Orioles catcher Matt Wieters was considered one of the top prospects in baseball when he was called up to the majors in May of 2009. He failed to live up to the high expectations of O’s fans, batting a pedestrian .288/.340/.412 with nine home runs and 43 RBI in his first 96 games. Many baseball people were optimistic that he would turn the corner this season, but he hasn’t. At least not yet.
Through 53 games this season, Wieters is hitting just .246/.316/.346 with four homers and 17 RBI. Normally fans and management can live with a few unimpressive developmental years. After all, baseball is a tough game. But we now live in a results-oriented world populated by guys like Jason Heyward, Stephen Strasburg, Mike Leake and Buster Posey. We like our youngsters to flash greatness right away, and Wieters has largely been a disappointment thus far.
Yankees veteran catcher Jorge Posada knows all about the pressure that Wieters is facing, and chatted Thursday with MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli about the 24-year-old backstop.
are back there behind the plate, obviously your number one priority is
the pitcher, the defense, and [Wieters is] doing a hell of a job,” said Posada. “I
think he needs to understand that. … The sky’s the limit. He’s
going to be a good player. He looks strong, he looks good. And he’s
going to be there for a while.”
Orioles fans can only hope so. The club currently owns a 16-43 record and is 23 games out of first place.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.