The Tribe releases Austin Kearns

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No, this isn’t a big story, and no it’s not surprising at all. Shin-Soo Choo is coming back, a roster spot is needed and Kearns — who is hitting .200/.302/.287 — is the dictionary definition of expendable, so he’s gone.

But it is notable for one reason. For years Kearns was always such a saber-boy darling, with so many — myself included — figuring that his plate patience and skills would turn him into a star. It never happened, for a number of reasons.

I am still and always will be partial to the saber-boy thinking, but I think Kearns — and Jack Cust and some others — are good reminders that, at least a few years ago, there was a habit of going a bit too crazy about players with certain skill sets at a young age.  I think the people who seriously evaluate young talent with a sabermetric bent — Keith Law, Kevin Goldstein, etc. — have long since abandoned such credulity even if they ever truly had it, but a lot of us dilettantes haven’t, even if we’re better about it than we were in 2004.

Just a quasi-deep thought for a Thursday morning.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.