I know he does as well. He felt that he could have come back sooner than that, but we backed him off. So he really hasn't thrown off a mound. He hasn't thrown off a slope. We just said, 'Let's cool it.'"

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Syndergaard needs to keep tweeting his fire tweets

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Syndergaard needs to keep tweeting his fire tweets

If you've been closely following MLB players on social media this offseason (and really, why wouldn't you be?), you've learned one important fact: Noah Syndergaard's tweets are almost as fire as his fastball. 

Thursday's response to a tweet confirming the Mets' status as the hardest-throwing rotation in baseball is just the most recent piece of evidence. In it, Syndergaard employs a basic rule of all Internet communication: a Simpsons GIF is never not the right choice.

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Mets, Familia agree to terms for 2016

Contract valued at $4.1M, finishes club's arbitration slate

Mets, Familia agree to terms for 2016

The Mets and Jeurys Familia, the club's last arbitration-eligible player, have settled on a contract for the upcoming season. MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported the deal is for $4.1 million.

Familia took over as the Mets closer in 2015 and converted 43 of 48 save opportunities, posting a 1.85 ERA in 76 appearances.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harvey reveals which hitter is his 'Bane' on 'Late Night'

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Harvey reveals which hitter is his 'Bane' on 'Late Night'

Heroes are defined by their villains. Who is Superman without Lex Luthor, the Fantastic Four without Dr. Doom? If not for the Joker, Batman would just be a dude LARPing around Gotham in the middle of the night. 

So, Matt Harvey went on Late Night with Seth Meyers Wednesday night and answered the question all of New York -- and MLB, for that matter -- has been asking itself since the Mets' ace was christened the Dark Knight.

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Mets rotation features rare trio of flame-throwers

Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey all ranked among game's best in perceived velocity last season

Mets rotation features rare trio of flame-throwers

The Mets' star-studded pitching staff is no secret, especially after it helped carry the club to a National League East title and a trip to the World Series in 2015. And in what will be music to the ears of Mets fans, the club is starting to think about locking up its young arms very soon.

Statcast™ helps show how the group stands out from the pack. In the big picture, no team brought the heat last year like the Mets, whose staff combined for a whopping 5,346 pitches clocked at 95 mph or more during the regular season. That's nearly 1,000 more pitches than the second-place Indians (4,455) and more than double the totals of 14 teams.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Black tweets thanks to Mets fans, New York

Black tweets thanks to Mets fans, New York

Vic Black is no longer a member of the Mets organization, but the 27-year-old right-hander has fond memories of his time in New York and took to Twitter on Tuesday to thank those who cheered for him during his brief tenure.

"I didn't play for 10 years, nor was I an All-Star or contributor to last season's amazing run," Black wrote. "But I'll never forget my time playing for the greatest fans/city in baseball. From walking the streets of Manhattan, to riding the 7 line daily to Citi Field, I was given moments I'll remember for my lifetime."

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Backman back as Triple-A Las Vegas skipper

Backman back as Triple-A Las Vegas skipper

NEW YORK -- Wally Backman and Frank Viola will return as Triple-A Las Vegas manager and pitching coach, respectively, the Mets and 51s jointly announced Tuesday.

Backman, 56, will enter his fifth season managing the Mets' top affiliates in Buffalo, N.Y., and Las Vegas. He owns a 239-193 overall record since the Mets moved their Triple-A club to Vegas, with two playoff appearances in three years. Under his watch, pitchers Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz have all advanced to the big leagues.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ricco recalls 2006 Trade Deadline scramble

Ricco recalls 2006 Trade Deadline scramble

Imagine if, instead of reporting on Punxsutawney Phil, learning French and repairing his love life, Bill Murray spent his time in "Groundhog Day" running the Mets. What would he alter? What would he do? In honor of the real Groundhog Day, MLB.com asked executives from all 30 teams which moments they would most like to go back and change.

NEW YORK -- The call came early on the morning of the 2006 non-waiver Trade Deadline, rousing Mets assistant general manager John Ricco from sleep. Duaner Sanchez, a cog in one of baseball's best bullpens, had been in a taxicab accident on Interstate 95 while traveling to a Dominican restaurant in Miami. Sanchez had separated his pitching shoulder. His season was over.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Around the Horn: Middle infield

New additions Walker, Asdrubal should give club platoon advantages

Around the Horn: Middle infield

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Port St. Lucie, Fla., by Feb. 17, it's time to dissect the Mets' 2016 roster. This is the first of a six-part Around the Horn series taking a position-by-position look at projected starters and backups heading into the season.

NEW YORK -- Before Yoenis Cespedes returned to Flushing and changed the conversation, versatility was the buzzword around Citi Field. Adaptability was what the Mets craved. Heading into this offseason knowing they were going to lose at least one of their heaviest hitters to free agency, the Mets spent time from the outset seeking creative ways to improve.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets sign catcher Gomez to Minors deal

NEW YORK -- The Mets continued filling out their catching depth on Monday, signing Raywilly Gomez to a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league camp.

