The Cardinals and Athletics were first linked to Matt Wieters during the Winter Meetings, and a month after those initial reports, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that St. Louis and Oakland continue to have interest in the veteran backstop. Wieters served as the Cards’ backup catcher last season, hitting .214/.268/.435 with 11 home runs over 183 plate appearances and 67 games — perhaps more playing time than was expected, given that workhorse Yadier Molina was limited to 113 games due to thumb injuries. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes (Twitter link) that the Cardinals have an offer out to Wieters and are hopeful of a reunion, to the point that a locker has been kept open for Wieters. The A’s would also be looking to use Wieters as a backup catcher behind promising youngster Sean Murphy, though Wieters could potentially have a larger role if Murphy were to struggle in his first full MLB season.
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- Nolan Arenado has been frequently mentioned as a trade possibility for the Cardinals, though Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch feels a potential deal with the Rockies “probably won’t” happen. Roadblocks include Arenado’s contract, which is both expensive and contains an opt-out clause after the 2021 season. While Arenado is a clear upgrade over virtually any other third baseman in the game and Matt Carpenter is coming off a rough 2019 campaign, Carpenter’s presence as the Cards’ in-house third base option further complicates matters since Carpenter is unlikely to carry much trade value. In terms of moving him to another position, Paul Goldschmidt has first base covered, and Frederickson writes that “the team has thoroughly dismissed the notion of Carpenter spending time in the outfield again.”
- The Reds’ offseason plans put an early priority on Shogo Akiyama, and the outfielder told reporters (including The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans) that Cincinnati was the first team to make him a contract offer. “I was very inspired by their passion for how much they really wanted me. I wanted to respond to that. That’s why I chose the Reds,” Akiyama said via an interpreter. Several other teams had interest in Akiyama’s services, though the Reds came out on top with a three-year, $21MM deal with the center fielder. Akiyama becomes the first Japanese player in Reds history, and Rosecrans’ piece explores how the team has looked to improve its Asian scouting practices in recent years, as former Reds GM Walt Jocketty preferred to focus Cincinnati’s international signing efforts towards Cuban players (i.e. Raisel Iglesias, Aroldis Chapman).
- With Jedd Gyorko now in the fold, Brewers GM David Stearns told reporters (including MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy) that he is “comfortable” with the club’s remodeled infield. “We feel like we have a number of players who fit in a variety of different ways, and that’s really helpful,” Stearns said. “It gives us options. It gives us depth. It allows us to see not only how the rest of the offseason unfolds, but how the first part of the season unfolds, in terms of how we want to structure a roster, how we want to play different players.” Many of the Brewers’ infield pickups (Gyorko, Luis Urias, Eric Sogard, Ryon Healy) have multi-position capability, while first base has also been addressed with Justin Smoak as the top complement to Ryan Braun, who is slated for time at both first base and in the outfield.