While some believed that Michael Cuddyer’s retirement saved the Mets the full $12.5MM he was owed for the 2016 season, that’s not the case, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post. Cuddyer was paid a buyout in the range of $2-3MM, according to Puma. GM Sandy Alderson told reporters today that he’d still have been able to pursue Yoenis Cespedes this offseason even if Cuddyer had remained with the club, though he did acknowledge that some of the Mets’ other moves might not have been realistic. The Mets made small to mid-range signings of Jerry Blevins ($4MM), Alejandro De Aza ($5.75MM), Bartolo Colon ($7.25MM), Antonio Bastardo ($12MM) and Asdrubal Cabrera ($18.5MM) on the free-agent market this offseason.
A few more items pertaining to the NL East…
- Nationals right-hander Bronson Arroyo hopes to crack the rotation and return to the Majors this season, but he’ll receive some notice if that’s not likely to be the case, he told reporters yesterday (Twitter link via Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post). Arroyo’s deal stipulates that the Nationals inform him whether he’s made the team five days before Spring Training ends, presumably in order to allow him to latch on elsewhere if he doesn’t make the club in D.C. It’s been more than 18 months since Arroyo last pitched in a big league game after undergoing Tommy John surgery with the D-backs.
- Right-hander Burke Badenhop spoke with Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post about the feeling of being a veteran player in camp hoping to win a roster spot. Badenhop explained that he landed with the Nationals in part because they showed a greater sense of urgency when pursuing him than other clubs, and also because playing for a contender with a number of experienced players held appeal to him. Interestingly, Badenhop tells Janes that he’s learned manager Dusty Baker is quite familiar with him; Baker revealed to Badenhop that the Reds tried to trade for him when Baker was managing the club. Assistant GM Doug Harris told Janes that Badenhop gives hitters a different look than the rest of their current ’pen candidates, which could be a point in his favor this spring.
- David Hernandez looks to be the favorite to serve as the Phillies’ closer this season, writes MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. Hernandez’s very presence in Phillies camp might’ve seemed improbable to him several months ago, as he kicked off the winter by telling his agent he hoped to sign with a West Coast club that played its spring games in Arizona. However, Hernandez inked a one-year deal with an East Coast club that plays Spring Training in Florida, in part because the Phillies told him he could end up with an opportunity to close. Hernandez signed shortly before the trade of Ken Giles to the Astros, and as Zolecki notes, the club likely knew full well that a trade of Giles could come together in the near future, helping to stock the farm with young talent and create an opportunity for a free-agent to inherit the ninth inning role.