Mets agree to one-year, $1.1 million deal with Ronny Cedeno

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UPDATE: Rubin now says the deal is done, pending Cedeno passing a physical exam, and will be worth around $1.1 million for one season.

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According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York the Mets are talking to free agent infielder Ronny Cedeno and negotiations have reached a “critical” stage.

Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy are slated to be the Mets’ starting middle infield and earlier this week the team signed Omar Quintanilla to a minor-league deal to provide more depth, but Cedeno would be a more viable starting alternative after serving as the Pirates’ everyday shortstop for the past two seasons.

Cedeno didn’t hit much, batting just .254 with a .297 on-base percentage and .367 slugging percentage in 313 total games for the Pirates, but the 29-year-old is solid defensively at both shortstop and second base.

New York has been linked to Jack Wilson as a veteran utility man for much of the offseason, but he’d presumably no longer be an option if Cedeno was signed.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.