Although the Braves have three experienced major league catchers in the fold, free agent backstop Matt Wieters is on their target list, a club source told Jim Bowden of ESPN. Atlanta’s first reported interest in Wieters came back in November, but ESPN’s Buster Olney noted then that the team was unlikely to meet agent Scott Boras’ asking price. It doesn’t seem Wieters’ market has since developed in an ideal fashion for him or Boras, though, which means the longtime Oriole might end up with a lesser deal than expected. That could enable the Braves to add him at a discounted cost and lead to a homecoming of sorts for Wieters, who played college baseball at Georgia Tech.
Baltimore is the only major league organization the 30-year-old Wieters has known, but the club may have closed the door on re-signing the four-time All-Star when it picked up Welington Castillo last week. Castillo had been on the radar of the Braves, who have Tyler Flowers, Anthony Recker and Tuffy Gosewisch on hand. General manager John Coppolella acknowledged Wieters’ ability Friday, but he indicated he’s content with his current trio of backstops.
“Matt (Wieters) is a talented player,” he told MLB Network Radio. “It would come down to price and years. We’re happy with what we have now.”
The Braves’ incumbent starter is the 30-year-old Flowers, while Recker and Gosewisch each have minor league options remaining. Flowers doesn’t carry Wieters’ track record or name recognition, but he was the superior option last season. In 325 plate appearances, the right-handed Flowers batted .270/.357/.420 (well above his lifetime mark of .232/.302/.384 in 1,720 PAs). Defensively, Flowers graded quite well in the pitch–framing department, as he’s done throughout his career, though a whopping 60 of 63 runners successfully stole on him. Those struggles were new for Flowers, who typically hovered around the league-average caught-stealing mark as a member of the White Sox from 2009-15.
Wieters has fared better than Flowers at gunning down would-be base stealers (23 of 66 last season and 33 percent to Flowers’ 23 percent during their careers), but he hasn’t been a well-regarded framer over the past few seasons. In a sport that’s putting more emphasis on catchers’ receiving skills, that’s potentially a reason Wieters is still on the market. It’s also not helping the switch-hitting Wieters’ cause that he slashed an underwhelming .243/.302/.409 in 464 trips to the plate last season after posting a more palatable .258/.320/.423 line in 3,004 PAs from 2009-15.
Wieters upside isn’t enough to warrant him being signed. Let the nationals overpay him.
Exactly. Let someone else hand out that albatross of a contract.
In all honesty we aren’t supposed to compete. And I really don’t see signing wieters as making the braves more competitive. I trust coppy but would prefer flowers/recker.
Albatross of a contract? Weiters will most likely get a 2 year deal with a team option for a third. There’s a chance that he gets a 1 year deal….Weiters could be a good signing for a team with a young pitching staff.
Boras is his agent. I don’t buy that he takes a one year deal. I also do not want to see the Braves waste 2 or possible 3 years on this guy.
Since when has he had a big part of developing young pitching? Last I checked, Orioles pitchers end up being better after they leave Baltimore. If the the Braves are interested in a catcher who can be under team control for a couple of years and has a history of developing young pitchers, look to Cleveland. Yan Gomes was integral in the maturation of Cory Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. Affordable contract also.
Who knows what CLE would want for him, but he’s also coming off a negative oWAR season and has not had more than 389 PA in 1 season in 2 years. If all things are considered, I’d rather them bring back Tyler Flowers (only 2 years older than Gomes) who is coming off a great offensive season despite an uncharacteristically bad defensive season, who is one of the best pitch framers in the game. and a nice resume of working with young pitchers.
Where were the O’s last year with that ragtag pitching staff or better yet, the last 5 years?
Remember Boras got Beltre the 1 year deal with Red Sox to rebuild his value, then he signed big deal with Rangers next year. So there is precedent for that with Boras clients.
He’s also not available. Gomes is the starter on the AL Champs. The reasons you gave for wanting him, are why he isn’t being shopped.
