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March 31, 2017

Rumor Roundup

Montreal on the Mind

by Demetrius Bell

Good news, bad news for Mets' rotation

The Mets’ rotation is among the best in baseball, but most of the rotation could be considered an injury risk. In BP's season preview of the Mets, Bryan Grosnick labeled Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler as the two biggest injury risks in New York’s rotation, and both pitchers received contrasting recent news when it came to injuries.

The good news is that Wheeler has officially made his way back into the Mets’ rotation. He’s had an extremely long road back from Tommy John surgery, and now he knows for sure that he will be back in the starting rotation after missing two entire seasons. He’ll almost assuredly be on an innings cap as well, but has the potential to give the Mets a positive impact as he makes his much-anticipated return.

On the flip side, the Mets got some unfortunate news when it comes to Matz. Mets beat writer Anthony DiComo reported that while Matz doesn’t have any structural damage in his elbow, he will have to start the season on the disabled list. Additionally, the left-hander has been shut down for at least three weeks, so this will be a decent stint on the sidelines to start off the season. Again, this rotation is loaded with promise and potential, but the injury risks are definitely there and this news is evidence of it.

Kang's visa update

Jung-ho Kang’s tumultuous offseason may be taking a slight turn for the better. He missed out on the entirety of spring training while dealing with issues stemming from a DUI arrest in South Korea. His return to the Pirates was thrown into jeopardy when it was reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last week that he’d been denied a visa for entry back into the United States. However, Kang hasn’t given up on getting back into the U.S., and neither have the Pirates.

Team president Frank Coonelly believes that the franchise has information that could be vital in securing a visa for the Korean infielder. This isn’t a concrete indication as to whether Kang will actually receive a visa, but the Pirates really have no choice but to be optimistic here. With that being said, the fact that Coonelly appeared to be publicly confident about Kang’s chances of receiving a visa could be seen as a positive for both Kang and the team that could use his bat in their lineup for this upcoming season.

MLB and Montreal

If (and when) baseball undergoes another round of expansion, there will probably be an addition of two cities to the league. One of those expansion teams could mark a return for MLB to a city that recently lost a team: Montreal. The Expos left for Washington, D.C. following the 2004 season, but the big leagues could return to Quebec in the future.

According to The Canadian Press (via TSN), a group of investors in Montreal have “all of the ingredients” for bringing a team back. What are the ingredients for a delicious cake that is a potential expansion (or even relocation) team? According to these investors, they’ve got solid financing, governmental support, and stadium plans that include location and design. That seems like a solid foundation to build upon, in addition to the fan support that was evident from the preseason games that the Blue Jays have played (and will play) in the city.

The main question now seems to be when the return will occur. The report above stated that the league could consider expansion after the next collective bargaining agreement is signed, and Canadian eyes will surely be peering upon the stadium situations in Oakland and Tampa Bay. If those get resolved, then we could see them go the expansion route. If not, then relocation will be in play. Either way, things could start to get very interesting soon as far as Montreal’s return to MLB is concerned.

Demetrius Bell is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Demetrius's other articles. You can contact Demetrius by clicking here

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