Ronny Paulino is ineligible to play in the Mets’ first eight games of the season due to a 50-game suspension for a positive performance-enhancing drug test dating back to last year, but now Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports that the backup catcher could be out longer after recent blood tests revealed “stomach and colon issues.”
No further details about Paulino’s condition are offered, but obviously that doesn’t sound good. He’s scheduled for further exams and general manager Sandy Alderson said it’s “very possible” Paulino will be placed on the disabled list once he returns from suspension, leaving Mike Nickeas to back up Josh Thole.
It’s been a rough spring training for Paulino, who reported to camp nearly a month late due to visa problems in the Dominican Republic and has appeared in just seven games. He signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract with the Mets in December.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon is reportedly open to a contract extension with the Nationals, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post said Sunday. Rendon told reporters that he didn’t know if agent Scott Boras would discuss an extension with the club, contrary to previous reports confirming the two had already started that conversation.
Rendon, 27, is coming off of his best career year to date. He finished the 2017 season batting .301/.403/.533 with 25 home runs and 100 RBI through 605 plate appearances, good enough to earn him sixth place in NL MVP voting. He made his third postseason appearance after helping Nationals through the National League Division Series, and contributed a pair of extra-base hits before the team was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 5.
Rendon is still arbitration-eligible through 2019, but stands to receive a hefty payday once he enters free agency in 2020. While it stands to reason that the Nats would want to lock up a player who contributed a whopping 6.9 fWAR last year, making him the most valuable player on their roster, an extension appeals to Rendon as well. “Why not stay with one organization?” he said Sunday. The 2018 season will be his sixth with the team.