The Pittsburgh Pirates played their 13th of 33 Grapefruit League games on Thursday afternoon
After an 8-3 victory on Thursday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 4-7-2 in Grapefruit League play. This victory came against the team that will be their Opening Day opponent – the Detroit Tigers.
In his second start of the spring, Nick Kingham pitched 3 innings on Thursday afternoon. Kingham struggled with control and was burnt by some poor defense. However, he did a nice job of limiting damage.
Kingham allowed 3 runs, 2 of which were unearned due to errors, on 5 hits, a pair of walks, and a pair of strikeouts in his 3 innings of work. While Kingham will start the season at Triple-A, look for him to make his Major League debut at some point this season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates were able to grab an early lead when the team scored a trio of runs in the bottom of the 1st inning.
Starling Marte hit a solo home run to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead. Then, David Freese belted a 2-run shot making it 3-0 Bucs after an inning of play.
After Felipe Rivero fired a 1-2-3 top of the 4th inning, the Pirate bats went back to work in the bottom of the 4th inning.
With the game now tied at 3, Sean Rodriguez hit a single and then came around to score on a Francisco Cervelli double. This gave the Pirates a 4-3 lead. The Pirate lead grew to 5-3 in the bottom of the 5th inning when Corey Dickerson scored on a sacrifice fly by David Freese.
George Kontos had a scoreless top of the 5th inning with a pair of strikeouts, while Edgar Santana and Kyle Crick each recorded a K while firing a scoreless inning.
In the bottom of the 7th inning, Erich Weiss doubled in Christopher Bostick to make the score 6-3 Pirates. Later in the inning, Weiss would score on a wild pitch from Detroit pitcher Gerson Moreno. This made the score 7-3 Pirates.
The Bucs then made the score 8-3 in the bottom of the 8th inning with another long ball. This time it came from Bryce Brentz. This was Brentz’s first home run of the spring.
With the help of 2 strikeouts, Jack Leathersich worked around a pair of walks to pitch a scoreless top of the 8th inning. Brett McKinney then pitched a scoreless top of the 9th to close out the 8-3 Pirate victory.
Notable offensive performances included Francisco Cervelli going 2-for-2 with a walk a pair of doubles, Corey Dickerson going 2-for-3, and Colin Moran and Sean Rodriguez both went 1-for-3. Additionally, Starling Marte went 1-for-3 with a home run, while David Freese and Bryce Brentz both went 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk. Josh Harrison was 0-for-3 and Jordy Mercer was 0-for-2 with a walk.
Next up for the Pirates is a trip to Spectrum Field in Clearwater to battle the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM, Steven Brault will start for the Bucs while the Phils go with Jerad Eickhoff.
The San Diego Padres split up their squad and played in two games yesterday. Fernando Tatis Jr proved unstoppable against his former team and a few rookie pitchers dominated on the mound.
The San Diego Padres split their split-squad games today, defeating the Chicago White Sox 7-6 and falling to the Oakland Athletics 12-4.
Let’s first recap the positives and take a look at why the Chicago front office has to be kicking themselves after trading away Fernando Tatis Jr for James Shields.
Fernando Tatis has a perfect day for the San Diego Padres.
The Padres pounded 10 hits in today’s game, four of those coming from Tatis. Tatis ended the day going 4-4 with five RBI’s. In the process, he collected his third double of the spring while raising his batting average to .381. The young man truly is a pleasure to watch. You would never guess he’s only 19-years-old with no major league experience by the way he carries himself off the field and his approach at the plate.
If Tatis continues to hit like this in the minors, which he should, the Padres will have to make an extremely tough decision very soon (bye Headley?).
Two young prospects who are in contention for immediate playing time are Franchy Cordero and Christian Villanueva. Cordero chipped in his fourth double, bringing him to within one of the league lead (Luis Urias leads the league with five). More importantly, he worked two walks.
Villanueva one-upped Cordero, drawing three walks in four at-bats on the day. If Villanueva can show the same patience at the plate and ability to hit major league pitchers later in spring, does he deserve a shot to start at third base? Without a doubt.
