Alex Cora has hit just .219 with zero homers and a .540 OPS in 171 plate appearances for the Nationals, but the 36-year-old utility man said yesterday that he has no plans to retire.
“I’ll be playing” next year,” Cora told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. “I’m only 36. Whenever people talk about the future, you better hold it, because I’m going to be playing until I don’t feel I can play well. I feel like I can contribute and help teams out. In my mind, there’s no doubt about that.”
Teams may feel a bit differently, because Cora also hit just .210 with zero homers and a .544 OPS last season and hasn’t cracked a .650 OPS since 2009. He’ll likely have to settle for a minor-league contract and fight for a bench job during spring training.
The Cubs announced on Tuesday evening that the club signed pitcher Drew Smyly to a two-year contract. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports the contract is for $10 million total and allows Smyly to earn another $7 million with performance bonuses. Smyly was non-tendered by the Mariners at the beginning of the month and became a free agent.
Smyly, 28, underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in late June. He’s expected to miss, at minimum, the first half of the 2018 season. The Cubs are hoping he can contribute to a playoff push in the latter half of the season as well as in 2019.
Smyly didn’t pitch at all in 2017. When he was healthy the season prior, he made 30 starts for the Rays and put up a 4.88 ERA and a 167/49 K/BB ratio in 175 1/3 innings.