Wieters agrees to two-year, $21 million deal (with opt-out) from Nationals - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

Wieters agrees to two-year, $21 million deal (with opt-out) from Nationals

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Looks like catcher Matt Wieters will get a multi-year deal after all – and will stay in the area, a source confirmed this morning.

He just won’t be in an Orioles uniform for the first time since making his big-league debut in May 2009.

According to various reports, including FanRag Sports and Fox Sports and confirmed by BaltimoreBaseball.com, Wieters has agreed to a deal with the Washington Nationals that will pay him $21 million for the next two years. He’ll receive $10 million in 2017 and $11 million in 2018 if he decides to return to Washington.

There is an opt-out included after this season, which would allow the 30-year-old, four-time All Star to re-enter the free agent market again next year if he desires.

It certainly wasn’t a fun place this offseason for Wieters, who made $15.8 million in 2016, when he accepted the Orioles’ qualifying offer. The Orioles didn’t make the qualifying offer this winter – allowing Wieters, their fifth overall pick in 2007, to become a free agent.

Although the team initially said it wanted Wieters to return, there never was much of an effort made toward that end, especially once the Orioles agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal (with a $7 million player option for 2018) with catcher Welington Castillo.

The Orioles and executive vice president Dan Duquette decided that Castillo, who is younger and ultimately cheaper, could provide more offense than Wieters and be sufficient behind the plate.

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There was a sense that maybe Wieters could return at a highly reduced rate once February began, but that rate never fully came down. And, despite the wait, Wieters’ agent Scott Boras secured a multi-year deal worth seven figures each season from a Nationals club that often has signed Boras’ clients in its rise to prominence.

Once considered baseball’s next superstar catcher, Wieters had his season cut short in 2014 due to Tommy John elbow surgery and did not fully rebound offensively. He missed a chunk of 2015 and then hit .243 with 17 homers in 2016. His arm bounced back, and he threw out 35 percent of would-be basestealers last year, slightly better than his career average.

But he received poor marks for pitch framing, which has become a key advanced stat within baseball circles, and perhaps cost him money on the free-agent market.

 

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Wade Warren

    February 21, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    was the problem with the Orioles not pursuing him Wieters or Bor ass

    • Dan Connolly

      February 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      The Orioles felt like Castillo could give them similar or better offensive production for a lower price tag. The price tag part is correct. We’ll see if the production part is.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    February 21, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    OK….chalk up one more DC/NoVa fan switching to the Nationals Mr. Angelos !!! Just kidding. O’s forever no matter what idiot owns the team.

    Seriously, it’s a sad, sad day in my man cave. I’ll never understand how they could give this guy 15.8 big ones last year, and let him walk for a paltry 10.5 million per this year with only a 2 year commitment at that! This just boggles the mind.

    Please someone … make sense of all this for me! I know it’s not the Tap Room today, however I need more than a few Bohs today bartender…..

    • Dan Connolly

      February 21, 2017 at 6:03 pm

      Again, Duquette’s philosophy is to get the best production for the money spent. And the belief is they spent fewer dollars on Castillo and will get better production. Today’s signing proved the first part. The upcoming season will prove whether the second part rings true.

    • Paul Folkemer

      February 21, 2017 at 10:03 pm

      Keep in mind that the Orioles didn’t exactly WANT to give Wieters $15.8 million last year — that’s just the amount they were forced to pay him after he accepted the qualifying offer. Had they known he was going to accept the QO, I doubt they would’ve offered it. His production on the field didn’t justify that dollar amount. I think that’s a big reason why they didn’t offer him the QO again this offseason.

      The two years, $22 million might a little more in line with Wieters’ value, but as Dan said, they’re banking on the belief that they can get similar or better production from Castillo for a much lower cost.

      • bigdaddydk

        February 22, 2017 at 8:50 am

        Statistically, they’re right. Overall Castillo compares similarly to Wieters for a little over half the money. And their contracts are structured similarly — two year deals with opt-outs. I agree with you on last year too. I think they had hoped for Wieters to decline the QO so they could get the draft pick and he shocked them by accepting it in the hopes of a big FA payout this year after a rebound. That didn’t happen and his market plunged a bit, if $11 million/yr. is a plunge in any sense.

        Wieters has not seemed the same at the plate since having the arm worked on. He started off that season hotter than a firecracker, went out for the rest of the year, and never quite seemed like he recovered it. I really like the guy as a teammate and a fellow who seems like a decent all-around person. But this is a dollars and cents decision that makes a lot of sense to me. The $5-ish million saved is bullpen and OF depth money, which to me more than makes up for any difference between Castillo and Wieters.

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