Nearly ten years ago, the Twins traded top catching prospect Wilson Ramos to the Nationals for closer Matt Capps. Was the move justified? MLBTR’s Steve Adams makes his video debut in today’s discussion with Jeff Todd.
The latest on a few East Coast clubs…
- The Mets have reportedly shown interest in free-agent catcher Robinson Chirinos, but a union between the two sides doesn’t look realistic. Chirinos a starting-caliber catcher, after all, and the Mets already have a somewhat expensive No. 1 backstop in Wilson Ramos, who’s slated to earn $10.75MM through 2020 (including a $1.5MM buyout for ’21). While Ramos didn’t have a great year in 2019, his first as a Met, the team’s “committed to” him heading into next season, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com writes. The 32-year-old Ramos was subpar behind the plate this season, evidenced by a 15 percent caught-stealing rate and a low ranking in Baseball Prospectus’ Framing Runs Above Average metric, but he did turn in another fine offensive campaign. Barring an unexpected turn, it seems he’ll start again next year for New York, though the team could bring in someone who – unlike Chirinos – is suited for a backup role.
- The Red Sox reached out to free-agent utilityman Brock Holt about a new deal after the season, but there haven’t been discussions since they hired Chaim Bloom as their chief baseball officer Oct. 28, Holt told Barstool Sports’ Section 10 podcast (hat tip to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com). Although other teams have contacted Holt, he revealed there’s “nothing serious” brewing between him and any clubs. MLBTR predicts a two-year, $8MM contract for the versatile Holt, who’s coming off back-to-back solid seasons at the plate. The 31-year-old batted .297/.369/.402 in 295 PA in 2019, which is looking more and more like his last season as a member of the Red Sox.
- The Rays made the decision to designate third baseman Matt Duffy for assignment Thursday after failing to find a trade partner for the 28-year-old, according to general manager Erik Neander (via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). But moving on from the oft-injured Duffy was a tough call for the Rays, per Neander, who stated: “Wish that his health and his time with us would have gone different in that regard and we could have had him on the field more. He really is a special player and there’s the obvious stuff you can measure in how he impacts a game. His intangibles, his leadership, his influence on a younger impressionable clubhouse like we have is worth a lot.” Despite the respect the organization has for Duffy, Neander noted the Rays are happier with their current third basemen (including No. 1 option Yandy Diaz).
- Much like his previous deal with the Rangers, the two-year, $14MM contract reliever Chris Martin signed with the Braves gives him the opportunity to become a free agent at the end of it, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets. Martin will only have three-plus years’ service time then, meaning he’d remain eligible for arbitration under normal circumstances, but there’s language built into the pact that will allow him to return to the open market when it expires.
Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who’s in the early stages of a crucial second offseason on the job, spoke to reporters about the team’s winter plans Monday. The club’s on the heels of an 86-win season, its third in a row without a playoff berth. There are obvious need areas on the Mets’ roster, then, but it’s up in the air how aggressive they’ll be this offseason with seemingly limited spending room under the budget of owners Fred Wilpon and Jeff Wilpon.
Infielder Jed Lowrie and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes are among the players clogging up New York’s payroll. Injuries prevented either from factoring in much or at all in 2019, but they (Lowrie – $9MM and Cespedes – $29.5MM) are slated to occupy almost $40MM of the Mets’ payroll next season. Lowrie at least logged some playing time in September, meaning he should be good to go at the start of 2020. However, Lowrie won’t have “a normal offseason considering what he went through last year,” according to Van Wagenen, who noted the Mets have “continued to try to diagnose what Jed’s issues were that kept him out this season” (via Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News). But signs point to the Mets rolling with Lowrie, Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis as their third base options in 2020, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. On paper, that’s a capable trio, and with Robinson Cano at second base and Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto as the Mets’ top two corner outfielders, it would make sense for Lowrie, McNeil and Davis to share the hot corner.
The ongoing presence of Cespedes further complicates the picture in the outfield, but as Van Wagenen said last week, there’s still no indication as to whether he’ll be able to play next year (via Tim Healey of Newsday). Cespedes, the Mets’ highest-paid player, missed all of this season because of ankle issues. If the Mets were sure Cespedes would miss at least 60 days next year, they’d be able to recoup 60 to 70 percent of his money by way of insurance. For now, though, the team doesn’t seem to have any idea as to whether Cespedes will significantly weigh on its payroll going forward.
