Now that the Orioles have signed center fielder Adam Jones, manager Buck Showalter, and general manager Dan Duquette to long-term contract extensions Matt Wieters would also like to sign up for the long haul in Baltimore.
Wieters told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that he’s “always been interested” in a long-term deal because “it’s a fun place to play and it’s a place where I enjoy playing.”
Wieters is arbitration eligible for the first time this season, which means he’s already under team control through 2015 and won’t be a free agent until age 30. To sign a good but not great catcher to a long-term extension that goes into his 30s would be a risk for the Orioles, although obviously it all depends on Wieters’ asking price.
He hasn’t quite lived up to the prospect hype as the next big thing, but Wieters has been very solid during the past two seasons while winning back-to-back Gold Glove awards and hitting .255 with 45 homers and a .771 OPS in 283 games.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.