There goes all of that crazy Wes Helms speculation I was looking forward to at this year’s Winter Meetings:
The Florida Marlins have signed third baseman Wes Helms to a $1 million, one-year contract extension through the 2011 season. The
Marlins generally don’t sign players to extensions during the season,
but have been talking to Helms for several weeks about returning. Helms
is hitting .225 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 178 at-bats in 91 games.
Wes Helms had 278 glorious plate appearances for the 2006 Marlins and has been one of the worst hitting third basemen in all of baseball since then. Yes, I realize he’s a backup, but there’s nothing that says your backup can’t hit a little. At this point I can only assume that his continued tenure with the Marlins is based on him being the nicest, most wonderful guy you’d ever want in a clubhouse. Or else the Florida brass thinks that the past four seasons are the exception and 2006 the rule.
According to the AP story, Helms is expected to become a coach or a manager after he’s done. I wonder if the Marlins realize that they can hire him in that capacity even if they don’ give him 250 trips to plate next year.
This is more significant for basketball fans than baseball fans, but Magic Johnson is taking over basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. Dan Feldman over at PBT has the full story on that.
For our purposes, you probably know that Johnson is part of the Dodgers ownership group. Anthony McCullough of the L.A. Times got comment from the Dodgers, saying that despite his new full-time job, his status with the Dodgers will be unchanged:
Maybe I’m alone in this, but I’m not entirely certain what Magic does with the Lakers, so the first clause in Kasten’s comment may be doing most of the heavy lifting here.
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.