With the reported signing of Matt Wieters, the Washington Nationals have upgraded at the catcher position
Early yesterday morning, the Washington Nationals agreed to a deal with catcher Matt Wieters for two years, $21 million with a opt-out after the 2017 season. Once again, the Nats were able to land a Scott Boras client. While the Derek Norris trade was a good one, it’s safe to say the Nats have upgraded at the position.
Since the Washington Nationals are trying to win now, it makes sense to add a proven catcher with a strong track record. When he’s healthy, Wieters has hit 17 or more home runs in four of the last six seasons. He is the closest option to replacing the power at that position that Wilson Ramos had (now with the Tampa Bay Rays).
The signing of Wieters brings more depth to the lineup and more power to the bottom of the order. Right now, the most logical spot for Wieters is to put him seventh or eighth in the order. Last year, he hit seventh in 33 games and hit .233 with three home runs and 17 RBI’s.
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Even though this is a two-year deal, you have to look at it as a one-year deal when you consider the opt-out. With that being the case, this is an excellent deal for the organization because it’s a one-year deal at an affordable price. Usually, these one-year deals are low amounts of risk with a high reward.
Defensively, he isn’t the catcher that won the American League Gold Glove in 2011 and 2012, but he still can throw out runners at a good rate. According to Baseball Reference, he threw out 35% of runners trying to steal a season ago, which was a four percent increase from 2015.
If there’s only one question about this signing, it’s how quickly Wieters can learn these pitchers. He is coming into camp later than everyone else, but the talent of this pitching staff is probably the best that Wieters has caught in a long time.
In case you missed it, check out our special DoDcast episode breaking down the reported signing of Wieters we recorded last night:
Last season, the Orioles rotation had the third highest starters ERA of any team in the game. In fact, the Baltimore starters have only finished in the top five in the American League in that stat once (2014). During that 2014 season, Wieters only caught 22 games.
During the month of February, Mike Rizzo has made deals for Wieters and Adam Lind. While he didn’t win the Winter Meetings, he found a way to make deals late in the offseason that benefit the Washington Nationals this season.
Right now, it’s hard to not view the Wieters signing as anything but a home run for the Washington Nationals. They get a power hitting veteran catcher on a affordable deal. What more could you ask for?