NYM@ATL: Murphy rips a two-run homer to cut deficit

ATLANTA -- With third baseman David Wright's candidacy for the All-Star Game seeming tenuous, Mets manager Terry Collins said he would lobby for second baseman Daniel Murphy should Mike Matheny, the National League manager, call to ask for his opinion as to who is deserving of a reserve spot.

"I don't know how you cannot consider the guy who's leading the National League in hits," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Murphy, who entered Wednesday's series finale against the Braves with three more hits than second-place Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. "You've certainly got to take a look at him. The guy's hitting .300 almost all season long. He's got big hits. He's got some home runs now. He's got some RBIs. Certainly he's got to be heavily, heavily considered as one of our guys to go."

For the Mets, the list of alternative candidates is short. Wright could still sneak in through a surge in fan voting or on the player ballot, while left-hander Jon Niese has a low enough ERA for Matheny to consider him. But Murphy, who has never made an All-Star team in six big league seasons, tops the list.

In addition to leading the NL in hits, Murphy ranks second among qualified second basemen in batting average, first in on-base percentage, second in home runs and second in steals. Yet, he does not rank among the top five at his position in NL fan voting.

"I think it'd be huge for him," Collins said. "Dan Murphy has been -- everybody knew he could hit, but he's been an overachiever basically his whole time in the big leagues. I think it'd be a huge, huge honor for him and certainly a feather in his cap."

Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15.

Mets sign 11 international prospects

ATLANTA -- The Mets added 11 players on the first day of Major League Baseball's international signing period, the team announced on Wednesday.

The team inked Venezuelan shortstops Yoel Romero and Edgardo Fermin for a reported $300,000 and $250,000, respectively, in addition to Venezuelan left-handed pitcher Daniel Guzman, Dominican right-handed pitchers Agustin Casilla and Jose Moreno, Venezuelan right-handers Jhoander Chourio and Jurgen Jimenez, Dominican outfielder Claudio Geraldo, Venezuelan outfielder Yordin Araujo, Dominican catcher Luis Lebron and Dominican shortstop Hansel Moreno. None of those players ranked in the top 30 of MLB.com's list of international prospects.

Twenty percent of the Mets' active roster is composed of international free agents that the organization originally signed, including starting shortstop Ruben Tejada and center fielder Juan Lagares.

The annual international signing period runs through next June, giving clubs an opportunity to recruit from a new pool of teenage prospects primarily in Latin America. Players must turn 17 years old by Sept. 1, 2015, to be eligible.

Alderson anticipates quiet Trade Deadline

Sandy Alderson said Jon Niese was particularly unlikely to be traded.

ATLANTA -- In an interview with CBS Sports, general manager Sandy Alderson said that the Mets do not plan to "throw everyone overboard" and sell heavily before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Alderson added that left-hander Jon Niese, who is having an All-Star-caliber season and is under team control through 2018, is unlikely to be traded.

The justification for trading someone such as Niese would be the potential haul the Mets could receive in return. Successful starting pitchers are rarely available on the open market, left-handed starters are rarer still, and those under team control for another 4 1/2 seasons are most coveted of all. But Niese is also a significant part of the Mets' pitching plan going forward, alongside Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard.

Other trade candidates should the Mets fall completely out of contention are second baseman Daniel Murphy and starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, both of whom have contracts that run only through next season. But citing a desire to remain as competitive as possible, Alderson has been hesitant to deal even obvious candidates in recent seasons, holding onto outfielder Scott Hairston two years ago and waiting until after the non-waiver deadline to deal outfielder Marlon Byrd last summer.

Similar prudence could be in order this month.

Worth noting

• After hitting a home run in each of the Mets' first two games in Atlanta, Curtis Granderson shifted from leadoff back to the cleanup spot for Wednesday's series finale. Collins noted that the move was partially due to Wright's continued absence from the lineup, and that Granderson could move back to leadoff as soon as Friday.

• The Mets continue to anticipate Wright's return for Friday's series opener against the Rangers. The third baseman has not played since June 26 with a bruised right rotator cuff.

• The Mets plan to honor former general manager Frank Cashen, who passed away Monday, with a memorial uniform patch featuring his initials. The Mets will also hold a moment of silence in Cashen's memory prior to Friday's game against the Rangers. They have been wearing a patch all season to honor late broadcaster and Hall of Fame outfielder Ralph Kiner.