Yasiel Puig is an under-the-radar free agent this winter, and one team might be looking to capture the excitement he can bring to a game.
According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Puig met with the Miami Marlins during the Winter Meetings in San Diego to discuss potentially being reunited with manager Don Mattingly and moving closer to his Miami home.
Sources: under the radar Marlins met with free agent OF Yasiel Puig in San Diego. Looking for impact OF bat on relatively short term. Also met while there with agents on Avisail Garcia and Corey Dickerson (and possibly other outfielders)
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 13, 2019
Puig suggested in meeting to Marlins he’d like to play again for Don Mattingly (and of course Derek Jeter). He’d also like to play near his Miami home. Was plus he trekked to San Diego for confab. Dickerson, Calhoun among others under consideration. Avisail might be a tad pricey.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 13, 2019
On paper, this makes a lot of sense. The Marlins need anything resembling a marquee name right now. Puig, meanwhile, would like to rebuild his value after a down year that saw him hit .267 with 24 home runs between Cincinnati and Cleveland.
As noted, Puig has history with Mattingly, the Marlins’ manager. It’s not all good history, but it sounds like a reunion would suit the outfielder just fine.
Josh Donaldson seems to know how to make a deal.
The free agent third baseman told his mother that he would buy her a Maserati if she successfully managed to quit smoking. As Donaldson shared to his Instagram account on Friday, he followed through on his end of the deal after his mother went two years without having a cigarette, and the reaction was priceless.
That’s a great Christmas surprise, and a well-deserved one as well.
The Maserati probably won’t set Donaldson back much — he looks poised to become a very wealthy man quite soon, with wide-ranging interest in his services. It seems he already got to give a great Christmas present, though.
- Josh Donaldson
Madison Bumgarner has a long and sometimes controversial history with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but that won’t stop one star from endorsing a potential move.
Pitcher Clayton Kershaw said Friday he would welcome Bumgarner to the Dodgers if the team elects to bring him in.
“I love Bum….. if we signed him, that’d be great!” – Clayton Kershaw pic.twitter.com/yfvIv5JhRr
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) December 13, 2019
A lot of Bumgarner’s past issues with the Dodgers related to Yasiel Puig, who isn’t there anymore. There’s no guarantee that the two sides wind up together, mind you, but it certainly sounds like the Dodgers are interested in the idea. That said, if this union did happen, Bumgarner might have to have a chat with a different Dodger player to make sure there are no hard feelings.
Bumgarner is coming off a season in which he posted a career-worst 3.90 ERA, but he’s known as one of the best playoff pitchers of his generation. For a team like the Dodgers, that may be more than any regular season contribution.
Yoenis Cespedes won’t be making as much as he originally expected to in 2020 after he renegotiated his salary with the New York Mets.
According to various reports, Cespedes and the Mets have renegotiated his deal to reduce his salary from the $29.5 million he was originally owed.
Yoenis Cespedes and the New York Mets have agreed on an amended contract, a source tells ESPN. While he remains with the team, the settlement significantly lower his salary from the planned $29.5 million.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 13, 2019
According to Andy Martino of SNY, the renegotiation stems from the Mets having a credible grievance after Cespedes fractured his ankles in an accident on his ranch last May.
It is related to his ranch injury. He wouldn’t be taking less unless there was a case against him related to that. https://t.co/c4ZQB9y4yA
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) December 13, 2019
2020 is the final year of the four-year contract Cespedes signed with the Mets. While he’s put up his usual power numbers, he’s played in only 119 games over the previous two seasons due to various injuries. It’s unclear if he’ll be ready for Opening Day as he continues to recover from the ankle injuries.
There has been speculation for months that the Boston Red Sox could try to trade Mookie Betts this winter in order to help them get under the luxury tax threshold, but it may actually be David Price who ends up in another uniform to start the 2020 season.
The Red Sox have had discussions about a Price trade with at least five teams, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports. Those clubs include the Los Angeles Angels, San Diego Padres, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds. Price has three years and $96 million remaining on his contract, but trading the left-hander may have become easier over the past week.
