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Tebow to join Mets Spring Training as NRI

Top prospects Gimenez, Alonso will also attend big league camp
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- For the second straight spring, Tim Tebow will be in big league camp.

Tebow, who might have cracked the Majors last season had a right hand injury not required surgery in July, will again be a regular in the Major League clubhouse after batting .056 with 11 strikeouts in 19 plate appearances this past spring. He attributed those struggles partially to a sprained left ankle that affected him throughout Grapefruit League play, but that healed well enough for him to bat .273 with six home runs at Double-A Binghamton before breaking a bone in his right hand in July. 

NEW YORK -- For the second straight spring, Tim Tebow will be in big league camp.

Tebow, who might have cracked the Majors last season had a right hand injury not required surgery in July, will again be a regular in the Major League clubhouse after batting .056 with 11 strikeouts in 19 plate appearances this past spring. He attributed those struggles partially to a sprained left ankle that affected him throughout Grapefruit League play, but that healed well enough for him to bat .273 with six home runs at Double-A Binghamton before breaking a bone in his right hand in July. 

Now fully recovered from that injury, Tebow is not a realistic threat to crack the Mets' Opening Day roster. Still, he is a real possibility to make the team later in the summer if he continues his success -- particularly if New York falls out of contention. The former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner has improved his performance every season since signing a Minor League contract with the Mets in 2016.

One of Tebow's most vocal backers, former Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, is gone from the organization. But Alderson's replacement, Brodie Van Wagenen, was Tebow's agent from 2016-18. Van Wagenen has already said Tebow is likely to begin this season at Triple-A Syracuse, just one step from the Majors.

Other non-roster invitations of note went to 20-year-old top prospect Andres Gimenez, second-ranked prospect Peter Alonso, and fourth- and fifth-ranked prospects David Peterson and Anthony Kay. In addition, veterans Rajai Davis, Gregor Blanco, Luis Avilan and Hector Santiago will be in camp on Minor League deals.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets

Alonso named MLB's best 1B prospect

MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2019 Top 100 Prospects list with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

First basemen don't usually draw a lot of acclaim as prospects, in large part because they tend to be less well-rounded players than those at other positions. When MLB Pipeline releases its new Top 100 next week, Minor League home run leader Peter Alonso will be the only first baseman who's not a two-way performer on the list.

MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2019 Top 100 Prospects list with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

First basemen don't usually draw a lot of acclaim as prospects, in large part because they tend to be less well-rounded players than those at other positions. When MLB Pipeline releases its new Top 100 next week, Minor League home run leader Peter Alonso will be the only first baseman who's not a two-way performer on the list.

However, there has been a resurgence in first-base prospects in the last couple of years. The 2017 Draft featured five first basemen in the top 35 picks, and four of them -- Brendan McKay (Rays), Nick Pratto (Royals), Evan White (Mariners) and Brent Rooker (Twins) -- rank among the 10 best in the Minors at this moment.

Last June, Triston Casas (Red Sox) and Grant Lavigne (Rockies) went before the second round and quickly claimed spots on our first base Top 10. Another Rockies farmhand, Tyler Nevin, boosted his stock by leading the Arizona Fall League in all three slash categories (.426/.535/.593).

Top 10 Prospects by Position

While first base may not be loaded with five-tool prospects, the position possesses more depth than it typically does.

The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Peter Alonso, Mets (2019)
2. Evan White, Mariners (2020)
3. Nathaniel Lowe, Rays (2019)
4. Brendan McKay, Rays (2020)
5. Brent Rooker, Twins (2019)
6. Nick Pratto, Royals (2021)
7. Triston Casas, Red Sox (2022)
8. Grant Lavigne, Rockies (2022)
9. Tyler Nevin, Rockies (2020)
10. Matt Thaiss, Angels (2019)
Complete list »

Top Tools

Best Hitter: White, Lowe, McKay, Pratto, Lavigne, Nevin, Thaiss (55)
Lowe always had good plate discipline, but he broke out in 2018 by driving more balls in the air and tightening his strike zone further. He batted .330 and ranked fifth in the Minors with a .985 OPS. Nevin opened eyes in the AFL with his pure hitting ability and mastery of the strike zone, while organization mate Lavigne did the same in his pro debut by batting .350 and topping the Rookie-level Pioneer League with a .477 on-base percentage.

Video: Top Prospects: Tyler Nevin, 1B, Rockies

Best Power: Alonso, Rooker, Casas (60)
Alonso led the Minors with 36 homers during the regular season and the Arizona Fall League with six more, not including a shot off a 103-mph Nate Pearson fastball during the Fall Stars Game. His bat speed and strength produce tremendous exit velocities and translate his impressive raw power into game production.

Video: Top Prospects: Peter Alonso, 1B, Mets

Fastest Runner: White (60)
White has a highly unusual profile for a first baseman, as he bats right-handed and throws lefty, his hitting ability stands out more than his power and he's as athletic as it gets at the position. He's a plus runner, though his quickness is more apparent in the field than on the bases.

Video: Top Prospects: Evan White, 1B, Mariners

Best Arm: McKay, Pratto, Casas (60)
Both McKay and Casas had low-90s fastballs when they pitched as amateurs, and McKay continues to deal that kind of heat as he tries to make it as a two-way player. Pratto also was a two-way star as an amateur, throwing in the upper 80s and helping the U.S. national 18-and-under team win a pair of gold medals at international events.

Video: Top Prospects: Triston Casas, 1B, Red Sox

Best Defender: White (70)
White's defense gets the same rave reviews that Cody Bellinger's did when the Dodgers slugger was rising through the Minors. It's easy to envision him winning Gold Gloves in the big leagues, but he also has the quickness and solid arm strength to fit anywhere in the outfield if needed.

Superlatives

Highest Ceiling: Pratto
Pratto has the best chance to be a plus hitter for both average and power, and he also has Gold Glove potential at first base. After a slow start in his first full pro season, he batted .322/.394/.518 in the second half in the low Class A South Atlantic League and helped Lexington win the championship.

Video: Top Prospects: Nick Pratto, 1B, Royals

Highest Floor: White
White is a safe bet to hit thanks to his advanced approach and ability to barrel the ball, and he's beginning to unlock the power potential in his 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame. He's also an outstanding defender and has the versatility to play all three outfield spots.

Rookie of the Year Candidate: Alonso
The Mets have crowded their infield by trading for Robinson Cano and J.D. Davis and signing Jed Lowrie, and they have plenty of candidates to play first base. None of them can match Alonso's power, however, and he has little to prove in the Minors except for upgrading his defense.

Highest Riser: Lowe
Lowe hit just seven homers in his first full pro season and ranked 13th on MLB Pipeline's Rays Top 30 Prospects list a year ago. After making adjustments to his swing, he slammed 27 homers during his coming-out party in 2018 and should push for a big league role with Tampa Bay, which lacks a surefire starter at first base or DH.

Video: Top Prospects: Nate Lowe, 1B, Rays

Humblest Beginning: Lowe
When the Rays signed Lowe for $100,000 as a 13th-rounder out of Mississippi State in 2016, it was seen as a favor to his younger brother Josh, whom they selected 13th overall in the first round of the same Draft. Two years later, Nathaniel had surpassed him as a prospect.

Most To Prove: McKay
Trying to make it as both a hitter and a pitcher is a difficult task. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 Draft, McKay lived up to his reputation as being more advanced on the mound by logging a 2.41 ERA with a 103/14 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings on the mound in his first full pro season. He batted just .214/.368/.359, however, and he'll have to up his production if he wants to continue pulling double duty.

