Posted on January 22, 2017 by Bryan Zarpentine
The clock is slowly ticking down of free agent catcher Matt Wieters, who is yet to sign with a team despite being arguably the top catcher on the free agent market this winter. Unlike many of the other top free agents who have had trouble finding a job this offseason, Wieters does not have a draft-pick attached to him. Yet, one team after another has addressed their catching situation by adding someone other than Wieters, most recently the Braves, who signed Kurt Suzuki, and the Diamondbacks, who have added Chris Iannetta.
We’ve done this once before, but more than three weeks later, let’s take a look at each team’s chances of having Wieters in camp when spring training begins.
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Angels – 20%
The Angels have at least had internal discussions about Wieters, and so they are actually one of the favorites at the moment. The Angels have not been shy about making moves to improve offensively this winter, and so making a late move to sign Wieters wouldn’t be a huge surprise. Los Angeles is set behind the plate, but they aren’t expecting to get much offense from that position, something that Wieters would certainly change. If his price drops low enough, they may decide they have nothing to lose by signing him.
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Mets – 5%
The Mets are definitely a long shot, as they seem intent on giving Travis d’Arnaud another chance to be their primary catcher. At a certain point, the price for Wieters could become low enough to get the Mets involved, as he’s more of a guarantee to produce offensively than d’Arnaud. However, unless the Mets can unload Jay Bruce, they may not be able to afford Wieters, even at a discount.
Nationals – 10%
In theory, Wieters ending up with the Nationals makes a lot of sense, but recent rumors indicate Washington may not be in a position to spend and may not like Wieters all that much. Nevertheless, the move makes enough sense to keep the Nationals in the picture.
Orioles – 10%
There’s growing speculation that Wieters could still end up back in Baltimore. The Orioles have Welington Castillo behind the plate, but there’s some thought that he and Wieters could split time there, with Wieters also seeing time at DH, even with Mark Trumbo also returning to Baltimore. Wieters and the Orioles have a lot of history, and that could leave the door open just enough for a return.
Reds – 20%
The Reds are the newest team to enter the mix for Wieters, and there’s some who feel they could become one of the favorites to land him on a short-term deal. Cincinnati is committed to Devin Mesoraco as its catcher, but his health is in question coming off a hip injury last year. If the Reds can get Wieters on a one-year deal, it may give Mesoraco more time to heal and give Cincinnati a trade chip to use this summer to help their rebuilding effort.
Rockies – 15%
The Rockies are reportedly quite comfortable entering the season with the unproven tandem of Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy behind the plate. Still, being able to grab Wieters on a short-term deal late in the winter would help them feel better about things behind the plate and let them bring Wolters and Murphy along at a slower pace instead of throwing them into the fire. It’s not a crazy idea and a low enough price for Wieters could make the idea difficult for Colorado to ignore.
White Sox – 10%
There’s little to link Wieters to Chicago, but if his price drops to a certain level, it’d be hard for the rebuilding White Sox to ignore him. On a short-term deal, Wieters could be a placeholder and potential trade chip, but even on a long-term deal, Wieters could be part of the solution when all their young talent starts matriculating to the majors in a couple years.
Mystery Team – 10%
At this point, it’s anybody’s guess who Wieters will sign with, and so a mystery team can’t be ruled out. With his price dropping, any number of small-market clubs could decide to jump in with an offer, making it impossible to predict where Wieters will end up.