Handed the Angels’ starting job at third base following Chone Figgins’ departure as a free agent, Brandon Wood has made three errors in 97 innings defensively and is just 4-for-40 (.100) with 12 strikeouts at the plate.
Wood also struggled in his previous stints with the Angels, and now has a .178 batting average and equally abysmal 86/9 K/BB ratio through 97 games as a major leaguer. However, manager Mike Scioscia told Dan Woike of the Orange County Register that he’s not ready to pull the plug on Wood yet:
He will get an opportunity because we really feel good about his defense. We have some options if we have to take some pressure off him. There is no finite amount of at-bats where we will make a decision and say, “This is it.” Brandon is going to get an opportunity to contribute because we think his bat will play really well in the big leagues. We’ll see moving forward.
Wood has been a well-known and generally highly touted prospect since 2005, but his gaudy minor-league numbers are inflated by hitter-friendly environments and there were always questions about how his high strikeout rate combined with mediocre plate discipline would translate to the big leagues. So far the answer is “not well.”
He has tons of power, but Wood has continued to swing at everything while making poor contact, and unlike against Double-A and Triple-A pitchers he hasn’t been able to punish as many mistakes. He’s certainly much better than he’s shown thus far and the Angels are right to give him a longer leash, but even if Wood had adjusted quickly to the majors most projections pegged him as a Joe Crede-type player rather than a star.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.
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.