Matt Wieters hasn’t lived up to the considerable hype offensively yet, hitting just .266 with 35 homers and a .734 OPS through 342 career games, but the former No. 5 overall pick has actually been even better than advertised defensively.
Wieters leads baseball by throwing out 40 percent of stolen base attempts, gunning down 26 runners while allowing a total of just 44 steals in 950 innings behind the plate. And in three seasons his throw-out percentage has risen from 24 to 31 to 40.
After yesterday’s game, in which Wieters homered and also threw out a base-stealer in extra innings, manager Buck Showalter told Matt Vensel of the Baltimore Sun that “if the Gold Glove doesn’t go Wieters’ way, then somebody ain’t watching.”
And there’s a pretty good chance it will. Joe Mauer has won each of the AL’s past three Gold Gloves at catcher, but he’s been injured and ineffective while seeing significant time at first base this season. And not only does Wieters lead the league with a 40 percent throw-out rate, Alex Avila of the Tigers is the only other catcher above 30 percent.
The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.
Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.
Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.