As of now, 38-year-old Cubs right-hander John Lackey doesn’t expect the 2017 season to be his last. “At this point, I think I’m more likely to pitch next year than not pitch,” Lackey told Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago. “But we’ll see at the end of the season.” Lackey will be a free agent next winter, and while the Cubs unsurprisingly aren’t ready to commit to bringing him back as a 39-year-old, they’re keeping the door open. “It’s not a decision that you make right now,” said general manager Jed Hoyer. “But certainly we love having him. I think his edge, his swagger is fantastic for our team. And we’re certainly glad that we signed him last winter.” In 2016, the first season of a two-year, $32MM deal, Lackey recorded a 3.35 ERA, 8.6 K/9 and 2.53 BB/9 over 188 1/3 frames for the World Series champions.
The latest on four other National League teams:
- All three of the Mets’ fifth starter candidates – Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo – have fared well this spring, leaving the team with “a pleasant puzzle to solve” by Opening Day, writes Mike Puma of the New York Post. “It’s a great problem to have,” manager Terry Collins said. “We came into this camp knowing we have depth in the rotation. We didn’t know where Zack was going to be, but we felt with the other four guys and Robert and Seth, we had some depth here. And they have stepped up and shown us we weren’t wrong.” Wheeler hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2014 because of March 2015 Tommy John surgery, but he ran his fastball up to 97 mph on Wednesday. That “certainly” got the Mets’ attention, Collins noted. It’s possible Wheeler will open the season in extended spring training or the bullpen, though, as the Mets try to limit his workload. Lugo, meanwhile, is “a strong candidate” to begin the year in the bullpen, sources told Puma.
- Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang remains in South Korea, where’s waiting to obtain his United States visa, per Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Kang, who received an eight-month suspended prison sentence on March 3 stemming from an offseason DUI in South Korea, is working out on his own, but he hasn’t faced live pitching. “He’s going to need some work, some game at-bats,” GM Neal Huntington told Nesbitt. “We can set up some sim games, we can set up a lot of at-bats for him in a short period of time. But it’s hard to say until we get him here.” Because the Pirates placed Kang on the restricted list last week, he’s not currently occupying a roster spot; further, he won’t receive pay for any regular-season action he might miss.
- Marlins third baseman Martin Prado suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain during Venezuela’s loss to Team USA in the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday and is likely to miss some regular-season time, per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. While that’s disappointing, Prado is relieved that he didn’t receive a far worse diagnosis. “I was not sleeping,” he informed Frisaro. “I was like, so worried about myself, worried about the team, worried about the future and everything. After I talked to the doctors, it was a big relief for me.” Until Prado comes back, Miami will turn to Derek Dietrich and Miguel Rojas at the hot corner.
- The Giants entered the spring without a clear No. 1 option in left field, but Jarrett Parker has separated himself from Mac Williamson in the battle for the role, observes Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News. “Coming into this spring, he knew what was at stake and he’s doing the job,” manager Bruce Bochy said of the 28-year-old Parker, who the skipper believes is “maturing as a hitter” and “playing well on defense, too.” Last season was Parker’s first extensive action in the majors, and he batted an above-average .236/.358/.394 in 151 plate appearances.
Since when is .236/.358/.394 even average? Let alone above-average..
.715 OPS is league average. Thats a .751 OPS from him, which indeed, is above average.
A .358 OBP is really good in todays day
Jarrett Parker has a career .267/.371/.494/.865 with a 131 OPS+,with .294/.411/.532/.942 against RH and a .649 OPS vs LH – so why is he not being handed the platoon role against RHP right now? This dude mashes righties, facts.
Since people stopped using batting average as the end-all stat
358 OBP? I’ll take it.
What’s the problem, NYM? You have a porcelain rotation, so have Gsellman, who thrived as a starter in his cup of coffee in 2016, and pitched well in ST, open as the #5. Have Wheeler continue pitching regularly by going to extended ST, and have Lugo as a spot starter and long reliever out of the bullpen, possibly as a key setup man in and out of situational roles since he’s a southpaw, presuming you’ll need a little more depth if Familia misses any time due to the suspension (though seeming unlikely now). If you get through May and Harvey, Thor, deGrom, Matz don’t miss any starts and you don’t need Lugo (as a starter), then your prayers have been heard. Could also limit IPs on Harvey, Matz, Gsellman by utilizing Lugo in the 5th and 6th innings (though that’s not ideal).
Any team who talks like that is so clueless about depth it hurts to read. No, it’s not “a great problem to have” – its how your team should be constructed in the first place. I haven’t crunched the numbers, but it seems the amount of teams who experience little-to-no injury woes with pitchers is about 0-2 each year.
You’re talking about the team with like 8 corner outfielders and half a center fielder. They don’t get how this whole depth thing works.
Sure, the outfield depth isn’t great- but check yourself on the infield and rotation depth. CHECK OR WRECK YA SELF FRIEND
For the Mets, “depth” means the injuries haven’t happened at the position…YET.
Oh, I bet Familia definitely gets suspended. It would be odd to set a precedent and then not follow through.
Yes, but based on recent articles, not nearly the length they originally thought (month). I’d be surprised if it’s any more than 2 weeks.
Lugo is not a southpaw.
Would have loved to see the Mets get a LH bat (or use Nimmo) in CF to platoon with Lagares. Then dump Bruce and Granderson (who really can’t play CF). Both are free agents after the year so money isn’t much of an issue
A Cespedes-Lagares/Nimmo(or other LH bat)/Conforto OF would have been real good imo.
Mets have a fair amount of IF depth, just nobody is a star. Reyes, Walker, Cabrera, Duda, Flores, Cecchini (minors) and Rosario (minors) won’t embarrass you out there.
Nimmo for the Grandy platoon should still be an option. Conforto needs a bit more time in AAA (55 days gets an extra year of control for the Mets), but I agree that moving Bruce and bringing up Conforto if the better play From June and on.
The potential is there for the Mets to go far in the playoffs and then rebuild over the winter. I could see 2018 look like Cespedes-Nimmo/Legares-Conforto in the OF, a DP combination of Rivera/Cecchini and Roosario, Smith or a free agent/trade pickup at 1B, Flores or a free agent/trade pickup at 3B, and a replacement for D’Arnaud at C.
I think the Mets would be best served if they used someone like Lugo as a 6th starter every other cycle through the rotation. Gives the staff a rest and keeps them fresh.
Agreed….but not until May or so because in April they have some days off already.
If anyone is going to E-ST at this point, it should be Harvey (at this rate).