Thursday, May 26, 2022

MLB rumors: Diamondbacks discussing extension with Ketel Marte; Mets check in on veteran reliever

Opening Day is 12 days away and teams are still scrambling to finalizing their rosters following the owner-imposed lockout. Here are the latest bits of hot stove news, including one trade and two free agent signings.

Diamondbacks working on extension for Marte

The Diamondbacks and second baseman Ketel Marte have had talks about a contract extension, according to Robert Murray of FanSided

Marte, 28, is technically under contract through the 2024 season thanks to a pair of club options. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman notes that one proposal the Diamondbacks would guarantee those options and then tack on three more years.

Marte has blossomed into a high-quality player since the Diamondbacks acquired him in a trade prior to the 2017 season. He’s hit for a 122 OPS+ in more than 500 games with Arizona. He also made the 2019 All-Star Game and finished top-five in National League Most Valuable Player Award voting.

Mets interested in Watson

The Mets have checked in on free-agent left-hander Tony Watson, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. It’s unclear how serious New York’s interest is in adding him to their bullpen, but it’s notable that they continue to seek veteran arms. 

Watson, 36, split last season between the Angels and the Giants. He made 62 appearances and amassed a 111 ERA+ and a 2.44 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Mets currently have a pair of left-handed non-roster invitees competing for an Opening Day job, in Chasen Shreve and Alex Claudio.

Cubs, Rays swap Ramirez for Quiroz

The Cubs and Rays hooked up for a minor trade that sent outfielder Harold Ramirez to Tampa for infielder Esteban Quiroz, the teams announced Friday evening. Chicago had an outfield logjam after signing Clint Frazier and Seiya Suzuki, and the Rays needed an extra outfield body while Kevin Kiermaier deals with a groin injury.

Ramirez, 27, spent last season in Cleveland and has shown impressive exit velocities in scattered big league playing time. The 30-year-old Quiroz is an older prospect and a Mexican League veteran who nonetheless has a chance to contribute at the MLB level. He’s a career .270/.391/.534 hitter with 31 homers in 164 career Triple-A games, and he has extensive experience at the three non-first base infield positions.

A’s re-sign Lowrie

The Athletics have re-signed veteran infielder Jed Lowrie to a one-year contract, reports The Athletic’s Eno Sarris. This will be Lowrie’s seventh season with Oakland across three separate stints. He was a league average hitter who spent most of 2021 at second base and DH. He figures to see time in those same roles again in 2022.

Of course, this has been an offseason of payroll slashing for the A’s, who’ve traded away Chris Bassitt, Matt Chapman, and Matt Olson in recent weeks. Pitchers Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas, and possibly catcher Sean Murphy, could be on the way out next. Oakland will still need players to wear their uniform in 2022, hence the Lowrie signing.

Nationals sign Clippard

Veteran righty Tyler Clippard has rejoined the Nationals on a minor league contract, according to the Washington Post‘s Jesse Dougherty. Clippard, now 37, played parts of seven seasons with Washington from 2008-14. Although he’s on a non-roster deal, he has a good chance to open the regular season in the big league team’s bullpen. The Nationals aren’t expected to contend this year and Clippard could be trade bait at the deadline. He’s been traded at the deadline four times previously in his career.

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