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#pounditWednesday, February 1, 2023

Baseball

Mets reportedly growing frustrated with Carlos Correa talks

Carlos Correa looks out

Jul 23, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa (4) looks into the crowd from the dugout during the seventh inning in a game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

More than two weeks after initially agreeing on a contract, the New York Mets and Carlos Correa still have not finalized an agreement. This, apparently, is starting to get on the Mets’ nerves.

The Mets are growing increasingly frustrated with the progress of Correa talks and have at least given some thought to walking away from the 12-year, $315 million deal entirely, according to Andy Martino of SNY. However, Martino’s source still believes the two sides will ultimately come to some sort of agreement.

The news comes on the same day as Betsy Helfand of the Pioneer Press reported that the Minnesota Twins have had some recent discussions about Correa with agent Scott Boras.

While it is not clear what has increased tensions between the two sides, it is clear that the good feeling about the initial agreement has evaporated. The Mets identified an issue in Correa’s physical and are apparently seeking protections in contract language, but the two sides have not been able to come to an agreement.

The Mets hold plenty of leverage, but could face one major issue if the deal falls through. A resolution appears to be getting closer either way, but uncertainty is creeping into the talks.

Yuli Gurriel could sign with Astros rival?

Yuli Gurriel wearing sunglasses

Sep 4, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel (10) looks on before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

At 38 years old, Yuli Gurriel may have one more left in him.

Retired former MLB player Carlos Baerga wrote in an Instagram post on Thursday that the veteran slugger Gurriel is rumored to be signing a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox. After spending the last seven seasons with the Houston Astros, Gurriel remains a free agent.

Baerga is a non-traditional news-breaker but did nail one big scoop about the Red Sox earlier this week. That said, another such report of his about a National League team was recently disputed.

Gurriel was underwhelming for the Astros last season, batting .242 with a .647 OPS. But Gurriel had a 31-homer, 104-RBI season back in 2019 and followed that up by hitting a career-high .319 and winning a Gold Glove Award in 2021.

The Gurriel era in Houston effectively ended this offseason when the Astros signed former AL MVP Jose Abreu, another righty-hitting first base slugger. Now it seems Gurriel could be joining an Astros rival in the Red Sox, who have faced Houston in three of the last six postseasons and who also have one interesting connection to Gurriel.

Report clarifies rumors of Dodgers’ interest in controversial free agent

Dave Roberts looking on

Oct 11, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (30) reacts during game one of the NLDS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers defeated the Padres 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers would do anything for bullpen help (but they won’t do that).

Rumors emerged this week that the defending NL West champion Dodgers were interested in signing mercurial free agent reliever Aroldis Chapman. The source of the chatter appears to have been former MLB player Carlos Baerga, who shared a rumor to Instagram that Chapman had supposedly been offered two-year deals by both the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. Baerga has been right with a couple of MLB scoops, including the news of Rafael Devers agreeing to a massive extension with the Boston Red Sox.

A tweet on Thursday from LA Times writer Mike DiGiovanna (who covers the Dodgers) put that notion to rest though, at least on the Dodgers front. DiGiovanna reported that the Dodgers are not involved in the bidding for the seven-time All-Star Chapman.

Though he was once one of baseball’s first-rate relievers, Chapman’s talent is outweighed by his baggage these days. The Dodgers very nearly traded for Chapman in 2015 before an incident of alleged domestic violence involving the left-hander derailed the deal. The bad news continued for Chapman last season as well when the New York Yankees intentionally left him off their playoff roster as punishment.

The Dodgers are in a bad spot in their bullpen after losing both Chris Martin and Tommy Kahnle in free agency this offseason (weeks after getting the news that another reliever will likely miss all of 2023 with injury). But it appears they don’t want to take on the drama with Chapman, which the Dodgers already have plenty of with a different pitcher on their roster.

Report: Mets want 1 thing in Carlos Correa negotiations

Carlos Correa looks out

Jul 23, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa (4) looks into the crowd from the dugout during the seventh inning in a game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets are still progressing toward the conclusion of negotiations with Carlos Correa after issues arose during his physical, and they are apparently seeking one specific concession as they try to seal the deal.

The Mets continue to negotiate with Correa’s camp and optimism remains that the two sides will reach a deal, according to Jon Heyman and Greg Joyce of the New York Post. The Mets are seeking language protections to diminish their risk in case Correa suffers some sort of lower leg injury.

The report adds that the original terms of the deal, which are roughly $315 million over 12 years, may not change much. However, a portion of that money may become non-guaranteed.

This is essentially what one reporter predicted would happen. Correa has no incentive to go back to the open market, as he is unlikely to get a similar offer from elsewhere. His best shot of topping $300 million is with the Mets, and if he stays healthy, he will make all the money he originally agreed to.

Report: Some Dodgers players want Trevor Bauer back

Trevor Bauer walks off the mound

Mar 6, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer against the San Diego Padres during a Spring Training game at Camelback Ranch Glendale. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Bauer might not be quite the outcast with the Los Angeles Dodgers that he’s been made out to be.

The Dodgers have until Friday to add Bauer to their active roster since his suspension ended on December 22. The National League team has not yet announced their plans for the pitcher, who has not been with the team since going on paid administrative leave in June 2021.

The Los Angeles Times reported in July 2021 that Dodgers players did not want Bauer back. But only six of those players remain on the team entering the 2023 season.

The Dodgers taking this long to announce a decision seems to suggest they are strongly considering all options involving the pitcher, who is owed just over $22 million for the 2023 season.

The LA Times recently conducted a poll asking their readers whether they wanted Bauer back on the Dodgers. There were 19,193 responses. 51.2 percent of fans want the team to keep Bauer, while 48.8 percent want him released.

