According to T.R. Sullivan and Chris Cox of MLB.com, the Rangers would be interested in trading for Rod Barajas if and when the Mets become sellers.
The Rangers had interest in Barajas as a contingency plan before he signed an incentive-laden one-year, $500,000 contract with the Mets during spring training. It was a pretty easy choice for Barajas at the time, as he was assured of a starting gig in New York, while Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden were expected to open the season on the major league roster in Texas.
Barajas has been a pleasant surprise with the Mets, batting .269/.299/.571 over his first 119 at-bats. He leads the Mets and all major league catchers with 10 home runs. Meanwhile, Texas catchers have combined to bat just .200/.292/.300 with four home runs and 15 RBI. Saltalamacchia and Teagarden are now both in the minor leagues, with Matt Treanor and Max Ramirez functioning as the new tandem in the majors.
Barajas previously played with the Rangers from 2004-2006, but don’t look for a return anytime soon. Remember, the Mets refused to acknowledge themselves as sellers in the disaster that was last season, so it’s hard to imagine a scenario where they’d let him go.
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.