Regardless of what happens with Cespedes, it seems center field should be a priority for the Mets this offseason. The Mets tried Juan Lagares, Nimmo and Conforto there to underwhelming results in 2019. Lagares is now a free agent after the Mets declined his club option, while Nimmo and Conforto are likely better cut out for corner roles. Indeed, the Mets want to improve their defense in center, per Van Wagenen. Problem is that free agency’s not loaded with obvious solutions at the position, while the best trade candidates at the spot (Pittsburgh’s Starling Marte and Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr.) earn fairly expensive salaries. That’s without adding in the assets they’d cost to acquire, and it’s worth noting Marte’s coming off a poor year as a defender.
Aside from center field, Van Wagenen cited pitching – both rotation and bullpen – as well as backup catcher as areas the club could address in the coming weeks (Twitter links via Mike Puma of the New York Post, Healey and Thosar). The Mets have one of the highest-profile free-agent starters in the game in Zack Wheeler, whom they issued a $17.8MM qualifying offer. While they’d like to re-sign Wheeler, it’s entirely possible he’ll end up out of the Mets’ price range, which would leave them with a still-enviable top of the rotation in Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz. The team lacks depth after that foursome, though Van Wagenen pointed to David Peterson, Walker Lockett, Chris Flexen and Corey Oswalt as in-house options. If you’re a Mets fan who’s unexcited about the majority of that group, that’s understandable. But Peterson, MLB.com’s seventh-ranked Mets prospect, at least carries some intrigue. The 24-year-old, a 2017 first-round pick, reached the Double-A level this season and notched a 4.19 ERA/3.19 FIP with 9.47 K/9 against 2.87 BB/9 in 116 innings.
As for the Mets’ bullpen, it’s no surprise they’re interested in bettering a bunch that largely fell flat this year. The Mets were aggressive in trying to bolster the unit last offseason, evidenced by the acquisitions of Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia and Justin Wilson. But Wilson was the only effective member of the trio, and given that the Mets could move either Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman to their rotation, their relief corps looks like an even bigger concern at the moment.
While it’s unclear how the Mets will configure their pitching staff next year, it seems their hurlers will primarily end up throwing to Wilson Ramos. The veteran catcher was yet another of the Mets’ headline-grabbing pickups from last offseason who may not have delivered as hoped in 2019. But despite his defensive deficiencies, the 32-year-old Ramos did record yet another fine offensive campaign. With $9.25MM owed to Ramos next season, it seems the Mets will continue to ride with him behind the plate and seek a defensively sound complement to place behind him.
The Mets are undoubtedly in for a fascinating offseason. The club’s not short on talent, but there are clear flaws at the same time. If Van Wagenen doesn’t find a way to repair them, and if the Mets miss the playoffs yet again, it’s possible they’ll be on the lookout for a new GM a year from now.
With the Marlins reaching the vaunted 100-loss mark, CEO Derek Jeter spoke on Friday about his team’s approach to the impending offseason, with the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson speculating on what the winter may hold. This season, the club ranked second-to-last in payroll, dishing out just $70MM in total salary expenditures. However, with Martin Prado slated to hit free agency and the team likely to decline Starlin Castro’s club option, a considerable portion of that number will come off the books following the season, leaving the Marlins with just about $31MM in guaranteed contracts for the 2020 season, per Roster Resource. That number will rise as the team inks players under team control, but the point stands that the Fish will have significant room to seek upgrades in the offseason. After a trade deadline that saw them bolster the farm system through the acquisitions of Lewin Diaz, Jazz Chisholm, and Jesus Sanchez, the Marlins now find themselves with one of the Majors’ better farm systems, featuring a solid crop of position-player prospects, though few in that group will be ready to contribute in the coming season. With that in mind, Jeter sees his team as needing to strike a balance between seeking positional upgrades and developing youngsters: “You want to give [prospects] enough time to continue to develop but you don’t want to block their way,” he said on Friday. The team has needs all over the diamond, though outfield, first base, and the bullpen stand out as perhaps the most glaring. Jackson lists a number of potential free-agent targets to keep an eye on, including big-name hitters with south Florida roots like Jose Abreu and Nicholas Castellanos; however, it remains uncertain whether the team will target big fish, since projections of increased revenue have yet to actualize, though attendance-related issues may be remedied by making a splash in the offseason.
