Movement towards a possible return of Major League Baseball to Montreal continues to build, though important questions like “how?” and “when?” remain to be answered in the future. Montreal mayor Denis Coderre met yesterday with commissioner Rob Manfred, as Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports. Coderre said he hoped to convey the city’s “political will” to land a franchise, calling the meeting “the beginning” of that process. “I think what we need to do is establish a roadmap,” said Coderre. “Our enthusiasm for this project is clear. We love the sport. We’re serious about it. This isn’t just a gesture. … I don’t know about a timeframe, but this is a town for baseball, and we’re keeping the flame.”
- The Mets have weathered the loss of several key relievers fairly well: the unit has combined for the fifth-best pen ERA in baseball. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes, New York can look ahead to the addition of Jenrry Mejia, Vic Black, Bobby Parnell, and Jerry Blevins, to say nothing of young starters like Rafael Montero and Steven Matz. While there’s plenty of uncertainty in that group, there is some upside, and Sherman says that could free the team to put its resources toward the acquisition of a hitter over the summer.
- With the mid-season trade market looming, the landscape has changed for the Phillies and ace Cole Hamels, Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer observes. He looks at the Cardinals, Dodgers, and Red Sox as possible landing spots, though certainly those clubs could be in on other arms and would very likely face other competition on Hamels if they choose to pursue him. Things are shaping up rather well for Philadelphia, on the whole: the 31-year-old leads the league with 74 1/3 innings and has produced a 2.91 ERA with 9.2 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9.
- The Nationals have placed Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day DL as he continues to deal with neck and back issues, Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com reports (links to Twitter). The team is “perplexed” as to the cause of the problems, per Kolko, particularly since the most recent stiffness has arisen on the opposite side of his body than that which occurred just weeks ago. While the hope is that Strasburg will only miss the minimum fifteen days, it seems time to attempt to identify the root cause.
- Top Braves prospect Jose Peraza, a second baseman by trade, is spending increasing time at center field for the club’s Triple-A affiliate, as MLB.com’s Mark Bowman writes. For now, the intent seems only to increase his defensive flexibility. The club has been impressed with young second baseman Jace Peterson, and Bowman explains that the team does not see either as an option at third. Of course, Cameron Maybin has shown new life in Atlanta out in center — a subject that David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution discussed with me on last week’s MLBTR podcast — but this move opens new possibilities for Atlanta.