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Mets Morning News: Mets begin Grapefruit League play

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Your Thursday morning dose of Mets and Major League Baseball news, notes, and links.

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Meet the Mets

The Mets begin Grapefruit League play today, as they face off against the Nationals and postseason hero Daniel Murphy at 1:05 PM.

Michael Cuddyer received a buyout from the Mets worth between $2 million and $3 million when he unexpectedly retired after the 2015 season. He would have been owed $12.5 million, so the Mets saved between $9.5 million and $10.5 million.

Marc Carig profiled Yoenis Cespedes on the golf course. He finds that Cespedes is extremely serious about golf, even claiming he wants to go pro after his baseball career. As for the pig Cespedes purchased, not everyone is a fan.

Kevin Kernan talked to the Mets new double play tandem of Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera. While having never played together, the two are already developing a good rapport.

Anthony DiComo profiled Mets prospect T.J. Rivera. The Bronx native has steadily risen through the Mets' system since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2011.

Around the NL East

At The Good Phight, Victor Filoromo wrote about one of the lesser pieces acquired in the Ken Giles trade: Thomas Eshelman. He points to Eshelman's impeccable control as reason to be excited about the right-handed prospect.

The Braves faced off against the Orioles in their second Grapefruit League contest, and jumped all over Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez. Prospect Mallex Smith finished with a four hits, finishing a single short of the cycle.

Tanner Roark began to make his case for returning to the Nationals starting rotation with a strong start in the Nats' Grapefruit League game against the Rays. Roark started in 2014 but was bumped from the rotation in 2015.

Fish Stripes reviewed the Marlins' February transactions. The most notable name on the list is that of reliever Craig Breslow.

Around MLB

Major League Baseball has submitted a proposal that would create a new means for Cuban players to sign with major league clubs. The plan would see a portion of salaries paid to Cuban players go toward supporting youth baseball in Cuba.

The Cardinals signed second baseman Kolten Wong to a long-term contract extension. The deal takes him through his arbitration years, and buys out at least one year of free agency, as there is an option for a sixth year.

The Blue Jays and Edwin Encarnacion have had preliminary talks about a contract extension. Encarnacion can become a free agent after the 2016 season.

Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson strained his oblique muscle during a Cactus League game.

In the wake of Aroldis Chapman receiving a 30-game suspension for a domestic incident, the Rockies are preparing to be without Jose Reyes for a significant portion of the season. His trial date is set for April 4.

Yesterday at AA

2016 player previews continued with Milo Taibi previewing shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. In 2015, Cabrera posted a solid offensive season, with a .265/.315/.430 line.

Chris McShane previewed the other new Mets middle infielder, Neil Walker. Walker is coming off a season in which he hit .269/.328/.427 with 16 home runs.

This Date in Mets History

In 1956, a new stadium was proposed for the Giants on the Upper West Side. However, the plan was rejected, which paved the way for the Giants move to San Francisco, and eventually, the creation of the Mets.