The Giants and first baseman Brandon Belt have an arbitration hearing set for tomorrow, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News tweeted last night. The two sides are facing a $2.2MM gap between Belt’s $7.5MM salary figure and the $5.3MM counter from the team (as can be seen in MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker), and Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that with the hearing so close, the sides are focused on a one-year deal rather than a longer-term pact. Of course, long-term negotiations can always resume and carry on into Spring Training, so it does make some sense to focus efforts on avoiding the dreaded arbitration hearing for the time being.
Here’s more from the NL…
- Reds left-hander John Lamb, who had been expected to compete for a spot in the team’s rotation this spring, had back surgery in December, reports MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. In an MLB Network appearance with Chris Russo today (video link), Cincinnati manager Bryan Price revealed that Lamb will eventually be in the rotation mix but isn’t expected to be ready until mid-April. Per Price, right-handers Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias are locked into rotation spots heading into Spring Training, but the remaining three spots will be up for grabs, with names like John Moscot, Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson and Brandon Finnegan all in the mix for one of the three spots until Homer Bailey returns, which the team expects will happen on May 1. Price went out of his way to state that despite some opinions that Finnegan is best-suited for the bullpen, the Reds like him as a starting pitcher.
- From that same interview, Price said that he’s “not really surprised” that Brandon Phillips vetoed a trade that would have sent him to the Nationals despite the Reds’ rebuild. “Brandon, I think, just absolutely loves Cincinnati,” Price explained. “He loves the fans. He loves the team. He loves the ball park. I think he really values the fact that the Reds threw a lot of trust in him when they acquired him from Cleveland and gave him a chance to play.”
- Tom Haudricout of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel spoke with Aaron Hill and Brewers manager Craig Counsell about the trade that sent the veteran Hill to Milwaukee. Hill explained to Haudricourt that being traded to a rebuilding team isn’t necessarily a bad thing, stressing that the emphasis on competition still exists and adding that he has a tremendous amount of respect for his new skipper. Of Hill, Counsell said that the Brewers look forward to Hill working with the team’s younger players and expect there to be “a lot of playing time” for Hill. “I do think his experience is valuable on this club with a lot of new faces and a lot of young faces, and a lot of players who are going to go through experiences in the big leagues for the first time,” said Counsell. Haudricourt notes that Hill will platoon with Scooter Gennett at second base and also receive some starts at third base against right-handed pitching.
- Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki underwent offseason sinus surgery, he tells Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. The operation, according to Plawecki, was performed with the goal of alleviating persistent bouts of dizziness. Plawecki says that his right sinus became completely blocked, preventing airflow through that side of his nose and leading to extreme dizzy spells that were aggravated each time the team would fly. “It was almost like a drunk feeling without having anything to drink, that’s the best description,” said Plawecki. The soon-to-be 25-year-old figures to serve as the primary backup to Travis d’Arnaud for the Mets this season and would step into a starting role in the event that d’Arnaud’s injury problems persist.