Oct 4, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (32) stands at home plate during the eighth inning against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles won 9-4. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
UPDATE, February 21, 2017: Matt Wieters is not going to be an Angel. Sorry to those who wanted him here. But Scott Boras got what he wanted. The colorful agent got his switch-hitting catcher signed to a two-year, $21 million dollar deal with the Washington Nationals on Tuesday morning. That was way too much for Wieters, and would not have been a wise move for the Angels.
There is actually much debate among Nats fans because Wieters isn’t the greatest defensive backstop, and is overall just an above average hitter. It’s a defensive downgrade. It would’ve been for the Halos.
The overall projected WAR for Angels catchers at FanGraphs is 2.3. That would not have changed much (if at all) with Wieters in Anaheim. The original post at the bottom goes into more detail.
So there you have it. What’s done is done.
Why not bring in another cheap arm for depth instead?
UPDATE, February 10, 2017: Turns out that Wieters suffered a laceration that required stitches to his left (non-throwing) arm earlier this offseason. However, the catcher is fully healthy. This would explain much of the hesitancy by clubs to sign him, aside from the metrics.
So no one seems to have a clue about when or where he will sign!
With the offseason nearing a close, Matt Wieters is still on the market. The Angels still have money left before the luxury tax. And the way things are looking, he’ll have to settle for a one-year contract somewhere for rather cheap.
That makes sense for all three clubs. The Nationals should also be included in the equation. It wouldn’t be surprising if it came down to the wire.
The Orioles already have Wellington Castillo at catcher now. They’d love to have Wieters back on a one-year contract, but he’d have to split time with Castillo behind the dish and fill out the rest of his playing time at DH.
The Angels could jump in on this at the last minute to squeeze Wieters in, and he would definitely get more starting time with a very strong defensive backup catcher in Martin Maldonado behind him.
In fact, FanGraphs has the current Angels catching depth chart projected to produce a 2.8 WAR, which would have Maldonado and Perez combining for just above typical starter level. However, adding Wieters would create a clog behind the dish, so it is conceivable that his presence would push a trade package likely involving Carlos Perez for a young mid-to-backend innings eating starting pitcher.
Plus, with Wieters’ 1.7 WAR last season (and a 1.5 WAR over 101 games combined between 2014 and 2015), that move would basically leave the club the same WAR value (if not slightly more) behind the plate, but more on the offensive side than with the glove. And with the possible trade thereafter, the Halos would be adding more value on the 25-man roster with the aforementioned starting pitcher.
General Manager Billy Eppler has stated all offseason that his approach involved making smaller moves to set up bigger moves.
We don’t know exactly when or where Wieters will sign. Beyond the typical speculation of a one-year deal, and the four clubs mentioned, things have been quiet about him of late.
However, we should still think about this as a possibility.