UPDATE: After predicting that Jason Bay would not play again this season, Mets manager Jerry Manuel backtracked from those comments after Friday’s game.
“It appears that I was a little premature in saying Jason Bay wouldn’t
be back,” Manuel said. “It appears he is recovering nicely and that
there is a possibility he will be back to play.”
Still, it’s doubtful. Multiple team officials tell Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that Bay’s headaches have yet to subside for a 48-hour period.
Friday, 9:05 pm: This isn’t entirely shocking news, but Mets manager Jerry Manuel told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that he doesn’t expect Jason Bay to return this season.
“That’s the way I see it. I could be way out of line, or way out of bounds. But that’s the way I see it.”
A team official told Rubin that Bay is unable to go 48 hours without a recurrence of concussion-related symptoms. The Mets obviously aren’t going to take any chances with him, especially after the way they botched the Ryan Church situation in 2008.
Bay’s season was already a disappointment even before he crashed face-first into the left field wall in Los Angeles on July 23, but now we can safely call it a full-fledged disaster. If what Manuel says is true, the 31-year-old outfielder wraps up his first year in Queens with a .259/.347/.402 batting line to go along with just six homers and 46 RBI.
Signed to a back-loaded four-year, $66 million contract, Bay is owed $16 million over each of the next three seasons. This may sound strange, but I found myself rooting against his $17 million option vesting for 2014 from the moment he signed with the Mets over the winter. Now I’m hoping it actually happens. If it does, that means he would have managed to get back on the field and hopefully, continue to be a productive player. What can I say, I’m all about redemption.
The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.
In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.
The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report:
Catcher Welington Castillo was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks on Friday, making him one of 35 additional players to enter the free agent pool. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Castillo was drawing interest from the Rays, among a bevy of major league clubs, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien added that the Braves have “some interest” as well.
The Rays’ trifecta of catchers — Curt Casali, Luke Maile, and Bobby Wilson — did little to inspire confidence behind the plate in 2016, and with top free agent Wilson Ramos sidelined after suffering a torn ACL in September, it makes sense that they’d explore more affordable options. Castillo profiled well at the plate during his first full season with the Diamondbacks, slashing .264/.322/.423 with 14 home runs in 457 PA. Behind the dish, he placed third among all qualified major league catchers with seven DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), though his league-leading 10 passed balls weren’t anything to write home about.
Unlike the Rays, the Braves have a serviceable catching platoon in Tyler Flowers and Anthony Recker. Beyond that, their catching depth is fairly shallow despite the recent addition of former Mariners’ outfield prospect Alex Jackson. Jackson, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley, has not played behind the plate since high school, though GM John Coppolella is reportedly interested in trying him there again. A.J. Pierzynski is also rumored to be seeking a deal elsewhere in free agency, which could open the door for a multi-year deal with Castillo.