Mets Team Report (Yahoo! Sports)

Jason Bay hasn't been in a batter's box since July, a concussion ending his season and leaving his future in the realm of wishful thinking since then.

But Bay isn't the one doing the wishing. He remains convinced that all of the troubles are behind him.

After Bay ran into the left-field wall at Dodger Stadium, guesses at return dates passed by one after another as headaches remained even when the nausea faded. With the Mets still smarting from the Ryan Church concussion problems from two years earlier, Bay was kept on the sidelines and only rarely even visited the stadium.

"Since about the last week of the season, I didn't have any more issues," Bay said. "Well, I mean at the time, I didn't know.

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Many teams show interest in Fuentes (Yahoo! Sports)

Free-agent reliever Brian Fuentes is a very popular man. And why not? The lefty appeared in 48 games and struck...

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Mets get SS Chin-lung Hu from Dodgers (AP)

The New York Mets have acquired shortstop Chin-lung Hu from the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league left-hander Michael Antonini. The 26-year-old Hu spent the majority of last season at Triple-A Albuquerque where he hit .317 with four home runs and 25 RBIs. In two brief stints with Los Angeles he batted .130 (3 for 23).

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Mets get SS Chin-lung Hu from Dodgers (PA SportsTicker)

The New York Mets have acquired shortstop Chin-lung Hu from the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league left-hander Michael Antonini.

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Power Rankings: Red Sox, Phillies get raises (Yahoo! Sports)

Signing Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee vaulted the Red Sox and Phillies, respectively, to the top of the offseason list.

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Brewers add Green, finalize deal with Counsell (AP)

The Milwaukee Brewers have finalized infielder Craig Counsell's $1.4 million contract and also reached an $875,000, one-year agreement with right-hander Sean Green. The 31-year-old Green spent most of last season on the disabled list with a right intercostal muscle strain. He was recalled by the New York Mets Sept.

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Alderson Changes The Mets Culture

Don’t get your hopes up for Cliff Lee, Met fans. It’s not going to happen. Nor will the Mets have a free spending off-season, like they did under Omar Minaya.

Rather look for some smart bargain basement moves where new general manager Sandy Alderson will utilize some of his statistical analysis to fill the holes on the roster.

“Will we be in the market this year aggressively? Unlikely,” Alderson said.

Added COO Jeff Wilpon, “We have to have some more conversation with him, but I assume we’re close to the maximum. And I don’t think he would recommend, and hasn’t recommended, going above that right now.”

Alderson’s biggest signings may come in the front office. No matter who the field manager will be, if the new GM can be reunited Paul DePodesta to run the statistical analysis department and J.P. Ricciardi to helm the player personnel area – two executives reportedly on his list – then the Mets may be on their way to contending in 2011.

Not a fan of using his prospects for chips, Alderson is willing to explore trading any and all veterans – including Jose Reyes and David Wright – if the price is right.

“I think we’re going to be busy, but that’s first and maybe ultimately only to assess the market,” Alderson said. “We don’t really know what’s out there. We need to be actively engaged in finding out what’s available to us, who has interest in some of our players, and just assess things as we develop more information. But right now it would be hard to say how active we’re going to be in actual transactions. But we’re going to be out there fishing.”

High on-base percentage players will be a key for Alderson. The use of stats will be a new concept in Queens, something Minaya would never consider, relying more on the scouts or even the BetUS sportsbook.

He will also try to shed the dead weight in on the roster. Of course, he’s not going to outright say he will release Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, you can bet their days are numbered. Fred and Jeff Wilpon even said they would have released them last season, if Minaya broached the subject, but never did.

“And, by the way, there may other ‘hits’ that he comes up with — not only the obvious ones,” Fred Wilpon said.

Then there’s the manager, who will be hired in the next 30 days. Both Wilpons said the subject of a high paid manager never came up in conversations, so that should take Joe Torre and Bobby Valentine off the list, but Alderson said he likes a high spirited manager, which keeps Wally Backman in the running.

“I also think it’s important for a manager to be somewhat analytical, but at the same time occasionally and sometimes often intuitive,” Alderson said. “We’re looking for somebody that is right for our situation. What is our situation? You start with the fact that it’s New York City. …

“We’re looking for somebody that fits intellectual requirements, but also intuitive and emotional ones. That manager may have experience, may not have experience at the major league level. We’re very open-minded about it at this point. But I do want to emphasize that whoever is selected is going to be the manager and making those decisions and needs to have a certain level of independence in order to accomplish what he needs to accomplish.”

No matter what happens in the ensuing months though, one thing’s for certain: Things have changed in Queens already.

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Yankees hit with $18M luxury tax for exceeding cap (AP)

The New York Yankees lowered spending on players by $12 million this year, cutting payroll by $5 million and slashing their Major League Baseball-leading luxury tax by more than $7 million. New York was hit with an $18 million luxury tax by MLB on Tuesday. The tax was New York's lowest since 2003 and down from $25.7 million last year, when the Yankees won the World Series.

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Can Mr. Fix-it Sandy Alderson mend Mets? (Yahoo! Sports)

The longtime executive has taken on many tough tasks, but turning around the Mets might be the most difficult.

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - MLB - New York Mets News on December 21, 2010

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APNewsBreak: Yankees hit with $18M luxury tax (PA SportsTicker)

By RONALD BLUM AP Sports Writer

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