As Spring Training has begun and games are set to begin this weekend, one of the best remaining free agents has found a new home. According to the Washington Post, the Washington Nationals have signed former Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters to a two-year deal.
However, this contract is interesting, as it has an opt-out clause after one year. So in realistic terms, the contract is essentially for one year with an option for year two. While nothing is official yet, as Wieters still needs to pass a physical, it is not early to look who came out ahead on this deal.
When you look at the contract as a whole, you can make the argument that both sides ended up winning. Let us first look at how the Washington Nationals win from this deal. They signed a catcher who has power, contact, and leadership. Throughout Wieters’
They signed a catcher who has power, makes contact, and offers leadership. Throughout Wieters’ eight-year career in Baltimore, he averaged 21 homers and drove in 80 runs. He also had a stat line that would average .256/.318/.421. All of these numbers are stats that could have gotten him a much bigger deal. The Nationals also win in this deal because this was low risk, high reward type of deal. I say that because the Nationals paid almost nothing for him and are hoping that he can have great numbers. They also hope this because he could become trade bait by the trade deadline.
The Nationals also win in this deal because this was a low risk, high reward type of deal. I say that because the Nationals paid almost nothing for him and are hoping that he can have great numbers. They also hope this because he could become trade bait by the trade deadline if things went south in terms of the team’s record.
On the other hand, Wieters also made out like a bandit from this deal. For starters, he is someone who can easily help the Nationals lineup. While the uncertainty now creeps in with Derrick Norris’ future, you can now platoon between Norris and Wieters, which can cause problems for opposing pitchers (if Norris isn’t traded). While some see Wieters as on the decline, he could use the 2017 season in Washington as a way to bring his numbers back up and prove himself.
I see this whole thing playing out with Wieters using 2017 as a bounce back season and will end up either re-signing with the Nationals after the two years are up or he will opt out of his contract. At this point, Wieters wants to sign with a team that gives him a shot for an October run. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out for Wieters in Washington.