Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb and Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez have posted nearly identical career numbers to date, observes Zach Buchanan of The Athletic (subscription required), who wonders if the former could be in line for an extension. Suarez, 27, just received a long-term deal – a seven-year, $66MM guarantee – after hitting .260/.367/.461 and accounting for 4.1 fWAR across 632 plate appearances last season. Lamb, 26, was successful in his own right (.248/.357/.487 with 2.5 fWAR in 635 PAs), and three of the four major league executives and agents Buchanan polled chose him over Suarez. There’s no word on whether Arizona is motivated to extend Lamb, who’s controllable via arbitration through 2020, but Buchanan suggests the team would jump at the chance to lock him up at a Suarez-like rate.
More from the NL:
- It’s up in the air whether right-hander A.J. Cole will earn the final spot in the Nationals’ rotation. Regardless, the out-of-options 26-year-old is “going to make the team,” general manager Mike Rizzo told Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post and other reporters Monday. Rizzo added that veteran Jeremy Hellickson, also a contender for the No. 5 job, is “way behind” right now – which seems to bode well for Cole’s chances of starting. Given that Hellickson only just signed with the Nationals, they could elect to keep him in Florida for extended spring training so he’s better equipped to succeed if he does get a regular-season opportunity, per Rizzo (via Jamal Collier of MLB.com). Rizzo noted that a couple of the Nats’ signings last year, catcher Matt Wieters and reliever Joe Blanton, struggled mightily because neither had a full spring training. He doesn’t want to go down that same road with Hellickson.
- Even though Mets left-hander Jason Vargas will undergo surgery on his right hand Tuesday, he might not miss any regular-season time, Tim Britton of The Athletic tweets. It’s not as if the soft-tossing Vargas is going to have to regain lost velocity, manager Mickey Callaway noted – “It’s not going to be too hard to go back and get his 84 again,” he said – while GM Sandy Alderson essentially expressed no concern over the situation. “If he can catch the ball coming back from the catcher, he’s probably good to go,” Alderson offered.