That’s only a sample of newspaper-reading fans, and it does not take into account the millions of other Dodgers fans around the world. But the poll results show how divided one portion of the fanbase is over Bauer.

If the Dodgers release Bauer, he would go through waivers. If a team claims Bauer, they would have to assume the money he is owed for 2023. If he passes through waivers unclaimed, he would become a free agent and eligible to sign with another team.

The Dodgers could also activate Bauer, which would require them dropping someone else from their 40-man roster. They could then attempt to trade Bauer.

Bauer, 31, went 8-5 with a 2.59 ERA over 17 starts in 2021 prior to going on leave over the allegations he faced. He won the Cy Young Award in the shortened 2020 season.

Yankees make another big-name hire to their front office

Brian Cashman at a press conference

Mar 14, 2022; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talks with media during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are assembling a front office “Dream Team” of sorts.

Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported Thursday that the Yankees have hired ex-New York Mets executive Omar Minaya. The 64-year-old Minaya will serve as an adviser in the Yankees’ baseball operations department.

Minaya is best known for his years running the Mets as their GM. He was the architect of their 2006 team that won 97 games and a division title but also had a few whiffs during his time in Queens. In addition to his run with the Mets, Minaya served as GM for the-then Montreal Expos, as senior vice president of baseball operations for the San Diego Padres, and (in his most recent job) as a scouting consultant for Major League Baseball.

Heyman notes that the Yankees’ hiring of Minaya, a scouting guru, appears to be an attempt to balance out their analytics-heavy front office. Earlier in the week, the team already hired another very well-known MLB executive.

Legendary Yankees announcer could retire from 1 job

Michael Kay on the mic

Longtime New York Yankees announcer Michael Kay is known for both being the television voice of the Bronx Bombers and for hosting a radio show, but it sounds like he is ready to give up one of those gigs.

Kay has been hosting “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN Radio since 2002. The show is simulcast on YES Network. Kay’s contract is set to expire at the end of September. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that Kay is giving serious consideration to retiring from radio. The 61-year-old has informed ESPN officials that he is planning to step away.

Though Kay has had contract extension talks with ESPN, the belief is that he is actually leaning toward retirement and not trying to create more leverage in negotiations.

Kay is planning to continue with his full-time role as the TV voice of the Yankees on YES Network. Marchand reports that he is also hoping to continue hosting ESPN’s “Kay-Rod” broadcasts alongside Alex Rodriguez. The program debuted last year as an alternate broadcast for select ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” games and a postseason series.

ESPN has not thought about a potential replacement and is still trying to convince Kay to continue with the radio show. Kay, who took a classy stance amid Aaron Judge’s home run race last season, is extremely popular among Yankees fans.

Brewers sign former All-Star pitcher

Craig Counsell managing the Brewers

May 30, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell returns to dugout before the first inning of game one of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

At long last, the Milwaukee Brewers have finally made a free agent signing.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported on Wednesday that the Brewers have agreed to a free agent deal with veteran left-hander Wade Miley. The deal is reportedly for one year and $4.5 million (with the chance for Miley to make up to $6 million with incentives).

Milwaukee had made some trades earlier this offseason, acquiring Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro from Seattle as well as William Contreras from Atlanta. But just last week, they gained an unflattering distinction with their total inactivity on the free agent market.

The 36-year-old Miley might not get Milwaukee fans very excited. But he is a former All-Star who already played for the Brewers in the 2018 campaign. Miley was 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA in eight starts (due to shoulder and elbow injuries) for the Chicago Cubs in 2022. Though heading into his 13th MLB season, Miley is an upgrade over the zero-burger that Milwaukee previously had this offseason.

Rafael Devers agrees to massive Red Sox contract extension

Rafael Devers claps

Oct 10, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers (11) walks on the field before game three of the 2021 ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox have suffered from an exodus of star players in recent years, but have taken a major step toward making sure that does not happen again.

The Red Sox have signed third baseman Rafael Devers to a massive contract extension. Devers and the Red Sox agreed to an 11-year contract worth $331 million, which will begin in 2024.

The Red Sox have been reluctant to hand out contracts like this, but they simply had no choice but to give Devers fair market value. The 26-year-old third baseman has established himself as an elite slugger, and he hit .295 with 27 home runs for Boston in 2022. Devers would have become a free agent after the 2023 season without the contract extension.

The Red Sox lost Xander Bogaerts to free agency this offseason, and that came three years after trading Mookie Betts after balking at his contract demands. That had fans demanding the team not let Devers walk, and the organization appears to have gotten the message.

2 notable NL teams reportedly battling for Johnny Cueto

Johnny Cueto in the dugout

Aug 25, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) in the dugout during the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Though it is 2023 and not 2016, Johnny Cueto still has teams duking it out for his services.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported on Wednesday that the San Diego Padres and Miami Marlins are vying for the free-agent right-hander Cueto. Rosenthal also reports the Cincinnati Reds, Cueto’s old team, have interest.

Since the Reds were a 100-loss team last year, the other two clubs make more sense for the soon-to-be 37-year-old Cueto. While the Marlins were not much better (going 69-93 in 2022), they remain a popular destination for Latin players. Meanwhile, the Padres, a win-now team that made the NLCS last season and recently lost righty starter Mike Clevinger in free agency, pose an immediate opportunity for a ring (though Cueto already won one in 2015 with the Kansas City Royals).

The two-time All-Star Cueto was quietly very effective for the Chicago White Sox last year, posting a 3.35 ERA. Even if his swing-and-miss stuff is mostly gone, Cueto still has solid control and can give you over 150 innings of work. The Padres would love to have that kind of pitcher, but it is the Marlins who may have a subtle advantage in recruiting Cueto.