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- Rangers To Sign Cuban Free Agent Andy Ibanez
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- Royals Designate Jason Frasor For Assignment
- Josh Harrison Out Indefinitely With Thumb Injury
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Jenrry Mejia Rumors
ESPN’s Jayson Stark examines the rising payrolls around the game, noting that even 10 years ago, just three teams has payrolls topping $100MM. This year, Stark points out, 22 clubs have $100MM+ payrolls. Stark spoke with Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, Giants CEO Larry Baer and sports economics expert Andy Zimbalist about the change and its impact around the league. Dombrowski notes that the extra Wild Card added to each league has made teams more willing to spend, because more teams believe they can win, and he also discussed the impact of increased payrolls on roster construction around the league. Baer commented that the additional sources of revenue — namely, TV deals, I would presume — have made it easier for teams to sign players to long-term deals, because revenue is easier to project. Not that long ago, Baer notes, revenue was tied much more heavily to ticket sales, and signing a young player to an extension was riskier, because teams could only project revenue a few years out at a time.
A few more miscellaneous notes from around the league…
- Baseball America’s Matt Eddy provides a thorough, comprehensive explanation of his belief that it’s time for the National League to adopt the DH rule. Eddy notes that pitcher productivity is at an all-time low, relative to the production of non-pitchers — even as the production of non-pitchers declines in its own right. One NL assistant GM spoke to Eddy about the advantage that AL teams have not only in interleague games in AL stadiums, but in the ability to rest their best players while still giving them four at-bats. Eddy also argues that because improving their offensive prowess doesn’t accelerate their timeline to the Majors — no pitcher will be promoted because he’s a good hitter or withheld from the Majors to work on his swing — there is neither means nor incentive to improve their hitting skills. Eddy views the DH and the pitcher as “two sides of the same, hyper-specialized coin,” noting that a DH contributes solely to the offensive element of a game, whereas a pitcher functions as the key constituent of the defense. Interestingly, a 2013 poll of 18 MLB managers revealed that 12 of those managers were in favor of adding the DH to the NL, Eddy adds.
- Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post looks at the recent suspensions of Mariners lefty David Rollins, Twins right-hander Ervin Santana, Mets closer Jenrry Mejia and Braves prospect Arodys Vizcaino for Stanozolol and investigates a possible connection. Commissioner Rob Manfred said earlier this week that the league conducts an investigation anytime that there are multiple suspensions for the same banned substance, though he has no reason to assume a connection at this point. Kilgore spoke with subject matter expert Dr. Charles Yesalis about the tests and was told, “There is no way, in my mind, this is one big coincidence.”
- Cole Hamels, Johnny Cueto, Carlos Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir and Adrian Beltre top a list of midseason trade candidates compiled by Jim Bowden of ESPN (Insider subscription required/recommended). Kazmir’s inclusion is interesting, in that Bowden expects a trade to occur whether the A’s are contending or not, as he notes that the team won’t be able to afford to re-sign Kazmir. He speculates that Kazmir will be flipped, possibly for another Major League caliber starter to step into his spot, though as I pointed out in reviewing their offseason, the A’s already have a sizable reserve of rotation options from which to draw.
6:30pm: The suspension will save the Mets $1.2MM per Mike Puma of the New York Post (tweet).
Rubin tweets that Mejia will not be eligible for the postseason roster if the Mets qualify for the playoffs.
6:20pm: Mejia is the fourth pitcher in the last 15 days to test positive for Stanozolol, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. In addition to Santana, Mariners pitcher David Rollins and Braves pitcher Arodys Vizcaino are serving suspensions after failing a drug test. Three of the four players are Dominican, which might provide a clue as to how or where the drug is being disseminated. Like Mejia, Santana also claimed that he had no knowledge of how the drug entered his system.
As a reminder, days on the disabled list count towards the suspension, so Mejia will simply be out longer than expected, tweets Matt Ehalt of The Record. Per Ehalt, Mejia will not appeal the suspension. He is eligible to return on July 7 against the Giants (Twitter).
4:37pm: Mets closer Jenrry Mejia has received an 80-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Stanozolol, MLB has announced. Stanozolol is the same performance-enhancing drug Ervin Santana was suspended earlier this month for using.
