After a disappointing season, the Baltimore Orioles and Matt Wieters might part ways this offseason, with teams like the Washington Nationals (especially), Chicago White Sox, New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves waiting on the sidelines, hoping to sign the All-Star catcher.
Wieters signed a qualifying offer with the Orioles last offseason, keeping him for one year on $15.8 million a season. Next season’s qualifying offer is $16.7 million, and the Orioles will be meeting with Wieters’ agent, Scott Boras, to try and figure out what’s the next move. Francisco Cervelli of the Pittsburgh Pirates preferred staying and signing a contract extension than testing the free agent market, which should make things better financially for Wilson Ramos and Junior Castro, if Ramos does leave the Nationals.
The Nationals are looking at Wieters while thinking Ramos leaves is a real possibility. It would make sense for them to go after Wieters, who also won’t have to do any massive relocation to join the Nats. No one seems to think his hitting issues this season are part of a long term problem. His defense is still very good, and only recently turning 30, he still seems like the kind of catcher who can be a successful part of any ambitious franchise.
The Mets haven’t been happy with Travis d’Arnaud missing so many games, and although the 27 year old has potential, when he’s healthy is becoming almost like a dream, especially when he has only 134 games over the last two seasons. The White Sox got very little from the position, be it Dioner Navarro and Alex Avila, and might be heading into a big rebuilding after this season, which should put their going after Wieters or any other high profile free agent into question.
The Braves have said publicly they want to improve the catcher position, maybe with more than one player. Brian McCann is someone they would love to bring back “home”, but Wieters could be a better option, although not a cheaper one. In any case, teams will be looking closely at Wieters batting only .241 this season with a .699 OPS. He did hit 14 home runs this season but overall, he probably lost a few millions off his next contract with his performance at the plate.