- The Mets activated big-hitting outfielder Michael Conforto from the disabled list on Saturday and sent fellow outfielder Brandon Nimmo to the DL in a corresponding move. Nimmo is dealing with a fairly serious issue, a collapsed lung, per Mike Puma of the New York Post. The 24-year-old began experiencing shortness of breath on July 4 and notified the Mets’ medical staff on Friday when the discomfort hadn’t subsided. Nimmo, who was in and out of a New York hospital Friday, has been prescribed rest. Both the cause of his collapsed lung and a potential return date are unclear.
- The Mets will sell at the deadline with an eye towards reloading for 2018, though Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders if the team should be open to the idea of a larger rebuild. The club will be facing some significant position player losses and a still-shaky rotation next year, so in theory, the Mets could consider moving Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard to totally upgrade the farm system. Overall, however, Sherman feels the Mets should still look to contend, both because their 2017 may be an injury-riddled aberration, and because if the team’s window does indeed seem closed, they can still sell their top pitchers at next year’s deadline.
- The Mets were “stunned” by Bartolo Colon’s decision to sign with the Twins, a team source tells Mike Puma of the New York Post. The club believed that Colon’s recent history with the Mets and the fact that he still owns a home in New Jersey would give them the edge in the hunt for the veteran right-hander, though Colon chose a minor league deal with Minnesota over the Mets and at least a couple of other suitors.
- Also from Puma’s piece, he notes that Mets closer Jeurys Familia will initiate a throwing program during the All-Star break. Familia underwent surgery to remove a blood clot in his throwing shoulder in mid-May and was originally projected to begin throwing six weeks after that procedure. Despite being slightly behind that timeframe, Familiar is still hopeful of returning to action before the season is over.
- Zack Wheeler apparently won’t face any innings restrictions during the second half of the season, a source tells Newsday’s Marc Carig. Wheeler is on pace for roughly 140 innings after missing all of 2015-16 recovering from Tommy John surgery, and he got off to a strong start to the season before getting rocked for 15 runs in 3 2/3 IP over consecutive starts in June. Wheeler went on the DL with biceps tendinitis and then lasted only 3 2/3 innings in his return start, so clearly his health will remain some concern to the Mets, even if Wheeler isn’t being put on an innings limit.
12:16pm: The Mets announced the signing. Peterson has been assigned to Class-A Brooklyn.
11:33am: With less than five hours until the signing deadline, the Mets have agreed to terms with top pick David Peterson, reports MLB.com’s Jim Callis (on Twitter). A left-hander out of Oregon, Peterson will receive the full slot value of his No. 20 overall selection: a bonus of $2,994,500.
Opinions on Peterson varied a bit entering the draft, as Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs ranked him as the sixth-best prospect in the draft, while ESPN’s Keith Law had him considerably further down his board at No. 34. Baseball America and MLB.com were right in the middle, ranking him 17th and 19th, respectively.
The 21-year-old Peterson is listed at 6’6″ and 240 pounds and drew headlines in late April when he racked up 20 strikeouts in a complete game shutout of Arizona State. Scouting reports agree that his stuff took a step forward in 2017, elevating him to a first-round talent. He has a fastball in the 89-93 mph range that has touched 94 early in starts in addition to good control and ground-ball tendencies. Peterson features slider earns the most praise among his secondary offerings, though Longenhagen calls his changeup “excellent” but notes that it is seldom used. Other reports peg the changeup from average to above-average.
JULY 7: Colon has interest from the Mets and three other clubs, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. He’s expected to make a decision on where he’ll sign either today or tomorrow.
JULY 6: Just-released Braves righty Bartolo Colon is drawing quick interest after reaching the open market, according to multiple reports. The Mets have reached out regarding the team’s former rotation stalwart, per Mike Puma of the New York Post (via Twitter).
While it’s notable that the Mets moved so quickly on a fan favorite who so recently played such a significant role with the organization, it’s not yet clear that Colon is slated to return to Queens. The club doesn’t expect to hear back from Colon’s camp until tomorrow, says Puma. And other (as yet unnamed) organizations have also logged their interest in the veteran hurler, per James Wagner of the New York Times (via Twitter).
Colon, 44, washed out with the Braves this year. But Atlanta is paying his sizable guarantee the rest of the way, with other organizations free to retain him for nothing more than the league minimum salary (for whatever time he actually spends in the majors). And despite Colon’s significant struggles this year, it wasn’t long ago that he was a durable and effective starter for the Mets.
That makes the veteran a reasonable target for teams searching for innings down the stretch. Colon has clearly not been at his best this year, but he has perhaps also been unfortunate (.360 BABIP; 48.2% strand rate) to carry an abysmal 8.14 ERA through his 63 innings on the year. With no financial commitment required to take a chance, it won’t be surprising to see Colon back in the majors in relatively short order.
The Braves are set to release veteran righty Bartolo Colon, who was designated for assignment last week, as Grant McAuley of 929 The Game / CBS Radio first reported (on Twitter). FanRag’s Jon Heyman writes that the Braves didn’t drum up any interest in Colon (presumably, any efforts to do so included Atlanta eating a vast majority of the remaining contract), and he’ll officially hit the open market today.
