Mets designate Bobby Abreu for assignment

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Bobby Abreu’s comeback as a bench bat for the Mets got off to a good start, but the 40-year-old has hit just .114 in 51 plate appearances since mid-June and today he was designated for assignment.

Abreu can still work deep counts, draw walks, and coax his way on base at a decent clip, but his power is totally gone and the need for a 40-year-old pinch-hitter on a sub-.500 team is pretty limited down the stretch.

This figures to be the end of the line for Abreu, who had similarly underwhelming overall numbers in 2012 before sitting out all of last season. However, he was an on-base machine for nearly 15 years, has racked up 2,466 hits with 288 homers and 400 steals, and in my book at least goes down as one of the most underrated players of this era.

Among all active position players only Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have gotten on base more times than Abreu’s career total of 3,973 and only Rodriguez, Jeter, Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre, Carlos Beltran, and Chase Utley have a higher Wins Above Replacement total.

2017 Preview: The American League East

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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
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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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.