Daniel Murphy to play second base during winter ball


Luis Castillo hasn’t started a game in 18 days as the Mets give 20-year-old rookie Ruben Tejada a long look at second base and Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports that they’re also giving Daniel Murphy a crash course on the middle infield with an eye toward him playing second base during winter ball.
Murphy was in line to be the Opening Day first baseman this season before a knee injury ruined those plans. After getting healthy he headed to Triple-A and saw some action at second base because Ike Davis had first base locked down, but that also proved short-lived when a takeout slide knocked him out for the season with an injury to the same knee.
Rubin reports that Murphy is currently getting instructional league reps at second base and will continue to play the position in the Dominican Republic this winter. Whether or not his playing there regularly in the majors is a realistic option remains unclear. He’s played a grand total of 19 games there as a pro, all in the minors, and wasn’t exactly a standout defender at first base or left field.
At this point it seems pretty obvious that the Mets will do everything possible to rid themselves of Castillo during the offseason, even if it means eating the majority of his remaining contract. Tejada has shown very little offensively in the majors or minors, so seeing if Murphy can become a reasonable backup plan makes sense. I just can’t imagine “Daniel Murphy, second baseman” working out particularly well.

Report: Yoenis Cespedes to opt out of contract with Mets

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 20:  Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets hits an rbi double scoring Jose Reyes #7 against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the first inning at AT&T Park on August 20, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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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.

David Ortiz and Kris Bryant win 2016 Hank Aaron Awards

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 26:  (L-R) Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer 2016 Hank Aaron, Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred and David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox pose during the Hank Aaron Award ceremony prior to Game Two of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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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.