The Mets are lowering the centerfield fence

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The wall was sixteen feet high last year. Now it’s going to be eight feet, says Adam Rubin of the Daily News. David Wright is probably happy. Johan Santana is probably sad.  And so it goes.

But here’s a question: what are the Mets going to do for their other 81 games? After all, they were last in road home runs too. And as Rubin notes, more homers were hit per game in Citi Field than in Atlanta, San Diego, Los Angeles and St. Louis. Visitors hit more homers in Citi Field in 2009 than they did in Shea Stadium in 2008.

The Mets’ real problem last year was not their field. It was the can’t-hit-a-lick lineup they sent out there most days.  A lineup that was pressed into service due to a multitude of injuries. A lineup which everyone concedes was a worst case scenario.  A lineup, in other words, whose performance should not be the basis on which a team makes fundamental decisions about the configuration of their park.

But then again these are the Mets, and making sound, reasoned decisions just isn’t their bag, baby.

Report: The White Sox and Diamondbacks are in on Manny Machado

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Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.

The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.

The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.

The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.