Mets sign Kiko Calero to minor-league deal

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Despite varying reports about his health status Kelvim Escobar seems likely to begin the season on the disabled list, so the Mets have smartly added another right-handed reliever by signing Kiko Calero to a minor-league contract.
Calero is 35 years old and also has a lengthy history of arm injuries, but the fact that he managed only a minor-league deal after posting a 1.95 ERA with 69 strikeouts and a .180 opponents’ batting average in 60 innings last season is pretty amazing.
He’s a big risk because that modest workload actually represented a career-high for Calero and he logged a grand total of just 4.2 innings in 2008, but when healthy he’s consistently been a quality setup man. Calero typically works in the high-80s with his fastball, but his low-80s slider is among the best in baseball and he’s racked up 324 strikeouts in 302.2 career innings along with a 3.24 ERA.
Given their recent track record with keeping players healthy Calero may give the Mets’ training staff a lot of trouble, but he’s an excellent low-cost pickup with a chance to make a big impact in a late-inning role.

Rays acquire Wilmer Font from Athletics

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In a less-notable move on Friday, the Rays acquired right-hander Wilmer Font from the Athletics in exchange for minor league right-hander Peter Bayer. Font was designated for assignment by the A’s on Wednesday.

This is the second trade involving the righty since the start of the season. The Athletics acquired 28-year-old Font from the Dodgers in late April, but were underwhelmed by his performance after he racked up 11 runs, five home runs, four walks and nine strikeouts in his first 6 2/3 innings of relief. While the rookie has yet to prove himself at the big league level, he posted a much more respectable pitching line with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017, going 10-8 in 25 starts with a 3.42 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 11.9 SO/9 in 134 1/3 innings. It’s still unclear whether the Rays intend to give him another opportunity in the majors this year or use him as depth in the minors.

Bayer, 24, is still a ways away from cracking any major league roster. He advanced to High-A Charlotte prior to the trade and allowed eight runs, two homers, six walks and six strikeouts in his first four innings.