UPDATE: Done deal. Nieves gets a non-guaranteed contract worth $775,000.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Brewers are close to signing veteran catcher Wil Nieves, who played this year with the Nationals.
Nieves is a run-of-the-mill backup with a good defensive reputation and an anemic bat, hitting .227 with a .570 OPS for his career.
It’s surprising that the Brewers didn’t aim a little higher in their search for a backup catcher given that their starter will be 24-year-old Jonathan Lucroy, who struggled as a rookie this year and had modest production at Double-A and Triple-A.
Lucroy is expected to start 100-plus games and the Brewers no doubt wanted an experienced backup to show him the ropes, but Nieves will be stretched extremely thin if he’s needed more than once or twice a week. Milwaukee also has George Kottaras on the 40-man roster, but all indications are that Nieves will enter the depth chart ahead of him.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.