Mike Pelfrey gave up eight runs to the Astros (of all teams) on Sunday, taking his spring ERA to 14.90. In the best of his three starts, he allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings and struck out none versus the Cardinals. Overall, he’s allowed 16 runs, 20 hits and six walks while striking out four in 9 2/3 innings.
Granted, it’s just 9 2/3 innings. But Pelfrey also had a 4.74 ERA last year that included a career-high home run rate and a career-low strikeout rate. He’s now pitched 4 1/2 seasons in the bigs with a 4.40 ERA, and instead of getting better, he appears to be getting worse.
So, maybe the Mets, who are pretty desperate for cash anyway, should just go ahead and cut him. In so doing, they’d recoup three-quarters of his $5.6875 million salary. They lack any great options to replace him, but both Jeremy Hefner and Chris Schwinden have performed well this spring and they might want to look at both before top prospects Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia start beating down the door.
I don’t really expect the Mets to take that step. Only the cash-strapped Wilpons have anything to gain by it, and if they did release one of their more expensive players, they’d be even greater laughing stocks around the league. I don’t expect much from Pelfrey this season, but he’ll probably be a reasonable fourth starter and there’s always the chance he’ll have a season more like his 2010, which would make him pretty valuable trade bait come June or July. But I think that’s a long shot. They probably wouldn’t lose much if they decided to move on.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.
The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.
Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.
The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.