Rockies manager Jim Tracy indicated that both Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco would be in the lineup most of the time the rest of the season, sending veterans Chris Iannetta and Kevin Kouzmanoff to the bench.
Iannetta has a right to be upset by the arrangement. Among regular catchers, only Alex Avila (.391) and Carlos Ruiz (.371) have higher OBPs that Iannetta’s .370 mark this season. Only Avila (.907), Brian McCann (.843), Miguel Montero (.804) and Nick Hundley (.801) top him in OPS (Iannetta is at .779).
Rosario, in comparison, hit .249/.284/.457 in Double-A this year. He’s just 22 and he has the tools to excel defensively, but he’s likely a big downgrade from Iannetta right now and it’s doubtful he’ll overtake him at any point within the next year or two.
But Rosario is at least a prospect. Pacheco, 25, hit .278/.343/.377 as the catcher for Triple-A Colorado Springs this year. He was originally a middle infielder before converting, and the Rockies intend to give him most of his playing time at third base for now. At best, his versatility could make him a fringe major leaguer.
The Pacheco plan could be taken as a strong indication that the Rockies don’t like what they’ve seen from Kouzmanoff since grabbing him from the A’s earlier this month. Auditioning for a spot in the 2012 lineup, Kouzmanoff has hit .244/.306/.289 with no homers, one walk and 10 strikeouts in 45 at-bats. The Rockies will probably end up releasing him, trading Ian Stewart and going outside of the organization for a new third base solution for next year.
For what it’s worth, the Rockies are also going a bit younger at shortstop tonight, with Chris Nelson getting the start in place of Troy Tulowitzki. That’s likely a one-day thing, though, as Tulo is getting a night off to deal with a sore hip.
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.