Scott Kazmir threw a B game this morning here in Goodyear. On hand were scouts from multiple teams including the Rangers, Cubs, Brewers and Padres. Terry Francona and multiple Indians officials came out to the back field to watch as well.
The results: with the GIGANTIC caveat that I’m no scout, I’d say he looked pretty good. His fastball was sitting in the low 90s, mostly at 91-92. The purpose of the game, however, was for him to work on breaking and offspeed stuff. Like, Kazmir specifically asked for the game for that reason. As far as that goes, he did seem to have a bit of trouble locating his breaking stuff early, but he was getting a lot of swings and misses, striking out four of the first six batters he faced, three of them swinging.
As Kazmir was winding down I talked to one of the scouts. He thought Kazmir looked good and agreed with me that his velocity was nice, especially compared to where he was a year or two ago. As for the breaking stuff: yes, some issues with location, but the scout liked the deception. Especially his slider, which really had nice movement. And obviously deception is the name of the game.
All told, I think this was a good outing for Kazmir. Whether that means he gets a job on the Indians or becomes trade bait isn’t clear, but given where he was not too long ago, it was a pretty encouraging morning.
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.