On the mound, Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer combined for four scoreless innings, one baserunner allowed, and five strikeouts. While the #HotTalentLava has been flowing offensively, the young starting pitchers in camp have struggled, so far. With so many veteran pitchers fighting for a roster spot, don’t expect to see the prospect pitchers up too much longer before being reassigned to minor league camp.
San Diego Padres (ss) fall to Oakland Athletics.
While the final box score wasn’t pretty, this Eric Hosmer opposite-field home run sure was.
There was also this defensive stop by Freddy Galvis. Last season, this would have been a hit off Clayton Richard.
Carter Capps, coming off Tommy John and shoulder injuries is full of potential. He’s full of major league talent and is in desperate need of a break to go his way. His return to the mound was one to forget. Capps pitched one inning, gave up four hits (two home runs), and three earned runs.
As a whole, the pitching staff gave up five home runs to the A’s. Clayton Richard also gave up two, running his total up to three in just five spring innings.
Some good news to leave you all with, the Padres return to TV tomorrow! San Diego will take on the Arizona Diamondbacks at 5:40 pm PT and fans can watch on Fox Sports San Diego or MLB.tv.
The starting rotation for the San Francisco Giants could be the largest area of concern heading into the 2018 season.
Last year, San Francisco Giants co-aces, Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto, both missed significant amounts of time due to injury. Although Bumgarner looked mostly like his usual self after his return from injury, there will be far more question marks surrounding Cueto who’s coming off one of his worst seasons in years in addition to the injuries.
Another interesting story-line is who will secure the 5th spot in the rotation. Bumgarner, Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, and Chris Stratton are all nearly locks, but there will be some young, inexperienced arms as well as a few wily veterans vying for the 5-spot.
First off, let’s go over who all of the Giants’ starting pitchers are heading into Spring Training.
40 Man Roster:
Matt Cain‘s retirement coupled with trading Matt Moore away forced the Giants into accepting a shaky rotation while instead focusing on bolstering the lineup and bullpen. Some may have thought the Giants would try to upgrade the rotation this off-season but other pressing needs (i.e. the rest of the roster) as well as the luxury tax threshold which they have maneuvered and connived to stay under got in the way of that.
Despite the question marks surrounding the rotation, it’s worth remembering that the Giants have six pitchers reporting to camp who have all proven to at times be serviceable MLB starters. The main question is: will serviceable be good enough?
Let’s start with the guys who we expect to be pretty solid next year.vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
MESA, Ariz. — Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez left Monday’s spring game against the Chicago Cubs in the top of the second inning after being struck by a line drive.
Hernandez, 31, immediately grabbed his right forearm after getting hit by the line drive off the bat of Cubs catcher Victor Caratini. Trainers came out to attend to Hernandez, and he was taken to the Mariners’ facility for X-rays, which came back negative. He will be reevaluated Tuesday and is listed as day-to-day.
Hernandez missed considerable time last season with shoulder issues and struggled to a 4.12 ERA while compiling just 118 innings.
Last May, a line drive off the bat of Caratini struck Cardinals pitcher Daniel Poncedeleon in the head during a Triple-A game. Poncedeleon required emergency surgery to alleviate pressure on his brain, followed by a couple of weeks in intensive care in Des Moines, Iowa, and then three months of inactivity at home in Florida.
Poncedeleon returned to the mound Sunday, pitching two innings of three-hit, one-run ball for the Cardinals against the Houston Astros.
JUPITER, Fla. • Chris Carpenter has one of the lengthier titles in baseball. It is special assistant to the president of baseball operations for the Cardinals. “He just does whatever he wants,” joked that president, John Mozeliak.
But those who know the Cardinals Hall of Fame member or know of him can figure it won’t take long for Carpenter to make a point. And it hasn’t in his first three days in spring camp.
Carpenter, long known for his intensity besides his ability, said Wednesday, “So far, my passions still come out and I think that’s part of it. I don’t want to dial it down. I want to be me. I’m going to be me.
“You might not like it all the time. And it’s not always the right answer. But if you’re going to come to me, I’m going to be honest and give you my opinions and hopefully it helps one, two, 17 people, whatever. I just want to make this organization better, somehow, just the way they helped me. I want to make this organization continue on with where we were when I played.”
Manager Mike Matheny, Carpenter’s former catcher in Toronto and St. Louis, said, “Already it’s obvious he’s got a gift for this. There’s no question about it. There’s a kind of firmness in everything he does.”
