The Orioles are attracting interest from other clubs at the shortstop George Mathew, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The specific teams that have contact with Baltimore aren’t clear, though he’s a natural reserve target for clubs that haven’t handled the situation via free agency.
A former top prospect in the Yankees and Oakland farm systems, Mateo can be undone at times with an overly aggressive approach. He’s made less than 5% of his MLB plate appearances while hitting nearly 28% of the time, resulting in a dismal . 271 career-high percentage. Things were even more extreme last season, as his 267 OBP was only bested by Jonathan Scoop And the Cody Bellinger Among hitters with over 500 plate appearances.
While Mathieu does not have a particularly good skill set, he has benefited from material gifts that have made him a classy prospect this year. After jumping from the A’s to the Padres, the 27-year-old landed in Baltimore in late 2021 via a waiver claim. He got his first home run at the major league level this past season. Mateo’s tablet discipline profile was appalling, but he showed his first-class athleticism. He stole a career-best 35 bases in 44 attempts, displaying speed that garnered top scores when he was a prospect.
As Rosenthal points out, this type of sports may be especially attractive in light of the rule changes that will go into effect for the 2023 season. MLB places a limit on the number of times a pitcher can come off the mound at the plate and expands the rules, both of which must moderately incentivize. At least on stealing the base.
The league also places limits on defensive shifting, requiring clubs to keep two players on either side of the second base bag and four players on the field. As a result, teams can place more value on athletic defenders, as players with below-average range will be more difficult to compensate for with strategic positioning.
Mathieu has blossomed defensively this year, hitting career-high marks in more than 1,250 innings at shortstop. Saves by defensive tackles scored 14 above-average runs at center, the third-highest mark in MLB. Mathieu was estimated by Statcast to be eight runs over par, which ranked him fourth among shortstops. He has displayed both a developed range and above-average arm strength and seems to have emerged as a plus-sized defender.
Maintaining this kind of defensive production will be crucial for Mathieu unless he takes a significant step forward in his offensive development. This year’s .211/.267/.379 streak was 18 percentage points worse than average, as measured by the WRC+. His groundbreaking style means he’s not a glove-only player, but he’ll need to maintain top-level defensive marks to remain valuable with such a lukewarm output at the plate. Mathieu is attracting interest from other teams though his insignificance is a testament to his secondary skills and lack of alternatives.
The star-studded free agent class was one of the stories of the offseason. All Big Four players – Carlos CorreaAnd the Tria TurnerAnd the Xander Bogaerts And the Dansby Swanson – Ended up changing teams. This somewhat surprising amount of shuffling leads to the Twins, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Braves having to locate new solutions to replace their outgoing stars.
All four clubs have some inside prospects, but no ideal situations. Minnesota got Kyle Farmer of Reds as a temporary option, while Royce Lewis He is expected to return mid-season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee for the second year in a row. Dodgers can move Gavin Lux From second base to shortstop with a combination of Max MuncieAnd the Chris Taylor and prospects like Jacob Amaya or Michael Vargas in the cornerstone. Lux is a former high prospect coming off a productive .276/.346/.399 showing, but his below-average arm strength can be a concern on the left side of the field.
Boston has a somewhat similar situation, though Trevor’s story He is currently likely to return to shortstop from second base. Long-time Rocky has been a short-game plus-sized defender for a while, but he also has a below-average arm at this point in his career. The Sox don’t have as strong a selection of indoor second base options as LA, with Christian Arroyo Looks to be a playtime favourite Enrique Hernandez He stays in the center of the field. The brave have the benefit Orlando Arcia and upward von Grissom — who has played 63 career games above High-A and comes with defensive question marks from potential residents — as insiders.
It makes sense for all four teams to explore the market for short-term assists, and clubs like the Angels and Diamondbacks could sign up as well. Free agency is largely chosen at this point, with Elvis Andrews It stands out as a top leftover option. Jose Iglesias Provides higher contact depth option and Andrillton Simmons He’s still an excellent defender, but No File has been presented as an ordinary defender for such an optimistic opponent.
Trade possibilities also seem slim. Perhaps the guardians can listen to the performances Amed Rosario For his final season of Observation Refereeing. However, there was no indication that this was inappropriate as they planned to do so. The Brewers have reportedly notified the teams that they are not dealing Willie Adams; The same applies to the White Sox with Tim Anderson. Players love Nick Ahmed or Nikki Lopez They can be dealt with, but they’re the only types of defense who would be below average players every day for a team that’s now winning.
MLBTR contributor Matt Schwartz expected Mateo to earn a salary of $1.8 million during his first season of arbitration eligibility. He’ll go through the process two more times before entering the open market after the 2025 campaign. This extended window of control means the Orioles don’t have to deal with him, and there’s no indication they’re actively shopping for him. Rebuilding Baltimore in the rearview mirror, Mateo’s modest refereeing salary puts no financial strain on the organization.
There’s a logic to general manager Mike Elias and his staff for entertaining trade shows, especially if they’re concerned about Mateo’s ability to maintain his pace in 2022 with the gauntlet. The lack of other options for teams desperate for a shortstop could increase their sense of urgency to go after him, while Baltimore has a number of prospects that they hope will eventually dethrone him as the franchise shortstop.
Gunnar Henderson She debuted at the end of the season, working primarily at third base out of respect for Mateo. The O can roll with the left side of Mateo and Henderson while at it Ramon Urreas The site recently Adam Frazier Share reps at second base. Baltimore has prestigious prospects Jordan Westberg And the Joey Ortiz Right behind that group, with both players coming off good Triple-A seasons in Norfolk. Both Westburg and Ortiz – already on the 40-man roster – could find themselves in the majors fairly early in the 2023 campaign, and both are considered by many prospects as potential daily shortstops.
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