Adam Rubin: “the Mets know things” about Wally Backman

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This is . . . odd.  Matthew Cerrone passes along word that, in a chat yesterday, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin responded to reader questions about Wally Backman by saying that “the Mets know things [about Backman] that are not circulated and don’t feel comfortable.”  Then he went on and said that sometimes reporters “hear things you cannot report but which point you to a certain conclusion. That’s about the best I can say now.”

Actually, given that this little tease of Rubin’s apparently involves a man’s reputation, the best he could do would be to either (a) report what he knows; or (b) not say anything about it.  If Backman got into some kind of hot water or is otherwise a far worse candidate than people realize that may be newsworthy. But by handling it how he handled it, Rubin basically said “there are more skeletons in Wally Backman’s closet, but I’m not going to tell you what they are.”  That strikes me as profoundly unfair to Backman.  Rubin is right that reporters often learn about this kind of thing, but when it involves personal stuff as this seems to, I think you need to do better than to throw this kind of oblique insinuation out there.

I don’t think Wally Backman is the best choice for the Mets’ job, but the man deserves better than this.

Indians sign Rajai Davis to minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Rajai Davis has reunited with the Indians, per a team announcement on Saturday. Davis has agreed to a minor league contract and is attending camp on a non-roster invite.

Davis is only two years removed from his last gig with the Indians, when he helped fuel the team’s pennant chase in 2016. He split his 2017 campaign with the Athletics and Red Sox, but wasn’t able to replicate the numbers that made his performance so memorable in Cleveland. The 37-year-old outfielder slashed a combined .235/.293/.348 with five home runs and 29 stolen bases in 366 plate appearances for the two clubs.

The Indians already have an established outfield trio with Michael Brantley, Bradley Zimmer and Lonnie Chisenhall, though Brantley’s ankle injuries may keep him out of the lineup for the next several weeks. Corner outfielder Brandon Guyer is also currently sidelined after undergoing surgery on his left wrist. MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian notes that Jason Kipnis is in line to slot in for Brantley, while Davis and fellow non-roster invitee Melvin Upton Jr. are expected to provide backup and platoon options in the outfield if they can’t secure full-time roles.