10:15 p.m. EST update: Gulp. FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi states that the deal is worth $12 million over two years. Apparently, the Mets didn’t get the note that there are more closers available than teams needing them.
10:10 p.m. EST update: Jon Heyman confirms the original report from Newsday’s Ken Davidoff. No word on terms yet, though $4 million per season is a pretty good guess.
Who knew the Mets would suddenly turn into the busiest team of the winter meetings?
The team has rebuilt its bullpen on the fly tonight, inking Frank Francisco to a two-year deal mere minutes after signing Jon Rauch for one year and picking up Ramon Ramirez in a swap of center fielders Angel Pagan and Andres Torres.
Francisco almost certainly will be the closer in the group, with Rauch, Ramirez and Bobby Parnell battling for seventh- and eighth-inning duties.
Francisco, 32, had a 3.55 ERA and 17 saves in 21 chances for the Blue Jays last season. Talented but injury-prone, he’s thrown 60 innings just once since debuting with the Rangers in 2004. He has, however, struck out 368 batters in 334 career innings and posted a sub-4.00 ERA four straight seasons.
Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.
No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.
Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:
Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.
Manfred didn’t stop there, however.
An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.
Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?