Axford, Pelfrey, Joba, Volquez, and Many Others Off the Table
I meant to quickly go over the pitchers who recently joined new teams, and I will, but it turns out I missed a few position players as well. Let’s go over them, pitchers first …
Hard-throwing John Axford will reportedly sign a one-year deal with the Indians. The Mets were supposedly hot on Axford, but, unlike Cleveland, they could not a) guarantee him the closer role; nor b) provide him sufficient confidence that the team had a shot at the postseason. I’m not sure about the dollars, but that also might have factored into the decision.
Former Met Mike Pelfrey re-signed with the Twins for two years, $11M, plus another $3.5M possible in incentives. Big Pelf was less than great in his first full season after Tommy John surgery, but Minnesota felt he made “big strides” in the second half of the season — perhaps those were due to his long legs? In all seriousness, with the cost of starting pitching of any sort through the roof, and seemingly still on the rise, it makes sense to lock up a relatively healthy innings-eater on the right side of 30 (though, technically, isn’t it the left side?). So that’s the cost of a fifth starter: $5.5M / year. I’d have to believe Dillon Gee is worth more than that.
Joba Chamberlain signed a one-year, $2.5M deal with the Tigers. Nice roll of the dice for Detroit, who don’t really need him to be a lights-out setup man, but would greatly benefit if he returned to mid-90s velocity. Though, he’ll have to pitch more often in Cleveland, where they have those pesky bugs. Can you believe it was really SIX years ago that the midges beat the Yankees? How time flies (pardon the pun).
Roberto Hernandez signed with the Phillies on a one-year deal, financials unknown at this time. Hernandez (Carmona?) wasn’t all that great in Tampa, but maybe he’ll benefit by a move to the National League. Though part of his issue seems to be gopher balls, and that won’t be helped by Citizens Bank Park. He does, however, throw a ton of strikes and rarely walks people, so there’s some hope for him to be a valuable asset.
The Rockies signed Boone Logan to a three-year, $16.5M (!) contract. Wow. Just, wow. I didn’t think Logan was that good — he seems more like a so-so LOOGY. Is that what a mediocre LOOGY costs? Gee whiz.
Edinson Volquez signed a one-year, $5M deal with the Pirates. OK, I get it — they’re looking for this year’s Francisco Liriano. But Volquez was pretty darn awful last year. Liriano at least had the benefit of moving into a league with lesser hitters and enjoying the element of quasi-mystery. Volquez seems to have a major physical issue, which compounds the mental / emotional issues that have held him back throughout his career. And, he couldn’t even perform well in that pitcher’s heaven known as Petco Park. Though I don’t think it’s a bad idea to take a shot on a guy who isn’t that far removed from being an ace, I’m surprised Pittsburgh couldn’t get Volquez on a minor-league deal. At the same time, I’m stunned that the supposedly small-market, limited-budget Bucs would spend as much as $5M on a roll of the dice. Will the Mets do that?
Daniel Hudson will return to the Diamondbacks on a minor-league deal as he rehabs from his second Tommy John surgery. He’s scheduled to return at some point in the second half of the season. What do the Snakes have to lose?
Arizona also signed catcher
Hank White Henry Blanco. Yeah, the same guy who was about 50 years old when he was with the Mets a few years ago. Remarkably, he’s listed as only 42. Perhaps he’s been counting backward on his birthdays? Maybe I should grab my gear and head down to spring training.
In addition to signing Volquez, the Pirates also brought back shortstop Clint Barmes on a one-year, $2M contract. Hey, I know Barmes is 35, and I know his offense has been nonexistent. But he has one of the better gloves, he can pop one over the fence every once in a while, and his cost is only $2M. If the Met could’ve had him at that price — which may not have been possible — he would’ve been decent insurance / competition for Ruben Tejada, and a decent utility guy. Oh, but $900,000 was too much to pay Justin Turner, so perhaps I’m way off on this.
The infielder I really thought would be a good fit for the Mets was Mark Ellis — but he signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals (financials unknown). Ellis is a winning ballplayer who does everything well and, despite being a second baseman for the bulk of his career, is probably is athletic enough to move around the infield.
Rajai Davis signed a two-year, $10M contract with the Tigers. I know the Mets are anxious to get homerun sluggers in their lineup, but if it were me in charge, and my home park is Citi Field, I’d be after Rajai Davis instead of Chris Young. But then, I value speed and athleticism in a big ballpark — and I witnessed how that combination worked with the Kansas City Royals of the 1970s and Cardinals of the 1980s. Old school may be the new school if we wait for it.
The Mets selected pitcher Seth Rosin in the Rule 5 Draft, and immediately traded him to the Dodgers. This is the second time in three years that the Dodgers paid the Mets to pluck a pitcher from the Phillies organization. Carlos Monasterios turned out to be a candidate for the LA rotation in 2010, and split that year between the rotation and the bullpen, but hasn’t been in the big leagues since. Rosin has a different profile from the sinkerballing Monasterios — he’s a big and tall righthander who has been a fringe prospect as a starter, but could blossom in a relief role. He usually throws in the low 90s, but some people think he can be a mid-90s guy as a reliever. Unlike how some headlines described the Mets’ signing of Bartolo Colon, this is what is defined as a “shrewd” move.
Finally (I think — surely I’ve missed something), the Miami Marlins traded outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the Cubs for Brian Bogusevic. Because his MLB debut was recent, people think Ruggiano is younger than he is — he’ll be 32 next April. After a surprising rookie year, Ruggiano regressed to the mean in 2013; he hit for decent power, but his average and OBP were awful. Bogusevic, meanwhile, has never had the everyday opportunity that Ruggiano had, and he may get it in Miami. Bogusevic will be 30 when spring training opens; he profiles to me as a more athletic version of Lucas Duda.