Two weeks ago the Mets signed reliever Frank Francisco to a two-year, $12 million contract.
Today they finally announced the move, officially adding Francisco to the 40-man roster.
Andy Martino of the New York Daily News joked that perhaps Francisco’s physical exam took 14 days to administer. He does have a pretty lengthy injury history, but realistically the Mets probably just delayed things so a 40-man roster move wasn’t immediately forced upon them.
In years past the Yankees have delayed numerous signings, sometimes for so long it becomes laughable, but if MLB isn’t going to do anything about it the Mets are smart to take advantage. When it comes to marginal players and 40-man roster spots timing often plays as big a role as talent in deciding whether or not they’re snatched up by other teams.
Francisco, who’s expected to be the Mets’ closer, saved 17 games with a 3.55 ERA and 53/18 K/BB ratio in 51 innings for the Blue Jays this past season. He doesn’t fit the “proven closer” mold as much as some other free agents, but that mostly just served to keep his price tag in check and he was one of the best relievers on the market this offseason.
The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.
This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.
Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.
Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.
“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”
The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.
Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.