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Mets to retire Jerry Koosman’s number next year

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The Mets announced today that they plan on retiring Jerry Koosman’s number 36 next year.

Koosman was always the number two guy behind Tom Seaver in the Mets rotation, but he was a beloved member of the Miracle Mets and was well-respected among his teammates. He also could pitch a little: He was 17-9 with a 2.20 ERA (160 ERA+) in 241 innings across 32 starts for the ’69 Mets and won two games in the World Series against the heavily-favored Orioles. He’d go on to pitch 12 total years in New York, winning 140 games. In all he pitched 19 seasons in the bigs, winning 222 games and posting a career ERA of 3.36 (ERA+ 110).

The Mets had previously had a number-retiring policy that limited it to Hall of Famers. It’s good to see they’ve chucked that. It has never made sense to me that teams would let a matter like retiring a number — which is a local honor for a local hero and for the benefit of the local fans — to be determined by the voters of the Baseball Writers Association of America who have no dog in the hunt of the player’s memory or legacy in the town in which he starred.

No date is set yet for the ceremony, but it’ll be a big day in Queens when it happens.

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.