Pat Neshek has bounced around since being waived by the Twins in 2011 and went from an injured question mark to making his first All-Star team this season at age 33 for the Cardinals, so not surprisingly the impending free agent is interested in staying in St. Louis.
Neshek is 5-0 with a 0.78 ERA and 49/6 K/BB ratio in 46 innings and he’s two months from hitting the open market for the first sizable payday of his career, but the side-arming reliever told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch: “I just really like it here.”
Now, plenty of impending free agents say stuff like during the season only to sign elsewhere once the offseason money starts flying around, but Neshek continued:
I like how I’m being used. That’s a big part of it. That’s the feeling I have. That’s one of the main things. I feel like I pitch really well at Busch Stadium. I think that would be good for my career, right? I think about it. I think about it and what if my arm falls off tomorrow? You do want that security of knowing. That’s why it would be nice to get something worked out. If you get to free agency, it will work itself out.
As a fellow Minnesotan and Twins fan I’ve always rooted for Neshek, so it’d be nice to see him ink a two- or three-year deal that’s reasonable for both sides and makes him happy/rich.
Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.
Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.
The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.