“We were disappointed when informed of Jenrry’s suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” say the Mets in a statement. “We fully support MLB’s policy toward eliminating performance enhancing substances from the sport. As per the Joint Drug Program, we will have no further comment on this suspension.”
“I know the rules are the rules and I will accept my punishment,” says Mejia, seemingly suggesting he will not appeal the suspension. “[B]ut I can honestly say I have no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system. … I’m sorry to the Mets organization, my teammates and the fans, as well as my family.”
Mejia had not pitched in 2015 due to elbow inflammation. An MRI showed no structural damage, so he likely would have returned at some point fairly soon if not for the suspension. Mejia racked up 28 saves in 2014 while carrying a relatively heavy workload for a closer, pitching 93 2/3 innings with a 3.65 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. Jeurys Familia will likely get most save opportunities in his absence. Mejia was set to make $2.595MM in his first arbitration year in 2015, but now the Mets will only have to pay him about half that amount.
The Mets announced today that closer Jenrry Mejia will be placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 5, due to posterior elbow inflammation. Mejia’s injury adds another to a long list of pitching injuries for the Mets early in the season, but his injury does appear to be of the short-term variety. Jeurys Familia will step into Mejia’s spot in the closer’s role in the interim. (Fantasy players looking to stay on top of closer situations can follow MLBTR’s fantasy-focused @closernews handle on Twitter.)
Here’s more from the NL East…
- Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg explained to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki the team’s thought process in its final roster decisions at the end of Spring Training. Signing right-hander Dustin McGowan upon his release from the Dodgers was a welcome move for Philadelphia, as they’d had interest in him earlier in the offseason before he signed in L.A. Jeff Francoeur was selected for a roster spot despite others performing better in spring because the team wanted a right-handed bat on the bench and felt that Francoeur’s clubhouse presence would benefit the young players on the roster. Cesar Hernandez was outperformed by Cord Phelps, but the Phillies wanted a shortstop on the bench, and Hernandez was out of Minor League options, paving his way to the Opening Day roster.
- Nationals center fielder Denard Span may be back from core muscle surgery sooner than expected, writes MLB.com’s Bill Ladson. Span has already begun performing hard sprint drills and has played defense in a pair of Minor League games. Span tells Ladson that he he thinks he could potentially return to the lineup before the calendar flips to May, potentially putting him about two weeks ahead of schedule.
- Freddie Freeman was among the Braves players to speak to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman about the difficulty of losing Craig Kimbrel as a teammate following Kimbrel’s trade to the Padres. “He got sent down from High A to Low A, and then all of the sudden became Craig Kimbrel,” Freeman reminisced. “It’s the craziest thing. When a guy gets traded, you think about all those stories in the Minor Leagues. … It’s definitely tough seeing him go. But I think everybody’s mentality in this clubhouse is to prove everybody wrong.” Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he felt the players handled the news well, and veteran Jonny Gomes worked to make sure that the trade wasn’t something dwelled upon as the team geared up for Opening Day, Bowman adds.
Here are the day’s lower-cost arbitration settlements:
- The Mets have avoided arbitration with righty Jenrry Mejia for $2.595MM, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. After opening as a starter last year, Mejia took over closing duties for New York and held onto the role for much of the year. The 25-year-old racked up 28 saves at an opportune time — entering his Super Two year — which led to a $3.1MM projection from MLBTR/Matt Swartz. While Mejia did not reach that mark, he did come in just above the midpoint between the sides’ filing figures and has set himself up nicely for future earnings.
Mets left-hander Jon Niese was removed from his start today after only two innings and 35 pitches with what the club calls left elbow discomfort. Niese had been wearing a neoprene sleve on his left arm the past few days, tweets Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. "It's the Spring Training from hell," Niese told reporters (as quoted by ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin). Niese also said he hyperextended the elbow, which first flared up during an intrasquad game 10 days ago, and has been taking anti-inflammatory medication and undergoing rehab since. Niese added the discomfort is in the back of the elbow, not in the ligament area (the focus of Tommy John surgery). The Mets are flying the 27-year-old to New York tonight with a MRI, his second in less than three weeks, scheduled for tomorrow, tweets Marc Carig of Newsday.
Elsewhere in the National League:
- With the possibility Niese may open the season on the disabled list, Jenrry Mejia could join Daisuke Matsuzaka in the Mets' rotation with John Lannan earning a relief role, according to Rubin.
