MLB.com’s Barry Bloom sat down with Hal Steinbrenner recently. During their conversation Little Stein, after first reiterating that he doesn’t do contract extensions until the current contracts actually end, strongly suggested that Joe Girardi isn’t going anywhere:
“Quite frankly, I had a talk with him,” Steinbrenner said. “I said,
‘Joe, this is something you can’t take personally. It’s something I’ve
never done. It’s something I don’t believe in, and I don’t believe in
making exceptions. But I can’t imagine this team without you. So know
that.’ And he was fine with it. It is what is.
“I hope everybody is reasonable and we can work it out easily. But
there’s no doubt I want them here.”
The “them” refers to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, who also are winding down their current contracts. But no one really doubted that they’d remain in the fold. There’s always a chance, however, that Girardi wouldn’t be back, either because the team disappoints or because he asks for too much money or what have you. These quotes, however, make it sound like Girardi is going to be around regardless.
Which makes sense. If this Yankees team doesn’t have a great year, it’s not very likely that it will be due to something Girardi does or doesn’t do. It will be because of injuries or one of the older players finally feeling his age or something like that.
Girardi is a good company man. He deals with the scrutiny from the press pretty well. The players seem to like him. He hasn’t mishandled the assets he’s been given to manage. Those are the most important traits for a New York Yankees manager. He deserves a new deal in my mind.
Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.
Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.
Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.
Ken Rosenthal has an interesting story up about Sergio Romo as he begins spring training with his new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There is some fun stuff about his family, all Dodgers fans from southern California, but the more notable stuff is about Romo himself, who has dealt with a lot more than has been reported over the past couple of seasons. The loss of three of his four grandparents is a big one, as it has thrust the mantle of head of the family on Romo in ways that he was not fully prepared for. There are also allusions to personal and psychological problems Romo has experienced — there is a vague suggestion of alcohol or maybe just late nights out and perhaps depression, but he is not specific about it — which he worked on with the help of friends and teammates on the Giants and which he now has overcome.
There’s always more going on the lives of baseball players than we as fans know.