Matt Wieters open to extension with Orioles

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Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is interested in signing a contract extension, but does not want it to distract him from the 2013 season according to MASN’s Steve Melewski:

Is he a player that would not be in favor of any in-season contract talks?

“You know, once the season gets here, I’d rather focus on the year,” Wieters said. “Like I said, I am here for three years no matter what, so it’s not like we have to get something done during the year. We love Baltimore and right now we are happy and excited for this year.”

The 26-year-old Wieters doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2015 season. However, he and the Orioles agreed to a one-year, $5.5 million deal on January 18, avoiding arbitration in his first year of eligibility. The Orioles could save themselves some money by buying out the remaining two years and beyond.

Wieters hit 23 home runs, made the All-Star team for the second time, and won a second Gold Glove award as well last season.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