Nationals ace Max Scherzer has been recovering from a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, and he’s on track to throw off a mound for the first time this spring on Saturday, Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com reports. If everything goes according to plan, he’ll progress to bullpen sessions and be game-ready in a couple of weeks, Zuckerman adds. While pitching coach Mike Maddux conceded that Scherzer could be “a start or two” behind the rest of the team’s rotation, the extra time in Spring Training (which was worked in due to the World Baseball Classic) will prove beneficial to Scherzer. Both Stephen Strasburg and Tanner Roark threw in an intrasquad game today as well, Zuckerman notes — a particularly important note for Strasburg. The 28-year-old righty saw his 2016 season end in early September due to a flexor mass strain but was able to throw his fastball, curveball and changeup in Thursday’s session.
More from the NL East…
- The Mets’ show of faith in Travis d’Arnaud will be all the more interesting to watch now that Matt Wieters has agreed to sign with the division-rival Nationals, writes Dan Martin of the New York Post. The Mets weren’t impressed with Wieters’ defense, Martin reports, which is why the team never embarked on a serious pursuit of the longtime Oriole. Martin spoke to a number of Mets players about the feeling of watching an excellent catcher, Wilson Ramos, depart from the Nationals only to be replaced by another well-reputed backstop. “When you lose a guy like Ramos and back him up with a guy like Wieters, that’s pretty solid,” David Wright said to Martin. “It’s tough to replace a guy like Ramos. … That’s what good organizations do, whether it’s us getting [Neil] Walker immediately after losing [Daniel] Murphy [to the Nationals]. They find a Plan B and a Plan C very quickly.”
- The Phillies will be without hard-throwing right-handed relief prospect Victor Arano for at least one month, per CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. The 22-year-old, who averaged about 94 mph on his fastball in 2016, has been diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. While surgery hasn’t been recommended, Arano did receive a platelet-rich plasma injection that will sideline him for the bulk of Spring Training. Though he was never likely to break camp with the Phils, it’s still discouraging for the team to see the promising young see his development set back. Last season, Arano posted brilliant numbers between Class-A Advanced and Double-A, working to a combined 2.26 ERA with 10.7 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9 across 79 2/3 innings of work. Arano rated 23rd among Phillies prospects entering the season, per MLB.com, while ESPN’s Keith Law rated him 16th. “If there’s a Ken Giles in the system right now, it’s him,” Law wrote of Arano.
- Andy MacPhail’s career in baseball spans several decades, but the Phillies’ president is leading the charge to help modernize his organization, writes MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. MacPhail, who took charge of the Phillies following the 2015 season, explained to Zolecki the myriad changes that are being made all throughout the organization. Improvements not only to the team’s analytics department but also to nutrition programs in the minor league ranks and a new facility opening in the Dominican Republic are just some of the changes that have been ushered in. MacPhail also sounded intrigued by the Rays’ recent decision to push back the start times of their spring workouts for players and cited an interest in sleep science studies. Beyond that, he noted that the Phils will be looking to hire a replacement for EVP/COO Mike Stiles, who will be retiring in June, though there’s been no determination on whether they’ll go with an internal or external hire.
The Mets weren’t impressed with Wieters D? Wieters is one the better defensive catchers in MLB. Sounds like their excuse for not wanting to spend $$ for Wieters when they have a cheap in house option.
Weiters is NOT one of the best defensive catchers in the MLB.
He is a horrendous pitch framer, and average at handling the run game.
He has not shown any ability to manage a staff (albeit Baltimore doesn’t have many good pitchers)
To top that off he had similar offensive stats to TDA in a hitters ballpark…
Mets made the baseball decision, not the financial one
I vehemently agree with you.
And I love that you said Weiters had similar numbers in a hitter’s haven.
Pitch framing is overrated, and how is having a 35% CS rate (against 29% league avg) on a team with Ubaldo on it merely average at handling the run game? He’s the best in the league at the tag play at home under the new sliding rules. You should stick with what you know, and Orioles baseball isn’t it.
How is pitch framing overrated? I know I’d rather have a catcher that can turn balls into strikes than one who doesn’t.
Pitch framing if anything is underrated! I’ll concede that he is not good at handling the run, he is slightly above average.
This DOES not make him good. Rene Rivera provides that for us, so no worries.
