Matt Wieters’ addition gives the Nationals at least nine Scott Boras clients on their roster — a fact that prompted Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post to explore the relationship between Boras and the Nationals. As Svrluga notes, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon were each drafted as Boras clients, and GM Mike Rizzo stated to Svrluga that he’d always draft the best talent available regardless of representation. Lefty Gio Gonzalez, meanwhile, switched to the Boras Corporation after being extended by the Nats. Still, there’s a strong relationship between Boras and Nats owner Ted Lerner, who negotiated Rafael Soriano’s two-year, $28MM deal directly with Boras and, according to Svrluga, was the “primary architect” on Strasburg’s $175MM extension. Svrluga notes that some in the organization consider the relationship between Boras and Lerner to be unhealthy.
As for Wieters, Svrluga suggests that Boras set out targeting something in the range of the five-year deals signed by Brian McCann and Russell Martin in recent seasons, which prompted the Nats to pursue Derek Norris rather than Wieters. As his price dipped, the Nationals slowly reentered the picture and ultimately came away with what could very well prove to be a nice bargain. Nats fans, and those interested in the Lerner/Boras dynamic, are strongly encouraged to read Svrluga’s column in its entirety.
A bit more from the NL East…
- The Mets and Kevin Plawecki had an injury scare over the weekend when the 26-year-old catcher suffered an apparent knee injury on a play at the plate involving Nationals outfielder Rafael Bautista. However, while Plawecki was down for an extended period of time and had to be helped off the field, he’s been diagnosed with a knee contusion and should be cleared to resume workouts in the next few days, per Mike Puma of the New York Post. While Plawecki is a long shot to crack the Opening Day roster due to the presence of Travis d’Arnaud and Rene Rivera on the Mets’ roster, he once again figures to be the team’s first line of defense in the event of an injury to one of the primary two backstops (and d’Arnaud does have a lengthy injury history). While Plawecki has hit just .211/.287/.285 in 409 Major League plate appearances, he’s a lifetime .279/.331/.433 hitter in parts of three Triple-A seasons and is just two years removed from ranking among the game’s top 100 prospects.
- Former starter Adam Morgan is now vying for a spot as a lefty in the Phillies’ bullpen and seemingly has a good chance to secure such a role, writes Ryan Lawrence of PhillyVoice.com. Manager Pete Mackanin would prefer to have two left-handers in his bullpen, Lawrence writes, and there are only five southpaws in camp with the Phils: Morgan, Joely Rodriguez, Elniery Garcia (a minor league starter) and non-roster veterans Sean Burnett and Cesar Ramos. Morgan tells Lawrence that he’d happily accept whatever role the Phillies ask of him, joking that he’d serve as the backup catcher if necessary. All but two of Morgan’s 38 Major League appearances have been starts, but the Phils have an emerging young core of rotation arms plus veterans in the form of Jeremy Hellickson and Clay Buchholz.
- Chris Coghlan discussed his unique journey through professional baseball and his hopes for making the Phillies roster out of Spring Training with CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. Coghlan, who had interest from other clubs but chose to sign with the rebuilding Phillies — drew a parallel between the present-day Phillies and the 2014 Cubs team on which he played. (The Cubs lost 89 games before surging to the postseason in 2015 and a World Series title in 2016.) “We went from not being good to being really good,” said Coghlan. “We grew together and built relationships. This team is in a transition period of trying to groom guys, but they also need older guys to bridge the gap and I thought it would be a great opportunity. … I just want to come in here, establish myself, be a great teammate, lead by example and maybe I can stick around long term and see this thing through.”