Journeyman catcher Wil Nieves has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Padres, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com.
Nieves spent last season backing up Carlos Ruiz with the Phillies, hitting .254 with one homer and a .614 OPS in 36 games. He has a .598 career OPS and has topped a .700 OPS just once, in 2012, so at age 37 expectations should be very modest.
He’ll compete with Tim Federowicz to back up Derek Norris in San Diego.
The Phillies and Cubs have been speculated as a potential match in a Cole Hamels trade, but the two sides could match up in a different deal. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times has the scoop:
Hoyer wouldn’t disclose any of the specific players the Cubs are looking to acquire or trade. But sources during the week said the Phillies are one of several teams that have asked about left-hander Travis Wood and could be a match for catcher Welington Castillo. The Cubs like lefty-hitting Phils outfielder Ben Revere.
Wood is a weird target for the Phillies, as he’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and won’t be around the next time the team will likely be competitive, but they’ll need someone to log innings in 2015. Granted, they’ll likely get a pitcher back if they end up dealing Hamels this offseason, but the rest of their projected rotation includes Cliff Lee (who made just 13 starts in 2014 due to a flexor pronator strain), David Buchanan, Jerome Williams, and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. That’s a questionable bunch. Wood turns 28 in February and posted an ugly 5.03 ERA and 146/76 K/BB ratio in 173 2/3 innings over 31 starts this past season.
It makes sense the Cubs will try to move Castillo now that he’s a backup to Miguel Montero, but it’s hard to see the Phillies as a fit for him unless they end up moving Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz, who turns 36 in January, is owed $8.5 million in each of the next two seasons while his $4.5 million club option for 2017 carries a $500,000 buyout. He has the ability to block deals to four teams.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that the Pirates offered catcher and soon-to-be free agent Russell Martin a contract extension late during the regular season, but Martin rejected it. Details of the offer are not known.
Martin, 31, had a fantastic year with the Pirates, the latter half of a two-year, $17 million contract he signed with the club in November 2012. The veteran hit .290/.402/.430 with 11 home runs and 67 RBI while being a stalwart behind the plate. Among hitters with at least 450 plate appearances, Martin’s .402 on-base percentage ranked fourth in baseball behind teammate Andrew McCutchen, Victor Martinez, and Jose Bautista.
The upcoming free agent market for catchers is grim beyond Martin, so teams in need of a front-line catcher will have laser focus on him. Last off-season, Brian McCann was made rich when he signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the Yankees during the past off-season — $59 million more than the next-richest contract (Carlos Ruiz, Phillies for three years). Heyman suggests Martin could attain a similar contract in both length and value, which may price the Pirates out of the bidding.
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, who revealed two weeks ago that he played the entire season with a shoulder injury, underwent what the team is calling minor arthroscopic surgery Monday.
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that Ruiz will have a follow-up exam in Philadelphia about one month from now and “is expected to be ready for spring training.”
Ruiz’s overall numbers this season were right in line with his career totals, but he hit just .229 with a .659 OPS in 67 games after June 1 and batted .193 in September.
He has two years remaining on a three-year, $26 million contract and turns 36 years old in January.
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz revealed that he injured his left shoulder during spring training and has played through the injury for the entire season, telling Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that the pain has gotten progressively worse.
Ruiz apparently suffered the injury while lifting weights in March and Salisbury writes that it bothers him “on certain swings and occasionally when he receives a pitch in a certain location.”
It hasn’t really shown much in his numbers, which include a .258 batting average and .730 OPS that are slightly off from his career numbers but are actually better than what you’d normally expect from a 35-year-old’s decline phase anyway. He has, however, slumped recently.
Ruiz plans to see doctors after the season to determine if he needs surgery. He has two years remaining on a three-year, $26 million contract.