After my post about Joakim Soria’s no-trade clause keeping him from the Yankees yesterday, many of you responded with “sure, but wouldn’t he want the chance to play on a winner? That would trump the saves!” Answer: no it wouldn’t. Jon Paul Morosi:
Soria’s $6 million contract option for 2012 will vest automatically with 55 games finished in 2011. But it’s hard to finish that many games if you’re not the closer. That’s why his no-trade clause offers him protection for deals to several teams that have veteran closers.
Those clubs, according to a major league source, are the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies, Cardinals and Cubs.
Frankly, I think he’d have a better chance of it vesting with the Phillies than anywhere given Brad Lidge’s adventures, but the point remains: Soria needs to close for his options to vest. In addition to the 2012 option, he has an $8 million in 2013 and an $8.75 million option for 2014.
Sure, there’s an argument that he could do better than that, but that’s only if he remains an elite closer, isn’t it? And if he falls off at all from elite closer status, there won’t be any $22 million deals out there for him, I’d presume.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.