Every offseason, each major league organization tackles a comprehensive review of their minor league system, deciding which players (and coaches) still have big league potential, and which players are no longer worth spending time developing. For the players that fall into the latter category, the dream is over. Meanwhile, the organizations will pour over the list of minor league free agents, hoping to find a discarded minor league veteran that might be able to rekindle past success.
Below is a complete list of every release, signing, trade, and personnel movement involving the New York Mets’ minor league system during the 2017 offseason. Bookmark and refresh this page, which will be updated frequently throughout the winter.
On October 9, it was reported that the Mets will purchase the Syracuse Chiefs, currently the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, and move from Las Vegas in 2019. The Mets’ player development contract with the Las Vegas 51s expires after the 2018 season. Read more here.
On October 6, the Mets hired Tony DeFrancesco, formerly the Triple-A manager in the Houston Astros organization, to serve in the same capacity next season. DeFrancesco, who briefly managed in the major leagues with Houston in 2012, will join the 51s and replace Pedro Lopez, who will be reassigned within the organization. Read more here.
A week earlier, former 51s hitting coach Jack Voigt relayed via Twitter that he had been let go by the organization. Additionally, Las Vegas pitching coach Frank Viola and Binghamton pitching coach Glenn Abbott will swap positions in 2018.
On November 17, the Mets agreed to terms with former third-round pick Matt Purke, a right-handed pitcher who spent the 2017 season in the Chicago White Sox organization, to a minor league deal. Purke’s contract came with an invite to Spring Training. Read more here.
Five days later, the Mets inked veteran minor league outfielder Zach Borenstein to a contract. After representing Israel in the World Baseball Classic and hitting 24 home runs for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017, Borenstein will attend major league Spring Training in February.
The Mets brought in former Nationals backstop Jose Lobaton on December 15, on a minor league deal that includes a spring training invite. Lobaton has hit .218 throughout eight major league seasons. Read more here.
With their final signing before the new year, the Mets agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Drew Gagnon. The former third-round pick has recorded a 4.84 ERA in 180 games over seven seasons. Read more here.
Three days after the Binghamton Rumble Ponies were eliminated from the Eastern League playoffs (effectively ending the organization’s minor league season), the Mets acquired RHP Eric Hanhold from the Milwaukee Brewers, as the player to be named later from the Neil Walker trade on August 12. Read more here.
Catcher Jeff Glenn was released from Las Vegas on September 22. Glenn served mainly as a bullpen catcher for the 51s, but did manage 47 at-bats, up from five in 2016.
The Mets began their annual purge of the minor leagues by releasing a slew of players on October 12. Among the players let go were Miguel Gutierrez and Scarlyn Reyes from the St. Lucie Mets, Cecilio Aybar, Franklin Correa, and Jose Geraldo from the Brooklyn Cyclones, Yeffry De Aza, Edwin German, Grabiel Jimenez, and Aneury Olivo from the Kingsport Mets, Luis Mateo and Luis Montero from the GCL Mets, and Gregori Advincola, Gilberto Espinoza, Yom Felipe, Tulio Garcia, Jose Guerrero, Michael Martinez, Miguel Pinedo, Joel Romero, and Rafael Valdez from the DSL Mets. Read more here.
On October 14, the Mets released Casey Delgado from the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Justin Brantley and Reed Gamache from the Columbia Fireflies, Joe Napolitano and Jeremy Wolf from the Brooklyn Cyclones, and Danny Hoy from the Kingsport Mets. Read more here.
Four days later, on October 18, the Mets parted ways with nine more players, including Enmanuel Zabala from the St. Lucie Mets, Keaton Aldridge, Marty Anderson, and Cameron Griffin from the Columbia Fireflies, and Leon Byrd, Gregorix Estevez, Kurtis Horne, Gunnar Kines, and Placido Torres from the Brooklyn Cyclones. Read more here.
Minor League Free Agents
The following players became minor league free agents on November 6: Jonathan Albaladejo, Mitch Atkins, Alberto Baldonado, Blake Beavan, Wilfredo Boscan, Cory Burns, Kevin Canelon, Xorge Carrillo, Victor Cruzado, Cody Decker, Erik Goeddel, Tom Gorzelanny, Donovan Hand, Luis Mateo, Jiovanni Mier, Craig Missigman, Victor Moscote, Gustavo Nunez, Pedro Perez, Tyler Pill, Natanael Ramos, J.C. Rodriguez, Josh Rodriguez, Ben Rowen, Travis Snider, Travis Taijeron, Neil Wagner, Beck Wheeler.
On November 15, Canelon signed with the Cincinnati Reds.
On November 20, Taijeron signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
On December 8, Baldonado signed with the Chicago Cubs.
Rule 5 Draft
In the major league phase of the draft, the Mets selected Burch Smith from the Tampa Bay Rays and promptly traded him to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for cash considerations.
In the minor league phase, the Mets selected infielder Andrew Ely from the Chicago Cubs and lost left-handed pitcher Jose Carlos Medina to the San Diego Padres.
The following players were not placed on the major league reserve list, and were eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, which was held on December 14 during the Winter Meetings in Orlando: Eucebio Arias, Wuilmer Becerra, Patrick Biondi, Matt Blackham, Zach Borenstein, Jayce Boyd, Brandon Brosher, Luis Carpio, Andrew Church, Nicolas Debora, Jeffrey Diehl, J.J. Franco, Jose Garcia, Audry German, Mike Gibbons, Ben Griset, Ronald Guedez, Mickey Jannis, Ricky Knapp, Johnny Magliozzi, L.J. Mazzilli, Jeff McNeil, Jose Carlos Medina, Marbin Montijo, Tyler Moore, John Mora, Matt Oberste, Alex Palsha, Tim Peterson, Colton Plaia, Josh Prevost, Matt Purke, Darwin Ramos, Walter Rasquin, David Roseboom, Ali Sanchez, Carlos Sanchez, Kelly Secrest, Luis Silva, Champ Stuart, Blake Taylor, Logan Taylor, Rigoberto Terrazas, Joshua Torres, Adonis Uceta, Jhoan Urena, Ivan Wilson.
The following players were not placed on the Triple-A reserve list and were available for selection in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft: Arias, Biondi, Boyd, Debora, Franco, Gibbons, German, Griset, Guedez, Magliozzi, Medina, Montijo, Moore, Palsha, Wilson.
On October 3, former major leaguer Daniel Bard, who was signed by the Mets in June and spent the entire season on the disabled list, retired. Bard managed to pitch in one game for the GCL Mets on July 2 but did not play again. The 32-year-old pitched in 211 games from 2009 to 2013 for the Boston Red Sox.
On the same day, outfielder Jack Schneider, who was selected by the Mets in the 11th round of this year’s draft, announced his retirement. While no official reason was given, Schneider had been hit in the head with a pitch on July 17 after playing only three games. Certainly an odd development.
On September 22, the Mets announced the 73 minor leaguers that would take part in this year’s fall Instructional League, which ran from September 21 to October 13. The league, which normally features games against the Marlins, Cardinals, and Astros, only saw the Mets partake in intrasquad games, as Miami and St. Louis canceled their program due to the effects of Hurricane Irma in Florida. View the roster and read more here.
The Mets sent eight prospects to the 2017 Arizona Fall League, which began on October 10. The contingent, which joined the Scottsdale Scorpions, featured pitchers Mickey Jannis, Tim Peterson, Matt Pobereyko, and Kyle Regnault, catcher Tomas Nido, infielders Luis Guillorme and David Thompson, and outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski. Read more here and here.