John Lackey is reported to want something better in terms of money and years than A.J. Burnett got last winter. A.J. Burnett got five years and $82 million. That puts Lackey’s demand in the six-year range, with total dollars approaching $100 million.
Guess what: he ain’t gettin’ that from the Angels, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. GM Tony Reagins: “There is a point where it doesn’t make sense. You can jeopardize your organization moving forward when you
consider the dollars a player might command.”
How about the Mets? As was reported the other day, the Mets aren’t interested in going six years, either. There is some suggestion this morning that there is still some internal debate about this in the Mets hotel suite, but even that is characterized thusly: “Lackey currently is the only free-agent starter the Mets would consider going beyond three years on.”
The problem with that phrasing is two-fold: (1) it ends with a preposition — it should read “Lackey is the only free-agent starter for whom the Mets would consider going beyond three years”; and (2) there’s a big difference between “willing to go beyond three years” and “willing to give a 31 year-old starter who is a notch below the usual cream of the free agent crop six years and $100 million.”
The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.
Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.
Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.
Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.