The Mets may not even pretend to contend next year

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While all teams are constantly making changes and are trying to build a winner, the Mets haven’t declared a full-fledged rebuild — the kind where everyone of value is sold off and the process begins anew — for many, many years.  But according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, that’s on the table this winter.

After commenting on Sandy Alderson’s comments regarding a potential $100-110 million payroll for 2012, Sherman says that at least some on the organization believe that even more drastic measures are needed:

And actually for the first time this week, a top Mets official said to me what none had been willing to before, either for the record or for background: That one serious discussion being had at the upper reaches of the franchise is whether it would be wise to cut back greatly next year and make 2012 a rebuilding season in which club officials do not go through the annual game of trying to convince fans, if everything breaks right, they can be a playoff team.

Given where Alderson is on the record, that implies that this scenario would mean less than that $100-110 million idea.  Although even with that said, it doesn’t sound like a scorched earth rebuild, as Sherman mentions the possibility of the Mets jumping back into the free agent pool following the 2012 season. Maybe it’s just semantics: we’re not going to give lip service to the idea of contending, even if we don’t cut things back to, say, $80 million.

Whatever they do, I think they have the right general manager to handle a rebuild, be it major or moderate, so this kind of talk shouldn’t be nearly as worrisome as it might have been a couple of years ago.

Video: Angels use eight pitchers in spring training no-hitter

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Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?

Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.

Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.