Trade that should happen: Mets get Snyder

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Mets get: Chris Snyder

Diamondbacks get: Nick Evans and Eddie Kunz

Why it should happen:

While Snyder has been sidelined with a lower back strain, Miguel
Montero has been a house-of-fire, batting .380 with five homers and 14
RBI in July. He’s been so good that Snyder may be relegated to a bench role when he returns from the disabled list later this week.

“Snydes is still rehabbing so I still
have a few days to mull over what I’m going to do, said manager A.J.
Hinch. “But he’s (Montero) certainly staked his claim to significant
playing time.”

Snyder, 28, just signed a contract extension with the Diamondbacks over
the winter. He’s owed a little less than $1.5 million for the rest of
2009, $4.75 million in 2010 and $5.75 million in 2011. His contract
includes a club option in 2012 for $6.75 million, with a $750,000
buyout.

Meanwhile, Brian Schneider is in the last year of his deal with the
Mets. The Mets have no real major-league ready catchers in their
system, as Josh Thole, while batting .337/.405/.441 with Double-A
Binghamton, is still fine-tuning his skills as a backstop. There isn’t
much hope among impending free agents (Bengie Molina, Ramon Hernandez,
etc.).

Snyder would give the Mets a young catcher with fine defensive
skills (he has thrown out 32.7% of would-be basestealers in his career
and managed a perfect fielding percentage in 2008), who projects as a
20-homer guy from the right side of the plate with a full season of
at-bats (.737 career OPS).

As for the Diamondbacks, they would get a 21-year-old power bat who
has crushed lefties to the tune of a .919 OPS in the minors. He could
contribute at first base or the outfield as soon as this season.
Meanwhile, Kunz is a supreme groundball pitcher (67.4% in the minors),
who can ably step in if the Diamondbacks decide to trade Jon Rauch
and/or Chad Qualls. Considering how much Snyder is being paid, the Mets
might not even have to give up this much.

Will it happen?

Probably not before the deadline, but Snyder is sure to be dealt before next season.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.

Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery could share Cubs’ rotation spot in 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Mike Montgomery #38 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).

Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.

Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.

Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.