It took an injury to Neil Walker for it to happen, but Pirates top prospect Gregory Polanco is on finally on his way to the majors.
The Pirates announced this evening that Walker has been placed on the 15-day disabled list following an appendectomy. In turn, Polanco will be called up from Triple-A Indianapolis prior to Tuesday’s game against the Cubs.
Polanco was rumored to be called up last Friday, but those reports proved unfounded. However, Pirates fans got the news they have been waiting for just a few moments ago:
Polanco was ranked as the No. 10 prospect in the game by Baseball America in February and has dominated at the Triple-A level this year, putting up a .347/.405/.540 with seven home runs, 49 RBI, and 15 stolen bases over 62 games. The 22-year-old outfielder should have been promoted to the majors a while ago if we were going strictly on merit, but the Pirates held him down in the minors for service time considerations. Now that they have waited through early June, he has a better chance of avoiding Super Two status.
Josh Harrison has been playing right field as of late for the Pirates, but he’ll likely fill in for Walker at second base now that Polanco is in the big leagues.
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.