But Carpenter, while confident in his opinions, is approaching the task gingerly.
“Right now, I’m just asking questions and listening,” he said. “I’m speaking a little, which is why you have two eyes, two ears and one mouth. You watch and listen twice as much as you speak. That’s the way I’ve always been. But when I speak, I’ve got something to say and I think it’s going to be important.” ‘
Carpenter retired after the 2013 season, when, because of injury, he actually never pitched in the majors. The Cardinals had hoped the star righthander could join them in some capacity and, for a while he did, but he had some family issues and didn’t want to be away from his son and daughter. So he backed off.
“They reached out to me and kept the door open every year,” Carpenter said. “The timing is right. It’s neat to be back in it. It feels good to be around the game that I love and talk about the game that I love. I couldn’t be any more comfortable right now.”
Carpenter can’t be his intense self every minute of the day, and he knows that.
“There’s a line to make sure you’re graceful and kind in some areas when you recognize that’s what they need,” he said. “But also give them the honest truth, too. Sometimes the honest truth is good. Sometimes it’s not. I’m not doing my job and I’m not making you any better or them any better if I don’t give it to you.
“You might not like it sometime. But that’s OK. That’s your problem,” Carpenter said, laughing.
Matheny said, “You can tell he truly wants to teach you something. That’s what is special for any of the guys we bring in, whether they’re Hall of Famers or not. They have a passion for how their life was impacted and their career was impacted by being here.
“He’s got a gift of that intensity he showed on the mound. He brings that when he talks and when he teaches. But he has that same kind of thread that Willie (McGee) has, as far as caring. He’s not trying to build himself up. He doesn’t want people seeing him everywhere. It’s not about him.”
On Tuesday, Carpenter stopped by where infielders were taking balls while working with Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith and put on a glove to shag throws. Then Carpenter felt compelled to make a point and Matheny said, “(Carpenter) didn’t even know it but it dove-tailed into what Ozzie had just got through saying. We talk about character a lot around here and it’s not a bunch of guys holding hands and singing songs. There was the consistency and preparation that Ozzie was talking about and then Carp (talking) about what it looks like to be a hard-nosed guy that does show up every day and doesn’t take a play off.
“When you hear us talk about that stuff and then you hear it from guys with their background, it should be written in stone in those (players’) minds for the rest of their life.
“You want to tell these guys, ‘Go over in your mind while you’re laying in bed tonight what was just told you because what you just got has so much more value than what you’re giving it. Go chew on that.’”
On Wednesday, Carpenter visited Yadier Molina and the catchers to gain some knowledge and even challenged an outfielder or two on a hot, sunny day.
“I want to learn why we do things,” said Carpenter, just a couple of days removed from needing a snowmobile to clean off his driveway in New Hampshire. “I want to see how everything works.
“That’s more a part of your role as a coach compared to a player. Not that it should be, but I have more time, for instance, to pay attention to why we straddle the bag instead of catching the ball in front of the bag as a shortstop.
“I’ve seen things happen in a game but not know why.”
Carpenter will make two more trips to Jupiter this spring and then travel to Class AA Springfield, Class AAA Memphis and St. Louis as needed during the season and when his schedule permits.
“(Mozeliak) is going to tell me where to go. I’m going to give him the dates I’m available,” Carpenter said. “It’s going to be a relationship-building year. When these young guys trust to come to talk to me and ask me questions, I’m going to do everything I can to make whatever they’re doing easier and better. On the field, off the field, anything they have going on.”
This spring, Carpenter said he would try to stay involved “in everything. I don’t want to say it’s trial and error but this is a trial period to see (1) how it’s working, (2) what improvements we can make and (3) it’s gaining me experience in learning how the other side works.
“I’m not in that side of the locker room anymore. There’s other aspects to it. Answering to people and making sure I’m not stepping on toes. I’m not here to take anybody’s job.”
Carpenter, 42, is not ruling out a more full-time role.
“This is an avenue for me to start,” he said. “Mo has given me the ability to come up with a certain amount of days a month. I’m committed 100 percent to travel and I’m committed 100 percent to what’s going on. And he’s given me time to still be committed to my son (15) and daughter (12) when I need to be there.
