Earlier this week Matt Wieters said he’d like to sign a long-term deal with the Orioles, but for now they’ve avoided arbitration with a one-year, $5.5 million deal.
This was Wieters’ first season of arbitration eligibility, so he’s headed for some huge paydays in 2014 and 2015 even though he’s yet to top an .800 OPS. Gold Glove-winning catchers who can hit a little bit definitely get paid.
All of which means if the Orioles approach Wieters about that long-term extension it’ll likely have to be a massive one. For now he’s under team control through 2015 and age 29 anyway, so Baltimore may not want to rush into a long-term commitment to a good but not great player at a position where the aging patterns often aren’t pretty.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.