Quick Hits: Canha, Escobar, Marte, Mets, Perez, Suarez

Starling Marte, Mark Canha, and Eduardo Escobar are all playing well for the first-place Mets, making the team’s investment in the trio look like a canny move.  The New York Post’s Joel Sherman looks back at how the Mets added all three players during a frenzied span of around two days prior to the lockout, and how newly-hired GM Billy Eppler “emphasized on-base percentage, defense, versatility and players with strong reputations as good teammates,” with a particular focus on how well such free agents could adapt to Citi Field.  Sherman’s piece contains several interesting details about the Mets’ pursuit of the three players, as well as some other info on some of the other suitors.

The Rangers (another of the winter’s more aggressive teams) and Dodgers were interested in Canha, while “the Mets saw the Giants as a threat” due to Canha’s ties to the Bay Area.  As for Marte, New York was a relatively late entry into that chase, as agent Peter Greenberg said he met with roughly 20 other teams before touching base with the Mets, since Eppler wasn’t officially hired until midway through November.  However, the Mets made up plenty of ground by offering Marte a big four-year, $78MM contract that outpaced the other bidders.  “What stands out to me is that the Mets came in and in less than 24 hours we had a deal,” Greenberg said.

More from around baseball….

  • Martin Perez has been one of the surprises of the 2022 season, as the veteran lefty has an AL-best 1.56 ERA over 69 1/3 innings, plus a 54.7% grounder rate and just a single home run allowed.  With encouragement from Rangers coaches, Perez has re-established his sinker as a big part of his arsenal, Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News writes, and Perez also took a tip from the legendary Pedro Martinez about throwing more pitches outside the strike zone, to induce more chases from batters.  The results speak for themselves, as Perez is having a career year at age 31, and setting himself up for a much more lucrative trip to free agent this winter.  After the Red Sox declined their club option on Perez last fall, he told Grant that the Pirates and Nationals each had interest prior to the lockout, but Perez instead chose to return to a familiar environment and signed with Texas for a one-year, $4MM pact in March.
  • The Padres placed right-hander Robert Suarez on the 15-day injured list due to right knee inflammation earlier this week, and manager Bob Melvin told reporters (including reps from 97.3 The Fan radio) that Suarez recently had surgery to remove “loose impediments.”  A specific recovery timeline isn’t known, but Suarez will miss “at least a couple of weeks before we see him back throwing.”  The 31-year-old rookie has been a solid performer out of San Diego’s bullpen this year, with Suarez contributing a 3.09 ERA and 30.9% strikeout rate over 23 1/3 innings, though with a high 13.8% walk rate.

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