There have been multiple reports linking the Mets to a reunion with Colon, though Heyman notes that other clubs have some interest as well now that he can be had for the prorated portion of the league minimum — which is roughly $254K through season’s end.
Colon, 44, pitched to an awful 8.14 ERA through 63 innings with the Braves, averaging 6.0 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and 1.57 HR/9 with a 45.6 percent ground-ball rate. Of course, despite those numbers, there’s at least some reason to be optimistic about a turnaround. Colon’s .360 average on balls in play is the highest in baseball among pitchers with at least 60 innings pitched, yet he doesn’t rank anywhere near the top of the league in terms of hard contact allowed. In fact, he’s 23rd out of 129 pitchers in terms of weak contact induced, per that same innings criteria. He’s also posted a bizarrely low 48.2 percent strand rate.
That, of course, isn’t to say that anyone should expect a return to last year’s 3.43 ERA form, though. While ERA alternatives like FIP, xFIP and SIERA all suggest that Colon’s sky-high ERA is due for some correction, each still pegs him right around 5.00. And hitter-friendly SunTrust Park did no favors for Colon (8.25 ERA in 24 innings), the reality is that his ERA was also north of 8.00 on the road, where he surrendered eight of his 11 homers.
Colon’s track record of durability and affable clubhouse persona will likely appeal to a number of teams, but few contending clubs could realistically pick him up and insert him directly into the rotation. Of course, Colon could still help those teams by reporting to Triple-A to try to get back on track or by joining the bullpen as a long reliever, perhaps eventually proving himself worthy of another look as a starter.
Baltimore, which is known for largely eschewing the international market, has now acquired several players in 2017 in exchange for bonus slots. After this year’s international signing period opened Sunday, the Orioles landed pitchers Matt Wotherspoon and Jason Wheeler from the Yankees and Dodgers, respectively. Previously, the O’s picked up the likes of Damien Magnifico, Paul Fry and Alex Katz for international spending space earlier this season.
The 21-year-old Ramos, who topped out as Baseball America’s 19th-best Mets prospect after the 2015 campaign, has hit just .242/.296/.312 at the lower levels of the minors since New York chose him in the third round of the 2014 draft. He owns a .227/.272/.276 line in 197 plate appearances at Single-A this season. He’ll remain at that level with the Orioles, per Kubatko.
It’s unclear how much international money the Orioles have traded away during the current period, but they opened the proceedings with $5.75MM. The Mets entered Sunday with $4.75MM to work with and have since agreed to use a combined $3.6MM on Dominican shortstops Ronny Mauricio and Adrian Hernandez.
- The Mets are seeing some progress from second baseman Neil Walker. Per James Wagner of the New York Times, via Twitter, Walker is taking balls at second base today as he begins to work back from a significant hamstring injury. It still seems unlikely he’ll be ready to return before the trade deadline, though his large salary makes him quite a plausible August trade piece as well.
- The Mets still have interest in a reunion with Bartolo Colon but the team will wait until the veteran’s DFA period is up before making a decision, Mike Puma of the New York Post writes. The Braves designated Colon for assignment on June 29, and with Colon still owed roughly $6MM for the rest of the season, the Mets and any other interested clubs are sure to wait until Colon clears waivers so Atlanta will be on the hook for that remaining salary (minus the prorated MLB minimum). The Mets would still have to make 40-man roster space for Colon but the team is confident that Colon would accept an offer to return to New York. The 44-year-old still owns a home in New Jersey and he was both a fan and clubhouse favorite during his previous stint with the Mets.
Here are some notable National League international signings not yet covered elsewhere on MLB Trade Rumors. All signing information can be found in these invaluable compilations of the initial flurry of July 2 action from Baseball America’s Ben Badler and MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez; the information here is from those sources unless otherwise credited…
- The Mets agreed to deals with Dominican shortstops Ronny Mauricio and Adrian Hernandez. Mauricio will get a $2.1MM bonus while Hernandez receives $1.5MM.
- The Phillies reached agreement with Dominican shortstop Luis Garcia on a deal with a $2.5MM bonus.
- The Marlins have agree to sign Ynmanol Marinez, a shortstop from the Dominican Republic. The exact figures on Marinez’s bonus aren’t known, though the 16-year-old will get in the neighborhood of $1.3MM-$1.5MM.
- The Brewers agreed to sign Dominican outfielder Larry Ernesto for a bonus in the range of $1.7MM-$1.8MM (BA had the lower figure, MLB.com the higher). Milwaukee has also reached a deal with Venezuelan outfielder Carlos Rodriguez for a $1.355MM bonus.
- The Cubs agreed to sign Mexican shortstop Luis Verdugo for a $1MM bonus.
- The Diamondbacks have an agreement with outfielder Kristian Robinson. The 16-year-old native of Nassau, Bahamas will receive $2.5MM from Arizona.