According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports the Baltimore Orioles are trying to sign Carlos Beltran and in order to do that, they are going to have to trade away a high salary player. Here is his tweet.
Sources: #Orioles interested in Beltran. Pursuit may hinge on team clearing Wieters or another high-salaried player.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 15, 2013
The high salary player that he speaks of is Matt Wieters. Wieters has reportedly been in trade talks as our friend Domenic Vadala writes over at Birds Watcher. He states in that piece that Wieters is a Scott Boras client and we all know Boras’ clients. They all want big money, and usually don’t sign with their current team. That being said, who would be the better fit in D.C.; Matt Wieters or current catcher Wilson Ramos?
I’ll start with my case to trade for Wieters. Wieters is a year older but has played in three more full seasons than Ramos. That brings me to the argument that Wieters is the better choice because of health. He has played in at least 130 games every season since 2010. Ramos has suffered an injury every time he gets the chance to run the pitching staff. That causes a problem for me.
Wieters has done a great job of working with a pitching staff that really isn’t very good in Baltimore. Just think if he got to work with the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann. That would be an even better pitching staff with Wieters behind the plate. Wieters brings the defensive intensity that you like to see from a catcher as well.
He throws out runners at a rate of 35%, which was third best in the American League last season. To go along with that he saved nine runs last season as a catcher, which was best in the American League. Wieters is defensive minded which isn’t all bad, with the lineup that the Nationals have. You could put Wieters in the seventh spot in the order and get great production from him.
Speaking of offense, Wieters isn’t the greatest. His slash line in 2013 was .235/.287/.417. That isn’t something you want to see, but offensive minded catchers are very rare nowadays. The thing he did well was not grounding into double plays. He only grounded into seven in 523 at bats. When you really sit down and think about how many double plays kill innings, you realize that is a good stat to look at, at times.
I have already mentioned that Wieters is a Boras client, but another thing is he is a free agent in 2016. If Rizzo were to trade for him now, he would most likely only get Wieters for two seasons and have to look for another catcher. Would you rather have two seasons of Wieters playing 135 games or Ramos who could possibly miss 135 in a season due to an injury?
Wieters is a solid player that the Nats’ should look into a little more before pushing him aside. Reports keep saying they are looking for a backup to Ramos, well that backup could end up playing a majority of the games as we have seen in recent seasons. Why not take the risk of losing Wieters after two seasons? At least you know he will play the majority of the games and give you a solid game behind the plate.
Now that I have stated my case for Wieters, here is mine for Ramos.
The huge difference between Ramos and Wieters is offensive efficiency. He gets on base at a .307 clip, which is decent for a power hitting catcher. He is a big swing and miss or hit a ball over the wall type of hitter but he does provide a good amount of power. 25 of his 78 hits last season went for extra bases. His isolated power was .199 which would have been good for 14th best in the National League if he would have qualified.
Ramos did finish second in the league in one category. He drove in the second highest percentage of runners on base in 2013 behind Allen Craig according to Matt Hunter‘s Twitter with a little help from the Beyond the Box Score Twitter. This doesn’t surprise me one bit, with the amount of RBI that Ramos had on the season, even though I hate that stat with a passion. Allen Craig did have the highest batting average with RISP (Runners in Scoring Position) in 2013, so you have to cut Ramos some slack on that one.
There are more things going against Ramos at this point than good in my opinion. He has played in over 100 games once in his four seasons in D.C. That season was in 2011 when he played in 113. In 2012 and 2013 combined, he played in 103 games. That puts the Nats’ in a bind to find a back up catcher that can play like a starter. Well, there aren’t many of those out there. Again why not take the risk of losing Wieters after two seasons?
Ramos also doesn’t do well against the running game. He only threw out 19% of runners last season. The league average is 28%. He also allowed five past balls in the 78 games he played last season, compared to Wieters’ five in 140 games behind the plate.
Ramos is a great offensive player, but his defensive and accountability is a huge issue in my mind. He needs to stay healthy and play a full season before I give the starting job to him.
Like I stated before the Nationals have a great offense, and don’t really NEED a huge offensive catcher. They need to focus on having a better defensive one to save runs. Wieters is that type of player and could really bring a defensive mentality to the Nats’. It will cost the Nats’ a prospect or two, but he could be worth that and more. Prospects are prospects, they have yet to prove anything in the majors. Wieters has proved his worth in the majors for, four seasons and the Nats’ need to take the chance on him.