“As it moves forward and the more structured they are, the further they’re not going to want to be around me anyway and the more time I’ll be able to commit. This is a great stepping stone — to pick Mo’s brain, to pick (Michael) Girsch’s brain, to pick Mike’s brain and all the coaches,” Carpenter said.
“Right now, there’s still some guys in (the clubhouse) that I played (with) that understand what I brought. There’s still some coaches that I played for that understand. So, I’m not too far away. But the game has changed a lot and I’ve got to a lot to learn.
“There’s just as much learning for me as there is teaching.”
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays released the promotional schedule for the 2018 season Thursday, which features 30 unique collectibles, with many tied to the team’s 20th anniversary celebration throughout the 2018 season. All fans (while supplies last) will receive a Rays Schedule Magnet and a 20th Anniversary Cowbell, both presented by Tropicana, on Opening Day, Thursday, March 29 vs. the Red Sox. The Rays 2018 season is presented by Tampa General Hospital.
Saturday promotional items this year are available to all fans, and include a 1998 Replica Seat Cushion (March 31 vs. Red Sox) presented by GTE Financial; Carl Crawford Bobblehead (April 14 vs. Phillies) presented by DEX Imaging; Car Sun Shade (April 21 vs. Twins) presented by Florida Department of Transportation; Tropical Shirt (May 5 vs. Blue Jays) presented by Hooters; Kevin Kiermaier STAR WARS Pop Vinyl (May 26 vs. Orioles) presented by Tech Data; Fred McGriff & Tino Martinez Bobblehead (June 9 vs. Mariners) presented by Suncoast Credit Union; Rays & Devil Rays Reversible Jersey (June 23 vs. Yankees) presented by Suncoast Credit Union; Hugging Steven Souza Jr. (June 30 vs. Astros) presented by FOX Sports Sun; DJ Kitty Mascot Head (July 21 vs. Marlins); Akinori Iwamura Bobblehead (August 4 vs. White Sox); Wade Boggs Bobblehead (August 25 vs. Red Sox); 20th Anniversary Photo Viewer (September 8 vs. Orioles) presented by Sagicor Life Insurance Company; Tote Bag (September 15 vs. Athletics) presented by MLB Network; and Dan Johnson Bobblehead (September 29 vs. Blue Jays) presented by Moffitt Cancer Center. Promotional items are available while supplies last.
Sundays will once again be Family Fun Days, courtesy of Tampa General Hospital. Every Sunday home game will feature free parking for cars with four or more passengers and a variety of postgame activities for kids, including Kids Run the Bases and a DJ Kitty Dance Party featuring mascots and entertainers. For the fifth consecutive season, concourse activities will be complimentary for kids 14 years and under. Activities include Power Alley Batting Cage, Speed Pitch, Virtual Reality Homerun Derby, Raymond’s Treehouse, Topps Make Your Own Baseball Card and the Grand Slam Alley, courtesy of GameTime. Extra entertainers will also perform on Sundays, including face painters, stilt walkers, jugglers and balloon artists. In addition, every Sunday home game, two Rays players will sign autographs for kids 14 years and under along the right field stands from 12:00–12:30 p.m.
Sunday promotional items are for kids 14 and under, while supplies last, and include a Commemorative Baseball (April 1 vs. Red Sox) presented by Tampa Bay Times; Steven Souza Jr. Wristband (April 15 vs. Phillies) presented by Tampa General Hospital; Mascot Socks (April 22 vs. Twins) presented by GEICO; Baseball Toss Game (May 6 vs. Blue Jays) presented by Morgan Auto Group; Raymond Children’s Book (May 27 vs. Orioles); Boogie Board (June 10 vs. Mariners) presented by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital; Chris Archer Snapback Hat (June 24 vs. Yankees); Wearable Rays Up Flag (July 1 vs. Astros) presented by Tampa General Hospital Children’s Medical Center; Beach Tank Top (July 22 vs. Marlins) presented by Tradewinds Island Resorts; Kevin Kiermaier Lunch Box (August 5 vs. White Sox); DJ Kitty Slippers (August 26 vs. Red Sox); Snack N’ Drink Cup (September 9 vs. Orioles); Toy Truck (September 16 vs. Athletics) presented by W.B. Mason; and PopSockets (September 30 vs. Blue Jays).
