Michael Weiner’s spring training tour took him to Port St. Lucie today, where he met the Mets. Adam Rubin reports on the two Met-specific issues that are likely on Weiner’s radar screen:
- Weiner said he has been assured by the commissioner’s office that players’ guaranteed contracts will not be affected by the Wilpons’ legal issues; and
- He has “every expectation” that the Mets aren’t going to mess around with Francisco Rodriguez’s playing time this year in an effort to keep his $17.5 million option from vesting.
It’s not likely that Weiner would have any worries about the guaranteed contracts. Major League Baseball showed with the Rangers last year that it will step in with a line of credit of that’s threatened. Players are going to be paid.
Weiner was more interested, it seems, talking about the Mets as players in the free agency market. He probably realizes, though, that even if the Mets didn’t have Madoff problems, they’re not exactly in a position — competitively speaking — to be leading the market right this moment, so there would be no upside to him complaining about it now. The union wants the Mets as big bidders for players, but it’s not like the union can do anything about it at the moment.
As for the K-Rod option, the Mets know that the union is watching the matter closely, so there’s no need to shoot anything across the team’s bow with respect to the issue. Such a thing is not Weiner’s style anyway. He makes references at the end of Rubin’s article to “arbitration precedent” for a team messing with playing time to save money, and that’s probably enough. Come August, there’s a great chance that the only thing worth talking about the Mets will be K-Rod’s option, so it’s not like the issue is going to fly under the radar. The union will be watching. As will the media.
Yasiel Puig made a public appearance today. He was a guest barista at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Los Angeles as part of a charity . . . thing. I dunno. I just hope that, after finishing the foam on someone’s latte he airmailed it past his fellow barista at the counter and got it to the customer on the fly 300 feet away, after which he flipped the espresso machine. Gotta stay on-brand.
After that he talked about baseball. Puig, who was demoted last season and then brought back up in a part-time role, said that it’s his goal to be a starter again, if not in Los Angeles than someplace else. As for the someplace else, the Dodgers explored a Puig trade last season and it was thought they’d try again this offseason, but it’s been all quiet on that front.
What is Puig, for his part, doing to become a starter again? Getting in shape. From MLB.com:
Puig has been working out at Dodger Stadium the last two weeks. He is conditioning his leaner body to avoid injuries that have plagued him and working with batting coaches in search of regaining the impact bat that once had him on the verge of superstardom . . . The 6-foot-2 Puig, who last year was listed at 240 pounds, now has a personal chef to prepare healthier foods.
A leaner Puig. That’ll certainly be a game-changer, right?
Yet as a new season dawns, the team still hopes he can recapture the form he displayed as a rookie in 2013. The organization asked Puig to slim down and focus on durability rather than musculature. Friedman sounded pleased with the result. Puig had suggested he weighed about 240 pounds, down 15 from his listed weight in 2015.
Oops. That was from January 30, 2016.
If he keeps getting leaner each offseason eventually he’ll just disappear, right?
Corey Dickerson of the Tampa Bay Rays wasn’t a super huge guy or anything, but he’s going to be smaller this year: he told reporters today that he’s lost 25 pounds. He attributes it to a new diet and a workout regimen and says it’ll help him with his running, swing and throwing.
Dickerson had a down year in 2016, so if losing 25 pounds is something he thinks will work for him he’s got nothing to lose. Of course the best way for him to improve his numbers is to convince the Rays to trade him back to Colorado, but that’s not likely.