The Mets are hesitant to trade Marlon Byrd

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After a lost year, Marlon Byrd has exceeded all expectations this season by batting .263 with 15 home runs, 49 RBI, and an .804 OPS through 77 games  With the Mets unlikely to make a run at things, many have logically speculated that the club will attempt to sell high by the trade deadline later this month. Then again, maybe not.

During an appearance on MLB Network Radio this morning, Mets special assistant to the GM J.P. Ricciardi indicated that the team won’t move Byrd unless they are overwhelmed.

Byrd is unlikely to be a contributor on the 2014 team, so it would be silly to dismiss the possibility of a trade entirely. And teams often say things like this in order to drive up prices. But the Mets had a similar situation last year with Scott Hairston and ended up keeping him. It ultimately comes down to whether the team prefers the chance to win another couple of games with Byrd over the possibility of receiving a lower level prospect in return. Recent history suggests they may stand pat.

2017 Preview: The American League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East

Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams.  The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.

Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:

Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.