Rays Flex Packs are currently available for purchase. Flex Packs include five lower level tickets for $98 per pack, a Rays 20th Anniversary Pint Glass Set, presented by DEX Imaging (while supplies last), and the opportunity to redeem tickets next week prior to single-game tickets going on sale to the public. For more information, visit raysbaseball.com/flex or call 888-FAN-RAYS.
The complete promotional schedule can be found on the following page or at raysbaseball.com/promotions.
The Texas Rangers continued adding proven major-leaguers to minor-league deals ahead of spring training, agreeing Monday to a deal with infielder Darwin Barney and inviting him to big-league camp.
The Barney signing comes a day after the Rangers and veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon agreed to a similar deal, and Barney is the 24th non-roster invitee to spring training.
Barney won the Gold Glove at second base in 2012 while with the Chicago Cubs on the strength of a .997 fielding percentage and 141 consecutive games without an error.
Primarily a second baseman, Barney has logged 83 career games at third base and 57 at shortstop, and has done so as a starter. Barney made 95 starts last season for the Toronto Blue Jays.
His glove is what keeps him in the major leagues. Barney has a career average of .246 with only 31 homers in 2,536 at-bats over eight seasons.
Barney joins a group of utility infielders that includes Jurickson Profar, Drew Robinson, Hanser Alberto and Christian Lopes. Profar is out of minor-league options and is almost certain to make the Opening Day roster.
Watch the Rangers’ Super Bowl commercial
In case you missed it just before Justin Timberlake took the stage at halftime of the Super Bowl, here’s the Texas Rangers’ commercial in full (courtesy of the Texas Rangers).
Rangers’ Gallo describes ride in self-driving car
Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo recently spent time in his hometown of Las Vegas taking a ride in a self-driving car. Yikes (video by Jeff Wilson).
With just a couple of months until the 2018 Blue Jays season (we open the season March 29th. That’s two months on the calendar, 4 years in Tom perceived time.), I thought we’d take a look at the Blue Jays 40-man roster, one at a time, try to figure out where they fit and see what the important question is for each.
First on our list is Anthony Alford.
You all know the story. Picked by the Jays in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft. He ‘fell’ to the 3rd round because he was committed to playing football at Southern Miss. He was a two-sport athlete in high school, winning Mississippi’s Mr. Football and Mr. Baseball awards.
In 2012, he played quarterback for Southern Miss, a pretty big deal for a Freshman. Poor play and personal issues (assault and gun charges can fall under the umbrella of personal issues, right?) cost him his role on the team and he transferred to Ole Miss. There he changed from a quarterback to a safety. Baseball soon became a better option.
Anthony has been working hard to make up for lost time time, and he made it to the majors, playing 4 games for the Blue Jays in 2017, before breaking a bone in his wrist. Life sucks sometimes. When he recovered, they sent him back to Double A.
Anthony had a super minor league season, playing mostly in New Hampshire, with a handful of games in Buffalo and Dunedin, hitting .299/.390/.406 with 5 home runs and 19 steals. This off-season he played in the Mexican Winter League, hitting .352/.386/.505 there, with 8 steals in 26 games. I don’t know that he really has more to prove.
Where does he play this year?
Personally, I’d be shopping Kevin Pillar, trying to get a pitcher, and I’d be handing the center field job to Anthony. Anthony is going to be 24 in July, I think it is time to see if he can do it. He’s a top prospect, let’s not bounce him up and down until he’s no longer a prospect.
And, I’d rather trade Pillar while he has value, instead of waiting until he has no value. I think that Alford is going to have his job at some point, so let’s do it now. Trust that he’s going to be good. Sometimes you just gotta have faith. Pillar’s bWAR has been following a bad trend: 5.2 in 2015, 3.4 in 2016 and 2.8 last year. I’m not sure I’d want to see the next stop in that progression. He’s still a good player, I’d think we could get something for him. I’m worried he’ll have a bad season and not longer have trade value. Of course, Pillar could put it all together this year and make me look stupid.
In reality, Alford is likely to start the season in Buffalo and wait there for an injury.
