Sometime between now and Nov. 2015, the Orioles will make a decision on the future of Matt Wieters. It could come soon, if the Orioles are convinced that he won’t re-sign with the team. It could come later if he actually signs an extension with the team.
Or, they could simply decide to keep Wieters, realizing that he’s the best catcher they’re likely to find, and take a shot at contending with him and try to re-sign him two year from now.
How’s that for definitive?
In the interim, there will continue to be lots of drama surrounding this decidedly non-dramatic catcher, who works hard and lets his agent Scott Boras handle the business.
Boras’ reaction to the New York Yankees’ signing of Brian McCann to catch will be an interesting one. McCann and New York reached an agreement on a five-year, $85 million contract on Saturday.
Comparing Wieters with McCann is Boras’ job, and since the new Yankees catcher isn’t the uberagent’s client, you can be assured Boras will unearth data to show Wieters is better.
He is younger. Wieters is two years younger than McCann, who’ll turn 30 shortly after spring training begins. Wieters’ offensive numbers aren’t as good.
McCann’s stats have turned down, but he still batted .256 with 20 home runs and 57 RBIs last year despite missing the first five weeks of the season because of shoulder surgery. He once hit .300, and has hit 20 or more homers seven times. McCann is a lifetime .277 hitter and a seven-time All-Star.
Wieters has two more Gold Gloves than McCann, but the former Atlanta Braves catcher can boast he caught some excellent pitchers.
McCann’s left-handed bat will surely benefit at Yankee Stadium, and he’ll get to DH on occasion. Even though he’s never played first base, he might get the chance since Mark Teixeira has been injured a lot recently.
A five-year, $85 million deal shouldn’t faze the Orioles. If they could sign Wieters to a similar deal, they’d take it, but he’s still two years away from free agency, and probably looking for perhaps a seven-year deal, maybe even longer.
A five-year contract for Wieters would account for three years in free agency. The first two are Wieters’ final arbitration-eligible years.
The Orioles surely would want that, but Boras is going to want a deal more like Buster Posey’s. Posey signed a nine-year, $164 million extension with the San Francisco Giants earlier this year. At 26, Posey is a year younger than Wieters, and his contract runs through 2021 when he’s 34.
From 2017-2021, Posey will earn $21.4 million a year. Like McCann, Posey’s stats are far better than Wieters, but in a league that has Yadier Molina, neither will contend for Gold Gloves.
Posey also plays about a game per week at first base, which Wieters doesn’t, and presumably could play more there in the later years of his contract.
The Orioles would eagerly pay Wieters what Molina gets. The Cardinals will pay him $58 million over the next four years plus a $15 million team option in 2018 when he’s 35.
Don’t compare Wieters with Joe Mauer. The Twins forked out eight years and $184 million for Mauer, who has won three Gold Gloves, but is now transitioning to first base.
The Twins are paying Mauer $23 million annually, but as a native Minnesotan, he’s considered the face of the franchise and they don’t want to lose him.
Boras will have some inventive arguments he’ll use on Orioles’ executive vice president Dan Duquette, and it will be interesting to see if there is any progress on an extension.
They’ll also have to deal with Boras on a possible extension for Chris Davis, but the slugger has said he’d like to stay in Baltimore, something that Wieters has yet to say.
Boras likes to take his clients to free agency, but during the 2012 season, his client Jered Weaver signed a five-year, $85 million extension to stay with the Los Angeles Angels.
The Wieters talk may continue for months or even two years, but the Jhonny Peralta rumors never even reached the tepid stage.
On Friday, there was a report that the Orioles were interested in Peralta as a left fielder. They would have had to convince the longtime shortstop to move to left as well as sell him on a deal.
It appears there was little, or nothing to that as Peralta is now reportedly close to an agreement to play shortstop for the Cardinals.
Even with McCann’s signing, nearly all the big names, and most of the secondary names are still on the market. Even with the holiday week at hand, lots of new rumors with new names are sure to be heard this week.