The Braves have signed former NFL defensive back Sanders Commings to a Minor League deal, a team source told MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.
The Nationals’ reported two-year agreement with Matt Wieters (which contains a player option/opt-out clause after the first season) gives the team four catchers on the 40-man roster, as Wieters now joins Derek Norris, Jose Lobaton and young Pedro Severino. While Severino was likely to open the year in the minors anyhow, the addition of Wieters immediately made it apparent that the Nats were likely to explore deals involving their remaining two MLB backstops. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post wrote this week that manager Dusty Baker strongly implied that the team would gauge interest in Norris, and FanRag’s Jon Heyman wrote today that the Nats are “trying to trade” Norris, citing sources from other clubs that have been contacted by the Washington front office. The Post’s Barry Svrluga adds to the Norris trade buzz as well, tweeting that his expectation is that Norris will be traded. That’d leave the Nats with Wieters and Lobaton to comprise their primary catching corps (with Severino, of course, in the wings at Triple-A). Unquestionably, Norris’ value was higher a year ago than it is at present. The former Padres and Athletics receiver (who was originally drafted by the Nats in 2007) posted quality offensive numbers from 2013-15 but limped to a dismal .186/.255/.328 batting line in 458 plate appearances last season. That was about 45 percent worse than the league-average bat, per park-adjusted metrics like OPS+ and wRC+, leading many (myself included) to wonder about the possibility of Norris simply being non-tendered by the Padres this winter. Instead, San Diego tendered him a contract and traded him back to the Nats, who avoided arbitration with Norris on a one-year deal worth $4.2MM.
Major League Baseball is back in action, and the schedule is filling up quickly. Today, the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies will play in Spring Training exhibitions.
The Nationals had been the speculated landing spot for free-agent catcher Matt Wieters this offseason, and the two sides reached a deal on Tuesday, pending a physical, manager Dusty Baker confirmed.
Newly minted Dodgers righty Sergio Romo discussed his interesting journey to joining his hometown team with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Personal trials and the strain of an increasingly high-profile role in the Giants bullpen put a strain on the veteran hurler, he tells Rosenthal. He credits several former teammates, including lefty Javier Lopez, with helping him to find his footing once again. Also of note, Rosenthal says that Romo “reject[ed] a higher offer from the Rays” to head to Los Angeles, due in part to the ability to live closer to his family. Here’s more from out west: Righty Jesse Hahn is set to receive the Athletics’ first start this spring, as Susan Slusser notes on Twitter. That’s a solid indication that he’s under serious consideration for the fifth starters’ role, she notes. The 27-year-old is looking to bounce back after a rough 2016 campaign in which he pitched to a 6.02 ERA with just 4.5 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9 in his 46 1/3 MLB innings. Hahn had generated quality results in his first two MLB campaigns, which occurred on both sides of a trade that sent him to Oakland from the Padres in exchange for catcher Derek Norris. But elbow troubles interrupted his 2015 campaign, and he has yet to get back on track
Baltimore and veteran outfielder Michael Bourn have agreed to a one-year deal with an invite to Spring Training; the deal will be worth $2 million if Bourn makes the Major League club.
Marcus Stroman — now two years removed from surgery to repair the torn ACL in his left knee — indicated after Monday’s workout that he believes the best is yet to come.
There are enough outfielders on the Dodgers roster to platoon at any of the three spots, but manager Dave Roberts’ perfect world apparently would have Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig playing regularly in center and right, respectively.