Spring training opens next week with most camps opening February 14th. Pitchers and catchers are the first group of players scheduled to report, but not all catchers have a team to report to. Matt Wieters is still out on the free agent market. Wieters will turn 31 in May and is big for a catcher at 6’5 and 230 pounds. Wieters did have Tommy John surgery back in 2014 and you have to wonder if that is scaring some teams off. What looks like his former team the Baltimore Orioles handled him very carefully after the surgery. Wieters caught in just 55 games during the 2015 season, but came back last season to catch in 117 games; so health doesn’t look like an issue. Last season Wieters accepted the qualifying offer from the Orioles which paid him $15.8 million dollars, but this season Baltimore didn’t put a qualifying offer on Wieters; so there’s no draft pick attached with signing him. That makes it even more confusing as to why Wieters hasn’t been signed. Now Wieters is represented by Scott Boras and there are teams that don’t like to deal with him and his clients, but if you’re still looking for a catcher this late in the off season you have to look at Wieters. Last season Wieters hit .243, but for his career his batting average is .256. He hit 17 home runs with 66 RBI’s. His fielding percentage as a catcher last season was .994 and he threw out 35% of runners who tried to steal against him. Those numbers are right in line with his career numbers .993 fielding percentage and 33% of baserunners thrown out. Wieters won the Gold Glove award in back to back season 2011 and 2012 and is a four time All-Star. The negative on Wieters appears to be the overrated pitch framing stat. According to StatCorner; Wieters ranked 68th in framing among catchers who received at least 1,000 pitches last season, saving -7.3 runs compared to the average catcher. Buster Posey was first at +26.8.
Now there are some teams out there that Wieters would be an upgrade at the catching position and a couple of them are considered contenders for the upcoming season. The Washington Nationals added Derek Norris in a trade this off season, but he’s had a couple of down years. Will moving to a better team help Norris? Jose Lobaton appears to be the back up, but Washington does have a young catching prospect in 23 year old Pedro Severino. If the Nationals signed Wieters to a one or maybe two year deal he could hold down the position until Severino is ready. How about another National League East contender the New York Mets. It appears as the Mets like Travis d’Arnaud, but he’s been injury prone and hasn’t produced at the plate. Maybe a one year deal allowing d’Arnaud to be the back up might help him overall. The Colorado Rockies have been very active on the free agent market this off season spending close to $100 million dollars, but behind the plate it looks like they’re going with the young duo of Tom Murphy who’s 25 and Tony Wolters who’s 24. A veteran like Wieters could be a big upgrade for Colorado. The Arizona Diamondbacks sign renowned pitch framer Jeff Mathis who’s a career .197 hitter. They also added Chris Iannatta on a one year deal. Arizona has also added Josh Thole and Hank Conger to minor league deals. This is another situation where Wieters would be a huge upgrade. The Tampa Bay rays signed Wilson Ramos as a free agent, but he’s recovering from a knee injury and might not be ready for the start of the season. That leaves the Rays with Curt Casali and Luke Maile as the catching duo to start the season. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim acquired Martin Maldonado a highly regarded pitch framer in a trade and they have a prospect in Carlos Perez, but again Wieters would be a huge upgrade. The Chicago White Sox appear to be in full rebuild mode. They’re going into the season with a young starting rotation and relying on Geovany Soto behind the plate. If the White Sox could add Wieters on a one year deal he could work with the young rotation while also being used as trade bait to help the rebuild along. It’s highly unlikely that Wieters would return to the Orioles. Baltimore brought back Mark Trumbo on a free agent deal and it looks as though they’re settled on Wellington Castillo as there catcher. The Orioles also have some big time players looking to enter free agency at the end of the 2017 season. Manny Machado, Chris Tillman and Zach Britton are three of the Orioles who enter free agency at the end of the season. If the Orioles intend to bring back any or all of those three players then Wieters might be the expendable piece. There’s a few options still out there for Wieters. Where do you have him landing?
The Golden State Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies last night 122-107 and in the game Draymond Green had a triple-double. That may not be a huge news grabbing type of story as the Warriors win a lot of games and there is always a plyer on the Warriors who could get a triple-double. Now when you dig deeper into Green’s triple-double you’ll see that he had 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals while only scoring 4 points. It’s the first time in NBA history a player has recorded a triple-double while not scoring at least 10 points. It also was only the second in NBA history with at least 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals in a game. The first one was back in 1986 by Alvin Robertson, but he scored 20 points when he did it. Green was the first player in NBA history to record 10 steals and five blocks in a game since the 1973-74 season; when those became official statistics. Green’s 10 steals set a Golden State record and it was the first time a player had 10 steals in a game since Brandon Roy did it in 2009. Green has always been considered a unique player and this kind of a stat line really shows that about him.
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