According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the Mets don’t want to pay another starting pitcher more than Chris Capuano, who was signed to an incentive-laden deal by the club earlier this week.
Capuano will earn a base salary of $1.5 million with the Mets this season. The left-hander could make an additional $3 million if he reaches certain benchmarks for starts and innings pitched.
If Rubin’s sources are correct, this would seem to rule out the Mets for free agent left-hander Jeff Francis, who has received interest from multiple teams this offseason. Chris Young is one possible alternative, but the club denied a report by Buster Olney of ESPN.com earlier this week that claimed he was offered a contract with a guaranteed base salary that exceeded $1 million.
Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.
Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.
To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.