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Jeff Wilpon talks first base, Matt Harvey and more
GARFIELD, N.J. -- Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon joined other team employees on Tuesday morning to help refurbish parts of the Boys & Girls Club here, one year after Hurricane Sandy caused severe water damage to the facility.
"To have all the kids come in later to see all this stuff freshened up will be really neat," said Wilpon, who helped workers add a new coat of paint to a newly refurbished rec room.
Wilpon also spoke to the media for the first time since the team's organizational meetings at the end of the season. The highlights:
-- After the organizational meetings, Wilpon views the Mets as being in "a little bit of transition because we have definite deficiencies we have to fill this offseason and the ability to do it." He reaffirmed the Mets' ability to work this winter without the kind of financial restrictions that have hampered them in recent years. Moving forward, Wilpn said the club is "very pleased" with third baseman David Wright and pitchers Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler. Wilpon said all four players are definite pieces in place for next
-- The Mets did not make a play to sign Cuban defector Jose Abreu because first base "didn't really seem like the point of need." Had Abreu been a corner outfielder, Wilpon said the Mets likely would have offered him a contract. The White Sox ultimately signed the
power-hitting Abreu to a six-year, $68-million deal.
-- The Mets' decision not to offer Abreu a contract was also an indication of how Wilpon views the team's current situation at first base. "There's probably a glut of first basemen," Wilpon said. Ike Davis and Lucas Duda remain the at the front of the line. Though both
have shown power potential, both have also shown various shortcomings. "Something's gotta happen there with the logjam," said Wilpon, who indicated that other teams have expressed interest in trading for one of the first basemen.
-- Matt Harvey would have until Dec. 1 to decide on elbow surgery. Of course, he needed far less time to ultimately decide on undergoing a procedure to repair the partially torn ligament in his elbow. He's on track to be ready for the 2015 season. "We all thought that it was the right move to do it," Wilpon said. "[We] just had to let the individual come to that decision. You can't force surgery on somebody."
-- Wilpon said only a "higher authority" can determine when Harvey returns to the form he displayed prior to surgery. However, Wilpon expressed confidence it will happen. Pitchers who undergo Tommy John surgery sometimes need a full year before returning to 100 percent. However, even as that fate awaits Harvey, the Mets are happy to have him
on track for a return in 2015. Said Wilpon: "I think 80 percent of Matt Harvey's pretty good, all rright? So we'll take it."
-- According to Wilpon, the Mets expect to officially announce their new radio deal "any day." Earlier this month, Newsday's Neil Best reported that the Mets are headed to WOR-AM (710).
-- The Mets' struggles at Citi Field the last three season emerged as a topic of discussion during the organizational meetings. Said Wilpon: "We have a number of theories and no exact answer."