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Mets Afternoon News: Alonso bombs and Wheeler’s aplomb

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Your Sunday afternoon dose of New York Mets and MLB news, notes, and links.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Mets at Boston Red Sox Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Meet the Mets

Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland recalls fondly the day Tom Seaver invited him and the entire Royals pitching staff to his vineyard.

Seaver’s diagnosis and his retirement from public life serves as a reminder that the era of those who played for the 1969 Champion Mets is fading. “The Mets realize this is the last hurrah,’’ said Ed Kranepool of the planned 50th anniversary celebration. “They’re not going to have a 75th anniversary.’’ Kranepool has been seeking a kidney donor. Bud Harrelson, Seaver’s former roommate, is battling Alzheimer’s disease.

Mike Vaccaro recaps Tom Seaver’s ten most memorable games.

David Lennon wonders what took so long for the Mets to start giving Jeff McNeil reps at third base.

Mets prospect Andres Gimenez has impressed a lot of people this spring, especially with the glove. The Mets may have to decide whether Rosario or Gimenez is the long-term answer at shortstop as soon as next winter.

Part of that future plan may involve playing one of the young shortstops at his natural position and the other at second base. All of that depends on how long Robinson Cano can stay at the position. Tim Britton explores exactly that in a piece for The Athletic.

The Mets released T.J. Rivera yesterday. “I think we started to look at the playing time as we go forward in camp,” Brodie Van Wagenen explained. “We also started to realize the number of guys we have playing the infield positions were significant and as we built the roster over the course of this offseason it was clear that some people were going to have to be removed from the equation, not only to compete at the major league level but also to compete for our Triple-A roster.”

Yoenis Cespedes watched the Mets take batting practice yesterday and believes he is ready to take BP himself, but tells Mike Puma he “won’t risk it” yet. He plans to start throwing tomorrow.

Joel Sherman takes a look at the risk vs. benefit analysis involved in the Jacob deGrom contract situation.

Keon Broxton is okay after banging his hip, reports Matt Ehalt. He also says Amed Rosario is scheduled to play today.

Mickey Callaway has not ruled out rostering both Dominic Smith and Pete Alonso. I feel like if we both keep playing well, who knows what will happen?” Callaway said.

Speaking of Alonso, he continues to do everything right this spring, including destroying the baseball—yesterday’s gargantuan home run being the latest example. “I haven’t seen too many home runs where nobody in the field moves,” Brandon Nimmo said of yesterday’s bomb by Alonso. “That was pretty impressive. Literally no one moved. The only people that moved were people’s heads on top of the wall.”

A certain legendary former pitcher for the Red Sox and the Mets was watching Wheeler’s outing yesterday, in which he plowed through a lineup full of regulars for the reigning World Champions, and gave Wheeler his kudos. “(Pedro Martinez) is one of the best,” Wheeler said. “I watched him a lot growing up. To get that stamp of approval is pretty cool.”

The Mets are putting more of an emphasis on base running, thanks in part to former Met Marlon Anderson.

Around the National League East

Bryce Harper introduced some new walkup music for his first home spring training game in a Phillies uniform.

The Nationals released left-handed reliever Sammy Solis.

27-year-old Marlins shortstop J.T. Riddle feels confident going into 2019. “Everything’s coming together,” he said.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution breaks down the candidates for the Braves’ fifth starter job.

Around Major League Baseball

AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell will make just $573,700 this season, his final season before he is eligible for arbitration, a meager $15,500 raise from last year’s salary.

Speaking of the current tensions in Major League Baseball regarding salaries, some members of the Royals had some things to say about it to The Kansas City Star. “No, I believe in spending money,” Whit Merrifield, who recently signed an extension, said. “We’re the talent. We’re the players. We generate a ton of money for this game and I believe it should be spent on us more than it is. It’s not the owners’ fault right now because it’s a broken system, but we’re looking forward to changing that soon.”

“This guy got screwed,” Alex Gordon said of Mike Moustakas. “You hit 40 home runs, you shouldn’t be (expletive) searching for a job, especially at Kauffman Stadium.” He added, “Teams have control of guys way too long. Being a free agent now sucks.”

In other Royals news, the team signed catcher Martin Maldonado to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. The deal also includes $1.4 million in incentives. This comes on the heels of the news that their starting catcher, Salvador Perez, will be out for the season after getting Tommy John Surgery.

Charter Communications is the only major television distributor in Southern California to carry SportsNet LA, owned by the Los Angeles Dodgers. They have failed to reach an agreement with DirecTV or other local cable and satellite providers to air Dodgers broadcasts. Therefore, Dodgers games broadcast on SportsNet LA remain blacked out for most Dodgers fans for the sixth year in a row.

Angels top prospect Jo Adell was removed from yesterday’s game after suffering a left hamstring strain and a right ankle sprain. Given how nasty the injury looked, this is perhaps not as bad as it could have been.

Another top prospect is injured as well. Vladimir Guererro Jr. has been diagnosed with a left oblique strain and is sidelined for three weeks.

The Diamondbacks and Rockies are in Monterrey, Mexico for a weekend series. Jon Paul Morosi followed the Diamondbacks as they spent Saturday morning interacting with fans.

Thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, five-year-old Levi Smith signed a one-day contract with the San Diego Padres—his favorite team—and took grounders, ran the bases, and got his own locker in the clubhouse. Smith has a congenital heart condition. “Right after his last surgery, I remember him getting home, and the first thing he was excited to do was watch the Pads,” his mother said.

Babe Ruth’s daughter, Julia Ruth Stevens, has passed away at the age of 102.

Yesterday at Amazin’ Avenue

Robert Fallo previewed Rule 5 pick Kyle Dowdy’s season.

Vasilis Drimalitis recapped yesterday’s resounding spring training win against the Red Sox.

David Copbianco covered the T.J. Rivera news.

I wrote about what Tom Seaver means to the Mets.

This Date in Mets History

The New York Mets played their inaugural Grapefruit League opener on this date in 1962. Naturally, they lost 8-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals.