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APRIL 6: The Mets have retracted Puello’s outright and placed him on the Major League disabled list, reports Rubin (Twitter links). Puello contested the outright assignment, stating that he was injured, and he does indeed have a stress fracture in his back. Puello will gain Major League service time and is on the team’s 40-man roster. Josh Edgin has been transferred to the 60-day DL to clear room, tweets The Record’s Matt Ehalt.
APRIL 3: Puello has cleared waivers, Rubin tweets.
APRIL 1: The Mets have placed young outfielder Cesar Puello on outright waivers, ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin reports. Out of options and a roster spot, Puello has long seemed destined to be headed either to another organization or off of the Mets’ 40-man.
Puello hits the wire on his 24th birthday. He reached Triple-A last year, slashing .252/.355/.393 in 371 plate appearances with seven home runs and 13 stolen bases. Though primarily a corner outfielder, Puello has seen at least some time in center in the minors.
Presumably, the Mets would have worked out a deal if Puello was in high demand, but his low power output in the hitter-friendly environs of Las Vegas — combined with a .265 spring slugging percentage — may have eliminated any serious interest. Of course, Puello has shown some promise in the past and could at least be a credible fourth outfielder, so he figures to draw interest. The question is whether any team will be interested in adding him to their 40-man roster, which would require an Opening Day roster spot at this juncture.
We just heard that the Angels and Huston Street could continue their efforts to find a new deal before he hits the open market, but the same may not be true of several other prominent free agents-to-be. Here’s the latest:
- Johnny Cueto and the Reds are not expected to reach agreement, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets, confirming the expectations from recent reports. As Cincinnati takes the field, it appears the start of Cueto’s last year with the club.
- The same holds true of Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals, who as Morosi tweets never made progress on a new deal that could have kept him in D.C.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson says that he does not foresee restarting talks with first baseman Lucas Duda, as Matt Ehalt of the Record tweets. Of course, it seems likely that Alderson is merely referring to the notion that the team will not look to re-open talks during the coming season, not that it sees no future possibility of discussing a longer-term arrangement.
- Meanwhile, it appears that an extension is all but a formality for the Brewers and GM Doug Melvin, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports (Twitter links). Owner Mark Attanasio says that he is still talking about a new deal with Melvin, with the major question being how long the veteran executive wants to stay at the helm.
In negotiations for his recent extension, Corey Kluber was forthright about wanting to continue to pitch for the Indians, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian writes (on Twitter). “Corey was really upfront,” says GM Chris Antonetti. “He said, ‘This is where I want to be. I want to be in Cleveland for a long time. Ideally, I’d like it to be a lifetime contract.‘” Here are more notes on extensions.
- The Orioles will not extend Chris Tillman before Opening Day despite recent discussions between the two sides, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets. As of late last week, it did not appear that the two sides were close, and Tillman does not want to continue extension discussions once the season begins. He has three more years before he’s eligible for free agency, however, so it’s not impossible the two sides could negotiate again next offseason.
- The Reds have discussed a new contract with Johnny Cueto recently, but the two sides are unlikely to strike a deal before the season begins, Heyman writes. It’s looking extremely likely that Cueto will hit the free agent market next winter. Heyman also notes that the Reds have not pursued extension talks with Mike Leake.
- Another free-agent-to-be, Rick Porcello of the Red Sox, reiterates that he will not discuss an extension during the season, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. “I don’t want any distractions when we start the season,” says Porcello. The two sides did have at least some dialogue in March regarding a possible deal, Bradford writes.
- A Mets representative says Lucas Duda and the team have not discontinued their contract talks, Matt Ehalt of the Record tweets. A previous report had indicated that the two sides had stopped talking as Opening Day approached. The two sides have reportedly discussed an extension in recent weeks.
The Mets and Lucas Duda have failed to reach an extension prior to the first baseman’s Opening Day deadline and have shelved negotiations, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. “No agreement was reached, so talks have concluded and Lucas will focus on the upcoming season,” agent Dan Horwits told Rubin. Duda will make $4.2MM in 2015 and will be eligible for arbitration two more times before becoming a free agent following the 2017 season.
In other National League news and notes:
- MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon tweets he doesn’t expect the Reds and Johnny Cueto to agree to an extension before the right-hander’s Opening Day deadline.
- Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart told reporters, including Zach Buchanan of The Arizona Republic, Yasmany Tomas was optioned to Triple-A for regular at-bats. “Once he returns back here, we probably will be able to get him at-bats at third base but we’d like to get the majority of his work in the outfield,” said Stewart. “Probably, Yasmany’s long-term future is going to be in the outfield as he was when we signed him.“
- The Braves are still talking to teams about moves that could affect their roster plans, tweets MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.
