Here’s Rich Dubroff, Orioles insider for CSNBaltimore.com:
“I don’t know the timing of it,” Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette said at last month’s Fan Fest. “The good news is that Matt’s signed for this year. He had a great year. He’s continuing to improve as an RBI man. His leadership and defense are big plusses for the team. We’re looking forward to having him do that, and hopefully have him beyond the three years we have him on the team.”
The betting is that the Orioles and Wieters will wait until after this season and address the issue with a lucrative, long-term deal with two years to go before free agency. Another successful season for Wieters and the Orioles will only make that deal more lucrative.
Wieters was eligible for salary arbitration this winter for the first time and landed a $5.5 million salary for 2013.
The 26-year-old catcher batted .249/.329/.435 with 23 home runs, 27 doubles and 83 RBI in 144 games last season for the American League Wild Card-winning O’s while earning Gold Glove honors for his exceptional defense behind the plate. He is currently under team control through the 2015 campaign.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.
The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.
Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.
Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:
Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.