Craig Calcaterra

Juan Lagares Getty

The Mets and Juan Lagares are close to a four-year extension

10 Comments’s Jim Bowden reports that the Mets have signed OF Juan Lagares to a four-year contract extension. Andy Martino of the Daily News says it’s not a done deal yet, but is in its final stages. Bowden says the deal is going to exceed $20 million and will include a club option. UPDATE: Jeff Passan reports that the deal is for $23M over 4 years with a $9.5M club option on top of that and a $500,000 buyout.

Lagares, 26, hit .281/.321/.382 in 452 plate appearances in 2014, which amounts to an OPS+ of 102. He has raked this spring, but even if that doesn’t continue, he’s extraordinarily valuable due to his stellar defense, so league average offensive production is fine.

A nice signing by the Mets to ensure that a key player is in place for several years.


ESPN the Magazine releases its annual player poll

alex rodriguez head

Every spring ESPN the Magazine polls ballplayers with a bunch of random and some not-so-random questions. The year they got 117 players to respond and the results are out now. Some fun things:

  • One AL player thinks that Dee Gordon is the reason the Marlins will be “this year’s Royals,” though overall a plurality think the Nats are the favorite to win the World Series;
  • 78 percent of respondents hate the idea of a pitch clock;
  • 41 percent of players are happy to see A-Rod back, 30 percent don’t care and 29 percent are not happy;
  • The top answer to “what would you do if you were the Commissioner” was “shorten the season. With one guy responding  “We get two days off a month. People with regular jobs get more days off than that!” Of course, most people don’t make an average of $4 million a year, get $100 per diems and get four months off.

As always, it’s fun, froofy stuff.



Wrigley Field will still be a work in progress, but it will be ready for Opening Day

Wrigley construction

The renovations at Wrigley Field were not an offseason-only proposition. The bleachers are still being rebuilt, there’s a new video board going up just this week and another that is still under construction. The ivy is going to be somewhat spotty for a good while. Thus is the price of progress.

But the Cubs would like you to know that any rumors about the ballpark not being ready to host games this Opening Day and, especially, that it’s somehow unsafe, are totally false:

Before a renovation update was presented to the media on a conference call, Cubs’ spokesman Julian Green launched an offensive against unnamed individuals spreading rumors that the ballpark wouldn’t be ready, the grandstand and upper decks wouldn’t be safe and Major League Baseball was going to force the Cubs to move the opener to U.S. Cellular Field.

Green called them “wild and baseless accusations,” adding MLB was not “concerned, mad or disappointed in the team or the pace of construction,” and there were no discussions at all about playing at the Cell.

The spokesman went on to call them “absolutely false (and) reckless” rumors. None of which, I think, most of us had heard until he debunked them, but such is the way with a lot of juicy-but-bogus rumors.

No word on whether the Cubs, after playing a month’s worth of games without bleachers and the fans who sit there, will decide that maybe not rebuilding them at all is a better call.