As one MLB executive told Feinsand, the contracts that Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg signed may have strengthened Boston’s stance. Cole got a record $324 million over nine years from the New York Yankees, and the Washington Nationals re-signed Strasburg with a seven-year, $245 million deal. While Price has not pitched at the level those two aces have performed at in recent seasons, his $32 million salary “doesn’t look so crazy” anymore, according to the exec Feinsand spoke with.
Some believe the Red Sox will have to attach a starting-caliber player like Andrew Benintendi to get a team to agree to take on Price’s contract, but a source told Feinsand that is not going to happen. It seems more likely that Boston would eat some of Price’s deal before trading Benintendi, who had a down year in 2019 but looked like a budding star before that.
Although he finally exorcised his demons and pitched well in the postseason two years ago, Price has never really seemed like a fit in Boston. He has clashed with the local media and had a highly-publicized feud with Hall of Famer and Red Sox broadcaster Dennis Eckersley. While Price chose not to opt out of his contract before last season, that was almost certainly only about money.
Price went 7-5 with a 4.28 ERA in his fourth season with the Red Sox last year. He has also battled same elbow issues, but the amount of interest in him indicates teams are not concerned about that.
The Rangers were one of a few teams that pursued Anthony Rendon before the star third baseman signed with the Angels on Wednesday, and the teams that missed out are believed to be turning their attention toward Josh Donaldson. Texas is apparently not likely to end up with him, either.
Levi Weaver of The Athletic reports that the contract Donaldson is seeking is not one the Rangers are comfortable handing out. Unless the price drops, Texas is seemingly out of the Donaldson sweepstakes.
Sources indicate that the price on Josh Donaldson has exceeded the Rangers' comfort level, and they are likely out.
So ignore the first option I listed here, I guess https://t.co/lEXNujroVm
— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) December 12, 2019
The Dodgers, Nationals and Phillies are all reportedly in on Donaldson, so it makes sense that the price is climbing with Rendon no longer on the market. Rendon was said to be Philadelphia’s top target this offseason. Washington also now has a major hole in its lineup after winning the World Series, and they may try to fill it with Donaldson.
Donaldson signed a one-year, $23 million deal with the Braves last season to rebuild his value after a poor 2018. The 34-year-old hit 37 homers and had a .900 OPS for the NL East champs, and there has been talk of him potentially getting a four-year deal.
The four major Boston-area sports teams have enjoyed tremendous success over the past two decades, but it was not always championship trophies and MVP awards for the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins. If you dig up an old newspaper from the turn of the century, you might find what many would consider a surreal reminder of that.
Darren Rovell tweeted a photo on Thursday that showed the cover of the sports section in The Patriot Ledger — a publication in Quincy, Mass. — from Dec. 12, 2000. It featured cartoon sketches of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, former Celtics coach Rick Pitino, former Bruins coach Mike Keenan and ex-Red Sox manager Jimy Williams. The headline read “Welcome to LOSERVILLE.”
Throwback Thursday: The cover of the Patriot Ledger, 19 years ago today in Boston.
Pats won in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016 & 2018.
Red Sox won in 2004, 2007, 2013 & 2018.
Bruins won in 2011.
Celtics won in 2008. pic.twitter.com/62NMQVEqMe
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 12, 2019
As Rovell notes, things have changed quite dramatically since then. The teams have combined for 12 championships, with the Patriots winning six of those. The cartoon featured a bubble coming from Belichick that said, “I should have stayed with the Jets,” but something tells us the future Hall of Famer is happy with his decision (even if he is dealing with another annoying controvery).
At the time the paper was published, the Red Sox — still in a historic World Series drought — had missed the playoffs. The Bruins and Celtics were also on their way to missing the postseason, with the Celtics not having been to the playoffs in five years. The Patriots went 5-11 that season before winning their first title the following year.
Talk about your all-time turnarounds.