Davey Johnson remains unsigned, leading to speculation that contract negotiations with the Nationals have hit some sort of snag, but yesterday the manager downplayed those concerns.
“There isn’t really any rush for me,” Johnson told Bill Ladson of MLB.com. “I’m not worried about it. I assume everything is going to worked out. I don’t feel like it’s an emergency. I feel like I’m still the manager.”
General manager Mike Rizzo expressed a similar sentiment, telling Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that “I expect him to be the manager of the team” and “we’re talking and we’re doing great together.”
So then what’s the holdup, exactly? Kilgore reports that the two sides “could not finalize an agreement” during talks earlier this week and Rizzo noted that Johnson was busy before that participating in a fishing tournament. “And he won the damn tournament.”
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.