Here are the latest tidbits from the ever-competitive NL East…
- Just over a week ago, the Mets found themselves at the heart of quite a controversy when Mets starter Noah Syndergaard expressed his proclivity for catchers not named Wilson Ramos, who has been the most productive hitter out of the Mets’ catching group. For the first time, Ramos offered his thoughts on the situation, as relayed by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Evidently, the veteran catcher isn’t bothered by the drama, understanding that there are times when pitchers feel a heightened comfort with a particular catcher. Ramos, who’s been around since 2010, is certainly no stranger to the dynamics of a big-league clubhouse and is instead choosing to focus his energy on getting the Mets into the postseason. Coming off a win last night, his club finds themselves 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot with nine games left to play—a deficit that, while not insurmountable, makes them a longshot to play in October. After making a pair of starts with Ramos behind the dish, Syndergaard got his wish on Wednesday, when he threw to Rene Rivera, though that combination didn’t yield much better results. With his next start scheduled to come on Tuesday, it will be interesting to see whether Mickey Callaway turns again to Ramos.
- One of the unsung heroes of the Nationals bid for the postseason has been veteran Howie Kendrick, who has excelled as a pinch-hitter and occasional infielder. As Todd Dybas of NBC Sports writes, he’s enjoying a career year that might not have happened if he weren’t under contract for 2019 following an Achilles tear suffered early last season. Of course, the free agent market has been notoriously cruel to players in their 30s, and Kendrick, 36, may not have gotten another chance in the Majors after such a significant injury. However, with a $4MM salary already in place for 2019 after inking a two-year deal with Washington, Kendrick has carved out a nice role and now projects to play an instrumental part in a potential Nats playoff run, all while setting himself up to draw interest for yet another contract this coming offseason.
Even though Wilson Ramos is only in the first season of a two-year, $19MM contract, the struggling Mets could attempt to trade him before the July 31 deadline. The problem is that teams aren’t exactly lining up to acquire Ramos, per the New York Post’s Mike Puma, who reports inquiries have been “scarce.”
The Ramos pickup is one of several splashy offseason moves that haven’t gone to New York’s liking during a campaign to forget. On the positive side, the offensively accomplished Ramos has continued to post respectable production with the bat. With a .267/.345/.396 line in 304 plate appearances, Ramos’ 99 wRC+ is 12 points higher than the average catcher’s. Still, it probably isn’t the type of output the Mets were envisioning they’d get from Ramos, whose wRC+ has dropped 32 points from the career-best 131 he recorded with the Rays and Phillies in 2018.
Although Ramos hasn’t been the legitimately great offensive catcher he was a year ago, his defensive decline is the bigger concern for the Mets. Going by Baseball Prospectus’ Fielding Runs Above Average metric, Ramos has been one of the worst behind-the-plate defenders in the majors this season. The 31-year-old has gotten negative reviews as a framer and a blocker, and to make matters worse, he has thrown out only 9 of 71 would-be base stealers. Ramos’ 13 percent caught-stealing rate is down 16 percent from his career mark.
Ramos’ defensive woes aren’t lost on the Mets’ best pitchers, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, who Puma notes have expressed that they’d rather pitch to light-hitting backup Tomas Nido. If Ramos isn’t going to catch either deGrom or Syndergaard, it clearly makes his contract and presence that much less desirable for New York. However, with seemingly no playoff contenders in the market for a pricey catcher having a disappointing season, the Mets may be stuck with Ramos until at least the winter.
Wilson Ramos is in his first year as a Met, having signed a two-year, $19MM contract with the club last offseason. Amidst a disappointing few months in Queens, Ramos acknowledged the possibility this might be his only season in orange and blue. “If they make a decision to trade me, you know, it’s happened before in my career, so it’s not going to surprise me,” Ramos told Newsday’s Kenny DeJohn.
As DeJohn notes, Ramos has seen his playing time dwindle in recent weeks. Ostensibly brought in to be New York’s top backstop, Ramos has started just five of their last nine games, ceding playing time to 25-year-old teammate Tomas Nido. This doesn’t seem to be indicative of any health concerns, as Ramos tells DeJohn he’s surprised at his downtick in playing time.
