The latest from around the NL East…
- The Mets had Bud Norris “on their board” before the veteran right-hander signed with the Cardinals, The Athletic’s Marc Carig reports (Twitter link). Norris’ versatility as both a reliever and a potential swingman or spot starter intrigued the Mets, who may or may not be still looking for rotation depth.
- Juan Lagares’ name has surfaced in some trade rumors over the offseason, though MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo (Twitter link) doubts the Mets would part with the defensively-gifted outfielder. The team is thin on outfield depth as it is, and Lagares is penciled in as the starting center fielder until Michael Conforto is healthy. Dealing Lagares (who is owed $15.5MM over the next two seasons) would free up some payroll space for the Mets, and he hasn’t hit much over the last three years, with injuries playing a role in his struggles at the plate. Nevertheless, DiComo writes that “the Mets are super bullish on” Lagares and even plan to use him against both left-handed and right-handed pitching.
- Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos discussed his team’s signing of Chris Stewart with reporters (including David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), admitting that Stewart’s addition is “not a clean fit right now” since the team is set behind the plate with Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki. The hope is that Stewart will accept an assignment to Triple-A at the end of Spring Training to provide additional depth at catcher behind the MLB duo. The Braves would’ve preferred to sign Stewart to a minor league deal, though Stewart was insistent on receiving a Major League contract, even if his deal isn’t guaranteed.
- The idea of players asking for trades is “a little radical” for Martin Prado, the veteran infielder told reporters, including Clark Spencer and Andre C. Fernandez of the Miami Herald. Unlike several Marlins teammates who are still with the team (J.T. Realmuto, Starlin Castro) or have since been dealt (Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich), Prado said he would never request a trade, though he “respected” those players’ decisions. While Prado may have not have asked for a deal, Miami reportedly looked into trading the infielder and $28.5MM remaining on his salary as part of the team’s latest payroll slash.
- Wei-Yin Chen won’t be ready to be on the Marlins’ Opening Day roster, manager Don Mattingly told media, including Spencer and Fernandez. Chen is beginning a throwing program during Spring Training as he continues to recover from the elbow problems that limited him to only 33 innings in 2017. Mattingly didn’t put a timetable on when Chen is expected to be ready, other than to say that he expects the southpaw to be in the rotation at some point.
- Also from the Spencer/Fernandez piece, Dan Straily’s arbitration hearing with the Marlins will take place tomorrow. The two sides will face the arb panel despite a rather small difference in submitted figures; Straily is asking for a $3.55MM salary in 2018, while the Fish countered with an offer of $3.37MM. Miami has already gone to arbitration hearings twice this winter, winning one (against Realmuto) and losing the other (to Justin Bour).
- With the Phillies stressing defensive versatility, the team will work Roman Quinn out at shortstop this spring, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News writes. Manager Gabe Kapler said the team won’t try Quinn at shortstop in an actual game before they see how he handles infield drills, though Kapler noted that “we’d be foolish not to look under that stone” given Quinn’s athleticism. Quinn was originally drafted as a shortstop the Phillies took him in the second round in 2011, but was shifted to the outfield after some early-career defensive struggles. Quinn can already play all three outfield spots, though adding shortstop to his defensive repertoire would only help his chances of winning a spot on what could be a short Phillies bench.