Thelwell says young duo Jordan Graham and Harry B

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The shocked the baseball world Sunday morning by announcing top pitching prospect , who has just 27 minor-league starts under his belt and has never pitched above Class A, has been promoted from the minors. The Marlins needed starters after placing Henderson Alvarez and Nate Eovaldi on the disabled list with shoulder injuries.

Fernandez, who is coWatford are eyeing AC Milan fullback Ricardo Rodriguez.The Switzerland international is ready to leave Milan in January after battling for minutes this season.Tuttosport says Rodriguez’s agents are speaking with clubs across Europe to find him a new destination.Napoli and Fenerbahce are keen, as are Watford.For his part, Rodriguez has harboured ambitions of playing in England in the future.nsidered a top 10 prospect by Basebmovic has spoken about his journey in football that resulted in him becoming one of the great icons of the game.The Swedish star was speaking on the unveiling of a statue in his honour in Malmo.Ibrahimovic has starred for the likes of Ajax, Juventus,all America (No. 5) and .com (No. 7), might not have a ton of pro experience, but he becomes a potential add off waivers in any Fantasy format because of his upside. On top of having a solid ERA (2.02), WHIP (0.96) and winning percentage (.875) in the minors, Fernandez also struck out 10.7 batters per nine innings. 

Although Fernandez is just 20 years old, he’s shown great command for his pitches and poise on the mound for a pitcher of his age. He’s likely going to get a decent audition while Alvarez and Eovaldi are sidelined, so I think he’s worth rostering inry Maguire has been snapped driving away from Carrington with a Manchester United branded bag.United will hope they have pulled off the biggest coup of the summer by securing a £80m deal for the centre-half who will become the world’s most expensive most Fantasy formats. To me, there’s more to gain than lose for Fantasy owners because you should only be dropping a bench player to pick up a potential Fantasy impact rookie. Perhaps Fernandez has the talent to do — although they are position players — what Mike Trout and Bryce Harper did for Fantasy owners last season.

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n will return to City for tests on a persistent kn

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closer will begin the season on the disabled list, as he continues to recover from surgery to remove bone chips in his right elbow, .com reported Saturday.

Francisco threw to hitters this week for the first time since the operation, but admew offer for Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes this summer.The Sun says they have been warned that the powerful centre-half will not come cheap after making an inquiry during the January transfer window.Lille president Gerard Lopez has already proved itted earlier in the week that he is still dealing with some soreness in the elbow.

At this point, it is nther top keepers.The Brazilian is rightly seen as one of the best in the world at his position.He helped the Reds to win the Champions League last season.But he knows his game is not perfect, whichelder Philippe Coutinho has been keen on a move to Chelsea, it has been revealed.Chelsea, despite having a transfer ban, are understood to be interested in securing his signature.The Blues are unable to make any signings until the summer of 2020.They is why he mentioned qualities he’d take from the likot clear when Francisco is expected to join the team, as he has not yet thrown in a game. Bobby Parnell will serve as the team’s closer with Francisco out. 

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ve Bull has backed Raul Jimenez to become the club

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The signed infielder to a minor-league contract on Saturday, less than 24 hours after he was released by the Giants. Valdez, who hs’ versatility in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on Sunday.Behind 1-0 at half-time, Nuno changed formations from 3-5-2 to 3-4-3 which saw them dominate the second stanza and eventually score an equaliser through Jonny.Speaking after the game, Nunit just .206 in 77 games with the Reds last season, will re top table in January.The club have been linked with the likes of Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell as thventus are eyeing moves for David de Gea, Eric Bailly and Nemanja Matic’ next summer. The Turin-based side have history of targeting Premier League players near the end of their contracts having picked up Aaron Ramsey from Arsenal for free this summeey have an estimated £150million to spend.Lampard would not reveal what players he was targeting, but he did export to Miami’s major-league camp.

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de admitted some relief after their 0-0 draw with

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With David Ortiz out indefinitely, the are expected to use a mix of players in the first base/DH spot. You may want to take a closer look at . In 102 at-bats last year with the Red Sox, Gomez hit .275 with two home runs, five doubles and 17 RBI. At 28 years old, that’s his only major-league experience. 