Indeed, Ramos’ comments are especially noteworthy coming on the heels of reports Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard have developed a better rapport with Nido than with the veteran slugger. A glance at the respective catchers’ defensive metrics might offer an explanation. Baseball Prospectus tabs Nido as a slightly above-average pitch framer and ball blocker, in accord with his strong defensive reputation as a prospect. Ramos, meanwhile, rates near the bottom of the league in both categories. (In fairness to Ramos, he rated as an average defender between 2017-2018, so it’s possible there’s room for improvement).
Regardless of one’s opinion on pitch-framing metrics, that the Mets’ top hitting catcher hasn’t gelled with the club’s top two arms is obviously suboptimal. Ramos did catch deGrom Friday night for the first time in nearly a month, but Syndergaard has been paired with Nido in each of his two starts since the fireballer returned from the IL last week. The Mets, amidst organizational chaos, seem likely to sell off short-term assets anyway, and Ramos’ reported disconnect with the team’s top arms could make a change of scenery best for everyone involved.
Despite his defensive shortcomings, it’s not hard to see Ramos piquing some interest on the trade market, although any prospect return will be marginal and will require the Mets pay down some of the deal. His .275/.350/.413 line, while down from his career-best hitting in 2018, is still plenty formidable for a catcher. Ramos’ 105 wRC+ ranks ninth among catchers with at least 200 plate appearances. Even with midseason catcher trades being difficult to pull off, Ramos’ 121 wRC+ since the start of 2017 will interest some contenders.
Speculatively speaking, an AL club who can rotate Ramos through catcher, first base and DH to keep him healthy and creatively work his bat into the lineup might make the most sense, but it’s not hard to see an NL team viewing Ramos as a sufficient offensive boon to live with mediocre glovework behind the plate. The A’s, Rangers, Rockies and Pirates all remain on the fringes of contention despite lackluster production from their backstops. Texas, in particular, has set itself up to be a modest buyer with its surprising 47-42 record, and GM Jon Daniels noted last month that any acquisition would likely be under team control for 2020, as Ramos is. Pairing Ramos with Jeff Mathis, a gifted defender whose bat has cratered to unplayable levels, could give Texas a much-needed jolt behind the dish.
Regardless of Ramos’ ultimate destination, the Mets’ decision to pursue him last offseason, while understandable at the time, hasn’t gone as planned. While far from the team’s biggest blunder in their series of aggressive moves, the Mets may be left footing some of the bill for their veteran backstop to move elsewhere over the next few weeks.
Steven Matz has been a staple in the Mets’ rotation (when healthy) since his 2015 debut, but he’s recently been shifted to the bullpen in a move that manager Mickey Callaway hasn’t fully termed as temporary, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes. While Callaway called Matz one of the team’s top five starters, the manager also declined to definitively state that Matz will return to the rotation. “I expect that after the All-Star break [he’ll be back in the rotation],” said Callaway, “but we’ll adjust if we need to.” That statement came prior to Matz’s bullpen debut last night — a scoreless outing. MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo writes that after the game, Callaway “hesitated multiple times” when asked about Matz’s return to the rotation and did indicate that he could stay in the ’pen for a longer period of time. Matz himself spoke to DiComo and other reporters about the different feel of relief pitching and took a team-first approach, stating that he’s willing to pitch in any role the club feels will help win games.
More Mets talk…
- SNY’s John Harper opines that trading Wilson Ramos should be a priority for the Mets at the deadline, citing defensive issues that have led multiple pitchers to prefer throwing to Tomas Nido. Both Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard look like they’ll be paired with Nido moving forward, Harper writes. He quotes one unnamed official who suggests that part of Syndergaard’s 2019 struggles have come from pitching up in the zone more, some of which could be tied to Ramos’ struggles to block pitches in the dirt following a significant knee surgery late in his Nationals tenure. There’s no clear indication in the report that New York will actually look to jettison Ramos, who is an objectively better hitter than Nido even in a down season. Ramos has slashed .275/.348/.414 with nine homers while the 25-year-old Nido has displayed a continued inability to get on base. In 180 career plate appearances, Nido is a .209/.233/.308 hitter, including a .263 OBP in 80 trips to the plate in 2019. Defensive prowess aside, a .233 OBP is a tough sell even for a backup. Nido has walked only six times in his career despite primarily hitting eighth ahead of the pitcher.
