<span class="vcard">Aaron Gleeman</span>

Mets to retire Mike Piazza’s No. 31 in July ceremony


Mike Piazza will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 24 in Cooperstown, New York and one week later the Mets will retire his No. 31 at Citi Field, the team announced today.

Piazza’s jersey will be retired on July 30 and there’s also a Piazza bobblehead giveaway scheduled for July 31. He’ll be the fourth Mets player/manager to have his jersey retired, joining Tom Seaver, Gil Hodges, and Casey Stengel.

Piazza will also be wearing a Mets hat on his Hall of Fame plaque after making it very clear that he preferred to be remembered more for his time in New York rather than his time in Los Angeles. Piazza, who played for the Mets from 1998-2005, was voted into Cooperstown last month in his fourth try on the ballot.

Brewers bring back Chris Capuano on minors deal

Chris Capuano
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Left-hander Chris Capuano, who pitched for the Brewers from 2004-2010, is rejoining the team on a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Capuano struggled mightily for the Yankees last season and at age 37 he’s nearing the end of the line, but he was effective in both 2013 and 2014 as a swing man starting and relieving.

During his first go-around in Milwaukee he made an All-Star team, topped 200 innings in back-to-back seasons, and posted a 4.34 ERA in 745 total innings. This time around he’ll have to compete for a roster spot on a rebuilding team.

Twins avoid arbitration with Trevor Plouffe for $7.25 million

Trevor Plouffe Getty
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Minnesota has officially avoided arbitration for 2016, wrapping up its final outstanding case with third baseman Trevor Plouffe by agreeing to a one-year, $7.25 million deal.

Plouffe requested $7.95 million and the Twins countered at $7 million, so the settlement comes on the team-friendly side of the midpoint by more than $200,000.

Plouffe is coming off a typical season, hitting .244 with 22 homers and a .742 OPS in 152 games to nearly match his .728 career OPS. Improved defense at third base makes him an above-average all-around starter, but at age 30 and with Miguel Sano around as a potential replacement there was some speculation that the Twins could look to trade Plouffe.

Instead they’ve decided to keep Plouffe–who’ll be arbitration eligible for the final time in 2017–and move Sano to the outfield.

A’s not expecting to have Henderson Alvarez before May

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A’s general manager David Forst said Sunday that free agent pickup Henderson Alvarez won’t make his debut until May at the earliest as he comes back from shoulder surgery.

At the time of the surgery in July there had been some hope that Alvarez would be ready for Opening Day, but given that he’s also dealing with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow odds are May is pretty optimistic. He signed an incentive-laden one-year deal with the A’s in mid-December after being non-tendered by the Marlins and is guaranteed $4.25 million.

Prior to blowing out his shoulder Alvarez was a very effective ground-ball machine for Miami, making the All-Star team in 2014 on the way to logging 187 innings with a 2.65 ERA.

Twins avoid arbitration with Kevin Jepsen for $5.3 million

Kevin Jepsen Rays

Right-hander Kevin Jepsen and the Twins have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $5.3125 million contract.

Jepsen submitted a $5.4 million request and the Twins countered at $5.05 million, so the settlement is a lot more favorable for the 31-year-old reliever. He’ll be a free agent after the season.

Jepsen pitched very well for the Twins down the stretch after being acquired from the Rays on July 31 and even stepped into the closer role for an injured Glen Perkins. If healthy Perkins will begin this season back at closer, but Jepsen will be his primary setup man and could find himself in save situations at some point.