But Gomez is more than a happy wanderer destined to remain in the minors. He’s hit .306 the last two seasons in Triple-A, with 48 home runs and 68 doubles in 893 at-bats. And this was in the pitcher-friendly Internatientino Perez will not consider doing business over Paul Pogba at Manchester United’s current asking price.Despite Real coach Zinedine Zidane’s demands, Florentino refuses to be held to ransom by United.Tuttosport says United are refusing to budge froonal League. Gomy boss Pep Guardiola has jumped to the defence of Jurgen Klopp regarding his upcoming FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury Town.The Reds are set to field a team of youngsters, along with the youth team coach, for the match.It falls during the period the ez was blocked in the Atlanta system by Freddie Freeman. He’s blocked in Boston by Ortiz and Mike Napoli. But given the chance last year, Gomez proved he could hit at the major-league level.

If he’s the primary fill-in to start 2013, Gomez could be a great source of power and average. I’m grabbing him late in AL-only leagues. And if there’s any indication he will be the main replacement if Ortiz continue.For the left-back, a comment made by Valdano really struck him.”A few days before the final a former Real Madrid player had said something about me on TV that stuck in my head,” Marcelo wrote for the The Players’ Tribune, referring to Valdano who was to battle heel pain, Gomez could work his way into 15-team mixed consideration as an early-season sleeper. 

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es Mertens insists Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri s

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pitcher made his longest start of the Cactus League on Sunday against the Giants. He allowed Ghezzal in an attempt to sign Dennis Praet from Sampdoria.The Belgian midfielder is a long term target for Leicester, but they are struggling to agree a fee with the Italian club.Underperforming star Ghezzal is a possible makeweight in a cash plus p four runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings. The right-hander was tagged with a two-spot in the first befoLiverpool are set to go head to head with Borussia Dortmund to sign Ferran Torres from Valencia.The 19-year-old Spanish winger is producing some eye catchinghelsea winger Kenedy.Getafe have reached an agreement with Chelsea to take the 23-year-old Brazilian on loan this season.AS says Kenedy turned down offers from Reading, Sassuolo and Schalke 04 for the opportunity to play Europa League football with G displays in La Liga this season.And Reds manager Jurgen Klopp will do battle with his old clre making it through the next three frames unscathed. Chacin gave up his final damage in the fifth. The 25-year-old also struck out one with no walks in his third outing of the spring. 

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Start vs. Italy helps Weaver and Angels, but not the WBC

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(Getty Images)

TEMPE, Ariz. — looked good against Team Italy on Wednesday.

That’s great news for Weaver, and great news for the . It’s terrible news for the World Baseball Classic.

“It’s nice to feel this good early on,” Weaver said, after his three strong innings in an exhibition game.

Weaver credited the Angels’ athletic training staff for helping loosen up his right shoulder, which he said had felt tight over the last couple of years (even as he was pitching at a near-Cy Young level).

“I ith Guardiola’s brother Pere now part-owner. Pep signed up as a member during his visit.”I am very excited to be a member of Girona and that’s why I called my brother, so he could do it. From Manchester we follow the resultSolskjaer has ruled Anthony Martial out of returning for Thursday’s clash with AZ Alkmaar.The Norwegian was speaking after Monday’s draw with Arsenal at Old Trafford.He could not provide an update on right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who missed the matchs and watch the games whenehaven’t had this range of motion in a while,” he said. “I can go back to my normal arm slot. I’m more of a three-quarters guy, but the last couple of years I had to be more over the top.”

He feels good. He feels strong. He likes the WBC concept so much that he says he’ll watch every game he can when the WBC begins for real for Team USA this weekend.

But Weaver still didn’t want to pitch for Team USA this month.

“Maybe if they’d figure out a better time to have it,” Weaver said.

For this WBC, even at this time of year, Team USA was able to assemble a strong roster. The biggest problem was finding top starting pitchers.

It wasn’t just Weaver. , and , among others, also turned down the chance to pitch.

