Remember earlier this month when Evan Longoria said that James Shields and B.J. Upton couldn’t “shake the Devil Rays mentality” and thus strongly implied that their departure was good for the Rays? Yeah, that was kinda messed up. As Marc Topkin reports today, however, the hatchet has been buried. Longoria reached out and apologized.
In other news, Shields’ Royals sit at 11-8 and Upton’s Braves are at 15-6. Longoria’s Rays, meanwhile are 10-12 and maybe could use a bit of their mentality at the moment.
The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.
Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.
In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.