They’re not worried about his bat or his glove or his chi or anything like that. Just his health, as he has taken a lot of foul tips to the cabeza lately:
“He’s taken more than I’ve ever seen,” said manager Bruce Bochy, a catcher himself during his playing days with the Astros, Mets and Padres. “He’s getting enough shots that are hitting him pretty good that I’ve got concern.”
So what to do about that concern? One thing Bochy is suggesting is maybe Posey using a different mask, though it’s unclear whether the hockey mask he uses now is any worse than the traditional catcher’s mask when it comes to foul tip protection.
How about a position switch? Andrew Baggarly says in the article that that’s not so easy, what with Pablo Sandoval at third, Aubrey Huff at first and Brandon Belt waiting in the wings to take first base over when Huff is gone.
Maybe I’m just being dense here, but Belt has played in 29 games at AAA since being sent down and he has played the outfield in at least 24 of them. Think maybe that Buster Posey could handle first base then? Or, given how strong his arm is and the fact that he once was an infielder and is a pretty good overall athlete that he could maybe handle right field?
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.
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.