Most gave the same reasons Weaver did. Pitchers need more time than position players to get ready, and they didn’t feel they could be ready for competitive games in early March.

“I would be quite to where I needed to be,” Weaver said. “I think it would be a little tough to go out with your best stuff now. If I had to go out and turn it on, I think it would be a little tough.

“As great as it would be to wear the red, white and blue, it’s a tough thing to get ready for.”

Weaver threw 52 pitches Wednesday against Team Italy. By WBC rules, if he had joined Team USA, he would have been limited to no more than 65 pitches this weekend.

He allowed Italy one run in three innings, with five strikeouts. He was good enough to pitch in a spring game, but he didn’t feel ready to pitch in a game that counted.

He was comfortable facing Team Italy on WednesdFootball League ban pre-match handshakesThe Premier League and EFL have said pre-match handshakes between both teams and officials will not take place until further notice because of fears over the spread of coronavirus, reports BBC Sport.The teams way. He didn’t want to face them in a WBC game on Saturday.

For anyone who wants the WBC to succeed (and I count myself among that group), that’s too bad.

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the international break.Wales international Chest

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Marlins outfielder told reporters Thursday X-rays were negative after he was hit in the head Wednesday during a simulated game. He said he plans to take it easy in workouts the next few days, so he can “get back on planet earth.’’ Stanton remains hopeful to play in Saturday’s spring opener against the Cardinals. “I was pretty loopy, I must say, yesterday, but for ed Matteo Guendouzi after his performance against Manchester United on Monday.The 21-year-old Arsenal midfielder ended the 1-1 draand international has been out with an Achilles injury since May.But after a posting a video of himself doing football drills in training this week, the Blues think the midfielder could return to action next month.A fit again Loftus-Cheek would help w with the best passing accuracy of any player in the final third.And former Gunners star Fabregas took to Twitter to prthe most part I feel fine,” Stanton said, per The Palm Beach Post. “We’re going to see how a bunch of activity in the weight room goes. lan Rice insists he’s committed to West Ham.Manchester City and United have both been linked with Rice and, while the 20-year-old believes he is good enough to play for a top club, he is happy at West Ham.Rice said, “If you look at the contract I’vI’d like to at least get some hitting in today, but it’s probably smarter not to do much.’’

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Chris Davis’ contract: $3.295 million to hit, $5,000 to pitch

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SARASOTA, Fla. — The aren’t asking to get on the mound this spring.

But they are paying him to pitch.

Seriously. Or half-seriously.

Davis provided one of the big early moments of the Orioles’ surprisingly successful 2012 season, pitching the final two innings of in Baltimore. As the season went on, general manager Dan Duquette joked that he was going to pay Davis as a pitcher.

And he did.

When negotiations on Davis’ 2013 contract reached the final stages, agent Scott Boras asked Duquette for an additional $20,000, to make it an even $3.3 million.

“I told him, ‘I’ll give him $15,000, and then you have to tell him that the other $5,000 is for that win in BJean-Clair Todibo has no regrets over his move to Barcelona.The defender joined Barca in January from Toulouse, though his career in Spain has so far been a slow burn.Despite this, Tobido is happy with his choice.The 19 year-old admits he had contact with Juventus, but was eager to move to Spain.”Juventus wanted me, but I chose to join Barça,” said the youngster.oston,’ ” Duquette said Monday.

Boras kept his part of the bargain.

“Five thousand dollars? That’s cheap,” Davis said Monday, laughing about it. “But I never thought I’d get paid to pitch, and now I have. And $5,000 is just about the right amount.”

Duquert is a target for Blackburn Rovers.The Sun says Rovers boss Tony Mowbray wants a new No 1 and is interested in the former England star.Hart, 32, has endured another miserable campaign having moved to Turf Moor in the summer following a dismal loantte has one more request for Davis. He wa – despite his loan move to Bayern Munich.The London Evening Standard says the 27-year-old’s struggles in Spain have had little effect on the size of the fee received by Liverpool for his transfer.Once Jurgen Klopp showed willingness to sanction Coutnts his first baseman to get his picture taken next to the Babe Ruth statue, since Davis and the Babe are two of just three players in the modern era (Jim Tobin is the other) to have a win as a pitcher and a three-homer game in the same season.

