We already knew this was coming at some point, but the Mets made it official this afternoon. David Wright was named the fourth captain in the team’s history, joining John Franco, Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko are the only other active designated “captains” in the major leagues. Wright didn’t really need the title at this point since he’s clearly the face of the franchise, so it’s mostly a formality, but the honor clearly means a lot to him.
Via Andy Martino of the New York Daily News:
“This is probably one of the proudest days of my career so far,” Wright said. “To be viewed in this light, both by ownership, by Sandy and the front office, by the coaching staff, and probably most importantly by the players — It means a great deal to me, and is something that I am very appreciative of.”
And don’t worry, Wright will not be wearing a “C” on his uniform. While those C’s can look a little goofy, I’m guessing the Wilpons may have had mixed emotions about the situation, as it could have resulted in a huge spike in merchandise sales. But I’m sure they’ll find a way to make money off it somehow.
Wright, a supplemental first-round pick of the Mets in 2001, owns a .301/.381/.506 lifetime batting line and already holds the franchise record with 1,426 hits. The 30-year-old third signed an eight year, $138 million extension with the club in December which sets him up to spend his entire career with the Mets.
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.