- The Mets reached a deal last week with their third round pick, highly-touted high school right-hander Matthew Allan. The signing was the culmination of a bold gambit from the club’s front office, as The Athletic’s Tim Britton (subscription required) details how carving out the bonus pool space to meet Allan’s high asking price led to the Mets “manipulating our entire draft” to accommodate Allan, as GM Brodie Van Wagenen put it. After the third round, the Mets spent the rest of their picks in rounds 4-10 on college seniors, who had less negotiating leverage and thus signed for bonuses of $20K or less. A strong endorsement from scout Jon Updike also gave the Mets confidence that Allan would ultimately sign and begin his pro career, rather than attend college.
Agents Jeff Berry and Matt Ricatto of CAA Baseball are in Port St. Lucie and will meet with the Mets regarding Jacob deGrom’s contract status, Newsday’s Tim Healey reports. As Healey notes, it’s routine for agents to pay quick visits to MLB camps to check in with their clients and with organizational decision-makers, though the very public nature of deGrom’s extension candidacy makes this particular visit more intriguing. Certainly, a long-term deal for a pitcher of deGrom’s caliber isn’t something that’d be hammered out in a matter of hours, but this week’s visit could potentially help to lay some groundwork for negotiations that would carry on throughout Spring Training. Last week, deGrom indicated that talks had not yet gotten off the ground, and a few days prior to that, it was reported that his camp has placed an Opening Day deadline on getting a deal finished.
Here’s more out of Queens…
- The Mets received good news following Jed Lowrie’s recent MRI, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post. Lowrie underwent the test after experiencing some discomfort in the back of his knee earlier this week, but the MRI did not reveal any significant damage. The veteran will be brought along slowly early in camp, Puma notes, although at this point it seems there’s no longer much cause for concern. The 34-year-old (35 in April) inked a two-year, $20MM pact with the Mets this offseason on the heels of a terrific 2018 campaign in which he batted .267/.353/.448 with 23 home runs and 37 doubles in 680 plate appearances with the A’s.
- The Mets aren’t ruling out the possibility of carrying three catchers to open the season, manager Mickey Callaway tells Kevin Armstrong of the New York Times. Offseason signee Wilson Ramos, of course, is a lock to make the Opening Day roster as the team’s new primary option behind the dish, and Travis d’Arnaud seems quite likely to be in the mix as well, so long as his rehab from 2018 Tommy John surgery has adequately progressed. The other two options are 24-year-old Tomas Nido and veteran Devin Mesoraco, who returned to the Mets on a minor league deal this winter. As Callaway explains, Mesoraco’s relationship with deGrom was a huge factor in the organization’s decision to re-sign him; Mesoraco caught 21 of 25 deGrom starts last year after being acquired from the Reds. Callaway spoke with high praise of Mesoraco’s preparation and leadership, which had a positive influence on other catchers and throughout the pitching staff. Given d’Arnaud’s ability to play some first base and left field, carrying a pair of backup catcher options wouldn’t be as limiting as it would for other clubs. Nido, meanwhile, has a minor league option remaining, so he seems likely to be headed for Triple-A to open the year.
The latest rumblings from Jon Heyman of MLB Network…
- The Angels are among a handful of teams in on free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas, joining the previously reported Brewers-Padres-Phillies trio, Heyman tweets. This is the second straight offseason in which the Angels have shown interest in Moustakas, a Los Angeles native who, per Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star, turned down a three-year, $45MM offer from the Halos last winter. Agent Scott Boras denied that, but regardless, Moustakas ended up settling for a one-year, $6.5MM guarantee to re-sign with the Royals. The 30-year-old then went on to post a typically decent season (105 wRC+, 2.1 fWAR in 635 plate appearances) divided between KC and Milwaukee. Now, if Moustakas joins the Angels, he’d presumably be the favorite to start at third for the club. His presence would likely push Zack Cozart to second base, thus sending David Fletcher to the bench, but given that Moustakas is a lefty and Cozart a righty, the two could perhaps platoon at third.
- When Atlanta was pursuing catcher J.T. Realmuto, whom Miami has since traded to Philadelphia, Braves infielder Johan Camargo drew the Marlins’ interest, Heyman reports. The Braves continue to view Camargo as a key piece, however, despite the one-year, $23MM deal they struck with third baseman Josh Donaldson earlier this offseason. Camargo is coming off a terrific 2018, which he spent at third and posted 3.3 fWAR with a .272/.349/.457 line and 19 home runs in 524 plate appearances. Though Camargo doesn’t have a set position heading into the new season, the 25-year-old should see plenty of action nonetheless. Adding to his appeal, Camargo’s controllable for the next half-decade, including one more pre-arbitration season.
