Their first big move of the offseason was to sign 35-year-old outfielder Michael Cuddyer, but the Mets are apparently trying to part ways with some veteran pitching.
Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports that they’re “actively” looking to trade one of Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee and “have already engaged clubs” on possible deals.
According to Davidoff they’re not expecting big returns, but instead want to free up some payroll space to invest elsewhere and are confident enough in younger rotation options to move on without a veteran.
Colon is due $11 million in 2015, Dee is projected to make about $5 million in 2015 and is also under team control in 2016, and Niese is under contract through 2018.
Aaron Crow became a forgotten man in the Royals’ deep bullpen and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that they’ve traded the 27-year-old right-hander to the Marlins for left-hander Brian Flynn.
Earlier today the Royals re-signed veteran right-hander Jason Frasor to a one-year, $1.8 million deal, which no doubt made them more comfortable parting with Crow.
Crow made the All-Star team as a rookie in 2011, but his yearly strikeout rate has dipped from 9.4 to 9.0 to 8.3 to 5.2 and this year he posted a 4.12 ERA with a 34/24 K/BB ratio while serving up 10 homers in 59 innings. His velocity was also down to 91-92 miles per hour after being 94-95 mph previously.
Flynn is a 6-foot-7 lefty acquired by the Marlins from the Tigers in the Anibal Sanchez trade and has given up 24 runs in 25 innings as a big leaguer so far, but the 24-year-old has decent minor-league numbers as a starter and could be a back-of-the-rotation option.
Jason Frasor will be back with the Royals, agreeing to a one-year, $1.8 million deal with a team option for 2016.
Kansas City acquired Frasor from Texas in mid-July and the 36-year-old right-hander pitched very well down the stretch with a 1.53 ERA and 16/4 K/BB ratio in 18 innings.
A veteran of 11 seasons and 647 career appearances, Frasor has posted a sub-4.00 ERA in five of the past six years and has a combined 2.62 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 96 innings since 2013.
Barring some trades he’ll fill a middle relief role for the bullpen-rich Royals in 2015 and a total commitment under $2 million is a bargain.
Earlier this week Peter Gammons reported that the Cardinals planned to bring in free agent left-hander Jon Lester for a visit, but now that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch writes that the Cardinals “had no plans to bring Lester to St. Louis for a visit” and “their interest in the lefty appears as much opportunistic as enthusiastic.”
In other words, if for some reason his price tag doesn’t rise as high as nearly everyone expects the Cardinals may try to jump in and steal Lester at a discount. So don’t count on it, especially with Carlos Martinez waiting in the wings to step into the rotation.
When the Rays passed over Joe Maddon’s longtime bench coach, Dave Martinez, to replace him as manager the assumption was that Martinez would wind up joining Maddon’s new staff with the Cubs.
Sure enough, earlier this week Martinez announced that he was leaving the Rays organization and now Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports that Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer “will talk to Maddon about Martinez.”
Martinez was drafted by the Cubs in 1983 and debuted for Chicago in 1986, playing a total of four seasons for the Cubs among 16 total years in the majors. He spent seven years as Maddon’s bench coach in Tampa Bay, yet didn’t even make the Rays’ three finalists for the job.
Oh, and there’s also this: Hoyer interviewed Martinez for the Cubs manager job last offseason before deciding on Rick Renteria, who was fired to make room for Maddon.