In re-signing Yoenis Cespedes to a three-year, $75 million contract the Mets sacrificed some defense by committing to use him as their starting center field, but it turns out Cespedes sacrificed something too: He’d rather be playing left field.
Cespedes has made it clear that he’s got zero problem playing center field, but also told Marly Rivera of ESPN.com:
If I had the choice, I would stay in left field. But I will play where the team needs me. If they want me to play center field, I’ll play center field, and I’ll do the best I can. When I came here [to MLB] in 2012, I started playing center field. But that same year I moved to left field. That was a little difficult, but I got used to it already. Now I feel much more comfortable in left field. But my mind, and I’ve always said, if you are a good outfielder, you can play most positions.
New York has Curtis Granderson in right field and Michael Conforto in left field, so Cespedes playing center field most days is a huge part of their roster construction. And having his bat in the lineup at a premium position is a huge part of what makes him such an impact player, even if he’s giving back some runs on defense.
For his career Cespedes has started 382 games in left field, 104 games in center field, and 77 games at designated hitter. This season, assuming the Mets stick with their current plan, Cespedes’ breakdown figures to be about three-fourths center field and one-fourth left field.
Mark Appel got a fresh start when he was traded from the Astros to the Phillies this offseason as part of the Ken Giles deal, but the former No. 1 overall pick won’t be making the Opening Day roster.
That isn’t a big surprise, but Appel was sent to the minors today as one of the Phillies’ first cuts of spring training. Basically, they treated him like a random minor leaguer not close to being ready for the majors.
Appel split last season between Double-A and Triple-A, posting a 4.37 ERA and 110/51 K/BB ratio in 132 innings. He’s still just 24 years old and has a mid-90s fastball, but Appel has yet to put together any kind of consistently impressive stretch in the minors and has a career ERA of 5.12 as a pro.
His odds of making his MLB debut this season are pretty solid because the rebuilding Phillies figure to cycle through a bunch of different pitchers, but his name recognition is much, much higher than his prospect stock.
As an aside: Appel was the first pick in the 2013 draft. The second pick that year? Kris Bryant, who won Rookie of the Year for the Cubs last season.
Giants right-hander Matt Cain, who had a cyst removed from his upper right arm two weeks ago, resumed throwing today from flat ground.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Cain “mixed in some breaking balls” and worked out of the stretch in addition to standard long toss.
Injuries limited Cain to just 11 starts last season and 15 starts in 2014, which is a big change from his run of eight straight seasons with at least 30 starts from 2006-2013. At age 31 and with $47.5 million remaining on his contract Cain is a major question mark for the Giants, but it sounds like the cyst removal won’t be an issue going forward.
Cincinnati is counting on young starters throughout the rotation and now one of them is already hurt, with right-hander Michael Lorenzen being scratched from today’s scheduled start due to elbow soreness.
Reds manager Bryan Price told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that Lorenzen was examined by team doctors and the plan is to rest him for “a couple days and then get him back throwing.” For now at least the injury is considered minor enough that Lorenzen hasn’t had an MRI exam.
Lorenzen was the Reds’ first-round draft pick in 2013 and made his MLB debut last season with a 5.40 ERA and 83/57 K/BB ratio in 113 innings spent mostly as a starter. He’s competing for a spot in the Opening Day rotation at age 24, so even a little time on the sidelines might ruin his chances.
Danny Hultzen just can’t stay healthy.
Now trying to resurrect his career as a reliever after injuries repeatedly kept the former No. 2 overall pick from living up to his potential with the Mariners, the left-hander had shoulder soreness Saturday.
Mariners manager Scott Servais told Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune that Hultzen is “in a holding pattern right now” and an unnamed team official described his status as “not good.”
Hultzen ranked among Baseball America’s top 30 prospects in 2012 and 2013, but he’s thrown a grand total of just eight innings since 2014 and has yet to reach the majors at age 26.