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o teams meet on Sunday.“It’s clear that the Mila

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MLB.com reports Pirates prospect was grouped with the other starters during workouts on Tuesday. Manager Clint Hurdle said that there was a motive to put the right-hander with , , , and . “Yes, we put a lot o London Evening Standard says Tottenham will not give Jose Mourinho major funds in January,.The Portuguese has spent big at his previous clubs but will not oversee sweeping changes to the Spurs squad in the winter window.It is claimed Mourinho acceptf thought into how we group guys. We don’t just pick names out of a hat and put them together,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We look at guys we may want to match up, so they can watch some other people, see how they go about things, to help with that educational process. That’s something we definCrystal Palace striker Alexander Sorloth eld schemer has emerged as a top summer target for Wolves in recent months.Le Parisian says Wolves are prepared to offer as much as €40m for Sanson – a proposal which will meet OM’s demands.The French giants need to sell with UEFA threatening a Finhas joined Trabzonspor on loan.The Norwegian will spend the entire 2019/20 campaign at the Turkish Super Lig club.Palace posted on their website: “Everyone at the club wishes Alexander the very best during the loan period.”Sorloth has made 20 appearances for the Eagles since joining from FC Midtjylland in January 2018.itely keep in mind with some of our prospects.”

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In Arizona, gritty is good, and Upton may not have been gritty enough

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(Getty Images)

The like gritty.

Kirk i Puig is set to leave on-loan.Puig has voiced his discontent at his lack of playing time with the Blaugrana’s first team, yet Kluivert feels like he would be better served going out on loan.”If you see the midfielders in the first team already – FreGibson-type gritty.

“That’s the way Gibby played the game,” general manager Kevin Towers said on a Thursday afternoon conference call.

And although Towers stopped short of saying the Diamondbacks didn’t consider “gritty” enough, he never used that exact word as he praised Upton on the day that he finally traded him away.

In fact, if you were looking for an answer to the long-asked question of why the Diamondbacks would trade away a 25-year-old All-Star outfielder, I think you have at least part of it.

Justin Upton tradedRelated links |

“That’s how we won in 2011,” Towers said. “Justin was a part of that team. We kind of like that gritty, hard-nosed player. I’m not saying Justin isn’t that type.”

But he wasn’t exactly saying Upton was that kind of player, either.

ToAnfield.Guardiola is relishing the ­hostile atmosphere that awaits him and his Manchester City players at Anfield.While Guardiola hopes there is no repeat of the ugly scenes that saw City’s coach come under ­attack there in 2018, he welcomes the ­wers suggested that although he thought Upton played hard, his style may not have always made that clear to people watching. He spoke of the way that Upton would walk back from the plate after striking out.

And he suggested that the players whom the Diamondbacks received in Thursday’s deal, including but also some of the minor-league prospects, were gritty-type guys.

Towers gave other reasons for trading Upton, suggesting that although he thinks Upton has the potential to become a superstar, it was going to be harder for him to realize that potential in Arizona. Because Upton came up to the Diamondbacks at age 19 and had success at a young age, Towers thinks there was more pressure on him there than there will be with the , where he won’t come in as the face of the franchise.

Even with all that, Towers insisted again thaSadio Mane believes Liverpool deserved to beat RB Salzburg on Wednesday.The Reds went up 3-0 before Salzburg scored three unanswered goals.Mohamed Salah popped up to save his team, and Mane said it was a deserved victory.He told BT Sport: “Salzburg at he wasn’t as determined to trade Upton as it seemed. He said that as of two days ago, he still didn’t have any deal that he was willing to make and that he acted only after the Braves added two players in the final days.

That’s fine, but Upton had been very available — and very publicly available — for more than a year. Towers can say he’ll listen on any player (and he does), but he has been listening a lot harder on Upton.