Video: Top Prospects: Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Rays

Keep An Eye On: Luken Baker, Cardinals
Another two-way star, Baker could have gone in the top two rounds of the 2015 Draft as a pitcher out of high school if he hadn't been set on attending Texas Christian. He gave up pitching after his freshman season but has tremendous strength and leverage in his 6-foot-4, 265-pound frame, giving him huge power upside that led the Cardinals to draft him in the second round last June.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

30 best defensive prospects -- 1 for each team

MLB.com

MLB Pipeline recently unveiled its annual All-Defense Team, but there were only so many spots to fill. It made us realize there were so many outstanding defenders across all 30 organizations.

Evaluating defense is still very much subjective, with metrics measuring fielding still imperfect. Still, each system has glovework that stands out more than others, and we considered many to present one best defender from each organization.

MLB Pipeline recently unveiled its annual All-Defense Team, but there were only so many spots to fill. It made us realize there were so many outstanding defenders across all 30 organizations.

Evaluating defense is still very much subjective, with metrics measuring fielding still imperfect. Still, each system has glovework that stands out more than others, and we considered many to present one best defender from each organization.

American League East

Orioles: Cadyn Grenier, SS, No. 9
Grenier's stellar glovework at shortstop was key in helping Oregon State win the 2018 College World Series, and in the process, he established himself as one of the best defensive prospects in the Draft before going to the Orioles as the No. 37 overall pick. With good hands, plus arm strength and plenty of range, Grenier has all the ingredients needed to stick at the position long term.

Red Sox: Bobby Dalbec, 3B, No. 6
Dalbec has always possessed a strong arm and has worked hard to improve his agility and range at third base, with several Red Sox officials rating him as a plus defender and scouts outside the organization grading him more as solid. He also owns prodigious raw power and ranked second in the Minors in extra-base hits (70) and RBIs (109) last year, and fourth in homers (32).

Yankees: Estevan Florial, OF, No. 1 (MLB No. 45)
Florial has some of the best all-around tools in the Minors, with well-above-average raw power, speed and arm strength. He continues to improve as a center fielder, projecting as a plus defender, and has an exceptionally strong arm for the position.

Rays: Lucius Fox, SS, No. 9
While there's no shortage of standout defenders in the highly athletic Rays system, Fox, a top-flight athlete with plus-plus speed, could be the best. He's played shortstop exclusively as a pro and committed 15 errors in 105 games last season while reaching Double-A at age 21. His athleticism makes him an electrifying defender, and he has the requisite physical tools to remain at the position for the long haul.

Video: EAST@WEST: Fox showcases range, slick glove in 3rd

Blue Jays: Kevin Vicuna, SS, unranked
The Blue Jays felt so good about Vicuna's defense in 2017 that they had the then-19-year-old handle shortstop duties for Class A Advanced Dunedin from April 23-June 1, even though Vicuna previously had never played above the Rookie Gulf Coast League. He's an athletic and, at times, flashy defender, with quick, twitchy hands that help him absorb anything hit his way and a quick release that causes his average arm strength to play up across the infield.

AL Central

White Sox: Nick Madrigal, 2B, No. 5 (MLB No. 49)
The White Sox may try Madrigal at shortstop, because he has the hands and actions to thrive there, but his average arm makes him a better fit at second base. With his quickness and instincts, he could be a Gold Glove Award winner at the keystone, and he also rated as the best pure hitter in the 2018 Draft, where he went No. 4 overall.

Video: Top Prospects: Nick Madrigal, 2B, White Sox

Indians: Eric Haase, C, No. 27
Haase reached the Majors for the first time late last season, seven years after the Indians took him in the seventh round of the 2011 Draft. Though he's blossomed on both sides of the ball during the past two seasons, it's been Haase's defensive gains that have helped him climb the Tribe's depth chart. After throwing out 37 percent of attempted basestealers in 2017, Haase improved that mark to nearly 49 percent in '18 (33 of 68).

Tigers: Jake Rogers, C, No. 12
The Tigers got Rogers as part of the Justin Verlander deal, and in Rogers' first full season with the organization, he cemented himself as the game's best defensive catching prospect, earning a spot on MLB Pipeline's All-Defense Team for the second year in a row. He threw out 55.6 percent of potential basestealers in 2018, upping his career rate to 48.5 percent.

Royals: Sebastian Rivero, C, unranked
M.J. Melendez is very athletic for a catcher and has a chance to become a plus defender with an arm to match. Yet South Atlantic League managers rated Rivero, his teammate at Lexington last summer, the low Class A circuit's best defensive backstop in a Baseball America survey last year. The Royals liken Rivero to a young Salvador Perez, and in addition to his physical ability, Rivero also draws raves for his leadership skills, intelligence and work ethic.

Twins: Gilberto Celestino, OF, No. 14
Signed by the Astros for $2.5 million in 2015, Celestino made his United States debut in '17, then got dealt to the Twins in the Ryan Pressly trade last season. He's drawn comparisons to Albert Almora Jr. for his instincts in center, and coaches in Elizabethton feel he's one of the best defenders they've ever seen.

AL West

Astros: Myles Straw, OF, No. 15
Straw has double-plus speed that gives him tremendous range in center field, where his plus arm also stands out at a position not noted for strong throwers. That quickness also plays well on the bases (he topped the Minors with 70 steals in only 79 attempts in 2018) and allows him to beat out hits (he led the Minors with a .358 batting average in '16).

Angels: Jordyn Adams, OF, No. 6
The Angels signed Adams away from playing football and baseball at North Carolina, and he immediately put his tools on display during his pro debut and during instructs. He's still raw, but the Angels feel he has elite range and the highest ceiling as a defender in the organization.

A's: Nick Allen, SS, No. 15
Allen was viewed by many scouts as perhaps the best defensive prospect available in the 2017 Draft, and he's done nothing to diminish that reputation after signing for more than double slot value as the A's third-round pick. There is no doubt among scouts that Allen can stick at shortstop. He's already a plus defender there, with outstanding range that leads to many highlight-reel plays and plus arm strength that allows him to make throws from all over the diamond.

Mariners: Evan White, 1B, No. 5
It's not often a first baseman is mentioned as one of the premier defensive players in the Minors, but that's the reality with White, who recently was named to the All-Defense Team. All signs point to him becoming a Gold Glove Award winner at the position, as he's athletic with outstanding footwork, a strong arm and plus range. His ability to pick throws is elite, and he makes every infielder on his team better as a result.

Video: Top Prospects: Evan White, 1B, Mariners

Rangers: Jose Trevino, C, No. 28
Trevino won Rawlings Minor League Gold Gloves in both 2016 and '17, before surgery on his non-throwing shoulder last July squashed any chances of a three-peat. He's an outstanding receiver and blocker, gets the most out of his strong arm with a quick release and accurate throws and also earns high marks for his ability to run a pitching staff.

National League East

Braves: Cristian Pache, OF, No. 6  (MLB No. 68)
Pache is generally considered to be the best defender in the Minor Leagues, leading our All-Defense Prospect Team. He has the speed and instincts to be a Gold Glove center fielder to go along with a right fielder's arm.

Video: Mayo looks at MLB Pipeline's 2019 All-Defense Team

Marlins: Jose Devers, SS/2B, No. 13
The cousin of Red Sox third basemen Rafael Devers, Jose was acquired by the Marlins last offseason in the blockbuster trade that sent Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx. While he doesn't have his cousin's offensive profile, Devers is a far superior defender, with the soft hands, slick footwork and strong arm needed to be a big league shortstop. He showcased his defensive prowess last season, committing only seven errors and posting a .971 fielding percentage as an 18-year-old in full-season ball.

