This offseason’s Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes could come down to the Mets, Nationals, Giants and Blue Jays, Mike Puma of the New York Post writes. A return to New York makes sense, but only if the Mets are willing to make a commitment long enough to lure Cespedes back, Puma writes. The Nats competed for Cespedes last year, but this winter, signing Cespedes would require them to move Bryce Harper back to center field. The Giants, meanwhile, have an outfield opening with Angel Pagan set to depart, and the Blue Jays have a number of key offensive free agents, although it’s unclear whether they’ll seek to add a new talent as expensive as Cespedes will likely be. Here’s more from around the game.
- Extending Mike Matheny (which the Cardinals did on Thursday) was a logical choice, Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. The Cards have had five straight winning seasons to begin Matheny’s tenure, and his previous three-year deal would have made him a lame duck for the 2017 season. Many Cardinals fans aren’t sold on Matheny, but Hochman thinks Matheny could improve his reputation by being more open with the press, the way Joe Maddon or Terry Francona are.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says lefty Tyler Lyons’ knee injury is “not responding as quickly as we hoped,” via Hochman. Lyons spent the previous three seasons bouncing back and forth between the rotation and bullpen. He pitched 2016 entirely as a reliever was in the midst of a solid campaign (3.38 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 in 48 innings) before he missed the last two months with a stress reaction. He is out of options in the spring.
- The Padres have “some interest” in retaining Adam Rosales, Jon Jay, Clayton Richard and Edwin Jackson, but will not be extending qualifying offers to any of them, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. That comes as no surprise, since none of them profile as the kinds of upper-echelon players who typically get qualifying offers. Nonetheless, several of them were useful for the Padres in 2016. Rosales and Jay were both solid complementary pieces — Rosales hit a surprising 13 home runs in 248 plate appearances while playing six positions, and Jay produced a fine .339 OBP, although he missed two months with a fractured forearm. Richard, too, helped after arriving as a free agent in August, posting a 2.52 ERA in 53 2/3 innings down the stretch, although with underwhelming peripherals. Of the four, only Jackson clearly struggled, with a 5.89 ERA, 6.6 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 in 73 1/3 innings. Jackson has voiced interest in returning to the Padres next season.