It all comes down to price and length. I’m not sure what I’d be happy with, but I trust Coppy.
Not sure why the Angels are not interested in him?
I was thinking the same thing. He’d be a perfect platoon with Maldonado. It would give the Angels more Left Handed Bat options in the line-up.
Of course with his recent injury history, I can’t imagine him commanding a huge salary or lengthy contract … which would make him a great fit for the Angels.
the angels would make sense but they won’t sign him
When have the Angels ever done anything logical?
Drafting Mike Trout.
Weiters is a terrible idea for the Angels.
His offense and defense are both underwhelming relative to the $15.8M he earned with his QO last season, while he is expected to command multi years and large salary with a new deal.
Weiters hasn’t been “Matt Weiters” since 2012. He’s been either injured or barely average. Still, this will be no buy-low scenario.
Moot point, since Arte won’t do business with Boras.
See, y’all Braves fans have some sense. I just left a Phillies thread and one dude literally just said if they signed Jose Bautista; they’re a Wild-Card team at the very least. Ahahahahahaha
I’m an O’s fan; as much as I appreciate Wieters contribution to the turnaround of our ball club, I’m happy they won’t be overpaying for him. His strength is defense and it’s on a steady decline. Power numbers are decent for a catcher but that’s overrated. His sub- .300 OBP is embarrassing. He’s worth $8/9 million for about 3 years and that’s it.
8/9 annually, that is
He’s a good guy and I wish him the best. I think it’s at DH or 1B though. I would not give him the money he wants to play catcher.
Wieters playing catcher is the only thing keeping him relevant. If he moved to DH or 1B, his bat would be very below average at either position and barely have a career left.
I’m a Phillies fan and I don’t think Bautista even gets the passed fourth place in the division. But it makes them interesting and gives the fans a reason to go to the games
Well Marlins took a big step back (r.i.p.) and Phillies almost had third place last year. They have some nice pieces. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Phillies are one of those distant wildcard teams.
Grandpa Bautista makes no sense for them though unless it’s a 2 or 3 year deal.
No I think only a 1 year deal makes sense anything else would be stupid
No because they aren’t even playoff ready this year. That would be a waste of upside.
And I’ve seen a few of your comments on here and it’s amazing how self righteous you are. You think you know everything don’t ya pal
Yep. I had him for 3/$30 at best. He’s very much overrating himself.
I’m a big Weiters fan. That said, as a Braves fan I wouldn’t sign him only because I hope the Braves intend to sign Jonathan Lucroy next winter. If the plan isn’t to make a huge, wholehearted run at Lucroy then I would absolutely give Weiters something along the lines of 2/20 or 3/27
I’m with you. Hopefully the braves target lucroy. Not at the trade deadline, definitely next winter.
This is exactly my thoughts as well.
That being said, if we were to sign Weiters, I would hope it would only be a one year deal. That would allow us to go after Lucroy next off season while also giving Weiters another chance to show he’s still got it with a change of scenery this year.
Lucroy will be too old as a catcher imo by that point. Not saying he wont be able to play the position anymore but do we really want to sign a catcher at that age ?
I think he could handle it, especially consider there’s not much else out there. Flowers is getting up there and an upgrade is needed eventually, especially if we have the funds available.
WhY?? We have Tylor Floewrs
It’s Flowers and doesn’t mean something could happen to the 3.
I just don’t want us to get in another Upton deal. He is not going to help us make the playoffs this year and his career seems to be headed in the wrong direction. I would much rather get a young catcher that can grow with the team and I don’t trust Boras at all.
which young catcher is available?
At the right price on a 2 year deal with a 3rd year option, I’m game. Bring the local boy back and he’ll have something to prove to Braves country in a new stadium.
Local boy? South Carolina is local? Sure, he played college ball at Tech — is that really worth a few million-dollar discount?
