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.
This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.
The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.
As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.