The Orioles have announced that Matt Wieters is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow and miss the remainder of the 2014 season. Recovery time for Wieters is estimated at nine months.
The news is a big blow for an Orioles team that hoped to have Wieters back in the middle of its lineup for a potential playoff push. The switch-hitting Wieters was off to the best start of his career in 2014, slashing .308/.339/.500 with five homers and five doubles through the season’s first 26 games (112 plate appearances).
Baltimore has been relying on Steve Clevenger, Caleb Joseph and the recently acquired Nick Hundley at the catcher position while Wieters has been on the shelf, but none of those players has provided any help on the offensive side of the game. In fact, they’ve combined to bat just .185/.253/.241 in 182 plate appearances. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Baltimore pursue further help on the trade market if none of that trio can turn it around at the dish, though that is speculation on my part.
Wieters projects to return for Opening Day 2015, so catchers on long-term deals might not make sense for Baltimore to pursue. Two potential options could be Minnesota’s Kurt Suzuki and Pittsburgh’s Russell Martin, should either the Twins or Pirates become sellers by next month’s deadline. For the time being, each team is within striking distance of a playoff spot.
Wieters is earning $7.7MM in 2014 as a second-time arbitration eligible player and remains under control through the 2015 campaign. He will be eligible for arbitration for the final time this offseason, meaning this injury will deflate his earning potential for his final year before free agency.