After months of rumors and speculation, the Washington Nationals have finally found their starting catcher. According to Jon Heyman, the Nationals and former Baltimore Orioles backstop Matt Wieters have agreed to a two year/ 21 million dollar deal.
Wieters' salary will be $10.5M each year year of the 2-year deal (but he can opt out after 1 year), once finalized. #nats
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 21, 2017
Washington Nationals Sign Catcher Matt Wieters
The deal also includes an opt out after year one.
The Nationals have been long interested in Wieters, and this deal finally gets them their guy behind the plate.
Wieters will instantly become the Nationals starting catcher, and will be a welcomed addition. Considering that he’s a very good defensive catcher, Wieters should do wonders for the veterans in the Nationals rotation, as well as their younger arms such as Joe Ross and even Erick Fedde. Wieters will also make his presence felt in the lineup.
Despite the fact that he missed 38 games, Wieters was still able to drive in 66 runs, in addition to hitting 17 home runs last year. Wieters has also been an impact bat in years past.
From 2011-2013, Wieters hit 20 or more home runs a year, and also drove in over 65 runs in each of those three seasons. The power numbers are there, the biggest question though is whether he’ll remain healthy.
In both 2014 and 2015, Wieters failed to appear in at least 80 games. The injuries have plagued him in year’s past, and the Nationals will be hoping that he doesn’t fall into the trap yet again. Wieters’ arrival also brings into question what moves may be next for the Nationals?
With Wieters on board, the Nationals now have four catchers on their roster: Wieters, Jose Lobaton, Pedro Severino and Derek Norris. The Nationals acquired Norris near the Winter Meetings, and it was assumed that he’d be their starter going into this year; however, with Wieters aboard, could Norris or even Severino become trade bait for a closer upgrade?
While they appear to be comfortable going with Shawn Kelley and Blake Treinen in the ninth inning, the Nationals could now use their depth at catcher to help facilitate a trade for a closer. Names who have been rumored to be available include David Robertson or Alex Colome.
The Nationals addition of Wieters gives them a big impact bat in the order, but only if he’s healthy. One must also wonder if this signing makes way for another move?