Around the Majors
Over at Mets Today, Kyle Schnitzer took a look at some of the organization's 3rd base prospects. Marte and Rodriguez are still pretty raw at this point and far off in the future, but it's really a shame that Mr. Lutz is so combustible. He could be solid trade bait used to prop up another position on the team (or an option to play 3rd if the TRAID David Wright lobby gets their wish).
It's official: the Mets and the Yankees will play a pair of spring training games prior to the 2012 season. The teams will play in Port St. Lucie on April 3rd and then in Tampa on April 4th, before the Mets head to Citi Field to open up the season against the Braves on April 5th.
Wilson Ramos spoke about his kidnapping, saying he is thankful to be alive. Ramos was taken to a remote, mountainous location and luckily was not physically harmed in the ordeal. Certainly an incredible job by the police and investigators to find where he was taken and to put this whole situation to rest in such a short amount of time.
On the free agent market, slugging catcher Ryan Doumit may be close to signing a contract with a new team. He's received offers mostly from American League teams, although one unnamed National League team has offered him a deal too. Meanwhile, Cuban center fielder Yoenis Cespedes may not be declared a free agent for another two months due to some paperwork issues. If that's the case, then it looks like he'll have plenty of time to put together another absurd scouting video in which he lifts even more weights, does more running exercises and spit roasts a few pigs.
Over at Fangraphs, Jack Moore compares Jonathan Papelbon to Ryan Madson and what the Phillies can hope to receive from Papelbon, if injuries and decline do not interfere. That's a pretty big "if" when it comes to closers not named Mariano.
Three Jewish Major Leaguers have joined the bidding to try to get an Israeli team into the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Former Met Shawn Green, Brad Ausmus and Gabe Kapler met with Israeli baseball officials last week and their support could transform Israel into a legitimate contender for a spot in the tournament.
Apparently Nolan Ryan and the Rangers prefer Mitch Moreland to Albert Pujols at first base. Moreland was barely above replacement level in 2011, according to Fangraphs, but at age 26 he should still have room to improve (though not to Pujolsian levels).
Finally, the Red Sox finished their first round of managerial interviews as they met with former White Sox and Pirates manager Gene Lamont on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Cubs met with former Mets catching coach Sandy Alomar Jr who felt positive after his interview. And the Cardinals may be close to naming their manager, as buzz is building behind former catcher Mike Matheny to take over for Tony LaRussa. Terry Francona is also said to be in the running there.