The defending National League champion Mets are searching for bullpen help, but seem content to wait for free agent demands to diminish. GM Sandy Alderson would prefer to avoid multi-year contracts for relievers, per Mike Puma of the New York Post.
“Does it really improve the team to give a reliever a one-, or two-year contract if we don’t believe he is better than what we have?” general manager Sandy Alderson asked earlier this week.
Two targets left in free agency include Antonio Bastardo and Tyler Clippard. Bastardo, 30, posted a 2.98 ERA with a 64/26 K/BB ratio in 57 1/3 innings for the Pirates this past season. Clippard, who came over to the Mets from the Athletics ahead of the trade deadline, compiled an aggregate 2.92 ERA with a 64/31 K/BB ratio over 71 innings.
The Mets have three bullpen spots set with closer Jeurys Familia followed by Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins. The other bullpen spots are open. Hansel Robles, Carlos Torres, Josh Edgin, Sean Gilmartin, Dario Alvarez, Erik Goeddel, Jim Henderson, Josh Smoker, Logan Verrett, and Rafael Montero — likely among others — will have opportunities to claim roles in spring training,
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”