Asdrubal Cabrera has been diagnosed with a strained patella tendon in his left knee and will be shut down for at least two weeks, the Mets announced.
Signed to a two-year, $18.5 million deal this offseason to take over as the Mets’ starting shortstop, Cabrera tweaked his knee while running the bases Thursday and flew back to New York to be examined by team doctors.
Nothing is set in stone yet, but Cabrera seems unlikely to be ready for Opening Day and will probably begin the season on the disabled list, which would all but guarantee Ruben Tejada will make the team out of spring training. Tejada and Wilmer Flores will fill in at shortstop for however long Cabrera is sidelined.
Cabrera played 143 games for the Rays last season and hit .265 with 15 homers and a .744 OPS at age 29. He’s played at least 135 games in each of the past five seasons, but has never been in the lineup more than 151 times in a season.
Mark Teixeira had a nice bounce-back season in 2015, making his first All-Star team since 2009 and topping 30 homers for the first time since 2011. He was limited to only 111 games by a broken leg, but the 36-year-old Yankees first baseman felt good enough overall that he’s now talking about playing another 4-5 seasons.
“My body feels so good, why not play until I’m 40?” told Ryan Hatch of the Newark Star Ledger, specifically citing the 500-homer club as his goal. “I think if I play long enough I’ll get there. God willing I’ll play four, five more years and that’d be a nice number.”
Teixeira has 394 career homers through age 35, which is the 38th-most in MLB history at that age. Of course, his production has slowed down significantly in recent years due to injuries and now he’s entering his late-30s where steep declines are common. Hatch notes that fewer than 20 players in MLB history have hit more than 100 homers after turning 36.
Another key factor is that this is Teixeira’s final season under contract with the Yankees, so his days of making $20 million-plus per season will likely be over and he may have to look for a job each offseason based on the previous year’s performance. Veteran, formerly great first basemen have often found the market lacking when that happens, but obviously another 30-homer campaign in 2016 would generate plenty of interest next winter.
Texeira definitely has a shot to reach 500 homers, but getting past the 400-499 range is often really hard for players winding down their careers and he hasn’t played more than 125 games in a season since 2011.
Right-hander David Carpenter, who was released last week by the Braves, has signed with the Rays on a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.
Carpenter is 30 years old with a 3.66 ERA in 211 career innings as a big leaguer, including a 4.01 ERA for the Nationals and Yankees last season. He’s had some shoulder issues and is unlikely to grab a prominent late-inning role, but as far as mid-March minor-league signings go he’s got a strong chance to crack the Opening Day roster.
It’s unclear why the Braves signed Carpenter in November only to release him three months later, but the Rays will gladly take the added bullpen depth and mid-90s fastball at little cost.
After 16 seasons in the majors for eight different teams Randy Wolf has decided to call it a career, with Jon Heyman of MLB Network reporting that the 39-year-old left-hander told an interested team he’s retired.
Wolf returned from Tommy John elbow surgery last season and made it back to the majors after spending most of the year at Triple-A. Once there he got knocked around, going 0-5 with a 6.23 ERA in 35 innings for the Tigers. He last posted an ERA under 5.00 in 2011, so it was time.
Because of injuries Wolf had to make several comebacks throughout his career, but he had a good early run with the Phillies and then a good later run with the Dodgers and Brewers. Overall he started 379 games, logged 2,328 innings, and posted a 4.24 ERA with a 133-125 record. He made one All-Star team in 2003, topped 200 innings six times, and earned nearly $70 million.
James Wagner of the Washington Post caught up with Matt Williams, who was fired by the Nationals one year after being named NL Manager of the Year and is now the Diamondbacks’ third base coach.
Williams played for the Diamondbacks, previously coached for the Diamondbacks, and lives in Arizona, so he told Wagner that “it’s nice to sleep in my own bed at night … it’s a good situation.”
As for being let go by the Nationals despite a .552 winning percentage in two seasons at the helm, Williams said:
It was tough to hear. You want to do as well as you possibly do. It is what it is. That’s the way I look at it. You have choices. You can wallow or move on. I decided to move on. … I did the best job I could do. Tried to make the decisions that were appropriate on any given day.
Williams received a lot of criticism last season and much of it was warranted based on both his shaky in-game tactics and complaints about his losing the clubhouse. However, he certainly handled his firing with class and, even now, Wagner notes that Williams stopped short of getting into any specifics about how he feels wronged or who else is to blame.