Mets sign catcher Rob Johnson to minor-league contract

7 Comments

Some people might say this is a slow news day, but I beg to differ because the Mets have signed catcher Rob Johnson to a minor-league contract.

Johnson figures to compete with Mike Nickeas for the job backing up starter Josh Thole.

Johnson spent the first seven years of his pro career with the Mariners before joining the Padres this past season, hitting .190 with three homers and a .544 OPS in 67 games. And as ugly as those numbers look they’re basically equal to Johnson’s career marks, which include a .197 average and .573 OPS.

Of course, Nickeas has very little major-league experience and hasn’t even hit much in the minors, so Johnson seemingly has a legitimate chance to win the backup gig in camp.

Yasiel Puig is still a free agent

Yasiel Puig
Jason Miller/Getty Images
5 Comments

Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.

There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.

The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.