Mets: Andres Gimenez, SS, No. 1 (MLB No. 55)
The shortstop on our All-Defense Team, Gimenez reached Double-A in 2018 as a teenager. While he needs to add strength offensively, he has everything he needs to play shortstop defensively in the big leagues. He has plus hands, range and the internal clock to allow him to slow the game down.

Phillies: Luis Garcia, SS, No. 14
Signed for $2.5 million in July 2017, Garcia had a tremendous debut in the Gulf Coast League in '18 on both sides of the ball. He has a strong arm to go along with terrific hands and feet, and speed that gives him excellent range to stay at shortstop long term. He's only going to get better as he matures.

Nationals: Victor Robles, OF, No. 1
Revered as one of the top defenders in the Minor Leagues and a member of MLB Pipeline's All-Defense Team, Robles has game-changing abilities in center field. His near top-of-the-scale speed gives him range for days in center field, and he's made strides in improving both his reads and routes in the past two years. His plus-plus arm is among the strongest in the Minors, and he totaled 29 outfield assists from 2016-17 before an injury-plagued campaign in '18.

Video: Top Prospects: Victor Robles, OF, Nationals

NL Central

Cubs: Miguel Amaya, C, No. 1 (MLB No. 87)
Amaya's defensive ability and makeup led the Cubs to sign him for $1.25 million out of Panama in 2015, and he continues to impress even though he has been pushed aggressively in the Minors. His aptitude to frame and block pitches is advanced for a teenager, and his arm strength has improved to at least solid and plays up because of his quick transfer and accuracy.

Reds: Mike Siani, OF, No. 9
The Reds' fourth-round pick got first-round money to sign because of his all-around tools. But his defensive skills have long stood out, and he might have been the best defensive outfielder in the 2018 Draft class, with the ability to cover a ton of ground in center and an arm that allowed him to throw low-90s fastballs from the mound in high school.

Brewers: Payton Henry, C, No. 11
A sixth-round pick in 2016 who signed for nearly twice his slot value, Henry threw out nearly 44 percent (46 of 105) of attempted basestealers and had only six passed balls in his first full season. A quick release and a strong, accurate arm help Henry to combat the running game, and evaluators have been impressed with how he's developed a receiving style that utilizes his big, athletic frame. Henry is also praised for his energy and leadership skills.

Pirates: Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B, No. 2 (MLB No. 48)
Hayes was the third baseman on our All-Defense Team, and for good reason. He entered pro ball as one of the better defenders at the hot corner, but he's gotten even better as he's committed himself to his conditioning, adding to his agility and range to make him the best in the Minors at the position.

Cardinals: Delvin Perez, SS, No. 28
The Cardinals' first-round pick in 2016 has had trouble finding any traction offensively, but there are no concerns about his defensive chops. He gets plus grades on his arm and his overall fielding, thanks to a plus arm when he needs it, above-average hands and plus speed that helps him cover a lot of ground.

NL West

D-backs: Geraldo Perdomo, SS, No. 21
Perdomo's United States debut in 2018 was solid all-around, and he even earned a promotion from the Arizona Rookie League to the Pioneer League in the process. Tall and rangy, the teenager has shown the tools to stay at shortstop long term with outstanding range, actions and hands to go with a strong arm.

Rockies: Yonathan Daza, OF, No. 18
Thanks to his plus speed and fine instincts, Daza covers a lot of ground in center field, and he possesses a plus-plus arm that stands out at his position. He's also a career .310 hitter who won the Class A Advanced California League batting title in 2017 with a .341 mark.

Dodgers: Will Smith, C, No. 5
An outstanding athlete for a catcher, Smith has already shown that he's capable of playing third base and filling in at second. He has very soft hands and impressive agility, making him a fine receiver and framer, and he has a solid arm that plays better than that because of his fast footwork.

Padres: Buddy Reed, OF, No. 13
A member of MLB Pipeline's All-Defense Team, Reed's 70-grade speed and long, gliding strides allow him to cover huge swaths of territory in center field -- and he showcased that with his catch in last year's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. Reed also has a strong arm and recorded 12 outfield assists in 2018, surpassing his combined total from his first two seasons.

Video: WLD@USA: Reed wired up, makes great grab at the wall

Giants: Joey Bart, C, No. 1 (MLB No. 23)
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 Draft, Bart draws more attention with his bat, but his work behind the plate is impressive as well. He has improved markedly since high school, when scouts wondered if he could stay at catcher, enhancing his agility and receiving and improving the accuracy of his strong arm.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Lowrie introduced after signing with Mets

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- In slipping a jersey over his shoulders Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field, Jed Lowrie, for all intents and purposes, completed the primary arc of the Mets' offseason. General manager Brodie Van Wagenen will continue to keep tabs on the remaining free agents, and he may even make another minor move or two. But while he stopped short of confirming that the Mets are done spending for the winter, Van Wagenen hinted several times to that end.

Simply put, Van Wagenen is satisfied not only that the Mets are better than last season, but that they have become the class of the National League East. Even if Bryce Harper or Manny Machado -- or both -- land in the division, Van Wagenen feels confident that it won't push his team out of realistic contention.

NEW YORK -- In slipping a jersey over his shoulders Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field, Jed Lowrie, for all intents and purposes, completed the primary arc of the Mets' offseason. General manager Brodie Van Wagenen will continue to keep tabs on the remaining free agents, and he may even make another minor move or two. But while he stopped short of confirming that the Mets are done spending for the winter, Van Wagenen hinted several times to that end.

Simply put, Van Wagenen is satisfied not only that the Mets are better than last season, but that they have become the class of the National League East. Even if Bryce Harper or Manny Machado -- or both -- land in the division, Van Wagenen feels confident that it won't push his team out of realistic contention.

"We want to win the pennant," Van Wagenen said after Lowrie finalized his two-year, $20 million contract Wednesday. "And after that, we want to win the World Series. So I'm less concerned about what other teams in the division are doing, or what the Dodgers are doing, or what the Cubs are doing. There's a lot of good teams. … And I hope that those guys continue to get themselves better because we'll go slug it out with them every day."

Tweet from @Mets: #Mets fans, @Jed_Lowrie has a message for you! pic.twitter.com/XLjgclWniV

Van Wagenen's confidence stems in part from Lowrie, his former client, who rejuvenated his career with perhaps his best two seasons in 2017-18. Combined, Lowrie hit .272 with 37 homers and an .804 OPS for the A's, playing mostly second base.

With the Mets, the switch-hitter figures to start many days at third base (Todd Frazier can shift to first), some at shortstop and some at second, occupying the No. 2 hole in New York's lineup. In Van Wagenen's mind, Lowrie's signing eliminates any last remaining "what if's" on the Mets' roster, pushing Jeff McNeil to the outfield to bolster depth there.

Some believe the Mets would have been better served acquiring Harper, Machado or even A.J. Pollock, but Van Wagenen indicated earlier this offseason that his budget wouldn't allow him to do that while also addressing all other areas of need. The GM wouldn't discuss budget matters Wednesday, other than to indicate that the Mets, who feature a slightly higher payroll than they did last Opening Day, are likely done making large expenditures.

"We'll never rule out looking at great players, and if we can find a way to make deals happen, we'll be creative with it," Van Wagenen said. "But I think from a fit standpoint, both in the outfield and the infield, we're in a pretty good position as we go forward."

Video: Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen joins MLB Now

Pitching is another matter, particularly in the rotation, where the Mets have little established depth beyond their top five starters. But Van Wagenen pointed to free-agent signing Hector Santiago and Rule 5 Draft pick Kyle Dowdy as reasons to be confident, offering optimism that the Mets are well covered in that area.

