Lilly throwing again, hopes to debut by late April

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Ted Lilly threw live batting practice yesterday and reported no pain in his surgically repaired shoulder or recently injured knee, indicating that he hopes to join the Cubs’ rotation by late April:

I feel pretty darn good. I don’t know how close to normal. The most important thing is when you get up there on the mound. I haven’t thrown any breaking balls yet. It’s a different deal when you’re throwing bullpen [sessions] or even batting practice as opposed to when you get in a game and work out of jams.

Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune reports that Lilly will next throw a simulated game and then perhaps advance to real game action in extended spring training. He won’t be in the Opening Day rotation, but it sounds like Lilly won’t miss more than a few starts if he can avoid setbacks.

Report: Mets sign Wilson Ramos to two-year, $19 million deal

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The Mets have signed catcher Wilson Ramos to a two-year deal, SNY’s Andy Martino reports. The total value of the contract is $19 million, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman.

Ramos, 31, split last season between the Rays and Phillies, putting up one of the best offensive seasons among catchers. In 416 total plate appearances, he hit .306/.358/.487 with 15 home runs and 70 RBI.

Ramos will presumably get the lion’s share of plate appearances behind the plate with Travis d'Arnaud backing him up. Grandal was made a qualifying offer, so the Mets would have had to forfeit a draft pick to sign him. And, of course, Realmuto would have cost prospects. Ramos simply costs money.

The Mets were aggressively pursuing a catching upgrade, having been involved in rumors surrounding J.T. Realmuto and Yasmani Grandal, but ultimately settled on Ramos. New GM Brodie Van Wagenen has made a significant impact on the team already, having also added second baseman Robinson Canó and closer Edwin Díaz from a trade with the Mariners.