12:24 p.m. EST Update: DeJesus told the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin that he has come to terms on a two-year pact with the Rays that includes an option for 2016.
The Rays will hang on David DeJesus, according to Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, exercising his $6.5 million option rather than giving him a $1.5 million buyout.
Topkin also hears that the two sides are discussing a multiyear deal.
It’s a mildly surprising move from the Rays. DeJesus is worth the money, especially since the buyout essentially makes it a $5 million decision, but it takes away a great deal of the team’s flexibility, both financially and from a roster standpoint. Any talk of moving Desmond Jennings back to left field would now seem to be dead. DeJesus will become the primary left fielder against right-handers, which makes Matt Joyce mostly a DH. Ben Zobrist will play second against righties and maybe move back to the outfield against some lefties.
DeJesus, who turns 34 in December, hit .260/.328/.413 in 104 at-bats for the Rays and .251/.327/.402 in 391 at-bats overall last season. He’ll likely be viewed strictly as a platoon player by the Rays after hitting .174, .149 and .161 against lefties the last three years.
If a multiyear deal gets done, $10 million for two years would be a reasonable guess.
For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East
Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams. The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.
Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:
Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.
On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.