On Wednesday, I waxed cynical on the Mets’ reported interest in big fish like Jason Bay:
Here’s a theory
of my own: if the Mets are suddenly thinking bigger, it’s because the
Yankees have been going hog wild (relatively speaking) this week, and
they don’t want to get blown the hell off the back pages of the
Today The Post’s Joel Sherman echoes the sentiment:
Ticket sales are lagging and fans are screaming for the Mets to make a meaningful acquisition. And, poof, they suddenly were acknowledging making an offer yesterday to Jason Bay.
So was this merely a ploy to change the subject or was this a clear change of course this offseason?
I mostly went with my gut In coming to that conclusion. Sherman’s evidence: the fact that the “offer” the Mets reportedly made to Jason Bay was surprisingly similar to one that everyone knows he rejected from the Red Sox, with the thinking being that it was offered precisely because they knew he’d reject it. Sherman goes on to call it a “cynical ploy.” I think Sherman has a good point.
The Yankees have a plan. The Red Sox have a plan. Lots of other teams have a plan. The Mets seem to lurch from idea to idea with no coherent strategy in place. Sure-loser offers to players in whom they had not previously shown an interest is evidence of that. To date, I’ve seen no evidence to the contrary.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.