Unless it’s a short-term deal (1 year with option), I don’t see this as working out for ATL. It is interesting that we now have Dave Wallace, former BAL pitching coach, and Dom Chiti, former BAL bullpen coach, back in ATL organization. They have a lot of experience with him and his handling of pitchers, so I would think they are giving the front office a recommendation or not.
Never did I mention a discount and never did I mention south Carolina, he has ties to the local area in a baseball aspect which might entice him to want to go back to said area..
Do you understand how infrequently “i played college ball around there” has any influence on a choice? I see this is every thread…. 90% of players will choose the most money or best oppurtunity to play (if they aren’t a big name).
Very very few players choose to go somewhere because of ties and even fewer decide that they “have something to prove to Braves country”. If he wanted to play well and was capable, he would have.
I just believe he’s a good fit on a 2-3 year deal at the right price and can relate to the region as well as bringing a little more excitement to the lineup and new stadium.
I’m not saying he’s going to take a discount to come here because of that fact. What I am saying is if he’s pondering offers within the same scope of years and money it could be a factor, that’s all.
Go Braves, go get em coppy at the right Junction!
Growing up in the Braves blackout region and growing up in actual Braves country are two dramatically different things. There’s probably more Braves fans in Milwaukee still than in SC.
Really don’t understand your logic. If we can’t get him at a discount, there’s no reason to sign him. He’s not young, coming off a terrible offensive (and defensive campaign), has the sport’s most notorious agent. Fans get excited about winning and I don’t think Wieters puts you in a better position to do that, unless he’s at a discount. If we sign him we cannot go after Jonathon Lucroy who is younger, more consistent and much better offensively (and also from the southeastern region: LA). Sure, he’ll be much more money, but he’ll be more of an upgrade than Wieters can be at this stage in his career.
They were born a month a part and at this point assuming lucroy has another one of his years, weiters will come at a much better price than lucroy will next off-season. Lucroy will be looking for McCann-esqe contract and I just believe shaking the dice on Matt for at least year to see what he does at sunpark is worth the risk. So 1 year with 2nd year option is my final answer. Short term contracts seemed to work out just fine with ajp up until the end. Good debate nonetheless!
You are crazy, I’m from South Carolina & I can tell you it’s loaded w/ Braves fans.
THIS IS BRAVES COUNTRY. THIS IS WHY WE CHOP
Very few players have so few options. In this instance, who knows?
South Carolina might have Braves fans, but it’s not Wieters’ home, as some publications have stated in other articles I’ve seen. No, not this one, but there’s been a lot written about him playing baseball at GT for a few years, and from SC, and ATL needing a long-term catcher.
What isn’t being written is how Coppy likes deals, and Boras, Wieters’ agent, hates giving them on par with Trump giving an apology. If Coppy could get Wieters for a 1 year deal with a mutual option, I would sign him, but at his age, knowing he’d be second fiddle next offseason to Lucroy, I don’t see that happening.
I’m not opposed to the Braves signing Wieters IF (and only if) Coppy can get him for a decent price and only for a couple of years max (or say 2 and an option). I don’t really see it as likely to happen though.
I think he makes some sense on a 1-year pillow deal to try and increase his value for next off-season. Would make a pretty good platoon option with Tyler Flowers and wouldn’t handicap us if we (I hope and think we will) make a run at Lucroy next year. I know Boras will try to get him a multiyear deal but if he has to settle of one year I wouldn’t mind throwing $7-9 million at him.
Except the Braves would lose a pick for one year of Weiters trying to make himself a better payday
Wieters doesn’t have a QO attached to him.
Last season Wieters had a QO, but he doesn’t have one this season so no draft pick attached.
My mistake. Still don’t want him
Some team will give him 4 for 60.
Coming off last season with his injury history, who is going to give a 30-year old catcher a 4-year deal?
Try 2 for 20 with a 13 million club option
This sounds accurate to me
I wouldn’t mind the Braves throwing a year or so at him, and seeing if he takes the bait.