"They haven't been the [most] high-profile names," Van Wagenen said, "but if you look under the surface, we've added a lot of depth on the pitching side as well."

Tweet from @Mets: Looking right. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/K4PvMu2NUW

If Harper lands with the Nationals and Machado with the Phillies, the Mets may have a public relations challenge ahead of them. Van Wagenen says he logs on to Twitter every day, where fans beg incessantly for him to sign Harper or Pollock.

Likely, those cries will go unanswered. Van Wagenen believes the Mets are already where they need to be.

"I think that we're a good team," the GM said. "I think that we're a complete team. I think that we're a balanced team. We've got veterans. We've got youth. We've got a hunger and a desire to win. I look forward to showing people that we're a team to be reckoned with, and let's not be shy about wanting to be the best. I fully expect us to be competitive and to be a winning team. Our goal is to win a championship and it starts with the division. So come get us."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Jed Lowrie

WCBS reveals 2019 Mets radio team

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- The Mets' radio booth will bring decades of experience to the airwaves next season as several key personalities make the move to WCBS. The station announced Thursday that Howie Rose and Wayne Randazzo will form the club's play-by-play tandem in 2019, while longtime WFAN clubhouse reporter Ed Coleman will take control of the pregame show at WCBS.

"We're thrilled once again to be part of the Entercom family that enables our fans to enjoy Mets baseball on such a historic station like WCBS 880 with a tremendous reach," Mets executive vice president Lou DePaoli said in a statement.

NEW YORK -- The Mets' radio booth will bring decades of experience to the airwaves next season as several key personalities make the move to WCBS. The station announced Thursday that Howie Rose and Wayne Randazzo will form the club's play-by-play tandem in 2019, while longtime WFAN clubhouse reporter Ed Coleman will take control of the pregame show at WCBS.

"We're thrilled once again to be part of the Entercom family that enables our fans to enjoy Mets baseball on such a historic station like WCBS 880 with a tremendous reach," Mets executive vice president Lou DePaoli said in a statement.

WCBS is owned by the same Entercom company as WFAN, which held the Mets' rights from its inception in 1987 until 2013. After that season, WFAN switched allegiances to the Yankees, while the Mets -- and Rose -- moved to WOR 710 in a marriage that lasted five years.

Now, the Mets are back in the Entercom family, making Rose's transition a natural one. The longtime broadcaster has been in the Mets' radio or television booth since 1995.

Prior to the 2015 season, the Mets hired Randazzo as its pregame and postgame host. In addition to that role, Randazzo filled in regularly for Rose's former booth partner, Josh Lewin, with whom the Mets parted ways late last year. He has also substituted for Gary Cohen on SNY television broadcasts.

Until the Mets moved to WOR in 2013, Coleman was a staple of their coverage team, serving as a reporter inside the clubhouse. He will reprise that role on the pregame show now that the Mets are back under the Entercom radio umbrella, though Randazzo will remain the postgame host. WCBS 880 morning sports anchor Brad Heller will also contribute pregame and postgame coverage.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets

Chili, Cespedes share history with Lowrie

MLB.com @ladsonbill24

NEW YORK -- Infielder Jed Lowrie, who signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Mets on Wednesday, is no stranger to some in his new organization. He will be reunited with hitting coach Chili Davis and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who were with Lowrie on the Athletics in 2013 and '14.

Under Davis' tutelage in 2013, Lowrie had one of his best seasons in the big leagues. That year, he hit a career-high .290 with 15 home runs and 75 RBIs. After signing with New York, Lowrie and Davis have communicated via text, and the Mets' new infielder also sent video to Davis on what he has been doing during the offseason.

NEW YORK -- Infielder Jed Lowrie, who signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Mets on Wednesday, is no stranger to some in his new organization. He will be reunited with hitting coach Chili Davis and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who were with Lowrie on the Athletics in 2013 and '14.

Under Davis' tutelage in 2013, Lowrie had one of his best seasons in the big leagues. That year, he hit a career-high .290 with 15 home runs and 75 RBIs. After signing with New York, Lowrie and Davis have communicated via text, and the Mets' new infielder also sent video to Davis on what he has been doing during the offseason.

"I look forward to working with [Davis] again, because we connect on so many levels," Lowrie said. "Chili is one of those guys that had a very fantastic [playing] career, very accomplished hitter. Still, to this day, he understands how hard it is and what it takes to go into how to prepare … every single day."

According to Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, he was in contact with Davis as the team was pursuing Lowrie.

"Chili recognizes Jed's methodical approach [at the plate]," Van Wagenen said. "Jed has a plan every day. He works through his process and his hitting progression. Chili is a worker. Jed is a worker. I think that is something that Chili reinforced when he was sharing his thoughts with me."

As far as Cespedes is concerned, Lowrie called his teammate "dynamic." Cespedes will not return to action until the summer because of injuries to both of his heels.

"He changes the lineup. He changes the way the opposing pitchers pitch to the rest of the lineup," Lowrie said about Cespedes. "He can be such a focal point. Defensively, he has one of the best arms I've ever seen. He is a dynamic player that helps any team win."

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

New York Mets, Yoenis Cespedes, Jed Lowrie

Around the Horn: Starting rotation

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Port St. Lucie, Fla., in four weeks, it's time to take a position-by-position look at the 2019 Mets. First up: starting pitchers.

Projected starters: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, Jason Vargas
For most of the last decade, the Mets' starting pitching has defined them as a team. So too has the health of those starters. The inability of Syndergaard, Wheeler, Matz and Matt Harvey to stay healthy has largely prevented the Mets from making good on their rotation potential, except in short bursts.

NEW YORK -- With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Port St. Lucie, Fla., in four weeks, it's time to take a position-by-position look at the 2019 Mets. First up: starting pitchers.

Projected starters: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, Jason Vargas
For most of the last decade, the Mets' starting pitching has defined them as a team. So too has the health of those starters. The inability of Syndergaard, Wheeler, Matz and Matt Harvey to stay healthy has largely prevented the Mets from making good on their rotation potential, except in short bursts.

That changed in 2018, when deGrom and Matz set career highs in starts and innings, at least temporarily setting aside concerns about the rotation. Those two will return to anchor the 2019 staff alongside Wheeler and Syndergaard, whose recent health history is not as strong, and Vargas, who rebounded from a poor first half to serve as an effective back-end starter after the All-Star break.

Video: NYM@PHI: Wheeler shut down for remainder of 2018

Mets starters posted a 3.54 ERA in 2018, fourth best in the National League.

Pacing them was deGrom, whose MLB-low 1.70 ERA over 32 starts earned him the NL Cy Young Award. While there is no reason to believe deGrom, 30, is due for a major drop-off in 2019, he is coming off such a historic season that it would be almost impossible for him -- or anyone -- to repeat it. The Mets can probably expect a bit of regression, but nothing that should prevent deGrom from continuing to anchor this staff.

<Video: Jacob deGrom wins 2018 NL Cy Young Awardp>

Syndergaard, last year's Opening Day starter, is much more of an unknown. He missed significant time for the second straight season, this time due to a strained ligament in his right index finger and a series of illnesses. When heathy, Syndergaard remained one of the game's top starters, posting a 3.03 ERA with 155 strikeouts in 154 1/3 innings. But health has increasingly been an issue for the hard-throwing right-hander.

Video: MIA@NYM: Syndergaard completes his 1st career shutout

Previously, arm issues were of greater issue for Matz and Wheeler, who combined for only 52 starts from 2016-17. They started 59 last year, combining for a 3.61 ERA with nearly a strikeout per inning. Wheeler in particular excelled down the stretch, going 10-1 with a 1.96 ERA over his last 12 outings.

