Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez was shut last September due to a Grade 2 shoulder strain, but he told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com at the team’s Winter Warm-Up event today that he feels “90 percent” in advance of beginning his throwing program on Tuesday.
Martinez did not require surgery for the injury, but he has been rehabbing at the team’s spring training complex in Jupiter, Florida for most of the offseason. While the 24-year-old said today that he expects to be ready for the start of 2016, there should be more clarity on his status as he ramps up his throwing in the coming weeks.
Martinez thrived during his first extended chance in the Cardinals’ rotation last season, posting a 3.01 ERA and 184/63 K/BB ratio over 179 2/3 innings.
The Yankees and shortstop Didi Gregorius have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.425 million contract, per Jack Curry of YES Network.
Gregorius was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 25-year-old requested $2.525 million and was offered $2.3 million by the Yankees when figures were exchanged last Friday, so the two sides settled just a shade north of the midpoint.
Replacing franchise icon Derek Jeter at shortstop last season, Gregorius was a big improvement defensively and batted .265/.318/.370 with nine home runs and 56 RBI. After scuffling during the first half, he hit .294 with a .345 on-base percentage and a .762 OPS after the All-Star break.
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.