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.
The Yankees defeated the Astros 4-1 during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night, staving off a potential postseason elimination and forcing the series to at least six games.
In just the third playoff appearance of his career, Yankees southpaw James Paxton turned in another impressive performance, limiting the Astros to four hits and four walks over six innings of one-run ball. According to MLB Stats, his nine strikeouts made him the second Yankees lefty to record multiple starts of 8+ strikeouts in the same postseason campaign, two decades after David Wells did so for the 1998 championship-winning club.
Paxton’s strong outing was backed by a handful of runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, both of whom went deep against Astros ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. LeMahieu’s leadoff solo shot marked his first postseason home run since Game 1 of the ALDS, while Hicks’ three-run 347-footer was his first home run of any variety since July 24 (and his first in the playoffs since the 2017 ALDS).
Neither team managed a single run after the first inning, leaving the two pitching staffs to duke it out for eight quick innings. Verlander outlasted Paxton — taking the game through the seventh with five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts — but even with a flawless contribution from Brad Peacock in the eighth, there was little the hurlers could do to help the Astros solve Paxton and an airtight Yankees bullpen.
With the win, the Yankees will try to push the series to a full seven games in order to snatch the AL pennant from the Astros. They’ll have to do in Houston, however, as the Astros will regain home field advantage when Game 6 kicks off on Saturday at 8:08 PM EDT. Neither starter has been announced yet; per Houston skipper A.J. Hinch, it will likely be a bullpen day.