- The Diamondbacks are another team scrambling to fill a void in their starting rotation in the wake of the news from earlier today Patrick Corbin could be facing Tommy John surgery. GM Kevin Towers, however, plans to use in-house options like Randall Delgado, Archie Bradley, and Josh Collmenter rather than seek a trade immediately, tweets Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com.
- Noah Syndergaard, who remains in the Mets' Major League Spring Training camp, was the key component in last offseason's R.A. Dickey trade, writes Matt Ehalt of the Record. "I think eventually it got to the point where we needed Syndergaard," said J.P. Ricciardi, the Mets' special assistant to the GM. "I think in order to finish it off, we needed a younger, higher prospect to make us say, 'OK, it's worth trading a Cy Young Award winner.'"
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington says the team's bullpen depth is "a chance to move a guy that can go help someone else to add a piece," tweets the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Travis Sawchik. Huntington also gave a near-guarantee Edinson Volquez will be in the Pirates' starting rotation, Sawchik tweets.
- Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post contradicts a story from this morning the Rockies are in the market for right-handed bullpen help. A source tells Renck the club prefers to give Chad Bettis or Chris Martin a chance before pursuing a trade.
- Being forced to rush their young pitching prospects to the Majors has come back to haunt the Marlins, as Jacob Turner and Brad Hand (22 and 23, respectively) are now out of options, opines MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- The Dodgers have selected the contract of Justin Turner and will bring Chone Figgins to Australia, reports Dylan Herndandez of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). MLBTR's Tim Dierkes broke the news in February of Turner agreeing to a minor league contract with the Dodgers and now the 29-year-old will make $1MM as a reserve infielder. Figgins, who signed a minor league deal in January and is trying to make the squad as an utilityman, will be one of 30 players the Dodgers are taking on the trip (only 25 will be active on game day).
Full Story | 15 Comments | Categories: Archie Bradley | Arizona Diamondbacks | Chone Figgins | Colorado Rockies | Daisuke Matsuzaka | Edinson Volquez | Jacob Turner | Jenrry Mejia | John Lannan | Jon Niese | Jonathon Niese | Josh Collmenter | Justin Turner | Los Angeles Dodgers | Miami Marlins | Neal Huntington | New York Mets | Noah Syndergaard | Pittsburgh Pirates | Randall Delgado
In case you missed it over the weekend, the Braves inked Cuban backstop Yenier Bello to a minor league deal and invited him to Spring Training. Bello is likely ticketed to begin his career here in the minors, but he adds some critical catcher depth to the Braves, who of course lost Brian McCann to the Yankees this offseason. More from the NL East to kick off your Monday morning…
- Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters, including Newsday's Marc Carig (Twitter link) that Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lannan are the favorites to win the fifth spot in his rotation. MLB.com's Marty Noble writes that Collins is still considering Jenrry Mejia, though the youngster is more likely to be used in a long relief role out of Spring Training. Noble writes that the Mets feel that role would allow Mejia to continue to build arm strength and can also serve as a developmental tool.
- ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin writes that Mike Piazza is in Mets camp to serve as a special instructor but says he's not looking to get into coaching on a full-time basis anytime soon. Piazza says he has a seven-month old son, so his focus appears to be on his family. Travis d'Arnaud calls Piazza's tutelage "a dream," as the Long Beach, Calif. native grew up idolizing Piazza as a Dodgers fan.
- New Phillies hurler A.J. Burnett made his Spring Training debut over the weekend, and it came against his former club, the Pirates, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and Burnett himself both told Biertempfel that there was nothing weird about Burnett pitching against the Bucs instead of for them, and neither hinted at any ill will. Hurdle simply called the change "part of the game," and Burnett offered nothing but respect for his former club.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark writes that although the Braves lost Tim Hudson to the Giants via free agency, talk that the club lacks an ace is overblown, as Kris Medlen has developed into that type of pitcher for the team. Assistant GM John Coppolella said of Medlen: "Look, the fact that he’s not 6 feet tall and that fact that he doesn't throw 95 [mph] makes it seem like he’s not a power guy, but he’s very good with what he does. … He’s a huge part of our staff. And we hope he will be for a long time."