Rounding out the rotation is Vargas, who rebounded from injuries, an inconsistent schedule and a dreadful first three months of the season to go 5-3 with a 3.81 ERA after the All-Star break -- the exact kind of production the Mets envisioned when they signed him to a two-year, $16 million deal last February. It was enough for the Mets to stay committed to Vargas as their fifth starter in 2019.

Video: ATL@NYM: Vargas K's 6 over 7 scoreless vs. Braves

Other candidates: Seth Lugo, Corey Oswalt, Hector Santiago, Kyle Dowdy, Chris Flexen, Drew Gagnon, P.J. Conlon
Heading into mid-January, this may be the most pressing issue on the Mets' roster. While Lugo is a fine sixth starter on paper, posting a 4.06 ERA in 31 career starts, the Mets have made it clear that they value him more as a setup man -- and don't exactly have the bullpen depth required to remove him from that role. As such, Lugo profiles more as a spot starter than a true sixth option.

Video: ATL@NYM: Lugo earns the save as Mets shut out Braves

Oswalt actually performed well for the Mets in 2018 despite his 5.85 ERA; shuttling frequently between the Major and Minors, he struggled mostly in spot starts when given little time to prepare. Offered a chance to start every fifth day down the stretch, Oswalt produced a 3.07 ERA in four outings.

Two pieces the Mets added this winter are Dowdy, a hard-throwing Rule 5 Draft pick, and Santiago, a soft-tossing veteran who served mostly as a reliever with the White Sox last season. Beyond that, the Mets are relying on young, marginal prospects such as Flexen, Gagnon and Conlon for depth. Given that they have used 12 starters per year in each of the last three seasons, the Mets would do well to add more depth before Opening Day.

Video: Hector Santiago joins Mets on Minor League deal

Prospects to watch
Trading Justin Dunn to the Mariners and losing Franklyn Kilome to Tommy John surgery left the Mets without much upper-level Minor League pitching depth. While fourth- and fifth-ranked prospects David Peterson and Anthony Kay both impressed last summer, neither has thrown a pitch above Class A Advanced ball. None of the Mets' other Top 30 prospects are likely to contribute in 2019.

Video: Top Prospects: David Peterson, LHP, Mets

The bottom line
When healthy, the Mets' rotation might be the Majors' best, headlined by the NL's reigning Cy Young Award winner. But health has been a major issue for this bunch in past seasons, and the Mets have done little to insure themselves against a major injury.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, Jason Vargas, Zack Wheeler

First Spring Training workout dates for all clubs

MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

Major League Baseball has revealed the first Spring Training workout dates for pitchers and catchers and those for the full squads for all 30 clubs. MLB also announced game times for all Cactus and Grapefruit League action in February and March.

Major League Baseball has revealed the first Spring Training workout dates for pitchers and catchers and those for the full squads for all 30 clubs. MLB also announced game times for all Cactus and Grapefruit League action in February and March.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The A's, fresh off their surprise run to the 2018 American League Wild Card Game, will be the first club to have its pitchers and catchers report. They'll do so on Monday, Feb. 11, followed by the Indians and Mariners on Feb. 12 and the remainder of MLB clubs in the days following. Oakland and Seattle will travel to Tokyo to stage two exhibition games each against Japanese teams on March 17-18, followed by the first two games of the 2019 regular season on March 20-21 at Tokyo Dome.

Complete Spring Training schedule

Oakland and Seattle will hold their first full-squad workouts on Saturday, Feb. 16, in Arizona, with the rest of MLB following suit in the days after. The Braves will be the last club to hold its first full-squad workout, doing so on Thursday, Feb. 21. The A's and Mariners open Cactus League action with a matchup on Feb. 21, and the Rays and Phillies open up Grapefruit League action the following day. The Red Sox and Tigers will play exhibition games against college teams on Feb. 22.

Here are first-workout dates for pitchers and catchers and full squads for each team:

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Angels: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Astros: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
Athletics: Feb. 11/Feb. 16
Blue Jays: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
Indians: Feb. 12/Feb. 18
Mariners: Feb. 12/Feb. 16
Orioles: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Rangers: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Rays: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Red Sox: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Royals: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Tigers: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Twins: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
White Sox: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Yankees: Feb. 14/Feb. 19

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Braves: Feb. 16/Feb. 21
Brewers: Feb. 14/Feb. 19
Cardinals: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Cubs: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Diamondbacks: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Dodgers: Feb. 13/Feb. 19
Giants: Feb. 14/Feb. 19
Marlins: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Mets: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
Nationals: Feb. 14/Feb. 19
Padres: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Phillies: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Pirates: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Reds: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Rockies: Feb. 13/Feb. 18

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

Mets hitting coach Davis talks mentality in Q&A

MLB.com @ladsonbill24

In a recent phone interview, new Mets hitting coach Chili Davis answered a wide range of questions, from his relationship with Yoenis Cespedes to his hitting philosophy.

MLB.com: How did the job as hitting coach with the Mets come about?

In a recent phone interview, new Mets hitting coach Chili Davis answered a wide range of questions, from his relationship with Yoenis Cespedes to his hitting philosophy.

MLB.com: How did the job as hitting coach with the Mets come about?

Davis: I received a text from someone with the Cubs, and he told me that the Mets inquired about me. Then I talked to [Mets advisor] Ruben Amaro Jr., who coached in Boston with me. Then I got a call from [general manager] Brodie Van Wagenen. We did the interviews before the Winter Meetings. Then they told me they wanted me to come on board. It worked out that way.

MLB.com: What intrigued you about the job?

Davis: To be honest about it, I think the Mets have the makings of a really good team, and the additions that Brodie made has made the team even better. Any time you get an opportunity to work with solid young hitters -- Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario -- [and then] you add Robinson Cano and Wilson Ramos [to the mix], that's intriguing. I think I can work well with young hitters, especially from what I heard from everyone in the organization. The young hitters are eager to learn. They want to get better. That was intriguing in itself.

But I think to cap it off, the pitching staff that they have, it's a strong pitching staff with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler and Jason Vargas. ... When I took the job, I was told the Mets were going to try to make the team a much better team this year. From what I've seen, they have done exactly that. I'm not even counting in my man, Yoenis Cespedes [who will not be back until the middle of the season at the earliest]. If you can give that pitching staff any kind of run support, they will win some ballgames for you.

MLB.com: You were with Cespedes during the beginning of his Major League career. What was he like then and what do you know about him now?

Davis: I haven't been around Cespy for some years now. But I got to know about him in Oakland. He is a player with a lot of ability. He can take over a ballgame -- offensively and defensively. He has a really good arm, great speed. He is a five-tool player. When Cespy is on a mission, there is no stopping him regardless of the situation. The bigger the game, the bigger the player he becomes.

He is a good person, too. I got to know him as a person. We built a relationship in Oakland. There was some really good trust between us.

MLB.com: He did well with you in Oakland. What was that trust like?

Davis: He came from Cuba. He didn't know me. He didn't know anything about me. During his first time in the States, we had Manny Ramirez during Spring Training. He kind of took to Manny. He knew how great Manny was. Having Manny there helped a lot. But when Manny didn't make the team, Cespy had myself and interpreter Ariel Prieto, who I thought helped a lot as far as getting to know him as well. I think one of the turning points for Cespy and I was he didn't realize that I played as long as I had in the big leagues. One day he asked me how long I played in the big leagues. ... Ariel kind of laughed and said, "Look him up on Google." Cespy did. He came back and was surprised that I played as long as I did. In knowing that I had that experience, the trust level went up. He is a worker. He works real hard. I never had to say, "Cespy, come in the cage. Let's get your work done."