- The Diamondbacks may have one of the least talented clubs in baseball, but the presence of Paul Goldschmidt, Archie Bradley, Tony La Russa, and low expectations are reasons for hope in the desert, opines Dan Bickley of The Arizona Republic.
Here’s a roundup of some 40-man roster news as teams decide who will break camp for Opening Day….
- The Diamondbacks have announced (via Twitter) that Archie Bradley, Gerald Laird, and Jordan Pacheco have made the roster. Bradley, a top prospect, will join the rotation. Laird will serve as the backup catcher while Pacheco will probably take on a super utility role that includes some catching.
- The Astros have selected the contract of Roberto Hernandez, per the MLB transactions page. The right-handed sinker specialist has a 4.60 ERA in 1,264 innings. He split the 2014 season between the Phillies and Dodgers.
- The Dodgers have released right-handed pitcher Barry Enright, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Enright is a veteran of four major league seasons, although he struggled at the top level. He owns a 5.57 ERA, 4.60 K/9, and 3.15 BB/9 in 148 innings.
- The Nationals will select the contract of outfielder Clint Robinson, reports Chelsea Janes of the Washington Times. Robinson, 30, is a career minor leaguer with just 14 major league plate appearances. In 1,771 Triple-A plate appearances, he’s hit .303/.392/.494. Janes also notes that the club is almost certain to retain second baseman Dan Uggla. He’s one of just five healthy infielders with the club.
- The Blue Jays have opted to roster eight relievers for the start of the season with Liam Hendriks making the cut, writes Sean Farrell of MLB.com. The righty appeared for the Jays and Royals last season. He has a career 5.92 ERA in 188 innings. Second baseman Ryan Goins was optioned in a corresponding move.
- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told Mark Bowman of MLB.com that utility man Pedro Ciriaco and pitcher Cody Martin will probably make the team. Ciriaco is a career .270/.299/.372 hitter over 498 plate appearances split over five seasons. The pair were added at the expense of outfielder Todd Cunningham and pitcher Michael Foltynewicz.
- Also making the Atlanta roster is pitcher Eric Stults, writes Bowman. The soft-tossing lefty has a solid big league career with a 4.12 ERA, 5.69 K/9, and 2.53 BB/9. His best season came with the Padres in 2013 when he pitched 203 innings with a 3.93 ERA.
- The Yankees have selected the contract of infielder Gregorio Petit, reports Chad Jennings of LoHud. Petit, 30, is a career .278/.301/.391 hitter in 156 plate appearances.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels says Anthony Bass will travel with the club to Oakland, reports Stefan Stevenson (via Twitter). He’ll make the team barring a last minute acquisition. The 27-year-old reliever struggled with the Astros last season. In 27 innings, he allowed a 6.33 ERA with 2.33 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9.
- The Phillies have selected the contracts of right-handed reliever Jeanmar Gomez and left-handed reliever Cesar Jimenez, the team announced on Twitter. Gomez owns a career 4.41 ERA with 5.23 K/9 and 3.14 BB/9. He pitched well this spring in 12 and two-thirds innings, allowing a 0.71 ERA with nine strikeouts and one walk. Jimenez is familiar with the Phillies as he’s bounced between Philadelphia and Triple-A over the past two seasons. In 81 innings, he has a career 4.32 ERA with 6.09 K/9 and 3.09 BB/9.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Anthony Bass | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Bobby Wilson | Buddy Carlyle | Cesar Jimenez | Chicago White Sox | Clint Robinson | Delino DeShields Jr. | Eric Stults | Geovany Soto | Gregorio Petit | Jeanmar Gomez | Juan Francisco | Liam Hendriks | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Matt Albers | Micah Johnson | Mike Carp | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Pedro Ciriaco | Philadelphia Phillies | Rule 5 Draft | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions | Washington Nationals
ESPN’s Jayson Stark is picking the Nationals to win the World Series, and his opinion that they’re baseball’s best team is shared by many scouts and executives around the game. The Nats have depth, playoff experience, an incredible pitching staff and an easy road (on paper) to the postseason since the NL East projects to be a weak division. Also, with so many major free agents after the year, the Nationals have a great sense of urgency to win in 2015 and will surely be aggressive in filling roster needs throughout the season. “They have what everyone wants — a ‘now’ team with ingredients they can move if they need to,” one scout told Stark.