With Weiters, one is really hoping for a bounce back year Offensively
Wieters is Waaaaay overrated (He has never measured up to his draft position both offensively and defensively) however to claim that is the reason the Mets didnt sign him? Yeah, right. The reason they didnt go for him is that TDA + Rivera + Pwalecki will cost them under 4 Million for catching. (and dont be sure that they dont jettison one of the three before the Spring Training opt-out date so they dont even have to pay that)
When Nature’s Refrain
Foretells “TdA’s Break-out Year”
To be fair, while d’Arnaud has struggled to stay on the field, in 2014 and 2015 combined he put up an OPS of .759 with an OPS+ of 113 in 700 plate appearances.
He’s a talented player but last year he was a train wreck, let’s hope he lost that horrible bat curl. Apparently the Met coaches have gotten him away from it.
Insulting to Met fans. Who do they think they’re kidding?
26 years of Wilpon ownership/control, and the low rent operating methods they employ with this team. The “spending” pattern, and the excuses for it, have been consistent throughout. They spend ONLY when, and to the extent, they absolutely have to, to avoid media/fan revolt when people are watching. Then they make all true Met fans sorry they even bothered, as the contracts are tortured and (when nobody’s looking) they find a way to recoup the $$ elsewhere, They weren’t pursuing any outside FAs of note this year by their own admission, Regardless of anything else. They’re upset they have a middle market payroll.
OK, but its doubling embarrassing to me as a Met fan that this feeble organization feels the need to speak negatively about the FAs they don’t sign (at positions of need) to supposedly justify their penny pinching. Nothing new here either. Johnny Bench and Mike Schmidt could have been out there. No difference. I could hear Sandy now saying Bench is too injury prone, and Schmidt strikes out too much.
Wieters is an very good defensive catcher, He’s a switch hitter with pop from both sides as well. He’s coming off some injury years where there may still be some upside. Pitch framing is a factor thrown out there by GMs of (usually small market) teams that don’t have a real catcher and can’t afford one (and then the Mets, who can, but prefer to store their pennies at SNY bank). Nobody with an understanding of the importance of the catcher in a team’s pitching and defense believes pitch framing is a primary factor in evaluating a catcher. Nobody. To the extent it’s a factor at all it’s when the skill is possessed by a savvy veteran catcher who has subtle skills across the board and can work well with young pitchers. If it mattered, then starting pitchers and pitching coaches would weigh in and make sure the better pitch framers were paid premiums or bargained hard for in trades. They aren’t. The opposite. We couldn’t find a taker for TdA, let alone get something for him.
The Mets needed to upgrade at C and 3b this offseason. They didn’t. Pointing out the flaws in a guy you could have competed for doesn’t win games. There are no perfect players, and the ones that are close don’t get to FA usually. Winning organizations work with what’s out there, to upgrade positions that desperately need it. It doesn’t matter if the guy is “worth it” whatever that means (it means nothing, there’s a market for players at each position, if you need a guy at a position, you go into that market and get one, or you’ll likely under perform). While gullible Met fans rejoice in not having an overpaid player, they’ll get to watch TdA hit .190, fail to reach 2b on 90% of this throws, and then get hurt, all while providing no help to the pitching staff in calling the game. But the Wilpons’ will be happy. Their only goal is only to play meaningful games in September. Their words. That we can do for a few more years until the pitchers need to be paid, at least early September.
Wow, you are angrier at Sandy/Wilpons more than me. I just know their game and laugh when they put out all of their BS. It’s all transparent to me. If the were serious they would not go into another year with David Wright as the ‘standing’ third-baseman and a what-could-be behind the plate..
I only lose it when they bring someone else’s player into it. There was no need to say what they did about Wieters. It doesn’t matter if he’s good or not. They signed nobody (and have nobody) at C or 3b.
Trust me, I’m resigned to who and what they are. Since we signed Cespedes (needed), I know that, in the coming draft, we’ll again use a high pick on a pitcher who discovers (before the draft) that he needs TJ surgery, so he can be signed for a fraction of slot, or a projected 7th round pick in the 3rd round for the same reason.
Because they have all their IFA allotment available, they were mentioned for the 18-year old Cuban pitcher who’s now available. All other teams mentioned were quoted. Nothing from the Mets. Yet, they have time to talk about a guy they were never going to be involved with on $$ alone.
Matt Weiters: .739/98
Travis d’Arnaud: .704/96
They are literally the same hitter.
And how come no other teams bit on Weiters? The Rays offered him a one year deal, that was it. Plenty of teams are hurting for a catcher, maybe they’re all “brainwashed” by pitch framing too?
