The Mets have John Mayberry, Jr. and Kyle Blanks on their radar

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We saw 41 players hit free agency this week after they were non-tendered by their former teams. Marc Carig of New York Newsday reports that the Mets have two of them, John Mayberry, Jr. and Kyle Blanks, on their radar.

Both players would fit with several teams in part-time duty or in a bench role. Either could be especially useful for the Mets, as they hit from the right side of the plate and have experience between the outfield and first base. The Mets intend to use Lucas Duda as their everyday first baseman in 2015, but Mayberry or Blanks could offer an alternative against left-handed pitching.

Mayberry batted just .210 with seven homers and a .734 OPS this season between the Phillies and Blue Jays, but he owns an .857 OPS against southpaws during his career. Blanks was limited to just 26 games this past season between the Padres and Athletics due to tendinitis in his left Achilles and has generally had a tough time staying healthy during his career, but he has some serious pop in his bat.

Many have speculated on former Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera as a fit for the Mets, but Carig hears that the club has yet to express any interest.

Astros defend barring reporter from clubhouse

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As we wrote about this morning, last night the Houston Astros, at the request of Justin Verlander, barred Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech from the clubhouse during Verlander’s media availability following the Tigers-Astros game. After Verlander was done talking to the press in the scrum setting — and after a call was placed to Major League Baseball about the matter — Fenech was allowed in.

As we noted, this was done in violation of agreements to which Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros and the Baseball Writers Association of America are parties. The agreements are meant to ensure full access to BBWAA-accredited reporters as long as they have not violated the terms of their credentials.  In no case do the clubs — and certainly not the players — have the right to bar access to BBWAA-accredited reporters. Indeed, the whole point of the BBWAA is to ensure such access and to ensure that teams cannot bar them simply because they are unhappy with their coverage or what have you.

This morning Verlander tweeted, obliquely, about “unethical behavior” on the part of Fenech that led to his request to the Astros to bar him. As we noted at the time, such an allegation — however interesting it might be — is of no consequence to the admission or barring of a reporter. If Fenech has acted unethically it’s a matter between him and his employer and, potentially, between him and the BBWAA. At the very least, if Verlander has a specific concern, it would be incumbent upon him or the Astros to take the matter up with either the Free Press or the BBWAA.

In light of all of this, it’s hard to make a case for Verlander’s request and the Astros’ honoring it. A few moments ago, however, the Astros released as statement on the matter which, basically, says, “so what?”

Which is to say, the Astros have made a decades-long agreement between the BBWAA and MLB regarding reporter access optional, because a player does not like a reporter who is covering him.  Someone without the power to alter the BBWAA-MLB relationship has just done so unilaterally. And they have done so in such a way that any player, should they decide they don’t like a reporter, will now presumably rely on as precedent. And, it should be noted, in doing so they gave at least some tacit credence to Verlander’s thus far unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations of unethical behavior on the part of Fenech.

It’s your move, Major League Baseball and BBWAA. Whatcha gonna do about it?