After nixing a reported two-year, $15 million deal with Grant Balfour due to concerns raised in a physical exam, the Orioles are moving quickly to secure an alternative for the closer role.
Confirming reports from yesterday, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish hears that the Orioles are “being aggressive” in their pursuit to land free agent closer Fernando Rodney. It’s unclear whether Baltimore would be able to secure him at a similar price as Balfour’s proposed deal, but he appears to be their first choice among the fallback options. Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reported last night that the Orioles and Phillies discussed a possible Jonathan Papelbon trade, but there’s nothing to suggest that talks made it very far.
Rodney wasn’t nearly as effective this past season as he was in his historic 2012 campaign, but he still posted a 3.38 ERA and 82 strikeouts over 66 2/3 innings and saved 37 games.
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.