Chipper Jones has received various items from opposing teams during his farewell tour around MLB. A cowboy hat here, a surfboard there. You know the deal. However, given his history of tormenting the Mets, many wondered what he would receive from the club upon arriving to Citi Field today. Perhaps something traditional like a gold watch? Maybe something a bit more sentimental like a seat from Shea Stadium? How about a one-way ticket back to Atlanta? Nope.
Via the Mets’ Twitter account, COO Jeff Wilpon presented Jones with a painting by artist Charles Fazzino during a press conference before tonight’s game:
That’s…interesting. Just in case you can’t tell, the pop piece depicts Jones back at Shea Stadium, complete with a fan yelling “Larrrry” from the stands. That’s a cool touch. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a mix of boos and cheers could be heard when the Mets showed a video before the game of Jones receiving his going away present. Many words were wasted on whether the Mets should pay tribute to Jones at all, but it looks like they handled this situation just about right. If only they could do that a little more often.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.