Mets 51s outfielder Jordany Valdespin has made a name for himself in his still-young baseball career by being exuberant and brash, no matter if he is in the Majors or toiling away in the Minors. In May, he upset the Pirates by showboating a home run with his team down 7-1. A few weeks ago, he threw a temper tantrum after learning he was being demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas.
His latest incident involved some more showboating, and now he’s been suspended three games for his role in a bench-clearing brawl stemming from his showmanship.
Wally Backman, Jordany Valdespin and Armando Rodriguez were issued suspensions by the Pacific Coast League for their part in a bench-clearing incident earlier this week in Las Vegas, the 51s and the league both confirmed to MetsBlog.
On Monday night in Las Vegas, Valdespin hit a three-run home run in the second game of a doubleheader against the Sacramento River Cats.
Valdespin watched his home run, and carried his bat halfway down the first base line, before dropping it and rounding the bases.
Later in the game, River Cats pitcher Brian Gordon threw inside at Valdespin, hitting him in the hand. Gordon was issued a warning by home plate umpire Greg Stanzak. In the top of the next inning, Rodriguez threw at Sacramento’s Grant Green, hitting him. He and Rodriguez exchanged words as Green walked up the first base line, which triggered the benches to clear.
The Mets have been openly critical of Valdespin’s antics in the past. He seems eager to find out exactly how much rope he’ll be given.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.