According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the Mets have informed Jay Bruce that they intend to open the 2017 season with him starting in right field.
Bruce was dangled as trade bait all winter, but no team matched the Mets' asking price of a pair of prospects. This renewed commitment to Bruce will either mean a backup role for Michael Conforto or a return to Triple-A Las Vegas. He does have minor league options remaining. Bruce batted just .219/.294/.391 down the stretch with the Mets in 2016, but he still finished with an .815 overall OPS, 33 home runs, and 99 RBI in 147 total games between New York and Cincinnati. The 29-year-old is due $13 million in 2017.
Angels signed OF Eric Young Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young spent the majority of the 2016 season with Triple-A Colorado Springs and batted just .263/.338/.339 across 329 plate appearances in the hitter-friendly parks of the Pacific Coast League. The 31-year-old does still have pretty good wheels, but he doesn't belong on a major league roster.
Blue Jays signed C Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca was the first to report a deal was close and now FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal has the financial framework: a $1.25 million salary, non-guaranteed. Salty is expected to open the 2017 season as the Blue Jays' backup catcher, after batting .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs in 92 games last year with Detroit. He had a good first two months but fell off completely in the second half. The switch-hitting 31-year-old is not relevant in standard fantasy leagues.
Angels GM Billy Eppler said it "remains to be seen" whether Albert Pujols (foot) will be ready for Opening Day.
Pujols underwent surgery in early December for right plantar fasciitis, a painful foot issue that has bothered the 10-time All-Star for much of his career. Newly-signed corner infielder Luis Valbuena could open the 2017 season as the Angels' primary first baseman, with C.J. Cron handling DH duties. Pujols batted just .268/.323/.457 in 2016 and is a risky fantasy bet for his age-37 campaign.
According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, the Blue Jays are nearing an agreement with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Saltalamacchia would open as the backup to Russell Martin in Toronto. He struggled in the second half of the 2016 season with Detroit, but there have been good sparks from Salty in the past and he's a definite upgrade over A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol -- the other catchers on Toronto's 40-man roster. Look for something official soon.
Cuban right-hander Hector Mendoza has been declared a free agent but is expected to wait until March 3 to sign.
Mendoza turns 23 years old on March 3 and will become exempt from international spending rules, essentially making him an unrestricted free agent. The young right-hander worked as a closer for Isla de la Juventud of Cuba's Serie Nacional, but Ben Badler of Baseball America says he has the repertoire to make it as a starter in the majors. He should draw bids from a range of clubs this spring.
Angels signed INF Luis Valbuena to a two-year, $15 million contract with an $8.5 million mutual option for 2019.
The deal was agreed to last week and then finalized Tuesday after Valbuena passed his pre-signing physical. He will make $6.5 million in 2017 and $8 million in 2018 with a $500,000 buyout on his mutual option for 2019. Valbuena could open as the Angels' starting first baseman this season with Albert Pujols recovering from offseason foot surgery. Valbuena also figures to see time at third base and DH in Anaheim. He posted a career-high .816 OPS with 13 homers and 40 RBI over 90 games last year with Houston.
Didi Gregorius is expected to play for the Netherlands in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
Yet another quality option for Netherlands' infield, joining Xander Bogaerts, Andrelton Simmons, Jonathan Schoop, and Jurickson Profar. Gregorius is coming off a breakout season where he batted .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI over 153 games.