As efforts to recover money in relation to the Bernie Madoff scandal continue, the amount owed by the Mets owners — the Wilpon family — continues to go down, reports ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin. At present, the Wilpons’ obligations sit at just above $80MM. Of course, any continued decrease would presumably improve the overall financial health of the franchise. The Mets checked in with the fifth-highest free agent outlay over the past offseason, and could increasingly be a big player on the open market as GM Sandy Alderson works to supplement the team’s young pitching.
- Speaking of those young Mets arms, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News writes that several pitching prospects are expected to filter up to the big league roster sooner rather than later. Assistant GM John Ricco says that the team is “getting to the point where it’s probably weeks as opposed to months.” Ricco emphasized that the team was taking the long view, even as the bullpen struggles. “We want to make sure when they come up here they are going to actually help,” he said. “The bigger factor is their development. They will be ready to come up here when they have done everything they needed to do down there.” Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom appear to be closest to making the leap from the Mets minor league ranks, according to the report.
- While the early season dominance of Cubs staff ace Jeff Samardzija has only heightened attention on his situation, GM Jed Hoyer says that it is still not certain that he will be dealt, as Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com reports. While sources told Rogers that no progress has been made in extension talks, Hoyer said that the line of communication remains open. “We’ve tried to keep things quiet,” said Hoyer. “We’ve had a lot of conversations with him. … There’s been pretty consistent dialogue [that] hasn’t reached the point of fruition yet, but there’s always been a dialogue.”
- Another pitcher who could conceivably change hands at some point is Ross Detwiler of the Nationals, though that is purely my conjecture at present. The team decided to put him in a bullpen role despite a reasonably solid track record as a starter, emphasizing at the time that he could be an impact, power lefty in relief. But as Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes, the 28-year-old has been used in extremely low-leverage situations this year. Most recently, the club decided not to give him a spot start tonight against the Dodgers — preferring instead to promote Blake Treinen for a one-game stint — and then threw him in relief after the team was already down four runs. Detwiler seems expensive and somewhat over-qualified for his current role as a mop-up reliever. (He is earning $3MM in his second season of arbitration eligibility and has a 3.46 ERA in 301 2/3 innings — mostly as a starter — over 2011-13.)
- Nationals manager Matt Williams said in an interview with MLB.com’s Bill Ladson that the team’s early injury woes have been frustrating, but not altogether unexpected. “You set out the year and get out of Spring Training with this grand plan,” he said, “realizing that it never goes as planned. It simply doesn’t.” While making room for Wilson Ramos, Bryce Harper, and Doug Fister should be fairly straightforward (and most welcome), the team will face some tough decisions when Ryan Zimmerman makes his return. With Danny Espinosa‘s rebirth, and questions still ongoing with regard to Zimmerman’s ability to defend the hot corner, deft management could be required from the rookie skipper in allocating infield playing time the rest of the way. Also in the interview, Williams addressed the much-discussed handling of his young superstar, Harper. Williams spoke highly of the 21-year-old and said that Harper’s pre-injury benching was team-related, rather than an indictment of Harper himself.