Thanks in part to the signing of catcher Alex Avila to a two-year, $8.25MM deal this week, the Diamondbacks are on track to run a franchise-record payroll in 2018 (upward of $120MM), as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic notes. They may not be done adding, either, as general manager Mike Hazen informed Piecoro that the Diamondbacks still have financial flexibility and are seeking another outfielder. “We’re still very much involved in both,” Hazen said of free agency and the trade market. “We have enough balls in the air, we could be a couple of yesses away from something getting done in any direction. We’re not close on anything just yet.” With A.J. Pollock being the only natural center fielder on the D-backs’ 40-man roster, they could pick up someone capable of handling that spot, Piecoro reports.
More from the NL:
- The Mets plan to continue with a timeshare at catcher consisting of Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki in 2018, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com writes. Although there may be an upgrade available in free agency (past Mets target Jonathan Lucroy, to be specific), GM Sandy Alderson is inclined to stick with with his in-house tandem. “At that position, I think it would be difficult for us to find a pair that we like appreciably better,” he said. “I think we’ve been generally happy with our catching play.” The 28-year-old d’Arnaud and Plawecki, 26, represent a pair of former top 100 prospects who haven’t delivered as hoped in the majors (injury woes are partly to blame in the former’s case), but they each posted passable offensive numbers a season ago. D’Arnaud also graded as one of the majors’ top pitch framers in 2017, per Baseball Prospectus (though StatCorner saw things differently).
- As he continues working back from February 2017 Tommy John surgery, Cardinals right-hander Alex Reyes is in Jupiter Fla., throwing off a mound and facing hitters in live batting practice sessions, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com relays. The Cardinals are hopeful Reyes will be able to return to game action by May 1, according to Langosch. The highly touted 23-year-old figures to fill a bullpen role upon coming back, but the Cards continue to regard him as a long-term starter, per Langosch.
- Former Mets manager Terry Collins is now working as a special assistant to Alderson, and he explained what some of his new role will entail to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. “I will be another set of eyes, and one of the things is to make sure the instruction at the minor league level is efficient,” revealed Collins, a former minor league manager. “We have to make sure, when they call up a player, he’s ready. I think I still have something to give to the game.” On whether he’d like to manage in the majors again, the 68-year-old Collins said, “I would, but I don’t think with the new era of stuff that would happen.”