As we get closer to the start of spring training, teams are looking to fill those last few holes and players are trying to make sure they have some place to report.
The Mets signed former Washington Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina to a minor league contract on Monday and invited him to major league spring training. With four starting outfielders for three spots, plus Alejandro de Aza earning $5.75 million as the team’s fifth outfielder, the Mets seem unlikely to need Bernadina — at least to start the season. But this is a decent depth signing that gives the Las Vegas 51s a more experienced team and gives the Mets an option with major league experience should they need another outfielder.
The Arizona Diamondbacks gave former Mets reliever Tyler Clippard a two-year, $12.25 million contract on Monday, which seems like a head-scratcher. Clippard has been a very good pitcher over the course of his career, but the way he finished the 2015 season certainly would make me reluctant to make that kind of a commitment to him. But hey, Diamondbacks’ GM Dave Stewart knows what he’s doing, right?
Even more baffling: former Mets’ reliever Eric O’Flaherty is apparently trying to decide between four teams. O’Flaherty had some very good seasons as a lefty specialist for the Atlanta Braves in his career, but he could not reliably get outs for the Oakland Athletics or the Mets last year.
It wouldn’t be spring training without players switching uniform numbers, and this year’s no exception. Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki is going to go back to his old college number 26 this season. Mets By The Numbers has the breakdown on other uniform number assignments for 2016.
Finally, ESPN reports that we should expect new rules governing how players can slide into second base to try to break up double play attempts. Takeout slides will not be made illegal, but players are going to have to slide into the base. Here’s hoping the final language of the rule will be clearer than the one implemented to reduce injuries in home plate collisions.