Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said before Wednesday’s season finale against the Marlins that his highest priority this offseason is to work out new deals with David Wright and R.A. Dickey. He’s determined to stay true to his word.
According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, a baseball source said that it’s “conceivable” that the club could have new deals with both players, at least in principle, by the time the World Series begins later this month.
The Mets hold club options on Wright ($16 million) and Dickey ($5 million) for next season, but each intend to test free agency if extensions aren’t worked out by spring training. Alderson has spoken with Wright’s representatives this week and it’s believed that he’ll seek a contract of at least seven years and $125 million. Alderson hasn’t discussed numbers with Dickey’s agent yet, but one “veteran agent” told Puma that the veteran knuckleballer will likely be getting “Oliver Perez dollars.” Painful reference aside, that means three years and $36 million.
It would be great news if the Mets can lock up their two big stars for the long haul, but the club is expected to have a payroll around $100 million in 2013. With Johan Santana ($25.5 million and $5.5 million buyout for 2014) and Jason Bay ($16 million and $3 million buyout for 2014) making up half of that total, you can forget about them doing anything significant in free agency this winter. And this report by Richard Sandomir in the New York Times indicates that ownership is still hard up for cash.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.