And if you guessed it’s because Upton’s style of play didn’t fit in perfectly with his manager and general manager, well, you’re probably right.

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ve, massive”.Abraham insists they’re capable of wi

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is among the Phillies’ non-roster invitees to banager Jurgen Klopp’s team cannot be regarded as great – for the moment.So far, Liverpool have reached back-to-back Champions League finals, achieving European and world champion status. They almost certain to end 30-year wait for a league title in 2ig-league camp this spring, and though he doesn’t have a real chance of making the team, the 22-year-old can further establish himself as the club’s third baseman of the future, according to MLB.com. “He came a long way last year,” said general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. “We talked about it a lot, that he made a mechanical adjustment.” After hitting only .192 in 239 at-bats as a first-year bian Delph feels good times are around the corner at Everton under manager Carlo Ancelotti.The Toffeemen have won five and drawn two of their eight games under the former AC Milan, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich boss, which has taken them to wity.Unai Emery is still on the look out for defensive reinforcements after signing David Luiz and Kieran Tierney in the summer and the Wolves man may fit the bill, says The Sun.Boly, 28, joined Wolves in 2017 and won promotion to the Premier League in hin fipro in 2011, Asche hit .324 with 12 homers and an .849 OPS in 518 at-bats between Class A and Double-A last year. “He seems to be one of those baseball rat type guys, where he’s not going allow impediments to stop him,” Amaro said. “We’ll see how he continues to progress. Obviously, he’s got a chance to swing the bat. He’s got a chance to be a decent third baseman. We’ll see how he progresses.”

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Report: Yankees and Mets competing for Scott Hairston

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The bidding for free-agent outfielder “mainly involves” the and , to ESPNNewYork.com’s Wallace Matthews.

According to Hairston’s agent, the free agent is expected to decide his destination within “a matter of days,” says Matthews.

Other teams that had been reportedly interested in Hairston this offseason were the Braves, Phillies, Giants, Cardinals, Tigers and Indians.

If Hairston re-signs with the Mets, he would likely be an everyday stter their 2-1 home den’s Super League season.The team will now be known solely as Everton, with Women only added to differentiate from the men’s squad in club news and press releases.”The identity change is an important and progressive step,” chief executive officer Proffeat to Burnley.Returning to Premier League action following the inaugural winter player break, strikes from Ashley Westwood and Matej Vydra secured the win for the visitors.Danny Ings had restored parity with his 18th of the camarter in the outfield. With  the Yankees, Hairston, who bats right, could mainly start against left-handed pitching to r the FA Cup.The Hammers coach only recently took over from Manuel Pellegrini.While he knows the FA Cup is a chance to win silverware and please the supporters, he wants to ensure the team remains in the Premier League beyond this season.The Hammers complement a lefty-heavy starting three.

Hairston hit .263/.299/.504 with 20 home runs in 398 plate appearances for the Mets in 2012. But he hit .286/.317/.550 in 199 plate appearances against left-handed pitching, in line with his favorable career splits against lefties.

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the latest rumors from bloggers Chris Cwik, Jack Moore and R.J. White, follow.

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Just because: Awesome, candid ’82 Brewers T-shirt

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In exchanchester United are upbeat over their chances of landing Leicester City defender Harry Maguire.The Daily Mail says United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer war Sunday’s 2-2 draw.McLean says Norwich deserved more than a point.“We deserved the three points,” he said. “We had some great chances and played some nice stuff. We looked pretty solid but in the end it’s a point against a very good Arsenal teamnts the 26-year-old Leicester City defender to become the new leader of his revamped side and Uninge for a reasonable amount of U.S. currency you can purchase . Here, in sprawling beauty, is the back of said T-shirt .Alvaro Morata has urged Atletico Madrid fans to stick with the players after Saturday’s defeat at Real Madrid.The striker posted a motivational message in the aftermath of Atletico’s 1-0 loss.”I’m proud to belong to this club,” he wrote on social media.”I’m proud to be an ‘indio’ [an Atletico Madrid player or fan].”Today, just like always and more than ever.”..

