On Tuesday morning, the Washington Nationals signed former Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters on a two-year, $21 million deal. It was first reported by FanRag Sports that Wieters and the Nationals were close to an agreement.
According to a source, the deal is for $10 million in 2017 and $11 million for 2018, for which Wieters can opt out. There are no incentives in the $21 million deal. However, Wieters is able to receive award bonuses if he has an all-star year.
Career with Baltimore:
The 30-year-old was drafted fifth overall by the Orioles in 2007. In his eight-year career with Baltimore, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound switch-hitter has hit 117 home runs, third most among catchers. He battled .243 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI along with his fourth all-star appearance in 2016.
In 2014, his season was cut short after 26 games. He suffered a season-ending elbow injury that required Tommy John Surgery. In November 2015, Wieters became the second player ever to accept a qualifying offer, signing a one-year, $15.8 million contract to remain in Baltimore.
In the final game of the 2016 season against the New York Yankees. Wieters would do something no player has done in a Baltimore uniform since 1996. He homered from both sides of the plate in the same game. Wieters would help clinch a wild-card berth where they would ultimately lose to the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Nationals let All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos test free agency. Ramos had suffered tore knee ligaments late last season. He ended up signing a free-agent deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. Washington brought in veteran Catcher Derek Norris from the San Diego Padres. Wieters and Norris will be splitting time which leaves backup catcher Jose Lobaton as the odd man out for now.
This is a decent signing for the Nationals for what was left in the free agency pool. Signing a two-time gold glover this late is a huge win if you’re the Nationals. If Weiters can replace Ramos’ numbers, Washington should have an opportunity to once again compete for a World Series title. Hitting behind guys like Bryce Harper, Jason Werth, Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner, Wieters shouldn’t have a problem producing.