UPDATE: It turns out it wasn’t all good news for Francisco. Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told Rubin that the veteran reliever was actually diagnosed with a mild strain of the flexor pronator in his right elbow. Either way, he’s going to rest for 72 hours before attempting to throw again.
6:32 PM: Frank Francisco was nearing a return from the disabled list before he was scratched from a bullpen session Saturday with renewed soreness in his surgically-repaired right elbow, but he received some good news today.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Mets manager Terry Collins said that doctors did not find any structural damage in Francisco’s elbow. The plan calls for him to rest for a few days before he’ll attempt to resume throwing. Still, the timeline for his return to the Mets’ bullpen remains up in the air, which may or may not be a good thing depending on who you ask.
Francisco posted a career-high 5.53 ERA in 48 appearances last season as the Mets’ closer and had a bone spur removed from his elbow in December. The 33-year-old right-hander is making $6.5 million this season. Bobby Parnell has emerged as the team’s closer during his absence, though he has only received five save chances thus far.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.
Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.
When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.