Could Mets be interested in Royals' Guillen?

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jose-guillen-ap2.jpgAdam Rubin of the Daily News writes that the Royals have identified the Mets as a potential trading partner for Jose Guillen.
According to the report, the Royals aim to acquire an inexpensive
outfielder in return for Guillen and are impressed with Angel Pagan.




Limited to just 81 games in 2009 due
to various injuries to his right leg including with a ligament tear in
his knee and hamstring discomfort, the 33-year-old Guillen batted just
.242/.314/.367 with nine home runs and 40 RBI. Meanwhile, the
28-year-old Pagan batted .306/.350/.487 with six home runs, 11 triples,
22 doubles, 32 RBI, 14 stolen bases and 54 runs scored in 343 at-bats
in 2009.




According to Rubin, the Royals are
willing to kick in some of Guillen’s $12 million salary for 2009, but
the Mets have doubts whether he can be a full-time player anymore. And
with good reason. Guillen ranked as one of the worst defensive
outfielders in the majors last season,
according to UZR
(Ultimate Zone Rating) and he completely collapsed against left-handed
pitching, batting just .181/.245/.309 with four home runs and nine RBI
in 94 at-bats.




Forget that Guillen is often viewed
as a malcontent, having played with nine different teams in 13 seasons.
If he was productive, nobody would care. However, aside from his 2003
campaign, Guillen has been merely average or worse throughout his
career. His 5.1% career walk rate almost touches Francoeur territory.
And imagine if the Mets signed Bengie Molina and his 4.0% career walk
rate? Five through nine of that lineup would be scary, and not in a good
way.

Dealing the inexpensive Pagan for Guillen would be the very
definition of half-witted, so I don’t see much to this one. Mets fans should hope that he is pretty low
on the contingency plan if a contract for Matt Holliday or Jason Bay doesn’t pan out.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

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.