Will we see him in Toronto?
Oh, of course. At worst he’ll be a September call-up, barring injury. More likely there will be an injury in Toronto and he’ll come up. It’s also possible that the team falls out of the playoff race and they trade off guys to make room for Anthony. But, we will see him at some point.
The better question is ‘will he stay up?’ And the answer is ‘I hope so’.
He is the type of player we say we are wanting for the Blue Jays: Athletic, fast, does more than hit home runs (but I am hoping that some power develops, he’s strong and has a quick bat, home runs should come. And, if not, I still think he’ll be a good player). I’d love us to have someone who would be exciting to watch on the basepaths. Exciting in a different way than Kendrys Morales is exciting on the basepaths, where you are wondering if he will make it to the next base before we fall asleep.
I want Alford to be the top prospect who actually makes it, starting a trend.
Cecilrosa asked ‘who will be the next Blue Jay to get 20 steals?’ I’d love it to be Alford and I’d love it to be this season.
The latest rumors last week had the Washington Nationals as the “team most heavily engaged in trade discussions” with the Miami Marlins for their 26-year-old catcher J.T. Realmuto, according to Sirius/XM host Craig Mish.
FanRag’s Jon Heyman too reported on Twitter that the Nationals were at least, “… among teams trying to reel in [Realmuto].”
Realmuto reportedly requested a trade after watching the Fish deal big pieces of their roster away as part of a rebuild under new ownership this winter.
This afternoon, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro is reporting that, “[t]he Nationals are one of the clubs most interested, and they may also be the favorites to land the rising star,” while noting that Washington is not the only team in the mix for the four-year veteran who is relatively affordable and under team control through 2020.
According to Frisaro, at least a dozen teams have inquired about the Marlins’ talented backstop’s availability.
One sticking point, which Frisaro touches on again today, has been the Marlins’ interest in the Nationals’ top prospects should any deal go down.
GM Mike Rizzo and Co. in the Nats’ front office are reportedly unwilling to trade either of their top outfield prospects, Victor Robles or Juan Soto.
“According to multiple sources and reports,” Frisaro wrote today, “… the Marlins covet either of Washington’s top two ranked prospects — outfielders Victor Robles and Juan Soto.”
The Nationals, however, are, according to Frisaro’s sources, still unwilling to include either player in any potential deal.
“Sources say neither prospect is available,” Frisaro added, “… and the Nationals instead are open to a package that would center around shortstop Carter Kieboom and right-hander Erick Fedde.”
Kieboom, 20, is the Nationals’ 2016 1st Round pick, who was ranked 90th overall on MLB Pipeline’s list of the top prospects in the organization when it was released this past weekend after putting up a .297/.396/.493 line with 16 doubles and nine home runs in an injury-impacted campaign in the Nats’ system in 2017.
Fedde, the top pitching prospect in the organization, and one of two pitchers who is thought to be an option for the fifth spot in the Nationals’ 2018 rotation, debuted in the majors this past season.
The 24-year-old right-hander, who was a first round pick by the Nationals in 2014, in spite of the fact that he underwent Tommy John surgery before the Draft, put up a 3.04 ERA, a 3.24 FIP, 2.88 BB/9, and 8.63 K/9 in 56 1⁄3 IP at Double-A Harrisburg and a 4.76 ERA, a 3.54 FIP, 1.32 BB/9, and 6.62 K/9 in 34 innings at Triple-A, with 15 1⁄3 IP for the Nationals (9.39 ERA, 7.20 FIP, 4.70 BB/9, 8.80 K/9), struggling in his first exposure against big league hitters.
Realmuto finished the 2017 campaign with a .278/.332/.451 line, 31 doubles, and 17 home runs in 141 games and 579 plate appearances, over which he was worth 3.6 fWAR.
Will the Nationals, who dealt three pitching prospects to the Chicago White Sox in the Adam Eaton trade last winter be willing to trade their top pitching and infield prospect as part of a package to bring in Realmuto? Do they need to add catching or are you as convinced as the Nats seem to be that Matt Wieters (who is back on a 1-year/$10.5M contract) is a candidate for a bounce-back season after struggling offensively in 2017, and top backstop prospect Pedro Severino is ready to share duties with Wieters?