A New York City native, Gomez, 26, hit .291 with one home run in 73 games last season for the Angels' Double-A Arkansas affiliate. Originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the D-backs in 2007, and later catching on with the Phillies and Angels organizations, Gomez has never advanced beyond Double-A.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Torres clears waivers, elects free agency

Reliever spent past three seasons with the Mets

Torres clears waivers, elects free agency

NEW YORK -- A roster casualty during the Mets' recent flurry of transactions, reliever Carlos Torres is now a free agent.

Torres elected free agency Monday after clearing waivers. The Mets originally designated him for assignment after signing free-agent left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo to a contract. Torres foregoes a potential $1.05 million contract in New York, but he only would have been entitled to that money had he made the Opening Day roster.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Four Mets make '16 Top 100 Prospects list

Matz (No. 15), Smith (No. 51) highlight farm system of NL champs

Four Mets make '16 Top 100 Prospects list

Can the defending National League champion Mets keep the good times rolling?

They took a nice step forward on Tuesday when they officially re-signed outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who will be back in the Mets' outfield this season. But New York will need reinforcements in the future to remain among the best teams in the NL. MLBPipeline.com on Friday night announced its preseason 2016 Top 100 Prospects list, and the Mets have four players on it.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets, Walker agree to 1-year deal, avoid arb

Mets, Walker agree to 1-year deal, avoid arb

The Mets and second baseman Neil Walker agreed to a one-year contract to avoid arbitration, the team announced Friday.

The deal is reportedly worth $10.55 million, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, just below the midpoint when the two sides exchanged salary figures. Walker, who is eligible to become a free agent after this season, asked for $11.8 million while the Mets countered with $9.4 million.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nimmo sustains partially torn tendon in foot

Nimmo sustains partially torn tendon in foot

Mets outfielder and top prospect Brandon Nimmo has a partially torn tendon in his left foot, the club announced on Friday.

Nimmo, picked by the Mets in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft, received an injection and has been placed in a walking boot. The Mets said Nimmo will be evaluated again in 10 days.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets, Cespedes compromised to make deal work

Mets, Cespedes compromised to make deal work

Yoenis Cespedes will be in the Mets' outfield in 2016 because of compromise.

Both the Mets and Cespedes made some serious but necessary compromises with his three-year, $75 million contract, which includes an opt-out clause after one season. While Cespedes would have preferred a record-breaking multiyear contract, he instead received an average annual value of $25 million, which puts him among the highest-paid outfielders in baseball history. He also received flexibility to pursue that multiyear contract following this season.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Grateful Cespedes reaches out to fans

Grateful Cespedes reaches out to fans

As Mets fans revel in Yoenis Cespedes' return to New York, the outfielder took to social media to assure them that the feeling is mutual.

One day after his deal was made official, Cespedes engaged with Mets fans in a string of tweets, thanking them in both English and Spanish.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yo know it! Cespedes' NY return now official

Yo know it! Cespedes' NY return now official

Yoenis Cespedes is officially back.

The Mets announced Tuesday night they have re-signed the 30-year-old outfielder to a three-year contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources previously told MLB.com the contract is worth $75 million with an opt-out clause after the upcoming season.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets to retire Piazza's No. 31 in July

Mets to retire Piazza's No. 31 in July

The Mets revealed plans on Monday to retire the No. 31 jersey worn by former catcher Mike Piazza before a game against the Rockies on July 30, as part of a weekend-long celebration at Citi Field.

Piazza is due to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 24, joining Tom Seaver as the only players to go in wearing a Mets cap on their plaque. Seaver also is the only other Mets player to have his number retired by the club, as his No. 41 was set aside in 1988. Casey Stengel (No. 37) and Gil Hodges (No. 14) also had theirs retired for their service as a manager.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets strike deals with Duda, Mejia for 2016

Mets strike deals with Duda, Mejia for 2016

The Mets have agreed to terms on one-year deals with two arbitration-eligible players, first baseman Lucas Duda and reliever Jenrry Mejia, the club announced Tuesday.

According to a report by MLB Network's Jon Heyman, Duda will earn $6.725 million next season, while Mejia's one-year deal is for $2.47 million. The Mets won't have to pay the full amount for Mejia, however, as the right-hander has 99 games remaining on his suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, his second such offense.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Keith Hernandez "Seinfeld" episode snuck into Ask Amy

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Keith Hernandez

Imagine you've just met a local sports celebrity -- let's call him "Heith Kernandez". The two of you exchange numbers, grab some coffee and hit it off as old pals, but soon things start to escalate. First he takes your ex-girlfriend on a date, then he wants you to help move some furniture, and before you know it, he's asking you to drive him to the airport.

It's all a bit much -- you barely know the guy, after all. So what do you do? You submit your dilemma to syndicated advice column Ask Amy, of course, and hope she fails to realize you're just retelling the plot of a "Seinfeld" episode.

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MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

Pitching remains top key for Mets' success

Pitching remains top key for Mets' success

The New York Mets may be the best team in the National League. But they didn't achieve that status because they signed a below-average center fielder with a lifetime .319 on-base percentage.

The Mets were, in fact, the best team in the NL last October. That happened because they had terrific starting pitching. And if they win another pennant in 2016, that pitching will once again be the primary reason.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.