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Wil Nieves Rumors
FEB. 3: Nieves will earn $850K if he makes the Major League roster, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter).
FEB. 2: The Padres have agreed to a minor league deal with free agent backstop Wil Nieves, Corey Brock of MLB.com reports on Twitter. Nieves will receive an invite to big league camp and should have a chance to challenge for a backup job, says Brock.
Nieves follows Gerald Laird off the board, leaving few options left among the veteran free agent backstops who saw some MLB time last year. The 37-year-old spent last year as the Phillies’ second option behind the plate.
Over his eleven-year big league career, Nieves has compiled a .243/.281/.317 slash in 1,246 turns at bat. He has actually outperformed that mark in the last two years, averaging a .661 OPS over 334 plate appearances, although he had a much stronger line in 2013 and benefited from a .340+ BABIP in both seasons.
2:39pm: Heyman reports that Nieves is guaranteed $1.125MM and can earn up to $500K in performance bonuses (Twitter link).
THURSDAY, 1:36pm: The Phillies announced Nieves' deal, which ESPN's Jayson Stark notes is a Major League pact.
Nieves, 36, hit .297/.320/.369 in 206 plate appearances for the Diamondbacks last season. Arizona retained the veteran with a one-year, $800K deal right around this time last year. For his career, Nieves owns a .242/.283/.314 across ten big league seasons.
SUNDAY: The Angels are said to like Chris Snyder and Ramon Hernandez with ex-Angel Bobby Wilson, in camp with the Yankees, an interesting possibility, tweets Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez adds Rod Barajas and Wil Nieves, both with the Diamondbacks, and Brett Hayes and George Kottaras, both with the Royals, as other possibilities.
FRIDAY: The Angels "have been out looking for a backup catcher," tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
The team entered the spring hoping that former high-end prospect Hank Conger would lay claim to the back-up spot behind starter Chris Iannetta. As Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times explored back in February, the team was also considering two journeymen, John Hester and Luke Carlin. Still young at 25 and offering a natural complement to Iannetta's right-handed bat, Conger seemed the obvious choice if he could move past his history of inconsistency and injury.
Despite Conger's excellent start on the offensive side of the plate this spring, however, he has struggled behind the dish. While manager Mike Scioscia has previously expressed confidence that Conger would rein in his wildness in the throwing game, Conger made three errors with his arm last Sunday. Entering his final option year, the Angels could elect to allow Conger to work out his issues back in Triple-A Salt Lake. For their part, Hester and Carlin have limited track records at the major league level and are sporting anemic batting lines in pre-season action.
If the Halos are unwilling to let Conger test his arm in a real game, the club may be looking at limited options for an upgrade. A glance at MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker reveals Matt Treanor as the lone unsigned, free agent backstop. Barring a more significant trade, the Angels could consider dealing (or scouring the waiver wire) for a more established option as teams like the Diamondbacks and Rockies decide which of their veteran catching options will make their opening day rosters.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Nieves had been non-tendered by Arizona last week, perhaps because the D-Backs thought they were adding Eli Whiteside. The D-Backs put in a waiver claim for Whiteside after he was designated for assignment by the Yankes, but the Blue Jays won the claim.
MLBTR had projected an $800K salary for Nieves through arbitration.
Here are today’s National League non-tenders. All decisions must be in by 11pm CT tonight. Be sure to track all tender decisions using MLBTR's Non-Tender Tracker. Related resources include our list of non-tender candidates, our projected arbitration salaries and our arbitration eligibles series.
- The Diamondbacks have non-tendered Wil Nieves according to Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (on Twitter).
- In addition to John Lannan, the Nationals have also non-tendered Tom Gorzelanny and Jesus Flores according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- The Cubs have non-tendered Ian Stewart, Jaye Chapman, and Zach Putnam according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat (on Twitter).
- The Padres have non-tendered left-hander Juan Oramas, the team announced. He had Tommy John surgery this summer and is expected to miss the start of next season.
- The Mets also non-tendered Andres Torres and Manny Acosta, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Mike Pelfrey has been informed he'll be non-tendered by the Mets, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports (on Twitter). The Mets were expected to non-tender Pelfrey.
- The Braves will non-tender Jair Jurrjens and Peter Moylan.
- The Phillies plan to non-tender Nate Schierholtz, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter).
- The Pirates will non-tender Jeff Karstens, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (on Twitter). Technically the Pirates are designating Karstens for assignment, Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (on Twitter). The team confirmed the move.