Here’s some more from around the NL East…
- As an example of how aggressive the Nationals could get, Stark heard “a lot” of speculation that they could try to obtain Aroldis Chapman from the Reds at the trade deadline if Drew Storen underachieves as closer. This would, of course, likely depend on whether or not the Reds are themselves contenders.
- There’s no progress on extension talks between the Mets and Lucas Duda‘s representatives, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin reports. The two sides are still talking but have yet Opening Day as the negotiating deadline.
- No teams are showing any “significant interest” in Mets righty Dillon Gee, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (via Twitter).
- The Braves are still considering possible trades, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweets, but it seems as if Pedro Ciriaco will make the roster as a backup outfielder. Ciriaco signed a minor league deal with Atlanta last October and the Braves will have to create a 40-man roster spot for him if he indeed breaks camp with the team.
- At the moment, the Braves aren’t close to making any trades, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).
The Mets will keep Matt Harvey on a rough limit of 90 pitches for his April starts, manager Terry Collins told reporters (including Adam Rubin of ESPN New York) following Harvey’s final Spring Training start today. The club’s plans to be fairly cautious with Harvey in his return from Tommy John surgery haven’t changed, GM Sandy Alderson said, despite how Harvey has dominated opposing batters in spring competition. Harvey threw four shutout innings of work today to drop his Spring Training ERA down to 1.19 over 22 2/3 innings. Here’s the latest on the Amazins….
- It seems “unlikely” the Mets and Lucas Duda will reach agreement on an extension before Opening Day, a source familiar with the talks tells CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Another source says there has been “not a lot of movement” in negotiations, and both the player and team have set the opener as the unofficial deadline for talks.
- Alderson told Adam Rubin that “I think that’s hard to say” when asked to comment on the progress of the Duda negotiations. “There will be resolution by Monday, one way or the other,” Alderson said.
- The Mets’ four-year, $23MM extension with Juan Lagares is “pretty much a can’t-lose” deal for the team “even if he never gets better than he was in 2014,” Joel Sherman of the New York Post opines. I agree with Sherman that Lagares’ new deal is a pretty reasonable price to pay for elite-level center field defense.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News also likes the Lagares contract, and between that extension and recent trades for Jerry Blevins and Alex Torres, Martino feels the Mets are entering the season on a positive note.
- Zack Wheeler also had surgery to repair a torn tendon in addition to his Tommy John procedure this winter, so the right-hander need more time than usual to recover, he told Newsday’s Marc Carig. The combination of the two procedures could push his return back to June or July 2016, though Wheeler hesitated to cite a firm date this early in his rehab process.
After a largely quiet offseason, the Mets have sprung into action by acquiring a pair of left-handed relievers and now formally announcing a four-year extension with center fielder Juan Lagares. Lagares’ new contract reportedly calls for a $23MM guarantee. New York will also pick up a $9.5MM club option ($500K buyout) for an additional season.
Lagares, 26, is represented by ACES. The annual breakdown of the deal is as follows: $2.5MM in 2016, $4.5MM in 2017, $6.5MM in 2018 and $9MM in 2019. As that indicates, the contract does not kick in until meaning that New York has locked in salaries for all of Lagares’s arbitration years while picking up a club option over his first season of free agent eligibility. Lagares entered the offseason with 1.160 years of service, meaning he’d almost certainly have qualified for Super Two eligibility next year. All told, New York will stand to gain control over Lagares through his age-31 season.
Lagares established himself last year with an outstanding campaign in the field and solid effort at the plate. There is no doubt that his primary value comes with the glove: Lagares led all qualifying outfielders with 25.3 UZR/150, with Defensive Runs Saved and scouting reports concurring in his excellence.
Of course, Lagares had already showed that kind of capability in center. What last year did more than anything was show his capacity on the offensive side of the equation. Lagares slashed .281/.321/.382 over 452 plate appearances, an approximately league average line, while contributing four home runs and 13 stolen bases.
There may not be much upside left in the bat given his age, but the aggregate package has obvious appeal. Lagares was worth 4 fWAR and an even more impressive 5.5 rWAR last year, making him the type of well-above-average player that any team hopes to be able to lock in up the middle.
In terms of the payday, which is yet to be reported precisely, Lagares obviously had some reasonably anticipated caps on his earning capacity since his skillset is presently not valued highly in arbitration. The most obvious comp for this deal is the recent Adam Eaton extension — a five-year, $23.5MM pact (plus two club options) for a center fielder who had one less year of club control but who was on track to qualify for arbitration just three times. Eaton is also 26, and both players have missed some time due to injuries over the last few years. While they profile differently, and appear to have agreed to differently-structured deals, the overall value of the two players is arguably fairly similar.
