UPDATE: Hanley Ramirez’s agent tells Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that his client posted the photo on Instagram as a joke and was actually flying to the Dominican Republic. In other words, a contract extension is not imminent. Hey, at least we know that Ramirez has an interesting sense of humor.
11:01 a.m. ET: Hanley Ramirez told Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes last Friday that he was working on a contract extension with the Dodgers. And if this post to Ramirez’s Instagram account from last night is any indication, it could be a done deal in the very near future:
Ramirez, who turns 30 later this month, has one year and $16 million remaining on the six-year, $70 million extension he signed with the Marlins back in May 2008. While injuries limited him to 86 games this past season, he was a monster when healthy, batting .345/.402/.638 with 20 home runs and 57 RBI. That was good enough for him to finish eighth in the National League MVP balloting. Ramirez has made it clear that he wants to stay with the Dodgers, but it’s going to cost them big-time.
Thanks to Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness for the heads-up on the Instagram post. For what it’s worth, he’s thinking that an extension for Ramirez could be in the six-year, $100-120 million range.
Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.
Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.
Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.