Mets option Daisuke Matsuzaka to Triple-A, intend to use Jenrry Mejia as fifth starter

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Daisuke Matsuzaka struck out eight batters and walked none over five scoreless innings this afternoon against the Blue Jays. His reward? A trip to the minors.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said after today’s game that Matsuzaka has been optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. This means that Jenrry Mejia has won the fifth spot in the starting rotation.

Of course, Mejia left last night’s start after he was hit on the right forearm with a comebacker, so he’ll have to prove his health in order to make his scheduled season debut next Friday against the Reds. Matsuzaka would likely get the nod if Mejia is unable to go.

Health situation aside, this was always the ideal scenario for the Mets, as Mejia simply offers more upside. Matsuzaka can’t opt out of his minor league contract until May 30, so it also makes sense from a team control standpoint. He’s nice insurance to have around at the Triple-A level at the very least.

Yasiel Puig is still a free agent

Yasiel Puig
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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.