5:08pm: Nothing has fundamentally changed about Washington’s stance with regard to Wieters, according to a report from Chelsea Janes and Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. If the veteran backstop lowers his asking price, both in terms of years and dollars, then the Nationals could conceivably bite, per the report. At present, though, the Nats still aren’t “heavily” pursuing Wieters.
9:18am: Catcher Matt Wieters has been connected to the Nationals on and off this winter (and was linked to Washington in the week he spent weighing a 2015 qualifying offer that he ultimately accepted, as well), and Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes today that the Nats are still interested in the longtime Orioles backstop. Washington joins the division-rival Braves in what looks to be a limited market for Wieters at this juncture, according to Heyman. He adds that while the Braves have been in touch with agent Scott Boras regarding Wieters, it’s not clear whether they’ll ultimately make a push to sign the former Georgia Tech standout.
The Nationals already have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton set to shoulder the load behind the plate this year, though there were rumors shortly after the Norris deal that the Nats could still sign Wieters and possibly flip Norris elsewhere. The Washington Post reported shortly thereafter that the team had no intentions of pursuing Wieters or flipping Norris, though that was three weeks ago and a team’s plans obviously have some degree of ebb and flow over the course of a long offseason. ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote not long after that there was still “rampant” speculation throughout the industry that Wieters would end up in D.C. And just two days ago, MASNsports.com’s Pete Kerzel suggested that Wieters wasn’t a logical fit for the Nats, who are prioritizing pitch framing in their catchers.
Certainly, there’s been an excessive amount of back-and-forth when it comes to the Nats and Wieters, and I’d imagine that it’ll continue until he signs, be it with the Nationals or another team. I’ll add that it also seems at least plausible that the Nats could look to flip Lobaton rather than Norris following a theoretical Wieters deal. A switch-hitting catcher with one year of cheap club control remaining could hold appeal to clubs looking for some experience behind the plate but not wishing to allocate significant finances toward the need. That’s sheer speculation, though.
Heyman notes that on paper, the Rockies, D-backs and Mets all look like possible fits for Wieters, but there’s been little to no indication that any of the three will pursue him to this point. The Rockies have suggested that they’re comfortable with younger options Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy, while the D-backs are looking more at part-time options and the Mets are focused on improving the bullpen and finding a taker for Jay Bruce in a flooded market for corner bats.
In a recent poll, nearly 30 percent of MLBTR readers expected the Braves to ultimately sign Wieters, with the Rockies (18 percent) and Nationals (14 percent) standing out as the other most popular landing spots. Given the relatively limited number of teams looking to spend on catchers, it’s fair to wonder just how far Wieters’ market will drop. Boras has presumably been looking for a lucrative multi-year offer for Wieters in a season that saw him reestablish his durability behind the plate and also belt 17 home runs, but Wieters’ questionable OBP and pitch-framing marks have dampened interest in his services.
If Wieters is willing to take a one- or two-year deal, it’s easy to imagine a number of teams jumping into the mix. A one-year pact would allow him to enter next year’s free-agent market, where Jonathan Lucroy is the clear top asset. Wieters, though, could easily be the No. 2 catcher on the market, with only Welington Castillo looking like a possible threat to that status.
Braves need to stop messing around and go get him. Flowers is not the answer.
Flowers is a great pitch framer though and with our young guys set to come up that is more helpful. Not to mention Flowers hit well last season. And this is coming from a guy who has always liked Wieters. I just don’t think he’s a good fit with our team. More importantly, I want catching to be an opening we have going into next offseason where I hope we go full steam after Lucroy, who is excellent in all things catching and hitting.
Lucroy has made it pretty clear he doesn’t want to play with the braves. He’s close to family where he is right now. So you can bet he will do all he can to stay near home. That was a big knock on him.
Framing pitches is nice, but is no reason to let running run all over you and to barely produce at the plate.
Only thing Lucroy made clear is that he is going where the money is.
Dead on with this comment! He could have been playing in the World Series if he wouldn’t have laughed off the Indians offer!
He didn’t like the indians because they wouldn’t commit to him as the starting catcher for 2017. Being a back up/sharing more time than normal at catcher in 2017 would have likely hurt his FA payday. It was a smart business decision by his camp.
Lucroy didn’t want to go to Cleveland. He wanted to start. They didn’t guarantee him a starting role when Gomes returned from injury.
No offense but we all know he didn’t go to Cleveland because well it’s Cleveland.
They have a much brighter future then practically any team but the Cubs.
The Braves could be a great team in a few years but that is far from certain.
Who has a much brighter future than any team other than the Cubs? I’m a Braves fan who loves our rebuild, but I don’t see us being second only to the Cubs. Not when there’s major market teams like LAA, NYY, and PHI who aren’t spending money right now and in the case of the last two have good rebuilds going right now as well. Baseball is changing quickly in the next 2-3 years as stars in their primes (Trout, Kershaw, Harper, Machado, etc.) will be free agents.
kershaw is signed through 2020 when he’ll be heading into his age 33 season. someone like Syndergaard will likely be the best pitcher by then
Flowers had the better bat and pitch framing. Wieters threw out more baserunners. I would much rather have flowers for 8 mil than Wieters for 12 mil or more. And a BIG NO to Lucroy next winter. Yes he is a fine catcher right now. But factor in age regression, the toll catching puts on your body, concussion history, and the contract he will demand (rughtfully so). Stick with Flowers this year and next unless a trade presents itself. As it stands now any of the “upgrades” at catcher will either be too costly/risky or not an upgrade at all.
