Mets, Bobby Parnell agree at $1.7 million

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The Mets and Bobby Parnell avoided arbitration Thursday by agreeing to a one-year, $1.7 million contract.

The 28-year-old Parnell was eligible for arbitration for the first time after just missing out on Super-Two eligibility last year. He won’t be a free agent until after the 2015 campaign.

Parnell finished last season with a 5-4 record, five saves and a 2.49 ERA in 68 2/3 innings. He struck out 61, walked 20 and allowed four homers.

The plan is for Parnell to open this year as a setup man, with Frank Francisco getting his closing job back despite a 5.53 ERA in 42 1/3 innings last season. Still, Parnell is at least as likely as Francisco to lead the Mets in saves.

Tigers, Royals to play a regular season game in Omaha next year

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Major League Baseball announced today that the Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers will play a regular season game in Omaha, Nebraska next year to open the festivities for the College World Series.

The game will be played on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha two days before the first game of the Series. It will be televised nationally by ESPN. TD Ameritrade Park has a seating capacity of 24,000, with the ability to expand to 35,000 spectators. Which, um, probably means this will be one of the larger crowds for the Royals next year if the club’s current trajectory continues.

This will be the fourth small-park, special occasion regular season game for Major League Baseball in recent years. hIn July 2016 the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins played at Fort Bragg, North Carolina for service members. Last August the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals played in the inaugural Little League Classic, which took place at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. There will be a second Little League Classic in Williamsport this August between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets.