The Mets respond to Putz's allegations

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UPDATE: While I had seen the actual statement the Mets released about Putz before writing the business below, I had missed this story from Marty Noble at MLB.com last night. In it he relates that the Mets do, in fact, deny Putz’s claim that they told him to hide his injuries from the media.  They also say that it’s not standard to do a physical on a player in a trade, only when he’s a free agent.  Whether that means it’s not standard for the Mets to do it or standard for all teams is unclear from the article.

Seems to me, however, that if I was trading for a guy I knew to have bone spurs, I might want to check him out.  But like I said below, I’m not doctor.

4:20 P.M.: Yesterday J.J. Putz alleged that (a) the Mets didn’t give him a physical at the time he was acquired in a trade despite knowing he had a bone spur while pitching for the Mariners; (b) that his spring training physical was a “formality”; and (c) that the Mets told him not to disclose to the media that he was injured after his bone spur flared up again in May. Today the Mets responded:

“In our review of the player’s medical records in the acquisition of
J.J. Putz, we were aware that he had a bone spur before the trade.  He
had the same condition in 2008 and was able to pitch with it.  J.J.
underwent an exam during Spring Training and an additional exam and MRI
before he was cleared to play in last year’s World Baseball Classic. 
Unfortunately the spur did flare up again in May, and he missed the
rest of the season.  We are happy to hear he is feeling well, and wish
him success with the White Sox.”

That’s nice and all, but that doesn’t seem to contradict anything Putz said.  The team admits that they knew about the bone spur. They make no mention of any physical at the time of the trade, so we can assume that the Mets knowingly traded for a guy with bone spurs and did not conduct their own physical of the player.

They agree with Putz that a physical happened during spring training and presumably add the fact of the MRI to contradict Putz’s characterization of it as “a formality,” but neither side suggests that anything relating to bone spurs came up. Rather, they “flared up” in May.  Finally, the team ignores Putz’s charge that they told him not to tell anyone he was hurt.

Look, I’m no doctor, so I can’t say anything intelligent about the bone spurs, when Putz had them when he didn’t and how much trouble they gave him at any given time.  But the flare up, or not, of bone spurs seems like the least troubling part of all of this. More troubling is the lack of a physical at the time of the trade and telling the player not to disclose that he was hurt to the media, neither of which the Mets deny.

CC Sabathia: getting in shape and ready for baseball

sabathia getty
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CC Sabatha made headlines in October when he abruptly left the Yankees to go into alcohol rehab. After a month there he came back and gave interviews about his decision and his battle with the bottle and then disappeared into the offseason the way most players do.

He emerged the other day and spoke with the New York Daily News’ Mark Feinsand and says that he’s ready for baseball once again. Indeed, in some ways he’s more ready now than he usually is by mid February. He’s been throwing bullpen sessions for the past three weeks — he normally waits until he gets to Tamps — and he says his troublesome knee is feeling good.

 

Sabathia will turn 36 during the season. In 2015 he was 6-10 with a 4.73 ERA in 29 starts and posted his lowest strikeout rate in a decade. Late in the season, however, with the help of a knee brace, he was at his most effective in some time. He won’t need to return to 2008 form in order to help the Yankees this season, but he will need to look more like he did in September if he is to help the Yankees to the playoffs.

Jacob deGrom open to extension with Mets

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom talks during media day for the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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The Mets are currently enjoying the spoils of the best young rotation in the game, but the big question is whether this is just a brief window or the start of sustained success. Given the huge prices on the free agent market, it’s going to be next to impossible to keep the band together, but at least one member of the rotation is open to sticking around for the long-term.

While there haven’t been any talks yet, All-Star right-hander Jacob deGrom told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that he could see himself discussing an extension with the Mets.

“I’m a little bit older, so I might be more willing to do something like that,’’ deGrom told The Post at Mets pre-camp. “You just have to look at what is fair so both sides get a decent deal. It’s something I’d have to look into and make sure I agree with it.’’

It makes sense from deGrom’s perspective. He broke into the majors later than most prospects, so he’ll be 28 this June. Depending on whether he qualifies as a Super Two, he’ll be arbitration-eligible for the first time after either 2016 or 2017. Either way, he’s under team control through 2020, which means that he’s currently on track to hit free agency after his age-32 season. The market might not be kind to him even if he manages to stay healthy, so it could behoove him to get as much guaranteed money as possible right now. The Mets could always decide to play things year-to-year, but perhaps deGrom would be willing to settle for a discount in order to get them to buy out a free agent year or two. It’s a really interesting situation to think about, but odds are the two sides will wait on contract talks until he’s arbitration-eligible for the first time.

DeGrom owns a 2.61 ERA in 52 starts over his first two seasons in the majors. Among starters, only Zack Greinke, Jake Arrieta, and Clayton Kershaw have a lower ERA since the start of 2014.

Royals, Mike Moustakas avoid arbitration with two-year deal

Kansas City Royals' Mike Moustakas celebrates after hitting an RBI single against the Toronto Blue Jays during the eighth inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Seriesagainst the Toronto Blue Jays  on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
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The Royals and third baseman Mike Moustakas have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $14.3 million deal, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The deal, which was initially discussed last month, buys out Moustakas’ final two years of arbitration. Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports that it’s believed he’ll make $5.6 million in 2016 and $8.7 million in 2017.

The 27-year-old Moustakas posted an underwhelming .668 OPS over his first four seasons in the majors, but he enjoyed a big postseason in 2014 before breaking out last season by batting .284/.348/.470 with 22 home runs and 82 RBI.

Report: Rays having “advanced talks” with free agent reliever Tommy Hunter

Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Tommy Hunter throws to the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Miami, Friday, May 22, 2015. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported this morning that free agent reliever Tommy Hunter required core muscle repair surgery earlier this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 2015, it’s understandable why he’s still on the market, but it sounds like he has at least one significant lead.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are having “advanced talks” with Hunter as they attempt to add an experienced arm to their bullpen. Nothing is considered close and Hunter is also talking to other clubs. Meanwhile, the Rays have been in touch with veteran reliever Ryan Webb while monitoring the trade market.

Hunter posted a 2.88 ERA as a late-inning arm from 2013-2014, but he compiled a mediocre 4.18 ERA over 58 appearances last season between the Orioles and Cubs. On the bright side, his velocity has held steady and his control is still very good. Despite the down year and core muscle surgery, Topkin writes that Hunter may be holding out for a multi-year deal.