Yusmeiro Petit chose to sign with the Nationals because they’re “always in contention,” he told James Wagner of the Washington Post. Petit added that his familiarity with catcher Wilson Ramos — a teammate from the Venezuelan Winter League — and the fact that he knows backup catcher Jose Lobaton also played a part in his decision. Petit spoke with Wagner about how he’s managed to succeed over the past three seasons despite his lack of velocity, working to keep his wind-up and delivery short to hide the ball from batters. The longtime Giants hurler said he had a feeling he might be non-tendered in San Francisco just because of how little he was utilized late in the season. He will most likely assume a similar role to the one he had in San Francisco, although Petit tells Wagner he’ll be ready if the Nationals need help at the back of their rotation.
Here’s more from Wagner’s piece and from the rest of the division…
- Prior to signing Petit, the Nationals tried to work out a deal with former Nat Craig Stammen, whose 2015 season ended due to surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon, Wagner reports. However, Washington was only comfortable offering Stammen 80 percent of what he made last season, which would represent the maximum a player’s salary can be cut in arbitration. The proposed deal included incentives to boost Stammen’s salary, but the two sides couldn’t reach a deal, and Stammen was ultimately non-tendered. MLBTR’s Zach Links reported earlier this month that Stammen is said to be 100 percent recovered from the operation.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post recently attempted to peg the value of the Mets’ excellent rotation by estimating what each would receive on the open market at present. Despite the fact that much of the group is lacking in experience, Sherman estimates that the combination of Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and even Zack Wheeler, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, could collectively earn one billion dollars. While that sounds outlandish, Sherman ran the number by six different executives from around the league, including GMs and scouting directors, and none refuted the notion. As Sherman points out, teams like the Red Sox have spent in excess of $130MM on Cuban talent (Yoan Moncada and Rusney Castillo) despite not knowing how immediately either would contribute in the Majors; as such, he hypothesizes that it’s not unreasonable that a team would submit a nine-figure bid even to Matz, despite the fact that he’s started just nine games in the Majors. While the exercise is entirely hypothetical, it’s still an interesting concept to think about. And, more interestingly, it raises the question of whether the Mets should be willing to part with one of their starters to fill holes elsewhere on the roster. In a market that is paying starting pitchers extremely aggressively, Sherman notes, New York’s starters have nearly unprecedented value. He points to the Braves’ return for Shelby Miller and notes that most of the Mets’ rotation is more controllable and, in some cases, younger than Miller.
- In his latest Marlins inbox, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tackles multiple trade-related questions, including one on ace Jose Fernandez. While the 23-year-old’s name has come up often in rumors recently, Frisaro writes that the Marlins’ hope is still to retain Fernandez and add pitching help around him. He quotes team president David Samson: “There is no rift with Jose. He wasn’t available for trade, but people still came to us, and we were OK with that, because you never know, someone may have an idea that you didn’t think of. But it just didn’t happen. I don’t see it happening.”
- Frisaro also notes that the Marlins are hoping to add a free-agent starter that they can pay around $11MM in 2016. Miami could, of course, sign a pitcher to a contract with a larger annual value and backload the deal, though there are also pitchers on the market that figure to sign for an annual value in that range. Frisaro lists Ian Kennedy and Doug Fister as seemingly speculative fits, although Miami has previously been connected to Kennedy this offseason.