The Mets swept the Cubs 4-0 in the National League Championship Series to advance to the World Series last year. Worse yet, the World Series-starved Cubs had to watch the Mets clinch at Wrigley Field. Cubs co-owner and board member Todd Ricketts apparently still has some bad blood about how things played out.
Check out what he said at the 31st annual Cubs Convention earlier today:
After some careful research, I have concluded that some fans of all teams can be “really, really obnoxious,” but perhaps he has some different data. Ultimately, it’s not worth getting too bent out of shape about if you are a Mets fan. It’s a red meat-type of quote which the fans likely ate up at this particular event. The Mets and Cubs have a long history and it would be a lot of fun to see them potentially meet again next postseason.
After the Orioles reportedly reached agreement with Chris Davis on a seven-year, $161 million contract, it was assumed that they would move on from free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The club is probably better-served to invest in another starting pitcher after losing left-hander Wei-Yin Chen in free agency, but they apparently haven’t ruled out signing Cespedes as well. Their interest comes with an important caveat.
The Orioles previously made Cespedes an offer which was reportedly worth $90 million over five years. It was the biggest offer we have heard until this point, which is a far cry from the massive price tag he was initially seeking this winter.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today notes that the Mets and White Sox are interested if Cespedes would consider a short-term deal. We can now add the Orioles to that list, though there are surely a handful of other unidentified clubs who could find such a scenario appealing.
Cespedes, who turned 30 in October, is coming off career-highs with 35 home runs and an .870 OPS last season.
There was all sorts of discussion about the designated hitter coming to the National League after Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright went down with a torn Achilles last April. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said as recently as September that he sees no need to expand the designated hitter to the National League, but that hasn’t stopped the chatter from continuing.
The designated hitter has been in effect in the American League since 1973. The National League has resisted it until now, but the idea of a universal DH rule has begun to feel inevitable since the introduction of daily interleague play. The current collective bargaining agreement will expire at the end of 2016, so one wonders if we could see a rule change as soon as next year.
The universal DH rule would potentially add 15 new jobs and/or prolong the careers of some veterans, so there’s obvious incentive for the players’ union to be in favor of it, but there’s an argument to be made for the owners to want it beyond a simple bargaining chip. In addition to increased scoring, it would protect high-priced pitchers from freak injuries like the one suffered by Wainwright. It’s risky enough to pitch.
The novelty of Bartolo Colon aside, pitchers hitting is generally a pretty ugly thing. My defense of keeping the status quo has mostly been based on celebrating and preserving the differences between the two leagues. There’s something cool about that, but I can also acknowledge that it’s irrational.
Many have speculated on Doug Fister being a candidate to take a one-year contract coming off a disappointing 2015 season, but ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that he’s seeking a two-year deal in the range of $22 million.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal mentioned this morning that some with the Orioles like Fister. It makes sense as a potential fit, as the club would have to surrender their first-round pick in order to sign Yovani Gallardo. Matt Wieters accepted the team’s qualifying offer in November and Chris Davis is coming back, so the team isn’t netting any extra draft picks for 2016. This could push them away from a pursuit of Gallardo to consider a pitcher like Fister, who isn’t attached to draft pick compensation and won’t cost nearly as much.
How Fister would fare in the American League East is a legitimate question. Showing diminished velocity, he had a 4.19 ERA and 63/24 K/BB ratio over 103 innings with the Nationals last season. He missed time with forearm tightness during the first half and was moved to the bullpen down the stretch.
Chris Davis has reportedly reached agreement on a seven-year, $161 million contract to return to the Orioles. This presumably takes a potential landing spot off the table for Yoenis Cespedes, who was mulling a five-year, $90 million offer from the club. Where does Cespedes go from here?
According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, Cespedes was weighing the Orioles’ offer against the knowledge that he could return to the Mets on a one-year/short-term deal. The Mets haven’t made a formal offer, but the thought is that they are open to such a scenario. The thing is, if Cespedes is truly receptive to signing a short-term deal, there are likely a handful of teams who would also be interested and could potentially offer a higher guarantee. It’s far from a given that he’s returning to Queens. And heck, he still may end up getting the lucrative long-term deal he covets.
Where things get tricky is when you try to think of the teams who could be in the mix here. The Braves have reportedly expressed interest in Cespedes while teams like the Tigers, White Sox, and Cardinals could have an opening for an outfielder. The Angels have also been mentioned as a possibility, but they are reportedly reluctant to go over the luxury tax threshold. The other big variable here is that Justin Upton and Dexter Fowler are also still trying to find homes.