MLB.com: I know you were not with the Mets last year, but what would you like to see improve from a statistical standpoint?

Davis: Stats come with consistent performance day in and day out. More so than numbers, I want to help them improve their approaches against the tougher pitchers and the not-so-tough pitchers. In the big leagues, everybody is tough. I'm looking for a day-in and day-out consistency. It's a long season -- 162 ballgames and 30-plus games in Spring Training. It's a long season. The guys are going to have their ups and downs. I think the key is to minimize the down periods that they have, try to play more team baseball offensively ... play with one goal in mind and that's to try to beat the other team.

MLB.com: What is your hitting philosophy?

Davis: If you talk to all 30 hitting coaches in the big leagues, their philosophy will be similar. I know there are some changes in the game -- launch angles, keep the ball in the air and stuff like that. I'm trying to help young hitters become more precision-type hitters, not collision-type hitters with power. ... If you have a plan when you are at the plate and you trust the plan in each at-bat, you are going to give yourself a chance to beat a pitcher. ... I think it's more of a mentality than it is a philosophy.

MLB.com: I have to ask you this: You were the hitting coach for the Cubs last year. What lessons did you learn from that experience?

Davis: Even though I got fired, I would not say it was a bad experience. I learned a lot there last year. One of the things you learn is that you are not automatically going to get everyone on board with the approach that you like to see. ... I need to be honest with players. Players need to be honest with me and they need to be honest with themselves. The Cubs won 95 games last year and went to the playoffs. They had some guys who were injured, especially Kris Bryant. He was out for a long time. That hurt us. I don't think he bounced back from his injury when he came back. It was a learning experience. I can't really describe it. What I learned there, I will use in my approach in the future with young hitters -- just understanding them.

I think the biggest thing was, at the end of the day, as the head hitting coach on any team, you are the guy that is going to be accountable for the hitters. You are the one that is going to be asked questions. Without saying it's my way or the highway, I would like to have everybody on the same page -- players, our staff, everyone. Communication is going to be huge.

MLB.com: You have been a hitting coach with the A's, Red Sox and Cubs. Who is the best hitter you ever coached?

Davis: I coached some pretty good hitters -- Jed Lowrie, Josh Donaldson, Coco Crisp, Brandon Moss, Yoenis Cespedes -- in Oakland. I also had the pleasure of being around Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts [of the Red Sox]. Last year, I had the opportunity to see [Cubs infielder] Javier Baez have a big year. ... I think of the lot, I think pound for pound, I would probably put Mookie Betts at the top of that list. He is a quality player. David Ortiz [was] consistent for a very long time.

MLB.com: So you are not surprised that Betts had an MVP season in 2018.

Davis: No, I'm not. I thought he should have won the [American League] MVP [Award] the year that he finished runner-up [in 2016]. I'm not taking anything away from Mike Trout, who is a great player, but I thought Mookie had an MVP year that year.

MLB.com: Twenty years ago, you were a member of the 1998 Yankees. How amazing was that team?

Davis: It was just a great team. I emphasize the word team. They were a team. ... Everybody played together. No one was bigger than the team. We had Derek Jeter, Paul O'Neill, Scott Brosius, Tim Raines, who is a Hall of Famer, Jorge Posada, Chuck Knoblauch. We could go on and on. It was a really good well-rounded team. We had great pitching. We had Andy Pettitte, David Cone, David Wells and El Duque [Orlando Hernandez]. It was a well put together team, but it was a team. It played like a team.

MLB.com: Is it the best team ever?

Davis: It's the best all-round team I played with.

MLB.com: What about the best of all time? The Yankees won 114 games that year.

Davis: All time? That's saying a lot. There are some good teams. The Yogi Berra era won 10 World Series. Joe DiMaggio almost did the same. Those guys were just world champions almost every year. The Yankees put together dynasties in a few eras. The Yankees from the mid '90s to the early 2000s were a dynasty club. That's a pretty tough feat to accomplish. I don't know the next time you will see that happen.

MLB.com: How good is it to be back in the Big Apple?

Davis: I'm looking forward to it. I haven't been able to spend a year in New York since 1999. There are a lot of people that I have gotten to know in the New York area. It will give me a chance to be around them. I never coached in New York. I played in New York. I'm looking forward to an exciting season with the Mets. You win in New York and [there's] nothing like winning in New York. There is nowhere else like that.

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

New York Mets

New 'Spider-Man' trailer reveals love for Piazza

While seemingly every Marvel superhero is from New York (seriously, there are so many that Daredevil's jurisdiction is about 25 blocks in midtown Manhattan), none seem to represent the city as well as Peter Parker. After all, he's not rich like Tony Stark or the recipient of a sweet government experiment to turn him into a super soldier like Steve Rogers. He's just a dorky kid living with his aunt and uncle and going to a public high school in Queens. Befitting his status as an everyman, it makes sense that he would be a New York Mets fan.

On Tuesday, the trailer for the upcoming sequel, "Spider-Man: Far From Home" was finally released, and it makes Parker's fandom clear with a "Mike Piazza: Hall of Fame" pennant hanging on his wall. 

Stottlemyre, New York baseball icon, dies at 77

Was respected pitching coach for Yankees, Mets championship teams
MLB.com @feinsand

Mel Stottlemyre, whose work as both a Major League pitcher and pitching coach made him one of the most respected men in the game, died Sunday in Seattle after a lengthy battle with bone marrow cancer. He was 77.

Stottlemyre was a five-time All-Star, winning 20 games on three separate occasions during an 11-year career. Stottlemyre pitched his entire career (1964-74) with the Yankees, appearing in only one World Series -- the seven-game 1964 Fall Classic won by the Cardinals, only two months after making his big league debut.

Mel Stottlemyre, whose work as both a Major League pitcher and pitching coach made him one of the most respected men in the game, died Sunday in Seattle after a lengthy battle with bone marrow cancer. He was 77.

Stottlemyre was a five-time All-Star, winning 20 games on three separate occasions during an 11-year career. Stottlemyre pitched his entire career (1964-74) with the Yankees, appearing in only one World Series -- the seven-game 1964 Fall Classic won by the Cardinals, only two months after making his big league debut.

But Stottlemyre would collect his share of championship rings in his second career, becoming one of the most respected and successful pitching coaches of his era.

He served in that capacity for the Mets from 1984-93, guiding a staff led by Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez that helped win the 1986 World Series. Stottlemyre served as the Astros' pitching coach in 1994-95 before joining Joe Torre in the Bronx in 1996, starting a decade-long run that saw the Yankees win four World Series titles and six American League pennants.

Tweet from @dcone36: He was more than a great pitcher and fantastic pitching coach. He was a father figure and touched so many in a positive way. We lost a great man. RIP Mel Stottlemyre

Stottlemyre left the Yankees after the 2005 season, though he would serve one last term as a big league pitching coach, working for the Mariners in 2008.

Stottlemyre is survived by his wife, Jean, and two sons, Todd and Mel Jr., who both pitched in the Major Leagues. A third son, Jason, died of leukemia in 1981 at age 11.

Video: Girardi recalls Stottlemyre's impact in life and MLB

"Beyond his tremendous accomplishments as a player and coach, Mel Stottlemyre was beloved for his class, dignity and fighting spirit," Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. "His contributions to different eras in our history guided us through difficult times and brought us some of our greatest all-time success. As a result, Mel's popularity transcended generations, all of whom thought of him as their own. His plaque in Monument Park will forever serve to celebrate the significance of his legacy.

