UPDATE: Scratch that: I misinterpreted Sherman’s tweet, which read as follows:
All Ollie Perez stories must cease now until one begins: The #Mets today released Ollie Perez … #notinteresting
Sorry for the confusion, but I read that as a declarative sentence: “The Mets today released Ollie Perez.” I thought the “until one begins” part meant “until there’s new news, because he’s gone now.” Yes, I see now that he was speaking hypothetically. Yes, I’d like a do-over on this one. Yes, speed kills sometimes. Ugh.
8:27 AM: As spring training officially opens today, I think everyone was getting ready to start writing the “Oliver Perez is fighting for a job” story. That may now be moot, as Joel Sherman just tweeted that the Mets released Perez.
We’ll update when more info comes in — Sherman’s tweet was a tad cryptic — but if Perez was actually released, Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson just saved themselves a month’s worth of questions about the guy. He can’t start anymore. He got knocked around the Mexican league this winter. His only hope was to catch on as a lefty specialist, but I don’t think anyone was at all confident that he could.
If Perez is gone, it’s good riddance to perhaps the worst contract Omar Minaya ever gave out. And it’s also good day to a new approach in Mets land: understanding sunk costs and disposing of them in the best way possible.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.