As I’m typing this, there is a press conference going nearby on in which Bud Selig and Major League Baseball is honoring retiring managers Joe Torre, Cito Gaston, Lou Piniella and Bobby Cox.* It’s fun hearing these managers — with the still-active Tony La Russa, among the greatest crop of managers baseball has ever seen — hold forth on their careers and their legacies.
And then there’s Bud. When introducing Piniella, he said that the Pilots traded Pinella “two days after we came in an bought the Pilots to move them to Milwaukee.” Only problem: he was a year off. As anyone who read “Ball Four” know, Pinella was traded at the beginning of the 1969 season. Selig’s group bought the Pilots just before the 1970 season. Other than that, aces.
In other news, Abner Doubleday continues to not have invented baseball.
*Cox had a family emergency and had to leave
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.