Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia has returned to the team after serving an 80-game suspension for PED use. Buddy Carlyle has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Mejia. Logan Verrett has been optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Mejia on the 25-man roster.
Mejia, 25, tested positive for Stanozolol in early April and denied knowingly using the substance. Mejia was also dealing with an elbow injury at the time of his suspension but is completely healed up from that.
Jeurys Familia stepped into the closer’s role in Mejia’s absence and performed so well he was nominated to the National League All-Star roster. Familia has converted the save in 23 of 25 chances with a 1.13 ERA and a 41/12 K/BB ratio over 39 2/3 innings. As a result, Mejia will not be reclaiming his job as the Mets’ closer.
Last season, Mejia moved to the bullpen after a mediocre stretch of seven starts. He saved 28 games in 31 chances with a 2.72 ERA and a 60/21 K/BB ratio in 56 1/3 innings.
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.