Randy Choate

Marlins working on deal with lefty reliever Randy Choate

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From Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports comes word that the Marlins are working toward an agreement with free agent reliever Randy Choate.

The 35-year-old left-hander posted a pedestrian 4.23 ERA and 1.30 WHIP across 44.2 innings this past year, but he limited left-handed batters to a .202/.263/.266 slash line.

As a common middle reliever, he’s a liability.  But used in the correct way — strictly as a lefty specialist, in other words — he can be a very strong and reliable piece in a big league bullpen.

Choate was labeled a Type B free agent this offseason and declined an offer of arbitration from the Rays, so he’ll net Tampa Bay a supplemental round draft pick when he signs elsewhere.

The Marlins have made quite a splash on the market this winter, trading Dan Uggla to the Braves for Omar Infante and Michael Dunn, signing catcher John Buck to a three-year, $18 million contract, inking Javier Vazquez to a one-year deal, swapping Cameron Maybin for Padres relievers Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica, and attempting a three-team deal for Royals ace Zack Greinke.

Mets’ Neil Walker expected to undergo season-ending back surgery

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal reports that Mets second baseman Neil Walker is expected to undergo season-ending surgery to fix a herniated disk in his lower back. Walker has avoided the disabled list but hasn’t played since last Saturday and has only two starts since August 22.

If Walker does indeed go under the knife, he’ll end his first season with the Mets with a terrific .282/.347/.476 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 55 RBI in 458 plate appearances. While the Mets couldn’t have foreseen Daniel Murphy having such a terrific season, Walker was more than adequate in Murphy’s shoes at second base.

Kelly Johnson and Wilmer Flores have handled second base in Walker’s absence and will continue to do so through the remainder of the season.

Video: Stephen Cardullo celebrates his birthday by hitting a grand slam

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 31:  Stephen Cardullo #65 of the Colorado Rockies watches his first career Major League home run during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on August 31, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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Rockies 1B/OF Stephen Cardullo celebrated his 29th birthday on Wednesday, so the rookie decided to celebrate by homering in both games of his team’s doubleheader at home against the Dodgers.

In the first game, Cardullo pinch-hit for Chris Rusin in the seventh inning and drilled a solo home run off of Casey Fien. In the second game, Cardullo smacked a grand slam to left-center field off of Bud Norris in the first inning.

Cardullo made his major league debut this past Friday. He was hitless in his first five at-bats before singling as a pinch-hitter on Monday.