No shock, but Red Sox manager John Farrell announced that David Ortiz will start again at first base tonight in Game 5, leaving Mike Napoli on the bench for the third time in three games in St. Louis.
It probably wasn’t much of a decision for Farrell, in part because the Cardinals are starting a right-hander in Adam Wainwright and in part because Ortiz is hitting like .850 in the playoffs. OK, so it’s actually only .326, but with five homers and a 1.153 OPS in 14 games. And that includes 8-for-11 (.727) with a 2.114 OPS in the World Series so far.
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.