Rafael Soriano has had a fantastic season overall. Really, if back in April you told the Yankees Universe that Mariano Rivera was gonna miss almost all of the season because of a torn ACL, people would have assumed disaster. Instead, Soriano has nailed down most saves — he’s 33 for 36 where even Mariano River blew five saves last year — and has kept the bullpen humming.
But he got lit up last night and then he bolted the clubhouse before the press got there. John Harper says that’s bad news. Of course, because this is Harper, the notion is put forth with enough sanctimony and drama to choke a horse:
One thing for sure: Soriano doesn’t handle himself in defeat the way his predecessor did. Nobody was more accountable or classier when he did blow one than Rivera … He was gone before the Yankees’ PR people could even find him to ask if he would answer questions from the media. And don’t get this wrong: it’s not a media issue, it’s an accountability issue. It’s about being a professional in a clubhouse that has oozed professionalism since the day Derek Jeter showed up some 16 years ago.
Overwrought phrasing aside, he’s not wrong. I personally think that to a lot of reporters it is a media thing, but Harper correctly notes that players hate it when the guy everyone wants to talk to because of his screw up leaves and they have to give the quotes for the next day’s unhappy stories.
Harper wants to make it into some harbinger of doom and by the constant comparison to Rivera he wants to make it much larger than it is, which is kinda silly. But it’s not nothing. Soriano probably annoyed his teammates with that.
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.