Jose Contreras has successfully come back from Tommy John surgery at age 41.
Contreras blew out his elbow pitching for the Phillies last season, but decided not to call it quits and signed a minor-league deal with the Pirates. And after six appearances in the minors Pittsburgh has called him up while demoting Jared Hughes to Triple-A.
Hughes was very effective for the Pirates last season as a 26-year-old rookie, throwing 76 innings with a 2.85 ERA, but his secondary numbers were much less impressive and he struggled in 14 innings this year.
It’s hard to guess what Contreras has left in the tank at this point, but before the elbow surgery he was a solid setup man for the Phillies and posted a 3.74 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 85 innings from 2010-2012 while missing time with various injuries.
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.