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Mets Morning News: Back in Black

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Your Tuesday morning dose of New York Mets and MLB news, notes, and links.

BASEBALL-METS-VENTURA Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images

Meet the Mets

Spring training came to an anticlimactic conclusion with a 3-3 tie against the Cardinals. The Mets finished spring with an 11-11-2 record, which doesn’t matter.

Spring training is over, but the Francisco Lindor extension watch is not.

The Mets now have two days to complete an extension with their star shortstop.

The extension talks took center stage last night, with it becoming public knowledge that the Mets’ “final offer” was 10 years at $325 million. Moments later, it surfaced that Lindor’s camp was looking for something closer to 12 years at $385 million.

The team’s bullpen was labeled “a definite question mark” by an NL Executive.

Steve Cohen has hired an external firm to investigate “workplace culture”. (Paywall Alert)

While Cohen is seemingly concerned with “workplace culture”, he still explained that he was upset the Mets didn’t end up with Trevor Bauer during his Q&A last night.

During the nearly hour-long session, Cohen noted that the team is focusing on extensions for Lindor and Michael Conforto, but they have also engaged Noah Syndergaard in extension discussions.

Cohen is also eyeing a 2022 return for Old Timer’s Day. The Mets will also be scheduling more afternoon Saturday games in the future.

The big announcement from Cohen was that the black jerseys are officially returning “with absolute certainty”. The team clarified that they will be ready for purchase “in time for the holidays”.

The black jerseys may be polarizing, but they’re coming back.

Marcus Stroman is particularly excited about the Mets bringing back the black jerseys.

Pete Alonso is also excited to see fans rock the black jerseys.

The Mets are continuing to bulk up their analytics department.

Anthony DiComo broke down what must go right, what could go wrong and his bold prediction for the 2021 Mets.

The Mets have yet to announce their rotation for the season, although they are considering using ace Jacob deGrom for Games 1 and 5.

Stroman will also take the ball on the season’s second game.

Luis Rojas provided an update on Carlos Carrasco, saying that he has begun a throwing program and is progressing “really, really well”. Like Seth Lugo, the skipper expects Carrasco to return in early-to-mid May.

Mike Puma shared some final notes from the Grapefruit League.

Pete Alonso is auctioning of his own NFT for a good cause. The proceeds will go to help support minor leaguers affected by the pandemic.

Eno Sarris provided ten bold predictions of his own, including the Mets going all the way. (Paywall Alert)

SNY’s staff made their predictions for the 2021 season. We stan Terry Collins and Todd Zeile, and nobody else.

Around the National League East

The Athletic’s MLB Staff took a look at the NL East starting rotation picture, which included input from players around the division. (Paywall Alert)

The Phillies have set their starting rotation, and Zach Eflin proved he’s ready.

Odubel Herrera did not make the Phillies’ roster, with Adam Haseley winning the starting center field job.

Sixto Sanchez will begin the year at the alternate site.

The Marlins traded James Hoyt to the Angels for cash considerations.

Nationals’ Carter Kieboom is swinging through the disappointment of being sent down.

Travis d’Arnaud has been impressed with Nate Jones’ renaissance this spring.

Around Major League Baseball

In a new memo sent to teams, the league is encouraging players to get one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. As an incentive, protocols will be relaxed for teams where 85% of Tier 1 players and staff have been fully vaccinated.

The league also specified that vaccinated personnel who have been in close contact with a COVID-19 personnel no longer have to quarantine as long as they do not develop symptoms.

Lindsey Adler summarized the loosened protocol restrictions for The Athletic. (Paywall Alert)

The Ringer discussed how the infamous Nick Castellanos home run call in the middle of Thom Brennaman’s apology became the perfect meme for our strange times. The article also features everyone’s favorite wifeless Amazin’ Avenue writer, Rich Staff.

The Astros traveled as a team to receive their COVID-19 vaccines, according to Dusty Baker.

MLB.com experts made their predictions for the 2021 MLB season.

Fangraphs introduced their latest crop of contributors.

Rangers President Jon Daniel announced that Rougned Odor has been designated for assignment, Charlie Culberson has made the team, and Jose Leclerc will have Tommy John Surgery.

The Angels bolstered their bullpen with the addition of recently released relievers Steve Cishek and Tony Watson.

The White Sox released former future Met Jonathan Lucroy.

Justin Wilson will start the season on the IL for the Yankees.

The Orioles have granted Félix Hernández his release.

The Blue Jays have granted Francisco Liriano his release.

Derek Dietrich and Robinson Chirinos have returned to the Yankees and will report to the alternate site. Meanwhile, Jhoulys Chacin has been released.

The Cubs and first baseman Anthony Rizzo are at an impasse in their extension talks. Their offer of 5 years/$70 million is somehow less laughable than their initial offer to Rizzo.

Tim Kurkjian provided an excitement guide for each team.

Bleacher Report named one team per division that will be better than you think.

If you’re a big music fan like myself, you will enjoy Spin’s latest article, which has 62 musicians talking about their predictions for their favorite teams.

Yesterday at Amazin’ Avenue

Lukas Vlahos previewed the team’s bullpen, which will almost certainly be their weak spot this year.

I took a look at the team’s catching situation heading into 2021.

Brian Salvatore is understandably excited about Francisco Lindor being a Met, as all of us at Amazin’ Avenue are. Are you excited yet? (We will be even more excited when the extension announcement hits)

Check out Episode 107 of From Complex to Queens!

This Date in Mets History

On this date in 2000, Benny Agbayani launched an 11th inning grand slam to give the Mets a 5-1 win over the Cubs in the second and final game of their opening series in Tokyo.