The Orioles and Mets tossed around trade ideas involving not just first baseman Ike Davis, but second baseman Daniel Murphy, and left fielder/first baseman Lucas Duda as well, reports Eduardo Encina of The Baltimore Sun. He writes that the two teams couldn’t reach an agreement because the Mets wanted Orioles top pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez in return.
The Mets are still expected to move at least one of Davis and Duda but a lot of teams have already satisfied their needs for first basemen already. Davis and Murphy are both entering their second year of arbitration eligibility while Duda is entering his first year. The Mets currently have just $45 million committed and would need to double that to reach last year’s Opening Day salary of nearly $94 million, but their focus on making a trade is more about optimal roster construction. Taking Duda out of left field, where he spent most of 2013, and moving him to first base full time in place of Davis gives the Mets a better outfield with Curtis Granderson in left, Juan Lagares in center, and Chris Young in right with Eric Young, Jr. as the fourth outfielder.
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.