Injuries caused Michael Cuddyer to call it a career at age 36 in mid-December despite having one more season and $12.5 million remaining on his contract with the Mets.
His passing up that money was cited as one final selfless act made by one of the most well-liked players in baseball. And it was, although not quite as selfless as initially thought. Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that Cuddyer and the Mets agreed to a buyout worth $2-3 million, so he got a nice retirement gift after back-to-back injury wrecked seasons and the team saved about $10 million.
Puma notes that the savings likely didn’t increase the Mets’ odds of re-signing Yoenis Cespedes, since that deal came together nearly two months later for way more than $10 million, but it allowed the team to add depth pieces like left-hander Antonio Bastardo and outfielder Alejandro De Aza.
Journeyman outfielder Chris Denorfia has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Yankees that includes an invitation to spring training and an opt-out clause if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster.
Denorfia’s production has slipped in his mid-30s, but if spotted mostly versus left-handed pitching he’s still a useful backup outfielder. Last season for the Cubs he hit .269 with three homers and a .691 OPS in 103 games while seeing time in all three outfield spots.
New York’s starting outfield of Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran is set and the Yankees acquired Aaron Hicks from the Twins this offseason to serve as the primary backup, so Denorfia’s odds of making the roster aren’t great.
For now the Mariners are saying it’s a minor issue, but designated hitter/outfielder Nelson Cruz will not be in the lineup Wednesday for the team’s first spring training game due to a left knee injury.
Greg Johns of MLB.com reports that Cruz “has been kept out of extra running and outfield work due to soreness in his legs.” However, the reigning MLB home run champion said merely that “my knee was bugging me a little bit.”
Cruz is 35 years old and hasn’t always been the most durable player, but he played in 152 games for the Mariners last season and 159 games for the Orioles in 2014.
Marlins right-hander Carter Capps, who has a long history of elbow problems that includes missing the final two months of last season, is now headed for an MRI exam due to ongoing elbow soreness.
Capps last pitched on August 2, so the fact that he’s still feeling discomfort seven months later seems like a pretty bad sign. When healthy last season he was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball, posting a 1.16 ERA with an incredible 58 strikeouts in 31 innings.
If healthy the 25-year-old with a high-90s fastball and unique, quasi-legal delivery would be the favorite to take over as the Marlins’ full-time closer this season and has a chance to emerge as one of the league’s breakout pitchers.
From the moment the Rockies moved into Coors Field they’ve been trying to figure out ways to suppress offense at altitude and it’s mostly been a failure. Their latest attempt was announced by the team today and involves raising the outfield fence by eight feet in right-center field and right field.
In a statement issued by the team, general manager Jeff Bridich said: “Armed with 23 years of statistics to evaluate, we are in a position to make this change, in a measured and educated way.”
One constant problem with trying to make Coors Field less of a hitter’s haven is that it’s not as simple as just pushing back or raising the fences, because while that will decrease homers it’ll also increase singles, doubles, and triples. Not only do the Rockies need to limit homers in an environment where the ball travels further, they also have to cover more outfield territory than other teams. And in this case hope that it won’t be too easy to smack doubles off the newly raised walls.