At some point this upcoming season, the line-up could look like:
I think that line-up, coupled with their pitching staff and their bullpen, very well could hover near the .500 mark for the season. Although, as currently constructed, I think my beloved Braves are still only a 75-80 win team.
I’ll gladly eat my own words if I’m wrong, and they somehow manage to outperform my expectations, but I just can’t seem them getting past 75-80 wins, barring everything going perfect for them!!
Braves won’t reach the 70 win mark.
Yawn………great insight Troll
The Braves are not a great team, right now, but ALOT would have to go wrong for the Braves to not reach 70 wins…
You would definitely be in the minority with your statement!!
Some reasoning or insight to your “prediction” would be nice…
Yeah I can see them pushing .500. You guys have a pretty good lineup/defense. The pitching staff is a mess though.
Depending on what they can do, I think the nats beat out the braves for lucroy. There are a lot of teams that can use a catcher like lucroy, how much money do the braves have to spend?
I believe the Braves, as currently constructed, will go into 2018 with 76 million in commitments, add in an approx. 15 for arbitration eligible players..And counting in a payroll that should increase to approx. 130 million…The Braves should go into the 2018 season with about roughly 35-40 million to spend…
I easily could be wrong in my calculations, but that would be my best estimate…Someone feel free to correct me if I’m off…
Why is that? Does Lucroy love deferred money? That’s what WSH continues to do. There’s no telling where Lucroy lands. Yes, not many catchers with his ability on the market, while also very few great free agents in that class, but ATL has been trying to find their catcher for awhile now. If even a few of the young pitchers can mature and take roster spots, that would allow the team more to spend, and that’s not including the ability to shed payroll (i.e trading Markakis/Kemp), which Coppy has loved doing.
Ok Braves really do need a catcher who can catch a knuckleball. Don’t wanna overpay, but I’m not sure any current catcher can.
I feel like the “name recognition” is really all weiters has anymore, Jim Bowden actually called him a slugger in his piece…..maybe he had the potential to be one but his only value right now is if he can defend well behind the plate and keep his offense of numbers from declining.
Around 1/12 could be a great deal for both sides. Wieters regains value in his hometown and Atlanta gets a possible steal.
Funny, but it seems like only yesterday Weiters was considered valuable and the prevailing thought was he’d bolt town for the Yankees and a huge contract as soon as he’d hit the market.
I think it could become a good signing if it was for 1-2 years, (1 year with a higher annual salary or 2 years with a lesser yearly value) if he steps up and plays well we have a pretty good duo at the backstop position, if not he won’t limit our options next year. Depending on how we are doing in the standings, he might be a great trade chip to a contender or a team with an injury. He has no loss of draft pick attached to him and for us at this point in our rebuild, that is a huge benefit.
Braves are just as well off with Flowers/Recker. Let Matt “The next Johnny Bench” Wieters go crawling back to the O’s.
The Wellington signing by Baltimore has removed that as an option.
Please pass on Wieters and stick with Flowers and Recker! Let’s grow our own catcher like we did with Lopez and McCann!
I am all for growing a catcher but there doesn’t even seem like there is one in the system none the less be ready just in a couple years so I don’t think signing anybody would prevent us from growing one.
True, but other systems have prospect catchers and we make a deal for one of those.
How about trading a bullpen arm to the Rockies for Tom Murphy? Could go for another Murph; plus it’d be a future oriented move…
I have been saying this for a long time. Vizzy and a Sims or a similar prospect should be able to pull a deal for Reese McGuire/Murphy/Wolters those are just ones I could think of. Have the young guy share time with Flowers and see how he progresses if the move seems like a failure then try to throw money at LuCroy next year.
I am not opposed to signing Wieters but it most certainly would have to come at a discount because he would be sharing time with Flowers.
Sign Weiters for a one yr deal, he’ll prosper playing n atl and the braves need another left handed bat n the lineup. I predict 275 average with 17 r 18 hr’s and throws out 25% of base stealers