"His passing is a tremendous loss to the Yankees and all those in the baseball community, and we extend our deepest condolences to Mel's wife, Jean, and the entire Stottlemyre family."

"We owe Mel so much gratitude for what he contributed to this organization," the Mets said in a statement. "The success we enjoyed in the '80s, including the world championship in 1986, was a direct result of his working closely with our young pitching staff. He was a true gentleman. Our condolences go out to his wife, Jean and two sons, Todd and Mel, Jr."

Video: Harper remembers the life of Mel Stottlemyre

Gooden and Darling, both of whom worked with Stottlemyre as rookies, said they were touched by Stottlemyre as a coach and as a person.

"Mel was more than a pitching coach to me. He was a dear friend," said Gooden, National League Rookie of the Year in 1984 and Cy Young Award winner in '85. "Everything I accomplished in the game was because of him. He taught me so much more than balls and strikes. I'll miss him dearly."

"One of the classiest men I have ever known on or off the field. A wonderful pitching coach and father figure to the young pitchers on our Mets teams in the 1980s," Darling said. "Devotion to his wife Jean, his sons and his pitchers will never be forgotten by New York or those he mentored. Today is the saddest day."

Video: Darling remembers former pitching coach Stottlemyre

Stottlemyre also helped shape the careers of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, who worked with him for most of their first decades with the Yankees. Stottlemyre and bench coach Don Zimmer were Torre's two most trusted advisors during the late-1990s championship run. They were never far from the manager's side.

"I am sorry to hear of Mel's passing," Torre said in a statement. "Mel was a role model to us all and the toughest man I have ever met. Sometimes a manager hires a friend to be their coach, but with Mel, as with Zim, he was my coach who became a dear friend and someone who became very special to me. I send my deepest sympathies to his wife Jean, boys Mel Jr. and Todd as well as the entire Stottlemyre family."

In 2000, Stottlemyre was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, undergoing a stem-cell transplant and four months of chemotherapy. He went into remission, but the cancer reappeared in 2011.

"He was such a wonderful man," said retired reliever Mike Stanton, who worked under the guidance of Stottlemyre with the Yankees from 1997-2002 and again in 2005. "He and his family had gone through so much with his physical issues. When I think about the time I had with Mel, there's nothing but pleasant thoughts. He had a great sense of humor. Even when he wasn't feeling well, he always had a positive word. He was always very upbeat and looking to help. He's going to be sorely missed. This one hurts."

In 2015, the Yankees surprised Stottlemyre by honoring him with a plaque on Old-Timers' Day at Yankee Stadium.

"This is, without a doubt, the biggest surprise I've ever had," Stottlemyre said that day. "Today, in this stadium, there is no one that's happier to be here on this field than myself.

"If I never get to come to another Old-Timers' Game, I will take these memories that I have today, and I will start another baseball club, coaching up there whenever they need me."

Video: MLB Now reflects on Mel Stottlemyre's passing

Mariners president and CEO Kevin Mather said in a statement: "Mel was an outstanding pitcher, earning his place among the best Yankees pitchers ever, and won five World Titles as a pitching coach, as well as the thanks and respect of a legion of pitchers he coached from youth baseball to the Majors. But more than that, he was truly one of the great gentlemen of our game. I was honored to get to know him when he was our pitching coach, and was always pleased to see him in Seattle or in the ballpark when his son, Mel Jr., coached for us. Our thoughts are with his wife Jean, sons Mel Jr. and Todd, and his grandchildren."

While Stottlemyre's coaching career brought him the greatest team success, his work on the mound should not be forgotten.

Signed by the Yankees in 1961, Stottlemyre made his big league debut in 1964 and proved to be a savior, going 9-3 with a 2.06 ERA to help the Yankees win a fifth consecutive American League pennant. He opposed Bob Gibson of the Cardinals three times in that World Series, winning Game 2 and losing in the decisive Game 7.

That would prove to be the Yankees' last pennant until 1976, two seasons after a torn rotator cuff had forced the right-hander to retire.

Stottlemyre won 20 games in 1965, making his first AL All-Star team despite the Yankees' rapid descent toward the bottom of the standings. He lost 20 games in 1966 as the Yankees finished in last place, then won 21 in 1968 and 20 more in 1969. He finished with a career record of 164-139 and a 2.97 ERA in 360 games, starting all but four of those appearances.

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.

New York Mets, New York Yankees

Mets' bullpen among biggest winter upgrades

MLB.com @AndrewSimonMLB

With only about a month left before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, plenty of potential contenders still have needs to address, and some high-profile free agents remain available.

Still, as quiet as the offseason has seemed at times, there have been some important additions. With that in mind, here is a position-by-position look at which teams have done the most to upgrade weak spots, taking into account both their 2018 production (or lack thereof) and '19 outlook:

With only about a month left before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, plenty of potential contenders still have needs to address, and some high-profile free agents remain available.

Still, as quiet as the offseason has seemed at times, there have been some important additions. With that in mind, here is a position-by-position look at which teams have done the most to upgrade weak spots, taking into account both their 2018 production (or lack thereof) and '19 outlook:

• 10 teams with unfinished Hot Stove business

Catcher: Brewers
The Mets and Nationals certainly deserve mention here as well, after New York landed Wilson Ramos and Washington brought in a combo of Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki. But Milwaukee sits on top because Yasmani Grandal -- who agreed to a one-year deal Thursday -- has easily the highest ceiling, as a true two-way contributor, in that group. His unfortunate postseason scuffles aside, Grandal has been an above-average hitter in every season of his career (117 wRC+) and is one of the game's top pitch framers. Given that Brewers catchers (mainly Manny Pina and Erik Kratz) hit .237/.294/.363 last year, Grandal provides far more upside.

Video: Brewers, Grandal make one-year deal official

First base: Rockies
In 2018, Colorado first basemen (primarily Ian Desmond) finished 28th in the Majors in wRC+ (80) and 29th in FanGraphs' wins above replacement (-1.2), even as the team battled its way into the postseason. Signing veteran Daniel Murphy to a two-year contract was a bit of a risk, given that the left-handed batter will be 34 next season and struggled early in '18 as he came back from a knee injury. But Murphy was one of the game's top hitters from 2016-17 and recovered to slash .315/.346/.498 after the All-Star break. He should be a lot more comfortable defensively after moving from second to first.

Second base: Nationals
It's been a productive offseason for Washington, which has addressed several areas of need -- even with the Bryce Harper situation unresolved. One of the those was the keystone. Last year, Murphy's injury, slow start, and defensive shortcomings limited the club's production at second. Howie Kendrick was lost for the season in May, and Wilmer Difo posted a .650 OPS. Now the Nats have made a low-risk rebound bet by reaching a one-year agreement with Brian Dozier. One of MLB's best second basemen from 2013-17, Dozier slumped last year while fighting a knee issue. Steamer projects a solid 2.6 WAR in '19, and a fully healthy Dozier could contribute with the bat and glove while allowing Kendrick and Difo to come off the bench.

Video: Collier on Dozier's reported deal with Nationals

Third base: Braves
This one may change when we learn where Manny Machado winds up. In the meantime, this selection admittedly doesn't quite fit here, because the hot corner actually was a highly productive spot for the 2018 Braves. Behind a strong year from Johan Camargo, the National League East champs got a 116 wRC+ and 4.3 WAR from their third basemen. With that said, free-agent acquisition Josh Donaldson has the much more robust track record and the much more optimistic projections, with the upside of one of the league's elite third basemen. Meanwhile, Camargo now can see time around the diamond.

