Spring training in underway for the Yankees and Mets in Tampa and Port St. Lucie, Fla., respectively.
Derek Jeter got back in the swing of things today, as he reportedly hit a single to right field during his first at-bat of a full intrasquad workout. He did not run the bases. Jeter fractured his left ankle during a playoff game in October. He still plans to be fully ready to go by opening day on April 1 against Boston.
As for the Mets, the team got a bit of bad news today. Second baseman Daniel Murphy has had an issue with his right side – they’re calling it an intercostal muscle – and he will head back to New York for tests this week. At this point, there is no indication that Murphy won’t be ready for opening day, but we’ll see what happens during his visit to New York.
Murphy played in 156 games last season, hitting .291 with six home runs, 40 doubles and 65 RBI.
If that wasn’t bad news enough, check out this fact I found on Twitter today:
The 2 highest paid #Mets outfielders this year are Jason Bay and Bobby Bonilla. That is literally unbelievable.
— KFC (@KFCBarstool) February 18, 2013
With a bunch of minor league-invitees and MLB-minimum outfielders on the roster this spring, the Mets’ outfield – Lucas Duda, Mike Baxter, Marlon Byrd, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, et al. – all make less than two players who are no longer on the team.
Bay was let go during the offseason and is currently in camp with the Seattle Mariners. He received a lump sum and a deferred payment plan from the Mets on the $21 million remaining on his contract.
Bonilla, who hasn’t played for the Mets since 1999, was also bought out of the end of his contract. Instead of a lump sum, he receives $1.2 million annually each July 1 from 2011 to 2035. Bonilla also will be paid $500,000 per year by the Baltimore Orioles, another of his former teams, through 2015.
At this point, things are looking a little rosier for the Yankees than the Mets, but the Yankees have their share of question marks as well. As is, the Yankees’ starting rotation isn’t in bad shape, with Sabathia, Kuroda, Pettitte, Hughes and some mix of David Phelps and Ivan Nova in the fifth spot. As long as they stay healthy, that should be fine.
The real question for the Yankees is how they’ll score runs. How healthy will Jeter and Teixeira and newcomers Hafner and Youkilis stay over the course of the season? Will Ichiro and Brett Gardner turn the team into a speed and slap-hitting threat? Will a tough division schedule – a much-improved Toronto team and Tampa Bay figure to be solid yet again and Baltimore and Boston will also win their share of games – also dampen the Yankees chances in 2013?
Let me know what you think on Twitter: @THR_Montgomery.