No MLB pitcher has walked more opponents in the past two seasons than Gio Gonzalez and he's about to get expensive through arbitration, yet the Athletics are drawing strong interest in the left-hander. In fairness to Gonzalez, he has reached the 200-inning plateau in each of the past two seasons without posting an ERA above 3.23 and capable pitchers aren't easy to find (though Dave Cameron of FanGraphs has an alternative for teams who don't like the asking price on Gonzalez). Here are the latest rumors on Gonzalez:
- The Nationals are "all but out" of the Gonzalez sweepstakes, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com. The Athletics' asking price is "way out of line," Ladson hears.
- The Mets told the A's they won't include Jonathon Niese, Ike Davis, Matt Harvey, Jenrry Mejia or Jeurys Familia in a deal for Gio Gonzalez, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- The Tigers are on the "outskirts" of the Gonzalez sweepstakes, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. They aren't upbeat about their chances of trading for him.
- The A's would love to get a future third baseman in a deal for Gonzalez, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Rangers prospect Mike Olt is one possibility.
- The A's continue seeking a huge package for Gonzalez, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Though the Yankees "love" him, they aren't eager to surrender prospects such as Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances.
- The Rangers, who are pursuing Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey, can be expected to try to trade for Gonzalez or Matt Garza if they don't win the bidding on Yu Darvish, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney also reports that the Rangers are likely to pursue Gonzalez if they miss out on Darvish. He tweets that 20-year-old left-hander Martin Perez would "almost have to be" in a deal between the A's and Rangers.
- The market for Gonzalez and John Danks may pick up once the winner in the Darvish bidding is announced and the Rays decide which of their starting pitchers are available, tweets ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
The Mets announced bad news for a key member of the current team (Chris Young), and an integral part of future Mets teams (Jenrry Mejia). Here are the details on the pitchers, plus a note on the club's financial issues:
- Young has an anterior capsule tear in his throwing shoulder – the same injury Johan Santana had – according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter links). Young faces surgery or lots of rehab.
- As Rubin pointed out earlier today, Young won't reach any of the incentives in his contract if he doesn’t pitch again this season. In that case, the Mets will only be responsible for his $1.1MM base salary.
- Mejia will have Tommy John surgery, according to Rubin (on Twitter). The Mets announced last week that Mejia, their top prospect, has a complete MCL tear of the right elbow.
- Commissioner Bud Selig told The Mike Lupica Show that the Dodgers need to be tracked carefully and that the Mets are working toward a solution for their financial problems. Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com has the details and audio from ESPN New York 1050.
May 2nd was a busy day for transactions 25 years ago, back in 1986. Current Red Sox manager Terry Francona signed with the Cubs and the Yankees signed Tommy John as a free agent. Here’s the latest from around the league…
- Cuban outfielder Leonys Martin is working out at extended Spring Training in Arizona and his deal with the Rangers should be completed this week, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- The Mets announced that top pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia has a complete MCL tear of the right elbow. Though surgery has been recommended, Mejia will likely seek a second opinion before having an operation.
- Heath Bell told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that he helps his kids with their homework instead of reading trade rumors. Unfortunately for Bell, the rumors will really be heating up in July once school’s out. Of course trade rumors are nothing new for the Padres’ All-Star closer.
The latest on the Mets after wrapping up a doubleheader against the Rockies at Citi Field…
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (via Twitter) says that reliever Boof Bonser will undergo Tommy John surgery next week. The 29-year-old was one of the team's top insurance options in Triple-A Buffalo.
- Pedro Feliciano has a 'damaged' shoulder, but Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News says "nobody should be blaming the Mets for this injury." The Yankees had the chance to look into the left-hander's medical reports before signing him and Feliciano didn't have problems early in Spring Training.
- New Mets manager Terry Collins went "ballistic" in a team-only meeting after last night's loss, one player told Mike Puma of the New York Post. David Wright said the message will help prevent the 4-7 Mets from getting emotionally deflated.
- Help may be on its way. Pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia says he's becoming a pitcher, rather than a thrower, according to Robert Emrich of MiLB.com. The 21-year-old has allowed no runs, five walks and six hits through 12 2/3 Triple-A innings so far in 2011, striking out 11.
- A bit of Mets history: though we think of recently-deceased Hall of Famer Duke Snider as a lifelong Dodger, the Giants purchased him from the Mets on this date in 1964.