Shortstop: Phillies
The baseball world waits to see whether Philly lands one of the offseason's big fish -- Harper or Machado. In the meantime, pulling off a trade with the Mariners for shortstop Jean Segura was a meaningful upgrade for a club looking to take the next step. The 2018 Phillies ranked 27th in wRC+ (75) and 28th in WAR (0.8) from shortstop, with youngsters J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery struggling mightily with the bat before veteran Asdrubal Cabrera arrived at the Trade Deadline. Now Cabrera is a free agent, Crawford is in Seattle and Kingery can move around the field, while Segura stabilizes short with an above-average bat and solid defense.

Outfield: Mariners
It might seem strange to have the Mariners here, in an offseason that has seen them lose Segura and several other key pieces. At the same time, Seattle has complemented rising star Mitch Haniger with Mallex Smith and Domingo Santana, with the former pushing Dee Gordon back to second base and the latter replacing Denard Span and several others. The Mariners, who got little production from center or left last year, also now have Jay Bruce in the mix. But the speedy Smith and talented Santana -- who was blocked in Milwaukee -- look like the biggest prizes and both have at least three years of club control remaining.

Designated hitter: Twins
Minnesota was below replacement level at DH last year, ranking second-to-last in the AL in OPS (.682) and home runs (15). The Twins used 14 players in that role, including three for at least 35 starts: Logan Morrison, Joe Mauer and Robbie Grossman. That trio is gone, with Nelson Cruz now likely to see the vast majority of the at-bats at DH. Cruz, who signed a one-year deal with a club option, leads the Majors with 203 homers over the past five seasons and is tied for fifth with a 145 wRC+. His power could help Minnesota make a run at Cleveland in the AL Central.

Video: Park on what Cruz can add to the Twins' lineup

Starting rotation: Reds
Cincinnati may not be done improving in this area, with a free agent such as Dallas Keuchel or a trade target such as Sonny Gray among the possibilities. But the Reds already have made a pair of moves to solidify a rotation that last year posted the sixth-highest ERA and fourth-highest FIP in the Majors, over the eighth-fewest innings. Of the six Reds who made at least 20 starts last year, none had an ERA below 4.30. However, Homer Bailey (6.09) and Matt Harvey (4.50) are out, and Sal Romano (5.48) likely has been bumped, with Cincinnati trading for Nationals righty Tanner Roark and Dodgers lefty Alex Wood. While both are due to reach free agency after 2019, Roark has been a reliable innings-eater, and Wood owns a career 3.33 ERA as a starter.

Bullpen: Mets
Several clubs have added relief talent, even as Craig Kimbrel, Adam Ottavino and others remain unsigned. But the Mets -- who have been quite busy this offseason -- stand at the top of the heap after landing Edwin Diaz from Seattle. Diaz was arguably the best reliever in the Majors in 2018, with a 1.96 ERA, 57 saves and 124 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. The hard-throwing 24-year-old can team up with Jeurys Familia, who re-signed for three years after getting shipped to Oakland ahead of the 2018 Trade Deadline. A full season from both righties would do wonders for a Mets bullpen that ranked 28th in the Majors in ERA, 29th in FIP and 23rd in strikeout rate. New York also inked a Minor League deal with southpaw Luis Avilan, who has held lefties to a .581 OPS in his career.

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

The 1 player most likely to be a Met in '25

MLB.com @williamfleitch

The 2013 season doesn't seem that long ago, does it? It seems like it just happened. (The passage of time is a crazy thing.) But in the world of baseball, it was a long, long time ago. How long? Look at the top 10 hitters and the top 10 pitchers in WAR in '13. Of those 10 hitters and 10 pitchers, only two players on each list (Mike Trout and Joey Votto among the hitters, Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright among the pitchers) are still on the same teams they were just six years ago. That is an astounding amount of turnover, and reminds us how difficult it can be to predict the future.

Nevertheless: Let's try. Today at the Thirty, we attempt to pick the one player on each team's current 40-man roster who is most likely to still be on that roster in six years. Sticking to the current roster raises the level of difficulty. Otherwise, I could just pick Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the Blue Jays, and every other team's top prospect, and be done with it. For this list, you have to be here now and in 2025. The crazy thing about this experiment of guesses: There will be multiple, maybe double-digit, teams that have none.

The 2013 season doesn't seem that long ago, does it? It seems like it just happened. (The passage of time is a crazy thing.) But in the world of baseball, it was a long, long time ago. How long? Look at the top 10 hitters and the top 10 pitchers in WAR in '13. Of those 10 hitters and 10 pitchers, only two players on each list (Mike Trout and Joey Votto among the hitters, Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright among the pitchers) are still on the same teams they were just six years ago. That is an astounding amount of turnover, and reminds us how difficult it can be to predict the future.

Nevertheless: Let's try. Today at the Thirty, we attempt to pick the one player on each team's current 40-man roster who is most likely to still be on that roster in six years. Sticking to the current roster raises the level of difficulty. Otherwise, I could just pick Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the Blue Jays, and every other team's top prospect, and be done with it. For this list, you have to be here now and in 2025. The crazy thing about this experiment of guesses: There will be multiple, maybe double-digit, teams that have none.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

EAST

Blue Jays: Danny Jansen, C
Unlike Vlad Jr. and Bo Bichette, he's already on the 40-man roster; he hit three homers in 81 at-bats last season. Like them, he's currently a top-75 prospect.

Orioles: Trey Mancini, OF
The toughest call on the board. The Orioles are starting over in every conceivable way, and there will be a lot of turnover here in the next few years. The guess here is Mancini, who is a fan favorite already and could maybe hang around long enough to be a platoon or bench bat in 2025, when he'll be only 32.

Rays: Willy Adames, SS
Attempting to guess who will be on the Rays' roster in two years, let alone six, is a fool's errand, but Adames is the centerpiece of everything the Rays are going to be trying to do over the next decade.

Red Sox: Mookie Betts, OF
He's a free agent after the 2020 season, but the Red Sox should never let a star like this get away. And he wants to stay

Video: Betts signs record deal to avoid arbitration

Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton, RF
As the guy who is signed through 2027, he's the obvious pick here. Aaron Judge hits free agency in 2023, by the way.

CENTRAL

Indians: Francisco Lindor, SS
It's tough to imagine the Indians letting Lindor go … though they may have to choose between him and Jose Ramirez.

Video: Lindor gets his second career Silver Slugger Award

Royals: Salvador Perez, C
He survived the last teardown. He's their Yadier Molina -- he'll survive any future ones.

Tigers: Jeimer Candelario, 3B
He's more likely than anyone else here to be a member of the next contending Tigers team.

Twins: Max Kepler, OF
Kepler feels like the type of player the Twins would come to some sort of modest, Paul DeJong-esque extension with, doesn't he?

White Sox: Yoan Moncada, 2B
With any luck, Eloy Jimenez will be there right alongside him.

WEST

Angels: Mike Trout, OF
Put it this way: If Mike Trout isn't on the 2025 Angels, everything about that franchise is radically different than it is right now.

Video: Guardado on the latest between Angels and Trout

Astros: Jose Altuve, 2B
Alex Bregman seems like the most likely extension candidate -- Altuve's deal runs out after the 2024 season -- but the Altuve-Astros relationship feels like one that shouldn't be broken.

Athletics: Matt Chapman, 3B
The ideal extension candidate, Chapman could be the face of the franchise whenever it moves into its new digs.

Mariners: Justus Sheffield, LHP
He made his debut in September, so he's on the Mariners' 40-man, even if he might not start the season in the Majors.

Rangers: Rougned Odor, 2B
He,