Fun story from Jeff Passan at Yahoo!. In the course of his Matt Harvey/Zack Wheeler feature he passes along a tale from last year when Matt Harvey was a rookie and Jon Rauch was a reliever for the Mets. It seems that Harvey was trying to take a nap in the clubhouse and Rauch tried to haze him by tossing a bucket of ice water on him. Passan:
[Harvey] bounded up and challenged Rauch to a fight. Right there. Right then. He gave up 7 inches, about 75 pounds and a gallon or so of bad ink. It didn’t matter that he was a rookie. Harvey would not be a joke. He would not be a punch line in Rauch’s re-telling. He would not let some mediocre clown play him.
Rauch backed away.
Great stuff. Of course it makes me wonder what would have happend if it was another player who challenged the veteran like that. One not as good as Harvey or as important to the Mets’ future. Or if Rauch wasn’t Rauch but was, instead, someone a bit more established and respected overall. Is Harvey a punk who can’t take a joke then? I’d think not as I feel like veterans hazing rookies in all sports is about as dumb as it gets and if I were Harvey I’d do the same thing, but I’m sure some would spin it that way if it were, I dunno, Jordany Valdespin.
None of which says anything about Harvey or Rauch or Passan or anyone here. Just an observation about how stories like this tend to come out in such a way as to serve a story. The Mets’ mastery of the Braves yesterday can be likened to someone getting off the matt and refusing to take any more crap, if one were so inclined. If one were also so inclined this story could later be viewed in another way at another time for another story. It all depends on how Harvey’s career goes.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.