Sean Doolittle is entering a winter with more contractual uncertainty than he’s ever faced in his career. Unlike most ballplayers who’ve been in the majors as long as he has, he’s never been a free agent before, and because of an early extension he signed with the A’s, he never even went through arbitration. Still, the 33-year-old southpaw is primarily focused on returning to Washington, per Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. Doolittle and his wife are entrenched in the D.C. community, and she wants to stay in Washington. Of course, Doolittle knows nothing is guaranteed in free agency, especially coming off the season he just had. Inconsistency and injury kept Doolittle from ever really looking like the guy that has been the rock of the Nats’ bullpen for years. He finished the season with a 5.87 ERA over just 11 contests, but a strong final few outings provided some hope that this season might be a blip on Doolittle’s return to health – and dominance. As a two-pitch pitcher without elite velocity, there’s not a lot of room for error in Doolittle’s arsenal. But when he’s on, he’s a guy a team can lean on in a postseason run. The Nationals know that. Whether or not GM Mike Rizzo is able to re-sign Doolittle will probably come down to price point. Everything else points to Doolittle staying in the city that’s become his home over the last 3 1/2 seasons.
- Tomas Nido confirmed that complications from COVID-19 ended his season, tweets Newsday’s Tim Healey. Said Nido via instagram: “Unfortunately, my season was cut short after getting Covid and other related complications while trying to come back. Time to turn the page and prepare for a strong 2021.” Nido appeared in just 7 games for the Mets this season, his fourth straight of seeing time in the bigs. For his career, the 26-year-old backstop holds a .197/.234/.319 triple slash across 270 plate appearances. Veterans Wilson Ramos and Robinson Chirinos handled most of the catching responsibilities for the Mets this season, but both could be free agents. The Mets hold $10MM team option for the 33-year-old Ramos and $6.25MM team option for the 36-year-old Chirinos. Ramos has a $1.25M buyout, while Chirinos’ buyout is for $1MM. Nido remains under team control – and he’s out of options – so he’ll either need to be a part of the catching picture for the Mets in 2021 or risk exposure to waivers.
- Dellin Betances holds a $6MM player option for 2021 to remain with the Mets, and it’s unclear what direction he’s leaning as of now, per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com (via Twitter). As DiComo notes, the option comes with a $3MM buyout, so Betances’ decision really comes down to a $3MM question. Even after a season in which he made just 14 appearances for a 5.56 ERA/4.34 FIP across 11 1/3 innings with 7.9 K/9 to 7.1 BB/9, it’s reasonable to expect someone to bid that much for a reliever with high-end upside like Betances. Still, it’s now been two seasons since Betances was a dominant arm out of the pen, and as a New York native who’s spent his entire major-league career in New York, he may look for a way to remain with the Mets. Betances averaged 93.4 mph on his four-seamer this season, a far cry from his days as a 96-97 mph high-leverage arm with the Yankees.