This is not news in the sense that something has happened. Nothing has happened yet, actually. The Daily News is reporting that the Mets are considering whether to offer R.A. Dickey multiple years or give the arbitration-eligible pitcher a one-year deal. I’m sure this mulling has been occurring since soon after Alderson was hired. What I think is significant, however, is how a decision not to offer Dickey multiple years might be perceived.
As the article notes, Sandy Alderson and his team are trying to figure out if Dickey’s excellent 2010 was a fluke that demands caution going forward or a breakthrough that demands a multiple-year offer. If they decide it’s the former, I have a suspicion that people may freak out a little bit. Dickey was one of the few bright spots in New York last year, and he became a fan favorite. I wonder if his fans — in the media and at large — would view this through the same kind of anti-sabermetrics prism that people in Los Angeles viewed Paul Depodesta’s moves with the Dodgers. Accusing the sabermetrically-inclined Alderson administration of being heartless stat-mongers or something.
Or maybe they won’t. I get the sense that there is quiet optimism among Mets fans on the new front office. But it’s exactly these sorts of situations — a less-than-sure-thing fan favorite pitted against cool calculation — that are ripe for the battle lines to be drawn. We’ve seen it before. I wonder if we’ll see it again.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.