Monday's minor matters: Mets, Cardinals adding bench candidates

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henry blanco.jpgFOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal says the Mets and catcher Henry Blanco are close to agreeing to terms.
Blanco, 38, hit .235/.320/.382 in 204 at-bats while playing behind Nick Hundley in San Diego last season. He’s a career .228/.292/.366 hitter, but he’s always been very well regarded as a defender. It’s something of a surprise to see him land in New York. It’s hard to imagine the Mets going with an Omir Santos-Blanco pairing behind the plate, so it looks like Santos will lose his spot once the team lands a starter.
Veteran backup catcher Chris Coste told his hometown paper, the Fargo-Moorhead Forum, that he’s signed a major league deal with the Mets.
Coste hit .224/.301/.317 in 205 at-bats for the Phillies and Astros last season. He turns 37 in February and he’s never been very good behind the plate, so it’s odd to see the Mets putting him on their 40-man roster. He’s not an ideal option as a No. 2 catcher, and he probably no longer has the offensive value to be very useful as a pinch-hitter/backup first baseman/third catcher.
The Cardinals agreed to terms with second baseman Ruben Gotay on a minor league deal.
Gotay was expected to be one of the most sought-after minor league free agents after hitting .272/.429/.450 for the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A club. He’ll provide the same kind of protection for the Cardinals that Jarrett Hoffpauir would have had he not been lost to the Jays on waivers. Gotay is challenged defensively at second base, but he can play there in stints and he’s improved at third base. He might be a legitimate bench player if given the opportunity.

Multiple Miami Marlins passed on joining Jose Fernandez on that boat

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 24: Pitcher Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins poses for photos on media day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 24, 2016 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
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A brutal couple of updates on the night of Jose Fernandez’s death from Jeff Passan of Yahoo and from Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald.

Passan reports on the leadup to the fateful boat trip. About how a friend of one of the other men killed on the boat had pleaded with him not to go out in the dark. Then there’s this:

After Saturday’s game, Fernandez had asked a number of teammates to join him on the boat. One by one, they declined.

Marcell Ozuna was one of them. Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald reports:

Following Monday’s game, Ozuna said he turned down an invitation from Fernandez after Saturday night’s game to go out with him and join him for a spin on his boat . . . “That night I told him, ‘Don’t go out,’” Ozuna said. “Everybody knew he was crazy about that boat and loved being out on the water. I told him I couldn’t go out that night because I had the kids and my wife waiting for me.

Losing a friend and teammate under such circumstances is brutal enough. Adding on survivor’s guilt would be close to impossible to bear.

David Ortiz: “I was born to play against the Yankees”

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 29:  David Ortiz  #34 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after hitting a two-run home run in the eighth inning during the game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on April 29, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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David Ortiz has used Derek Jeter’s Player’s Tribune as his personal podium all year as he says goodbye to the Major Leagues. He continues that today, on the eve of his final series against the Yankees.

In it Ortiz talks about what playing the Yankees meant to him over the course of his career. About how the fan hate was real but something he embraced. About how the series back in the days of Jeter and Pettitte and Mariano and Mussina were “wars.” He also talks about how the Yankees were basically everything when he was growing up in the Dominican Republic. The only caps and shirts you saw were Yankees shirts and how they were about the only team you could see on TV there. As such, coming to Boston and then playing against the Yankees was a big, big deal.

Ortiz says “[s]ome players are born to be Yankees, you know what I’m saying? I was born to play against the Yankees.”

And he’ll get to do it only three more times.