Unless Weiters gets underpaid by a lot, I would much rather have the tandem of Flowers and Recker then having to pay Weiters what Boras will be trying to get. Weiters is trending down.
I generally like Heyman, but have always been wary of his ties to Boras. Boras needs the Nationals in the game to keep a large contract for Wieters a probability. And Boras is tight with Washington FO/Ownership, so it could be credible. But Wieters is a bad fit for most teams on a rich long term deal. Wrong side of 30, hasn’t been standout since 2012. You have to be asking yourself what you are buying. Brian McCann was a year younger when he signed with the Yankees, arguably better (certainly in the years leading up to FA) and the Yankees felt compelled to unload him after 3 years. Warning lights are blinking.
Every team would trade their expensive catcher with 2 bad knees that has had an illustrious career when their team MVP is his replacement making minimum wage. They could easily sit him in the DH role, but if any team is willing to pay 35-40 cents on the dollar and give up a decent prospect or two, wouldn’t you trade him?
To an extent, you are making my point. about Wieters McCann is a viable part-time catcher/IB/DH–just needs rest, which Sanchez provides as the full timer. Sign Wieters to an expensive, multi-year deal, and what part of the “McCann Curve” are you buying? When does Wieters go from full time catcher to something closer to where McCann is? And from what point are you starting, before age related decay comes in? . .
Great comment Mike
As a fantasy baseball player, I would LOVE for Wieters to end up in Colorado.
This just in. Nationals reportedly interested in every remaining free agent.
This also just in, Scot Boras has been awarded a 25% stake in the Washington Nationals based soley on the number of clients he has on the MLB roster
When a team loves to overspend and still not get a clue, why not?
Anyone else remember back when the talk was how the Yankees would ultimately get him when he became a free agent? Man, did that change..
When was that? They had Montero in their system but traded him. They signed Russel Martin. Then signed McCann. And now they have Sanchez.
It was several years ago. Showalter went on a rant about the Yankees spending levels and that they were going to come in and throw money at Wieters like crazy
Oh I remember that. Well there’s a difference between what Showwalter thinks is going to happen and what the Yankees front office, something Showwalter no longer has any affiliation with, actually wants or plans to do.
I think the point he was trying to make is just that at one point it looked like Wieters was a star catcher in the making who was going to get a massive contract and now he’s likely struggling to find more than a 2 year deal. A lot can change in a relatively short time.
Fair enough, though aside from whiny Showwalter talking about it, I don’t recall anybody saying he’d get it from the Yankees. I do hear a lot of Machado/Yankees talk though. We shall see where he is playing in a few years.
Washington doesn’t want him, they just want to drive up the price for their rivals.
He’s just really not very good
Boras made a huge mistake by not locking up Wieters on a deal with the Orioles a few years back. Fact: catchers don’t age well.
True Weiters hasn’t been a standout for a number of years, but you have to account for lost seasons due to his TJ surgery as well. When healthy he is a guy who will catch 100+ games for you, hit between 15-20 HR, and while his framing stats aren’t good at all, his blocking ability is sound and he catches about 1 in every 3 base stealers. The TJ didn’t seem to have much affect in that category, which is encouraging. So while he is on the wrong side of 30, he also basically had a full season taken off his legs while rehabbing, so he’s not as bad as, say Ramos, who is rehabbing a torn ACL for the second time in his career and will be 30 in August of this coming season
Heyman is Boras’ lap dog.
Well, the Nationals could be seen as a ‘Rescue’ Mission for Boras Players that need homes.
I’m still going with Nats. They have the cash and when it comes down to the money the Nats will always be able to sweeten the pot.
Please let him go to the Nats. Please.
We need to just keep recker and flowers
As a Braves fan, I really hope that the Nats sign this guy to a 4 year deal worth $60 million. He is not worth that, so I would love for the guy to fleece the Nats for that! LOL
Keep Norris, get Wieters, flip Severino or Lobaton with other prospects for Robertson or a different closer.
To clarify: Norris stays to help if Wieters is injured, Wieters signs 3yr, 30mil deal, Lobaton, and prospects Sheldon Neuse, and Austin Voth for Robertson or a different closer.
In what world does Lobaton have any value in a trade? He’s a 32-year-old backup catcher who can’t hit at all.
How much does the price have to drop for the Braves to make a legitimate offer ? I can’t see them committing to much money to what would conceivably be a platoon situation. Castro was obviously the best fit and they obviously didn’t feel comfortable enough to up the ante for him so I can’t see them offering Wieters more. Wieters best fit is Colorado on a short deal to rebuild his stock and maybe help develop one of their young guys. The Braves need to make a deal for a young catcher that Flowers can help groom and then slide into a David Ross type role. Reece McGuire comes to mind or one of the Rockies catchers and I think Philly has 2 highly regarded prospect catchers but I don’t think it would be easy to pry one of those away from a division rival. Maybe the Brewers would make Susac available.
Also I would like to see the Braves make a move for Chase Headley I think the Yanks would be open to move his salary I wonder if Garcia & Sims could get it done. But it would leave Ruiz in AAA for another year & then come up in 18 & split time with Headley.
Winters is a washed up player and Headley is not worth the talent
Norris is junk mvpalmar
I agree with advplee not worth a lot of cash