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Mets Morning News: “You bet your ass it is.”

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

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Meet the Mets

When asked whether winning the World Series is a “burning desire,” Buck Showalter said, “Yes.” And then after a pause, he added, “You bet your ass it is.”

Will Sammon of The Athletic interviewed Eduardo Escobar about how he views the Mets’ third base situation, his role on the team this season, his 2022 season and a family issue that impacted it, and more.

The Mets formally announced their player development staff yesterday.

Billy Eppler was asked about opportunities to upgrade the right-handed DH role and gave a response that was not exactly a ringing endorsement of Darin Ruf.

Eppler also said that if Francisco Álvarez is going to be on the Mets, they want to make sure he’ll have an opportunity to catch and not simply DH.

Eppler also discussed the Mets’ payroll, saying that no rival executives have called him to complain about Steve Cohen’s spending.

Although the Mets sent an evaluator to watch Zack Britton’s showcase workout earlier this week, a source told Anthony DiComo of that the Mets are unlikely to sign him, preferring to keep bullpen slots open for optionable relievers.

“This thing is really packed,” José Quintana, who threw a live batting practice session at camp yesterday, said of the Mets’ talented clubhouse. “All the experience we have around us makes it special, this team. It’s really exciting to be around both aces, [Justin] Verlander and [Max] Scherzer. That is pretty cool.”

Jeff McNeil talked to Steve Serby of the New York Post about all the factors that contributed to him winning the batting title last season and the obstacles he overcame to get there.

Khalil Lee, who is currently under investigation for domestic violence, will report to minor league camp—not major league camp, as was previously reported—on March 2.

Mets reliever John Curtiss spoke to Anthony DiComo of about learning from Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer while they were in Port St. Lucie on rehab assignments as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery.

Alex Cohen led a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday for the first fully ADA accessible playground in St. Lucie County, which was funded by the Amazin’ Mets Foundation.

Around the National League East

After last year’s whirlwind spring training, Braves’ first baseman Matt Olsen is more settled this time around.

After being demoted to Triple A in August and then injured during the Braves’ playoff run last season, Ian Anderson is determined to win back a spot in the Braves’ rotation.

At Phillies camp yesterday, Trea Turner talked about adjusting to his new team and how his teammates have helped with that process.

Nationals catcher Keibert Ruiz heads into spring training with a new confidence in 2023.

Around Major League Baseball

There is perhaps no team that is happier about fewer in-division games than the Baltimore Orioles in a stacked AL East, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

According to reporting by Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Manny Machado set a February 16 deadline for the Padres to offer him an extension. The Padres made an offer two days before the deadline that would have added five years and $105 million to his current contract, bringing his total contract up to 15 years and $405 million. Machado declined this offer and has stated that he intends to opt out of his contract after this season.

Yesterday at Amazin’ Avenue

Chris McShane wrote about Adam Ottavino’s role in the Mets’ bullpen in 2023.

This Date in Mets History

The New York Mets’ very first spring training drill took place in St. Petersburg, Florida on this date in 1962.