Lucas Duda is coming off a breakout year with the Mets and Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the two sides are currently discussing a long-term contract extension.
Duda is an interesting candidate for an extension, as he’s 29 and already under team control through 2017. He’s due to make $4.2 million in 2015. It would seem to make sense to continue to go year-to-year with him through arbitration, as he struggles against left-handed pitching and doesn’t have a long track record of success. Still, the Mets are at least exploring the possibility of cost certainty and could have some leverage in that given his age. They might even be able to buy out a free agent year. Duda’s agent, Dan Horwits, confirmed that talks have taken place this spring, but they will be tabled until the offseason if nothing is finalized before Opening Day.
Duda amassed 30 homers and 92 RBI last season to go along with an .830 OPS. He had a .766 OPS for his career coming into 2014.
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius suffered a left wrist sprain during today’s Grapefruit League game against the Orioles, but Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports that X-rays came back negative. Yankees manager Joe Girardi is hopeful that he’ll be ready to return to action on Wednesday.
Gregorius injured his wrist while trying to dive for a ground ball in the second inning. You can watch the play here. He actually stayed in the game initially before being replaced in the fifth inning.
Gregorius, 25, was acquired from the Diamondbacks in a three-team trade over the winter. Replacing a franchise icon and future Hall of Famer like Derek Jeter is no easy task, but he should be a big upgrade defensively. And while he owns a lowly .243/.313/.366 batting line across 724 plate appearances in the majors, it won’t take much for him to surpass what Jeter did with the bat last year.
After entering spring training with an eye on the fifth starter job, left-hander Felix Doubront has been given his release by the Cubs.
Doubront really struggled during Cactus League action, allowing nine runs on 17 hits (including two home runs) in seven innings across four appearances.
The Cubs and Doubront avoided arbitration over the winter by agreeing to a one-year, $1.925 million contract, but contracts through arbitration aren’t fully-guaranteed. Instead, he’ll get 45 days of termination pay, which Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com says works out to around $473,000.
Doubront showed diminished velocity last season while putting up a 5.54 ERA over 14 starts and seven relief appearances, but he’s still just 27 and has shown some potential in the past. He should find a new team quickly.
Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the Rangers have acquired left-hander Sam Freeman from the Cardinals for cash considerations or a player to be named later.
The Rangers signed left-hander Joe Biemel earlier this month with the idea of carrying him out of their bullpen this season, but he was given his release this week after a rough spring. They didn’t wait long to replace him.
Freeman owns a 3.33 ERA with a 61/34 K/BB ratio over 70 1/3 innings in the majors spread out over the past three seasons. It’s a very small sample, but the 27-year-old hasn’t fit the profile of a specialist in that time, as left-handed batters own a .704 OPS against him while right-handed batters have a .520 OPS.
The Orioles will already be without Matt Wieters on Opening Day as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery and now suddenly J.J. Hardy’s status is also in question.
Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com reports that Hardy will undergo an MRA of his left shoulder on Monday after he jammed it during Friday’s game. He wasn’t feeling much improvement today and took an anti-inflammatory, so he’ll rest for a couple of days at the very least.
Per Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports, the MRA will involve the injection of dye into the shoulder. Hardy previously had surgery in 2004 to repair a torn labrum, so the MRA isn’t expected to come back clean, but doctors will be able to determine if there’s a new injury. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said that Everth Cabrera is a candidate to play shortstop if Hardy needs to miss some time.
Hardy, 32, batted .268/.309/.372 with nine home runs and 52 RBI across 141 games last season while winning his third straight Gold Glove award.