Another way of looking at it, though, would be to compare this agreement to the Andrelton Simmons extension from last winter. Simmons, of course, is also an elite defender whose bat is slightly below average to average. The Braves cornerstone, then 24, got seven years and $58MM in exchange for his age-24 through age-31 seasons. With this deal, the Mets appear set to control Lagares through his age-31 season with a more modest annual guarantee and lower overall risk.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Mets are reportedly set to lock into all of the arbitration-eligible seasons of center fielder Juan Lagares while adding control over another year via club option. But that is not the only possible extension scenario ongoing in New York and elsewhere.
Here’s the latest:
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson acknowledged that the club has had conversations with both Lagares and first baseman Lucas Duda, as Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger reports (Twitter links). He explained the team’s process as akin to that which led it to sign deals in the past with players like David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Jon Niese, calling Lagares and Duda “select individuals who we think have real upside.” A new pact for the power-hitting, arb-eligible Duda will likely cost the Mets a fair bit more than the $23MM the team reportedly committed to Lagares.
- For his part, Duda indicated that he is hopeful of getting a deal done before the presumptive deadline of Opening Day, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets. His agents are still working with the New York front office.
- Arguably the Mets‘ best player, starter Matt Harvey, tells Puma (Twitter links) that he and agent Scott Boras have not been approached to discuss a deal. Of course, that could be due in large part to the fact that Harvey appears to be in a particularly unlikely extension spot: a Boras-represented ace with nearly-unlimited upside who is preparing to enter his arbitration years after missing a season due to Tommy John surgery. When asked whether he would try to get something done with Harvey, Alderson said that the question was “too far afield for me.” Needless to say, it does not appear that there is anything in the works here.
- The Reds have made “no progress” on a deal with ace Johnny Cueto, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. That is really not surprising, given that Cincinnati appears to have a lack of future payroll flexibility and Cueto a rather substantial earning potential as a free agent.
- Morosi also tweets that he does not expect any pending free agents to reach long-term deals barring a surprise, massive offer from the Tigers to David Price, and it is hard to disagree with that assessment. That being said, Price made clear yesterday that he is not putting any timeline on talks about a new deal, as MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports. Price also gave some hints as to his mindset, seemingly indicating that Detroit knows his demands and will have to decide whether to meet them. “It wouldn’t be something that would linger on,” he said. “These guys, they know what they want to do, and so do I. So if we get to that point, then I think once it gets going, it would go quickly. If it doesn’t happen, then it just wouldnât happen. It’s not something that we’d revisit every two weeks. I’m sure the Tigers would rather it be either we can get it done or we can’t and leave it alone. We’ll see how everything starts shaking out.” Price added that he does not necessarily see recent deals for top starting pitchers as setting the salary range that should apply to his next deal: “I guess you could say that, but that’s not my thought behind it.”
The Mets and Lucas Duda intend to cut off extension negotiations when the season opens, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes. It remains to be seen whether anything gets done, of course, especially since the 29-year-old still has just one complete season of strong performance on his ledger. A league executive tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that the comparables suggest a deal in the four-year, $30MM range could make sense, pointing to the cases of Allen Craig, Alex Gordon, and Billy Butler. In spite of his somewhat late start, Duda could have a higher earning capacity than that trio if he keeps hitting thirty-plus home runs.
- One notable new feature of Mets camp has been the presence of owner Fred Wilpon, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. Though Wilpon has not said much publicly, he has been fairly visible and active behind the scenes, says Martino, consistently conveying the message that he expects winning baseball.
- Phillies righty Miguel Gonzalez looks like he may never pay off on the team’s investment, as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes, particularly since he has not managed to earn a job in spite of the team’s desperate need for arms. “He hasn’t pitched well enough to be a major league starter for us,” said GM Ruben Amaro Jr. “His stuff and his command just weren’t good enough. It’s kind of simple. He needs to be better for us to utilize him in our rotation. He’ll go down and pitch and hopefully he improves. If he doesn’t, then he doesn’t.” Amaro continued to acknowledge: “He hasn’t performed as well as we would have liked. He may never perform as well as we would have liked, but that’s the risk you take. Sometimes, you’ve got to take a risk.”
- Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post takes a look in at Nationals shortstop-to-be Trea Turner, who is currently still with the Padres until he can formally be sent to D.C. The club had to check with the league to see if the deal could be structured that way, and pulled the trigger when it found it would be permitted. Washington had been intrigued with Turner in last year’s draft, says Svrluga, and a strong entry into the professional ranks has only raised his stock. For his part, as he waits to get introduced to a new organization, Turner says that his former team has “treated me just like one of their players.”