- Back to the Angels, who targeted catcher Wilson Ramos before he signed with the Mets in free agency on a two-year, $19MM contract. It turns out that the Angels offered Ramos a “similar” deal before he chose the Mets, Heyman relays. After losing out on Ramos, the Angels made a less exciting pickup, signing Jonathan Lucroy to a one-year, $3.35MM pact. They’re left to hope the combination of Lucroy, Kevan Smith and Jose Briceno – the only catchers on their 40-man roster – will hold their own in 2019.
Outfielder A.J. Pollock may be looking for six years on the open market, Jon Heyman of Fancred reported among many other recent notes. That seems an optimistic target, though certainly it doesn’t hurt to aim high, at least initially. Still, finding the perfect fit to pony up even four years for Pollock isn’t easy, despite his lofty position in an otherwise barren center field market. The teams linked to Pollock so far this offseason – the Reds, Mets, Astros and Braves – have by and large augmented their lineups through alternative means. The Reds just added two fairly notable outfielders in a trade with the Dodgers, the Mets filled their need for a righty bat with Wilson Ramos, and the Astros signed Michael Brantley. While none of these necessarily precludes these teams from bringing on Pollock, they certainly lessen the urgency for the Reds, Mets and Astros, respectively. Speculatively speaking, the White Sox, Giants or Indians are teams that could be fits for Pollock moving forward.
Meanwhile in the free agent market…
- Speaking of top free agents, backstop Yasmani Grandal is believed to “have four years somewhere if he wants it,” per Heyman, which seems to indicate that the veteran is sitting on some strong offers already. The Reds are among the clubs with interest, though the long-term presence of Tucker Barnhart means Cincinnati can be patient.
- Elsewhere on the catching market, there was a bit of drama yesterday involving Pirates receiver Francisco Cervelli. Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic tweeted that the team was “very, very close” to sending the veteran to the Dodgers, querying whether medical problems scuttled the deal. GM Neal Huntington offered a rare public rebuke of that rumor, however, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (Twitter links). Huntington says the Bucs never “discussed any name with the Dodgers” regarding a possible Cervelli swap. He says that “the implication that a trade was nullified due to a failed medical review is completely wrong.”
- Heyman writes that the Athletics sought to bring back veteran receiver Jonathan Lucroy, offering him $4MM for the 2019 season, but he seems to be holding out in hopes of getting more elsewhere. Lucroy signed late last offseason, inking his deal with Oakland in March, so both sides have shown a willingness to take the patient approach in waiting out the market.
- A number of trade possibilities still seem to be swirling, though it’s tough to say at this point what likely will or will not get done. Yankees infielder Miguel Andujar “appears to be on the block, for the right price,” says Heyman. Of course, the Yanks are likely looking for high-end MLB assets in any swap involving the young third baseman, who had an impressive debut season in 2018. Despite concerns about his defensive handle at third, the 129 wRC+ and 27 bombs Andujar posted as a 23-year-old ought to have no trouble returning major league talent for New York.
- Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca examines the situations of Blue Jays hurlers Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, noting that president Mark Shapiro made clear recently that the organization does not feel compelled to reduce its asking price on either pitcher. The Reds have been the most eager in pursing Stroman, but their recent acquisitions of Tanner Roark and Alex Wood may lessen the likelihood of a deal. Given that both pitchers still have multiple years of team control, it might behoove Shapiro and the Blue Jays to start the season with the pair of righties in their rotation. A strong start to the 2019 season might be enough to generate the type of return Shapiro desires.
- The Mets have some new potential schemes in the oven, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. It seems the club is getting hits on backstops Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. A backup outfielder was the intended target in a deal for either backstop, but a spare infielder who could back up Amed Rosario at short might be a better fit. They were eyeing Rangers southpaw Mike Minor, but that push has “stalled” as the Mets aren’t eager to put together the type of package that fits the Rangers’ ask. If anything, GM Brodie Van Wagenen has proven an action-oriented approach, so it’s safe to assume the Mets aren’t done dealing yet this offseason.