Kelvim Escobar says he’s doing fine. Kevin Kernan writes the following:
Despite the hysteria of last week, he is right on time in his rehab,
according to the Mets and, more importantly, according to his
representatives. The plan from the beginning was not to rush Escobar . . . Escobar insists he will be ready by the start of the season, but the
Mets are not counting on that and are taking it slow with his rehabbing
shoulder. That is why there is so much emphasis now on trying to find
an eighth-inning pitcher.
I can’t seem to find a story from back when he signed in December, but I’m pretty sure that the Mets did not say he was doubtful for Opening Day back then, which makes their claim that he’s “right on time” on his rehab a little hard to swallow. Something has obviously happened with him.
I’m perfectly willing to admit that I was wrong about Escobar last week, but as I said at the time, I don’t think the Mets get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to shooting straight with respect to injuries these days. I’ll believe that he’s not injured when he actually pitches.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will opt out of his contract shortly after the World Series concludes. Cespedes, who earned $17.5 million for the 2016 season, has two years and $47.5 million remaining on his deal which includes an opt-out clause.
That Cespedes plans to opt out isn’t surprising as he’s almost certain to get a better contract entering a weak free agent market. He hit a terrific .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances for the Mets this past season.
It remains to be seen how the Mets will deal with potentially losing Cespedes. They can pick up a $13 million club option for Jay Bruce, but he performed terribly after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. The Mets could also go after free agents Jose Bautista or Mark Trumbo. Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto will handle the other two outfield positions.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.