Bay agreed to deal with Mets on Christmas

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Thumbnail image for Jason Bay headshot.jpgRob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Jason Bay agreed to his deal with the Mets on Christmas day, four days before it was reported by Mike Francesa on his “Mike’d Up” radio show on WFAN.

The Mets signed Bay to a four-year, $66 million contract with a vesting
option for a fifth year which could bring the total to more than $80
million. According to Bradford, the financial figures are slightly more
than the Mets’ original offer for Bay, but the option year was in their
proposal from the beginning.

To recap, right after the winter meetings, it was reported that the Mets offered Bay a four-year contract in the vicinity of $65 million. Days later, Bradford reported that one major league team extended an offer to Bay exceeding four years,
prompting many to erroneously believe there was a “mystery team” in the
bidding. Knowing how the situation played out, we have at least some reason to
believe that the Mets were this “mystery team” all along.

In a related story, Bay will undergo a physical with the Mets on Monday before making the new contract official.

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.

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Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.