Right-hander Carlos Torres passed through waivers unclaimed after being designated for assignment last week and has opted to leave the Mets as a free agent.
Torres and the Mets avoided arbitration with a one-year, $1.05 million deal just three weeks ago, but then their plans changed and in needing a 40-man roster spot they decided he was expendable.
Torres was a very productive member of the Mets’ bullpen from 2013-2015, logging a total of 241 innings with a 3.59 ERA. He’s certainly an MLB-caliber pitcher, but other teams may feel they can snag him for less than $1.05 million now that he’s on the open market.
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips used his veto rights to turn down a pair of trades this offseason, balking at deals that would have sent him to the Nationals and the Diamondbacks.
All of which means, despite the presence of second baseman of the future Jose Peraza, the Reds will continue to start Phillips at second base this season. Or as manager Bryan Price told C. Trent Rosencrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
It looks like Brandon is with us. Brandon, for me, is a second baseman of tremendous value and talent, it’s hard to just assign someone else that job. If Brandon’s with us, I expect him to be playing second base.
Phillips is under control for 2016 and 2017, so something has to give at some point before then if the Reds truly believe Peraza is their long-term answer at second base.
Rosencrans notes that Phillips was actually willing to accept both trades proposed to him, but wanted more money to agree to join the Nationals or the Diamondbacks. And general manager Walt Jocketty says the chances of another Phillips trade happening are “remote” at this point.
UPDATE: Kendrick is heading back to Los Angeles, with Rosenthal reporting that the two sides have agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal.
There’s reportedly no chance of unsigned free agent shortstop Ian Desmond returning to the Nationals, but unsigned second baseman Howie Kendick could potentially end up back with the Dodgers.
At least according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, who reports that the Dodgers are “considering” re-signing Kendrick despite currently having Enrique Hernandez and Chase Utley penciled in at second base. Los Angeles wouldn’t have to forfeit a draft pick to re-sign Kendrick, but if you assume he’d eventually sign elsewhere they’d essentially be giving up whatever draft pick would come their way once that happens.
Earlier this week I ranked Kendrick as the No. 2 remaining free agent and the Dodgers could potentially move Hernandez back into a super-utility man role to make room for his return at second base. That would also push Utley into a more limited role, but at age 37 he may be best suited for fewer at-bats anyway.
At the start of the offseason Kendrick turned down a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Dodgers, but the draft pick compensation attached to his free agency has no doubt hurt his market. The question now is whether the Dodgers’ offer to re-sign him would be for less than the qualifying offer he turned down.
Kendrick hit .295 with nine homers and a .746 OPS in 117 games for the Dodgers last season and has batted at least .285 with an OPS above .725 in each of the past five years.
My sincere hope for this season is that Royals manager Ned Yost answers every question with this same response:
I hope he uses it off the field, too.
“Ned, why don’t you ever put the toilet seat up?”
“It couldn’t have been that big of a problem–we won the World Series.”
Second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $10.55 million deal. Walker, who was acquired from the Pirates in December for left-hander Jon Niese, will be a free agent after the season.
He’ll step into the lineup as the replacement for Daniel Murphy, who signed a three-year, $37.5 million contract with the Nationals as a free agent. Last season Walker hit .269 with 16 homers and a .756 OPS in 151 games for Pittsburgh and through age 29 he’s a career .272 hitter with a .769 OPS. By comparison, Murphy has a lifetime .755 OPS, including .770 OPS last year.
Walker is expected to begin the season batting sixth in New York’s lineup, but could also see time in the No. 2 spot after regularly batting there for Pittsburgh.