OK, now this is just awkward.
Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler said yesterday that he’s given general manager Josh Byrnes the go-ahead to re-start long-term contract negotiations with Chase Headley and is willing to make the third baseman “the highest-paid player in club history.”
It was a whole big story in San Diego today, with lots of quotes from Fowler and lots of speculation about the size of the contract. One problem? Headley has no interest in talking contract during the season.
Here’s what he told Corey Brock of MLB.com today:
We made it abundantly clear [before] that we didn’t want to talk about it during the season I didn’t think that for me and for the team that it was good to get caught up with all of this during the season. … It’s flattering they feel the way they feel about me. I love playing in San Diego, I love the fans. But I just don’t think now is the time to get involved with this. That’s it. If there’s an opportunity to engage after the season, so be it. I didn’t want to have to deal with the fallout I’m dealing with.
Headley is under team control via arbitration next season as well, but at that point he’ll be making over $10 million and will be just 162 games from hitting the open market as a free agent.
It’s like that old saying about relationships goes: “You can’t want it bad enough for both of us.” (I have no idea if that’s actually an old saying, but I vaguely remember hearing something along those lines once and it sort of applies here pretty well.)
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.