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Mets are talking to A.J. Pollock, inquiring about J.T. Realmuto

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Earlier this week, at the press conference announcing the Robinson Cano trade, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said that this would not be the last move the Mets made as they approach what is looking like a win-now 2019 season. Today Jim Bowden of The Athletic reports that the Mets have been in contact with the agents of outfielder A.J. Pollock. Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Mets have made contact with the Marlins regarding a possible trade for catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Those would certainly be interesting next moves.

Pollock has been rumored to be seeking a five-year, $80 million deal, which is what Lorenzo Cain signed for last winter with the Brewers. Pollock certainly has some durability issues, but he has been a very productive all-around player when healthy, hitting .281/.338/.484 while playing excellent defense over the course of his seven-year career.

Realmuto, meanwhile, is generally considered the best catcher in the game, with several teams reportedly trying to take him off the Marlins’ hands. Given that New York gave up top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn to the Mariners as part of the Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz trade, it’s hard to see the Mets having enough to get Realmuto, but it’s interesting to see Van Wagenen trying.

Smoke or fire? Either way, the Mets’ offseason has been a pretty interesting one so far.

Straight-away center field will be 385 feet at London Stadium

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Marley Rivera of ESPN has a story about some of the on-field and in-game entertainment, as well as some aspects of the field conditions, for this weekend’s London Series.

The fun stuff: a mascot race, not unlike the Sausage Race at Miller Park or the President’s race at Nationals Park. The mascots for London: Winston Churchill, Freddie Mercury, Henry VIII and the Loch Ness Monster. I suppose that’s OK but, frankly, I’d go with Roger Bannister, Shakespeare, Charles Darwin and Guy Fawkes. Of course no one asks me these things.

There will also be a “Beat the Streak”-style race which had better use the theme to “Chariots of Fire” or else what the heck are we even doing here.

They’ve also taught ushers and various volunteers who will be on-site to sing “Take me out to the ballgame,” which is a pretty good idea given how important that is to baseball. As a cultural exchange, I think some major league team should start using “Vindaloo” by Fat Les during the seventh inning stretch here. It’s a banger. It also seems to capture England a bit more accurately than, say, “Downton Abbey” or “The Crown.”

That’s all good fun I suppose. But here’s some stuff that actually affects the game:

The end result will have some interesting dimensions. The field will be 330 feet down each foul line, and it will have a distance of 385 feet to center field, which will feature a 16-foot wall. Cook also said it would have an expanded, “Oakland-like” foul territory, referencing the Athletics’ Oakland Coliseum expanse.

Those dimensions are unavoidable given that the square peg that is a baseball field is being shoved into the round hole that is a soccer stadium. As Murray Cook, MLB’s senior field coordinator tells Rivera, that sort of thing, while perhaps less than ideal, is at least in keeping with baseball’s strong tradition of irregular field conditions. It will, however, be one of the shortest dead center distances in baseball history.

Oh, and then there’s this:

Protective netting was also an important issue addressed when building the ballpark, with Cook stressing that his team has implemented netting that “is the largest you’ll ever see in any major league ballpark.”

[Craig makes a mental note to bookmark this for the next time MLB says it won’t mandate extended netting in the U.S. because doing so is too difficult]