Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the Atlanta Braves just signed one of their young, team-controlled players to a multi-year extension. This time: Andrelton Simmons. Who isn’t even arbitration-eligible yet. He got seven years and, according to Ken Rosenthal, $58 million guaranteed.
Simmons is easily the best defensive shortstop in baseball, with his highlight reel from 2013 alone featuring more amazing defensive plays than many shortstops have their entire lifetime. While his hitting line was only .248/.296/.396 last season, he does have some pop in his bat, having hit 17 homers, and there is reason to believe he’ll improve. Even if it’s only moderate improvement, his plus-plus defense already makes him a valuable commodity.
At any rate, that leaves approximately six people in the United States the Braves have not extended this offseason.
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.