I think the game was on NESN, so more people in New England could see this than usual, but HBT reader Moses Green — who performs a valuable and gratuitous service in editing each morning’s “And That Happened” — is vacationing in Maine and saw the Portland Sea Dogs and New Britain Rock Cats play in person yesterday afternoon.
The draw: Red Sox uber-prospect Casey Kelly took on Twins uber-prospect Kyle Gibson. Kelly didn’t have a good game, giving up six runs on 10
hits in four innings and change. Beyond the line score, I found Moses’ scouting report rather interesting thanks to this comment:
verdict? Kelly is a live-armed SS trying to learn to be a pitcher. Case in point, Kelly’s
pickoff moves and bluffs are comically horrible. Gibson looks really good, really polished. He already looks
like a pro.
As Moses notes, this is why you have scouts. Most of us just never think of that kind of thing, content to sit back and yell for teams to call up the big prospects on a timetable to our liking based on their stat lines.
For example, I barked about the Giants saying that Buster Posey isn’t ready to catch in the big leagues and citing that as the reason for taking so long to call him up. But the only minor league action I ever see is whatever passes through Columbus Ohio, and Posey has never been here. I’m not paying attention to a whole host of other non-statistical considerations teams must make in determining whether a guy can play in the majors. Like, say, whether a guy can frame pitches. Or whether he has a decent move to first.
A small point, sure, but one about which I constantly have to remind myself when it comes to prospects.
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.