UPDATE: Steve Popper of the Bergen Record confirms that the deal is done, pending physicals.
9:49 PM: According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, the Mets are discussing a deal that would send Angel Pagan to the Giants for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez.
Baggarly writes that it’s not definite yet, but appears promising. It certainly fits the criteria mentioned by Ken Rosenthal a little earlier when he called it a “change of scenery” deal.
Pagan, 30, is coming off a down year in which he batted .262/.322/.372 with seven home runs, 56 RBI and a .694 OPS over 532 plate appearances. He also led major league center fielder with 10 errors. The Mets have said that they plan to tender him a contract, but he figures to make around $5 million in arbitration.
Torres, 33, had an even worse year in 2011, batting .221/.312/.330 with four home runs, 19 RBI and a .643 OPS over 398 plate appearances. He is due between $2-3 million in arbitration and was a clear non-tender candidate following the recent acquisition of Melky Cabrera.
As for Ramirez, Ken Rosenthal reported late last month that the Giants planned to shop him so that they could upgrade in other areas. He’s due about $2 million through the arbitration process. The 30-year-old right-hander posted a 2.62 ERA and 66/26 K/BB ratio over 68 2/3 innings this season.
While Torres is the superior defender in center field, Pagan is three years younger and is probably the better bet for a bounceback year offensively. Mets GM Sandy Alderson is working with a limited budget this offseason, so he will pay Torres and Ramirez combined what he would have paid Pagan. From a pure salary standpoint, this works perfectly. But the Giants could come out on top here.
Tacoma Rainiers’ broadcaster Mike Curto reports that the White Sox have acquired veteran right-handed relievers Mark Lowe and Jean Machi from the Mariners in exchange for cash considerations. Neither team has officially confirmed the deal yet.
Lowe, 34, signed a minor league deal with the Mariners in late March. He pitched to a 6.23 ERA in Triple-A Tacoma and tacked on a 4.6 BB/9 and 8.5 SO/9 through 39 innings. He last appeared in the majors with the Tigers, and finished his run in 2016 with a 7.11 ERA through 49 1/3 innings before getting released by the club prior to the 2017 season.
Machi, 35, struggled to find a place in the Mariners’ bullpen this season. A nerve issue in his thumb derailed his efforts at the start of 2017, and he was outrighted to Triple-A after pitching to a 1.17 ERA through 7 2/3 innings in Seattle. In Tacoma, the right-hander’s numbers weren’t too shabby: he split his efforts between the rotation and bullpen and worked a collective 3.44 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 through 36 2/3 innings.
Lowe and Machi will help flesh out a White Sox bullpen that has been depleted by recent injuries and trades. They’re expected to report to Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte and could see time in the big leagues by the end of the season.
Yoenis Cespedes told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he wants to finish his career with the Athletics, according to an exclusive interview released on Friday. The Mets’ 31-year-old outfielder praised Oakland manager Bob Melvin, telling Slusser, “I don’t think there’s a better manager than Melvin” and adding that while he didn’t know if a return to Oakland would be possible, his love for the city had not faded.
Melvin, for his part, said he wasn’t surprised that the slugger wants another go-round with his first major league club, even if only as a final hurrah. Cespedes hit well over two and a half seasons with the A’s, compiling a cumulative .262/.318/.470 batting line from 2012 to 2014 and enjoying two postseason runs with the club before he was traded for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes in 2014.
There’s been relatively little for Cespedes to complain about since his departure from Oakland, of course: he turned in a career-best performance in 2015, slashing .291/.328/.542 with 35 home runs and 6.7 fWAR in back-to-back gigs with the Tigers and Mets, and netted a whopping three-year, $75 million contract prior to the 2016 season. Still, there’s something special about the A’s, as the slugger relayed to teammate Jerry Blevins:
I told Blevins, ‘I don’t know how many years I’m going to play, but I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland.’ I don’t know if that’s possible or not, but that’s my goal.
Whether or not Cespedes gets his wish, it’s unlikely he’ll pursue any kind of deal with the A’s for the time being. He’s still owed $23.75 million in 2017 and 2018 and isn’t scheduled to hit free agency until 2019.