After noting the dearth of contract offers after 2008, and the utter lack of leverage he had with respect to his opt-out clause after last season, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times wonders whether 2010 will be Manny’s swan song:
This might well be the last season of Ramirez’s career. If he wants to
play for relative peanuts next year, maybe he finds a job. But given
the absence of a market for Ramirez over the last two winters as well
as the suspension and the decline in his production last season, who’s
to say he even gets a contract offer?
The dynamic Shaikin describes regarding Manny’s last two offseasons has not been about finding him employment, it’s been about optimizing his position among the richest of the rich contracts out there. Of course he didn’t get multiple offers these past two winters: his fallback was in the $20 million range, and there are only a couple of clubs who ever venture in that territory, none of which needed a guy like Ramirez these past two years.
But the winter of 2010-11 is going to be an entirely different animal for Ramirez, and while I’ve taken my whacks at Scott Boras recently, he’s no dummy. Unless Manny puts up an MVP-caliber season, he’ll probably be looking for a DH or left field job paying him less than eight figures. And unless he utterly falls off a cliff this season, he should get no small amount of interest in that price range.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.