-P- The Pirates are close to finishing a multiyear deal with Ryan Doumit. It's hard to say much until the terms are available. While I usually like multiyear contracts for good pre-free agency players, Doumit's health is a serious concern, and last year may well turn out to have been his career year.
-P- The Pirates have a new play-by-play guy.
-P- The Brewers have signed Chris Duffy to a minor-league deal.
-P- Via Primer, the Mets will give Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz chances to close. Normally I think that the position of "closer" has become what it is mostly because of the invention of a dumb statistic called the "save" that doesn't have much to do with the way one's relievers would most optimally be used, and thus I think teams should be creative rather than running out their "closer" every time they have a three-run lead with no one on in the ninth. But the combination of this particular twist on the "closer" position with the fickle New York media has the chance to be toxic.
Putz, who came to the Mets not by choice but through a trade, has told his agent he wants to close. Rodriguez broke the MLB saves record last year. This non-decision by Mets manager Jerry Manuel ensures that the "closer" issue will be in the headlines until and unless he resolves it later. Also, it seems like Manuel and Rodriguez have very different ideas of how this arrangement will work. Manuel:
"That's very, very huge for us in the course of a 162-game schedule to have [more than one reliever] that can close games. [K-Rod] doesn't have to save, say, 75 games. The other guy [Putz] can save 35, whatever. That's big for us."
I take that to mean K-Rod saves 40 games and Putz saves 35. That the Mets will have 75 saves to distribute seems wildly optimistic, but whatever. Here's Rodriguez:
"It just depends on how we get used throughout the year," said Rodriguez, who didn't pitch at all in the eighth inning last season with Anaheim. "If I pitch three days in a row, four days in a row, [Putz] will be able to save a game.
"I'm not really selfish. I'm just trying to be the best that I can be in that part, and sometimes things can happen. . . . Hopefully I can stay back there and do my ninth inning without a problem."
This arrangement, in which K-Rod is the real closer and Putz picks up Rodriguez's leftovers, seems to be incompatible with the one Manuel describes. This could be the start of a hilarious soap opera.