Heavy caveats here. For one thing, the report comes from Jim Bowden. A man who, in my year or so of following him on Twitter, has one of the lowest batting averages among guys who purport to break stories.
For another thing, the Orioles have been rumored to be in on a lot of top-flight free agents in recent years, but no one ever seems to bite. Whether that’s because the offers aren’t really as serious as they sound or if it’s because top free agents see nothing at all enticing about signing with the O’s is an open question. I suspect a little bit of both us happening.
I think the Orioles will sign a first baseman, but I think it’s way more likely to be of the Derrick Lee or Adam LaRoche variety as opposed to someone like Konerko. Which is fine, because after what they had last year, either of those two would represent a significant improvement.
Particularly Lee who is thought of as a great guy and a total pro. Yes, I realize that I often discount such things, but for a team like the Orioles that’s important. It’s a critical time for the franchise. Showalter showed a lot last season, but their emerging players need some role models too. Lee wouldn’t be a bad one to have around.
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.