Jeremy Hefner Rumors
The Mets have re-signed starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner, MLB.com's Anthony DiComo tweets. They non-tendered Hefner last week. Hefner will spend this year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent late in the season.
Hefner, 27, pitched well for the Mets in his second big league season, racking up 130 2/3 innings in 24 outings (23 starts) for the club. Before being shut down in August and undergoing surgery, the right-hander posted a 4.34 ERA to go along with 6.8 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.
Even though Hefner is unlikely to return to the mound until the second half of the 2014 season, New York's decision to non-tender him came as a bit of a surprise, since he's not yet eligible for arbitration. However, as Adam Rubin of ESPN New York tweets, Hefner's new deal with the Mets will be a minor league pact, which will result in significant cost savings for the team as he rehabs.
Hefner is represented by BBI Sports Group.
Luke Adams contributed to this post.
Major League clubs have until 11pm CT tonight to tender contracts to players for the 2014 season. We'll run down the list of National League non-tenders here. Remember that you can track all of the action using MLBTR's Non-Tender tracker, and we offer a full list of non-tender candidates as well. Also of use will be our Arbitration Eligibles series, which includes Matt Swartz's projected 2014 salaries for all arbitration eligible players.
- The Reds non-tendered outfielders Xavier Paul and Derrick Robinson, according to the AP. Robinson had been designated for assignment last Thursday to open a roster spot for Skip Schumaker.
- The Rockies have non-tendered reliever Mitchell Boggs, tweets Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.
- The Dodgers have non-tendered Ronald Belisario, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- The Marlins have non-tendered outfielder Chris Coghlan and reliever Ryan Webb, the club announced via press release.
- The Pirates have non-tendered Garrett Jones, Michael McKenry, and Kyle McPherson, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- The Giants have non-tendered Sandy Rosario and Francisco Peguero, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Cubs have non-tendered Mat Gamel, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The club has also non-tendered Chang-Yong Lim, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com.
- The Mets officially announced their slate of non-tenders, which includes a few new names in Jeremy Hefner and Justin Turner (via tweet from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News).
- The Braves announced that they have non-tendered infielders Elliot Johnson and Paul Janish as well as right-hander Cristhian Martinez (Twitter link). Johnson, 29, batted .209/.255/.283 in 275 plate appearances between the Royals and Braves last season. Janish was less productive in 45 PAs, batting .171/.222/.220. Martinez, 31, missed nearly the entire season due to shoulder surgery. However, he posted a 3.63 ERA in 151 1/3 innings for Atlanta from 2011-12, making him a potential buy-low candidate for another club.
- The Mets have non-tendered Jordany Valdespin, Rubin reports. Valdespin has been a persistent source of drama for the Mets, lashing out at manager Terry Collins after being demoted and also being slapped with a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis PED scandal. The soon-to-be 26-year-old is a career .219/.271/.380 hitter in 350 big league plate appearances. Valdespin's non-tender comes despite him not yet being arbitration eligible, illustrating the Mets' frustration with the second baseman/outfielder.
- The Cubs will non-tender right-hander Daniel Bard, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago. Bard was claimed off waivers in September and never threw a pitch for the Cubs organization. WEEI.com's Rob Bradford notes that Bard was pitching in the Puerto Rican Winter League but walked nine batters while recording just one out. The Cubs could still agree to a non-roster deal with Bard, he adds. Bard's control has vanished into thin air, as the formerly dominant setup man has also walked 56 batters over his past 47 1/3 minor league frames.
- The Mets have informed shortstop Omar Quintanilla that he will be non-tendered, Quintanilla told Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger. Quintanilla projected to earn $900K this offseason after batting .222/.306/.283 in a career-high 359 plate appearances last season.
- ESPN's Adam Rubin tweets that the Mets will also non-tender Scott Atchison. The right-hander projected to earn $1.3MM coming off a 4.37 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 45 1/3 innings. Atchison will turn 38 in late March.
7:50pm: Rubin notes (via Twitter) that the Mets may not actively shop Turner, but will listen to offers on him if a roster crunch arises late in the spring. In his revised article, he notes that manager Terry Collins is a big supporter of Turner.
5:32pm: Given the number of minor league deals the Mets have given to players with strong track records this offseason, the team could face a major 40-man roster crunch at the end of Spring Training, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. As such, the team is expected to gauge interest in infielder Justin Turner over the course of Spring Training.
The 28-year-old Turner has appeared in 211 games for the Mets over the past two seasons, hitting .262/.330/.366 with six homers in 672 plate appearances. He's appeared at all four infield positions in his career, though he hasn't graded out well at his primary position, second base, according to UZR/150 (-18.7) or The Fielding Bible (-16 runs).
As MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows, Mets GM Sandy Alderson has added pitchers Aaron Laffey,Pedro Feliciano, Scott Atchison and LaTroy Hawkins on minor league deals this winter. He's also brought in Marlon Byrd to compete for an outfield spot, among many other minor league signings.
One player who likely won't find himself as a roster casualty is Jeremy Hefner, whom the Mets claimed off waivers from the Pirates last offseason. Rubin reports that the Mets value Hefner too highly to expose him to waivers. The 26-year-old righty made his Major League debut with the Mets last season, starting 13 games (and appearing in 26 overall). In 93 2/3 innings, Hefner posted a 5.09 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and 43.8 percent ground-ball rate. Advanced metrics such as FIP (3.66) and xFIP (4.21) suggested that Hefner was much better than his ERA indicated, however.
Both Turner and Hefner have one option remaining, so they could open the season at Triple-A. That, however, would not alleviate any 40-man roster issues the Mets could encounter toward the end of Spring Training.