The names of some of the participants in this year’s Home Run Derby — the ones who have confirmed already — were just announced. According to Tyler Kepner: David Ortiz, Corey Hart, Robinson Cano, Vernon
Wells, Matt Holliday, Miguel Cabrera will all be doing the back back back back back thing for the amusement of Chris Berman.
No Omar Infante? Maybe he’s just making everyone wait.
Like I said the other day: I’m with Tony La Russa. The Home Run Derby is a flaccid little made-for-TV spectacle. I’m not sure if what people say is true about it messing up guys’ swings, but I can’t see how it can help.
Anyway, that’s not exactly a murderers row of power (if anyone had Vernon Wells in their Home Run Derby pool before the season started, please step to the front of the room), but then again no one expected Josh Hamilton to go crazy in the thing a couple of years ago.
The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.
Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.
In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.