Also Weiters is 31 years old, and while d’Arnaud has had well documented injury issues, so has Weiters. He’s played in only 225 games in the past 3 years, and 23 of those were as a DH.
I mean, he’s not a terrible player, but we’ve probably seen the best of Matt Weiters and not a lot of teams seemed even remotely interested in him.
I hate the Mets owners as much as anybody, but again the notion that Alderson is just carrying the company line is ridiculous. He’s making baseball decisions the best he can under the circumstances, and doing a damn good job of it.
This team is set up to contend, and be sustainable, for the next several years. It has a solid farm system behind it, as well.
Not the same player. Completely different actually. What does OPS have to do with defense? (which is what the position is mostly about when you’re relying on a young staff).
Wieters has been a disappointment with the bat the last few years as he’s recovered from a major surgery. But he is still a physical presence behind the plate, with his size and arm, and a student of the game. Pitchers like throwing to him. He can help them navigate a game. He’s also a switch hitter who has power from either side, and can hit good pitching. TdA is the opposite. He was a young intriguing player because he was a very good athlete, with a quick enough bat and a pretty good arm when standing up. But its been obvious from the start that he’s not physical enough to endure the catching position. This is a real problem and it shows up in ways your stats will never show. His DL injuries are the tip of an iceberg that has him constantly physically compromised behind the plate and at bat, because he’s just not up to it. At this point, even if he tried, his catching time has been so light, his own issues so great, that he’s simply not a guy you hand over a young starting pitching staff to.
Catcher is one position where I don’t consider age a negative particularly when I have a young staff; as long as the guy can throw and knows pitching and pitchers.
I have nothing against Alderson. He’s as much a victim as the fans. Working for the Wilpons has to be a nightmare. Selig asked him to put lipstick on this pig and he’s done his best. But as frustrated as he is, it’s pathetic for him to suggest that the Mets had any intention of spending $$ if the right C was out there. They didn’t. And this I know (yes, for a fact).
Much as I despise the Wilpons, and am frustrated by Alderson’s conspiring with them (or at least enabling them), I don’t consider failing to sign Wieters to be among their bigger sins. And as for Alderson being a victim like us fans, no. First, he could resign in protest. If the story about him only taking the job because Selig strong-armed him is true, Bud is no longer the Commish. Second, I suspect he is QUITE well paid for playing the role of Neville Chamberlain. I am not making millions for suffering through the continual mismanagement of my favorite team (same as you guys). Alderson is responsible for his decisions, and collaborating with/appeasing the Wilpons is on him.
Agree with you 100%…His bonuses for directing this miserly team must run into the millions.
Agree that failure to sign Wieters is not among their biggest sins. Not even in their top 100. Agree with almost all the rest too.
At least Hitler gave Neville Chamberlain a signed piece of parchment paper to wave around. Wilpon wouldn’t spring for that.
I don’t think they are relying on Wright for anything. They have a lot of options at 3B. Reyes got much better there the more he played and put up a .769 OPS which is solid production.
Walker can play there, he started off as a 3B and has said this spring he’s putting time in at other positions.
Flores put up a .788 OPS, that plays just fine at 3B as well.
T.J. Rivera can play there… as can Cabrera if they bring Rosario up. Cecchini could probably play there too. Even without Wright, they have a myriad of solid infield options, and there was garbage out there on the 3B market.
Sorry, I dont agree. When you are ‘all-in’, you dot gamble with TJ and Cechini and an injured Walker to replace Wright. You go out and get a REAL first-string third-baseman. That being said let’s hope quantity will equal quality this year.
Yes the Wilpons do blow and so does Sandy (maybe to a lesser degree) .Remember he is ‘smarter’ than everyone around him (not)..
You’re kidding right? Reyes/Flores as your 3b time share for a contender? Catcher is hard. 3b is easy. But, yes, you have to spend some $$ — real $$ — like a multi-year contract that the other 29 teams will say is an overpay (because that’s how the media game is played).
Just because some backups stepped up and things worked OK for a few months last year doesn’t mean you can count on it to continue and go into a new season expecting it for an entire season. Truth is, they’re not. They just don’t want to spend the $$ needed to fill out the team and give it an honest shot at something special.
Relax Mets fans! Weiters was not the clear upgrade that a Lucroy would have been last July, so there’s no point calling out the Mets for not signing him.