The Orioles intend to make a one-year, $15.8MM qualifying offer to catcher Matt Wieters, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter). Olney further notes (Twitter link) that the Braves, on paper, seem to be a good fit with Wieters, given their protected first-round pick and lack of certainty behind the plate. Wieters, of course, played his college ball at Georgia Tech and saw longtime teammate Nick Markakis head from Baltimore to Atlanta on last year’s free agent market.
The Orioles, of course, will receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds of next year’s draft in the event that Wieters rejects the offer and signs with another team. A rival club would have to surrender its top unprotected draft pick (the first 10 picks in next year’s draft are protected) in order to sign Wieters. And, of course, the Orioles are free to pursue Wieters as a free agent even if rejects the offer.
Recent reports have indicated that the Orioles weren’t certain whether or not they’d make the offer to Wieters, but they’ve apparently now made up their minds. The thinking at MLBTR has long been that it’s a logical course of option for the O’s, as a prime-aged catcher that’s represented by one of the more outspoken critics of the QO system Scott Boras, never figured to be the first to accept such an offer. (And if he did, a healthier Wieters at $15.8MM on a one-year deal is probably a good value, anyway.) MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk explored the scenario in further detail in recent Offseason Outlook on the Orioles.
Wieters, 29, struggled to some extent in his first year back from Tommy John surgery. As MLBTR owner Tim Dierkes explained in Wieters’ free agent profile, elbow tendinitis kept him on the DL to open the season and delayed his season debut until June. Additionally, he only caught on back-to-back days four times this season as he re-acclimated himself to the rigors of the position. Nonetheless, Wieters’ 31 percent caught-stealing rate was right in line with his career norm and the surprisingly high league average in 2015 (both 32 percent).
At the plate, Wieters was solid, albeit unspectacular, slashing .267/.319/.422 with eight homers in 282 plate appearances. That batting line translates to a park-adjusted OPS of 100 — exactly league average — which is in line with Wieters’ career marks. (He was off to a much better start in 2014 before tearing the UCL in his throwing elbow.) While league-average production isn’t the most exciting concept in the world, it’s extremely valuable when coming from behind the plate; the league-average catcher in 2015, for instance, hit just .232/.295/.383, leaving them about 14 percent below league-average production.
While Boras and his team could theoretically eye something in the Brian McCann/Russell Martin mold for Wieters this winter, Tim predicted that Wieters can land a four-year commitment worth somewhere in the vicinity of $16MM on an annual basis in a weak market where he looks to be the only reasonably young starting option with a track record of success at the Major League level.
Wieters figures to be one of three Baltimore free agents to receive and reject a qualifying offer, with fellow Boras clients Chris Davis and Wei-Yin Chen serving as much more concrete cases. Other Orioles free agents such as Darren O’Day and Steve Pearce won’t receive the QO, while Gerardo Parra is ineligible to receive one after coming over via trade from the Brewers midseason (though he probably wouldn’t command one anyhow).
I think it will be a long cold winter for O’s fan
“Wait for the market to play out ” is there moto
stand and wait to see who gets who, settle for whatever they see left over
Keep Davis, Wieters and O’Day. Trade for a ace
Out of place Met fan
What do the O’s have that would net an ace? Machado is the only option I see
Jones, a #1, and a top prospect.
no way, Seattle gave him away, he found a home, his career has blossomed in Baltimore…@#$#@%&?/, Seattle has a k ack for giving away the future stars #$%@&?$/
You may need eyeglasses. AJ,
a first round pick and a top prospect would more than bring in a #1. And maybe a QO also depending on who. The O’s would be crazy to give all of that for a #1 but it’s rediculous to say Machado is our only blue chip.If you recall in ’14 without Davis, Wieters, and an injured J.J. and Manny we got to the ALCS. And don’t forget about Schoop who may have a monster year in ’16. You’re looking at 25-30 and 80-90 + great defense.
What happens if a team signs two free agents with QO attached, the team with the first player that they signed gets the first draft pick and the other one gets the second highest ?
Out of place Met fan
The comp draft picks are slotted after the first round in order of player signing.
It’s really a 2 fold system, with the signing team loosing draft pick(s); (if signing more then 1) and the original team gaining pick(s) and more importantly the money associated with it at the end of round 1.
Matt has thrown out 9 of 38 baserunners since opening day ’14. He had 5 errors in 55 games last year catching. And in the few plate appearances last year he did ok and showed a little pop. If a team wants to invest 64MM for 4 years when he made 8 last year imo they’re crazy.
Out of place Met fan
premium position that as the shell of his former self he represents an upgrade for half the league.
Damn, tigers could use some Wieters jk. McCann all the way
Every player offered a QO will turn it down, but the O’s will get draft picks in return which might be part of the strategy.
If they can get O’Day and Davis to return there might be a high percentage shot that Parra comes back. (Parra can’t get a QO.) I hope the best for Wieters, he’s a great guy and up until his Tommy John surgery imho the best defensive catcher in baseball. They do need to get an ace for the pen and, if Davis doesn’t return a solid 1Bman. They could conceivably bring back Pearce for a season and hold out hope for 2017.
Without an ace in the rotation, I don’t know.
Outside of the needs for 2016 on the MLB side, the farm system looks pretty bad. Four or five extra first round picks might help with that.
The most extra picks they would get would be 3 for Chen, Davis, Wieters. No way would O’Day (or snicker Pierce) turn down a QO.