Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com has a worrisome report about Michael Pineda’s velocity early in Yankees camp, writing that “scouts yesterday had Pineda at 88-91[miles per hour]” after he averaged 94.7 mph with his fastball last season.
He also quotes a scout as saying “and there was some effort to get to 91.” And then while noting it’s very early in spring training, Rosenthal adds that “scouts were taken aback, asking each other if readings were accurate.”
Now, in fairness to Pineda his diminished velocity in some early spring training action would probably have barely been noticed had he still be with the Mariners. On the other hand, Keith Law of ESPN.com says he scouted Pineda on March 7 of last season and clocked him at 93-96 mph, so it’s not just an “it’s early” thing.
On a related note, the Yankees have apparently been stressing to Pineda that he needs to work on improving his changeup and commit to throwing it more often, as they believe he needs a consistent third pitch to go with his mid-90s fastball and hard slider. Of course, if his velocity stays in the low-90s perfecting a third pitch will be the least of the Yankees’ concerns.
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.