For a brief time it looked like the Mets might give 22-year-old prospect Dilson Herrera a chance to replace Daniel Murphy as second base, but that idea was squashed once they traded for Neil Walker. And now Herrera is headed back to the minors, as the Mets included him among 20 total players in their second round of spring training cuts today.
Herrera mostly struggled in 31 games for the Mets last season and just turned 22 earlier this month, so more seasoning in the minors isn’t a bad idea for the former top-100 prospect. On the other hand he’s hit .340 at Double-A and .327 at Triple-A while being very young for each level of competition and, had they not pulled off the deal to get Walker from the Pirates for left-hander Jon Niese, the Mets seemed ready to hand him the keys.
Walker is an impending free agent, so as of now things are set up for Herrera to spend the bulk of this season in the minors and then take over as the Mets’ starting second baseman in 2017.
Max Stassi was slated to take over as the Astros’ backup catcher following the offseason trade of Hank Conger, but the 25-year-old prospect is now out for at least six weeks after surgery to repair a fractured hamate bone in his left wrist.
Stassi has had brief stints with the Astros in each of the past three seasons, spending most of that time at Double-A and Triple-A putting up underwhelming numbers offensively. However, he’s shown 15-homer power and Houston still likes his long-term potential to develop further at the plate.
Jason Castro is entrenched as the Astros’ primary catcher, so without Stassi they figure to turn to Alfredo Gonzalez, Roberto Pena, or Tyler Heineman as the temporary understudy.
Victor Martinez (and his many knee injuries) gave Tigers fans a scare when he exited today’s game clutching his left leg while running the bases, but the 38-year-old designated hitter has been diagnosed with a strained hamstring.
While not exactly good news that qualifies as positive news in that hamstring injuries heal in weeks rather than months and Martinez’s surgically repaired knee remains intact.
For now the Tigers are calling it a mild strain, but given Martinez’s age and overall health they figure to be pretty conservative with his recovery timetable even if things go well.
After a career-best 2014 season that saw him finish runner-up in the MVP voting and get a new four-year, $68 million contract Martinez struggled mightily last year, hitting .245 with 11 homers and a career-worst .667 OPS while dealing with knee problems throughout.