Mets have been in touch with Fernando Rodney, hoping his price dropped

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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Mets have checked in with free agent reliever Fernando Rodney as well as many other relievers, hoping that prices had fallen “way down”. An executive Sherman spoke to said that he wouldn’t classify anything as “hot”.

The Mets’ bullpen is comprised of a lot of young arms, including 29-year-old closer Bobby Parnell. However, Parnell is recovering from a herniated disk his neck which knocked him out of the final two months of the 2013 season. He underwent surgery in September, but recent reports have indicated that the right-hander looks “great”. Still, it’s always good to have another option in the event Parnell can’t stay on the field or has lost effectiveness.

Rodney, who turns 37 years old on March 18, is coming off of two great seasons with the Rays. In 2012, he wound up fifth in AL Cy Young voting after he finished with a 0.60 ERA and 48 saves in 74 2/3 innings of work. Last year, he finished at 3.38 with 37 saves in 66 2/3 innings. Rodney’s strikeout rates in each of the past two seasons (27%, 28%) have both been the highest of his career.

Straight-away center field will be 385 feet at London Stadium

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Marley Rivera of ESPN has a story about some of the on-field and in-game entertainment, as well as some aspects of the field conditions, for this weekend’s London Series.

The fun stuff: a mascot race, not unlike the Sausage Race at Miller Park or the President’s race at Nationals Park. The mascots for London: Winston Churchill, Freddie Mercury, Henry VIII and the Loch Ness Monster. I suppose that’s OK but, frankly, I’d go with Roger Bannister, Shakespeare, Charles Darwin and Guy Fawkes. Of course no one asks me these things.

There will also be a “Beat the Streak”-style race which had better use the theme to “Chariots of Fire” or else what the heck are we even doing here.

They’ve also taught ushers and various volunteers who will be on-site to sing “Take me out to the ballgame,” which is a pretty good idea given how important that is to baseball. As a cultural exchange, I think some major league team should start using “Vindaloo” by Fat Les during the seventh inning stretch here. It’s a banger. It also seems to capture England a bit more accurately than, say, “Downton Abbey” or “The Crown.”

That’s all good fun I suppose. But here’s some stuff that actually affects the game:

The end result will have some interesting dimensions. The field will be 330 feet down each foul line, and it will have a distance of 385 feet to center field, which will feature a 16-foot wall. Cook also said it would have an expanded, “Oakland-like” foul territory, referencing the Athletics’ Oakland Coliseum expanse.

Those dimensions are unavoidable given that the square peg that is a baseball field is being shoved into the round hole that is a soccer stadium. As Murray Cook, MLB’s senior field coordinator tells Rivera, that sort of thing, while perhaps less than ideal, is at least in keeping with baseball’s strong tradition of irregular field conditions. It will, however, be one of the shortest dead center distances in baseball history.

Oh, and then there’s this:

Protective netting was also an important issue addressed when building the ballpark, with Cook stressing that his team has implemented netting that “is the largest you’ll ever see in any major league ballpark.”

[Craig makes a mental note to bookmark this for the next time MLB says it won’t mandate extended netting in the U.S. because doing so is too difficult]