Those pennant-seizing ’82 Brewers were nothing if not a wellspring of vice and body hair, and this textile commodity, I think, does them justice. The beards and mustaches are banal enough these days — once , its twilight has begun — but, well, there’s so much more to this than whiskers.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and .

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Rangers claim catcher Konrad Schmidt from Diamondbacks

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The claimed catcher off waivers from the , the club announced Wednesday.

Schmidt, 28, m teammate Steven Bergwijn.The new signing from PSV Eindhoven scored on debut in victory over Manchester City on Sunday.Spurs defender Alderweireld told AD: “I was particularly impressed by his professionalism.”Sometimes you have guys who excel in thhas played just eight major-league games, notching one hit in 15 at-bats. He has spent the majority of the last two seasons at Triple-A Reno, where he posted a .282/.336/.432 line in 190 games. 

For continued coverage of the 2012-2013 offseason, visit CBSSportlained their surprise swoop for Everton midfielder James McCarthy.McCarthy joiaguire.Dalot admits Maguire is already regarded as a squad leader.He said, “He’s so calm.“He’s settled in perfectly. He’s a very nice guy, very humble, very quick to settle. We’ll keep helping him, but I think he’s already shown everyone on the pitned Crystal Palace from Everton in August 2019, the then-28-year-old had played just one competitive game of football in 20 months.Ahead of his Everton return, Hodgson saids.com’s .

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the latest rumors from bloggers Chris Cwik, Jack Moore and R.J. White, follow .

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Wright suggests he badly wants to stay a Met, and now it’s time for the Wilpons to repay him

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(US Presswire)

MIAMI – In just another month, another Mets season featuring the usual few months of hope followed by a sad second-half downturn will mercifully end. And then begins the real important time for the Mets’ future, specifically the small window for them to reach a long-term deal with , the beloved homegrown star who a high-ranking Mets person once called “our Jeter.’’

Wright told the Mets he didn’t want to negotiate during this season, at least delaying their hope to make him a Met for life, and he said in an interview this weekend that that goes for next season, as well. That leaves this winter as the time to get it done.

Based on the surprisingly flattering words he had about the second-division-dwelling Mets, it’s up to the team. There are no excuses.

The verbiage and feeling all still point to this getting done. And, as , a noted expert in this very situation, opined regarding Wright, “I hope they keep him. He’s the face of the franchise.’’

For that very reason (and a few others), it’s hard to see Wright – who’s having a typical year with 17 home runs, 78 RBI and a .317 batting average — leaving. Reyes, who signed for $106 million for six years with the rival , you Manolas.De Laurentiis says he is ready to buy the Greece defender – but for less than Roma’s current price.He said, “We’ve been working on Manolas since Albiol announced his desire to leave Naples. He has given us a lot, but is of a certain age. Wecould easily see going.

Some Mets officials privately wondered whether Reyes could stay healthy. About Wright you never hear a peep that could be construed as negative, not since New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin caught Mets owner Fred Wilpon in a weak moment at a time when he was wondering whether the Madoff scandal might take his beloved team and contested the widely-held belief that Wright is a “superstar.’’

Even from Wright, who may be more media savvy than the Mets’ longtime owner, you hear only positive (and you know he’s seen it all with the Mets, not all of it good). Speaking of his chances to remain a Met long-term, Wright doesn’t even give a nod to the negotiating thing most of them do.

“I’m extremely optimistic,’’ he said. “I’ve really enjoyed it here.’’

Time for the Wilpons to show how much they’ve enjoyed having him here, for showing the guts to play soon after suffering a serious concussion (he wanted not to miss a day before being convinced to go on the disabled list), for showing the fortitude to play through a broken back last year (he should have been told to rest), for enduring the stark pitchers’ park they built (the team finally fixed that last winter) and for keeping a positive attitude even when things are falling apart around him.

Time for the Wilpons to pony up. The figure of $160 million for eight years would be a nice start (my suggestion, not Wrights; he’s too polite to talk about loot).

The annual losing, of course, bothers Wright. But apparently not enough to break him.

 In the face of a fourth straight losing season, he also remains optimistic about the team’s long-term chances, saying, “Although we haven’t gotten things completely turned around, we’ve taken small steps in the right direction and have something to build on.’’

Of course, no signing is guaranteed for an organization whose biggest single player expenditure in the last two years was for offbeat middling closer , who signed for $12 million over two years, an organization that’s cut its player payroll from $140 million to $95 million, an organization whose greatest non-Madoff regret was giving $66 million for four years to . The Franciscsk that boss Jurgen Klopp faces at the club.With the Reds winning the Champions League and going within an inch of the Premier League title last season, expectations are at an all time high.And Krawietz knows that setting even higher standards with to contract will be topped when the Mets pick up Wright’s $16-million option for 2013, but that never was in question. The question is if it ends there.

There have been some media suggestions the Mets should consider passing on their one longtime star, look to deal their one tradable high-priced veteran and get on with a rebuild. However, the Wilpons don’t believe they can embrace such a long-term stance in New York and sources continue to say they intend to try to sign Wright long-term instead. Rival execs suggest Wright is likely a $20-million player, and yet Mets ownership, aware of this probability, seems undeterred.

What’s more, Wright’s interest in staying seems just as great as the team’s in keeping him. None of the negativity seems to have swayed Wright, not the string of second-half collapses, not the severely reduced payroll, not even the misguided Fred Wilpon remark.

“I like to think I’m a loyal person,’’ Wright said.

Just how loyal is Wright? Well, for one, Wright said he is sticking with his embattled agents, the Levinson brothers, who are being investigated by and the players union for representation of Melky Cabrera and possible ties to Kirk Radomski.)

But more to the point, after nine years as a Met, now a majority suffered in the second division (barring a huge finish, this will be the fifth year out of nine with a losing record), he couldn’t summon one bad word about the Metropolitans.

“There’s not a single complaint that I have,’’ Wright said. “(The Mets) drafted me as a kid. They developed me. They’ve given me an opportunity to make a living playing a game. There’s a tremendous amount of mutual respect. They’ve gone above and beyond.’’

That doesn’t sound like a man on the way out, now does it?

Perhaps taking a lesson from Jeter eight miles away, Wright has expertly guided the minefields of New York, and that includes his handling of the negotiations so far. Wright short-circuited the Mets’ intentions to try to negotiate an extension during this season, saying lder admits he took a conscious decision at the beginning of the season to maintain their attacking approach.Wilder was speaking after watching a five match unbeaten run lift his team to fifth, only seven months after being promoted from the Championhe didn’t want to be distracted while recalling how distracted he was when he agreed to his $68-million extension early in the 2006 season. Wright still maintains he did it to eliminate the distraction, but a side benefit has been to see the baseline likely go from friend and fellow Virginian Ryan Zimmerman’s $100-million, six-year deal to $140 million for seven.

Eight years for $160 million would seem like a reasonable bid for Wright, though if he desires more years it’s hard to see how they pass now. They need credibility, their anchor, their Jeter.

 They also can’t afford to give up the RBI. Their greatest need going into 2013 is more power, not less.

Rather than swallow him up, New York has been a plus for Wright. By all accounts, he loved his eight-year tenure, living in Manhattan while taking advantages of the pluses it offers. But at his heart, he is a ballplayer who knows history.

Wanting to stay a Met is about loyalty. And it’s a bit about legacy, too.

Wright grew up in southern Virginia, not far from where the Mets Triple-A team was stationed for years in Tidewater/Norfolk. But the real influence was three and a half hours away, where he saw his first major-league game as a kid, sitting in the cheap seats at the then-brand-new Camden Yards.

“My favorite player was Cal Ripken,’’ Wright said. ‘”The biggest reason for that was, I like that he stayed.’’

Hard to see Wright going. And easy to see him giving the Mets every chance.

Wright is, of course, too polite to talk about dollars, or even years.

But he did say about the coming contract, “You’d like it to take you to the end of your career.’’

Based on his words, it’s hard to imagine his career ends anywhere else. The smart money he stays the king of Queens, and yes, the face of the franchise.

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