- The Brewers have non-tendered left-hander Manny Parra, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (on Twitter).
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Andres Torres | Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Chicago Cubs | Ian Stewart | Jeff Karstens | Jesus Flores | Manny Acosta | Manny Parra | Mike Pelfrey | Milwaukee Brewers | Nate Schierholtz | New York Mets | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | San Diego Padres | Tom Gorzelanny | Transactions | Washington Nationals | Wil Nieves
4:08pm: The Diamondbacks announced that they claimed Nieves and placed Blanco on the disabled list.
Nieves appeared in 16 games for the Rockies this year, but has been sidelined since July 8th with turf toe. The 34-year-old posted a .298/.333/.404 batting line in 51 plate appearances this year. Nieves, a nine-year MLB veteran, has a career line of .226/.272/.296. Henry Blanco has been backing up Miguel Montero behind the plate for the Diamondbacks.
FRIDAY: Nieves has cleared waivers and rejected an assignment to the minors, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Nieves is eligible for free agency on Saturday.
WEDNESDAY: The Rockies announced that they designated catcher Wil Nieves for assignment after reinstating him from the 15-day disabled list (Twitter link). Nieves appeared in 16 games for the Rockies this year, but has been sidelined since July 8th with turf toe.
The 34-year-old posted a .298/.333/.404 batting line in 51 plate appearances this year. The nine-year MLB veteran has a career line of .226/.272/.296 that is likely more indicative of his abilities on offense.
The Rockies are one of the few teams in baseball who are firmly out of contention, and thus figure to be sellers as the trade deadline approaches. Here's the latest on some of Colorado's top trade chips, courtesy of Troy Renck and Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post…
- Jeremy Guthrie's continued struggles are ruining the starter's trade value, writes Renck. Guthrie has a 6.35 ERA in 19 games this season, including a whopping 9.50 ERA at Coors Field. Renck suggests that the Rockies could limit Guthrie only to road starts in order to properly showcase him for any trade suitors.
- Marco Scutaro has drawn interest from the Pirates and Rangers, reports Renck and Saunders, in addition to the Tigers' known interest in the veteran infielder. Scutaro would be an upgrade over Clint Barmes at shortstop for the Pirates, and he would provide the Rangers with middle infield depth behind Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler.
- The Braves and Red Sox have shown some interest in Rafael Betancourt. We heard last month from ESPN's Buster Olney that the Rockies "would have to be overwhelmed" to deal Betancourt or Matt Belisle.
- The Nationals have scouted Wil Nieves. The catcher played for Washington from 2008-10 and has a .738 OPS in 51 plate appearances for Colorado after signing a minor league deal with the Rockies in December. Nieves is on the DL with a turf toe injury. The Nats also asked about Colorado's Ramon Hernandez as they continue to look for catching help.
- Scouts say the Rockies want pitching back in any deal.
Time for some links from baseball's two West divisions…
- "I think so," said Dodgers GM Ned Colletti when asked if he was done with his free agent shopping, reports Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). They re-signed Mike MacDougal to a one-year deal today, the tenth free agent they've signed this winter.
- The Rangers continue to have dialogue about long-term contract extensions with core players like Ian Kinsler and Derek Holland, reports Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas. "Our general feeling is to try not to negotiate during the year, but we've made exceptions," said GM Jon Daniels.
- Daniels also refused to comment about the Rangers' talks with Yu Darvish, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. "It's best for us to lay low," said the GM. "The less noise around that, the better."
- Athletics GM Billy Beane told MLB.com's Jane Lee that he has some interest in a few free agent outfielders, and he's also exploring trade possibilities (Twitter link). Bullpen help is another possibility, says Joe Stiglich of The Bay Area News Group (on Twitter).
- Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said they are "still keeping our ears open" regarding veteran starters even after signing Hisashi Iwakuma, reports Shannon Drayer of MyNorthwest.com (on Twitter).
- ESPN's Buster Olney says (on Twitter) that the union calculated the value of Albert Pujols' contract with the Angels at $246,841,811. Ronald Blum of the AP has a breakdown of the perks in the contract, such as a suite on road trips.
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post has the details of Wil Nieves' minor league contract with the Rockies (on Twitter). The backstop will earn $700K in the majors and $14K per month in the minors. He's also been invited to Spring Training.
Let's keep track of today's minor league signings here…