What Would The Free Agent Market Bear For Matt Wieters?

Matt Wieters

Photo Credit: Abelimages/Getty Images

After signing Adam Jones to a six-year, $85.5 million extension last summer, the Orioles appeared ready to begin working on a deal to keep franchise catcher Matt Wieters in Baltimore for years to come. At the end of June, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that those talks had stalled and that there was “no momentum” between the Orioles and Wieters’ representative, Scott Boras.

As of now, the O’s are reportedly planning for Wieters to test the free agent market after the 2015 season. He agreed to a one-year, $5.5 million deal last winter in his first year of arbitration and has posted disappointing numbers at the plate in 2013.

The two-time All-Star is hitting just .232/.291/.408 this season. Against left handed pitching, Wieters has posted a .242/.298/.421 slash line. Last season he hit .323/.404/.504 against southpaws.

However there’s no denying his stellar defensive talents. Wieters leads the American League with 17 runners caught stealing, his .563 stolen base percentage ranks fourth. Wieters has played in more games than most catchers, participating in 88 of the Orioles 96 games in the “first half” of the season. He’s been behind the plate in 81 of those games.

Of course, the work Wieters has done with the Orioles pitching staff is incredibly hard to quantify and is often overlooked. Every arm that comes up through the minor leagues compliments the Birds’ backstop for being a steadying force in their outings in the bigs.

So what would Wieters get if he hits free agency? Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina signed a five-year, $75 million deal back in 2012, but he was coming off a breakout season offensively, .305/.349/.465. The Twins inked Joe Mauer to an eight-year, $184 million deal in March of 2010, but he was the 2009 MVP.

Wieters finds himself in an interesting spot. The Orioles signed Jones to the biggest contract in franchise history on May 27, 2012 after he hit .309/.351/.597 with 14 home runs in 47 games. The O’s catcher is obviously headed in the opposite direction.

What would the market bear for a strong defensive catcher who struggles to produce at the plate? How much would Wieters’ upside help in negotiations for his first long-term deal?

It’s my personal belief that contract talks have stalled with the Orioles because of Wieters’ struggles this season. No agent wants to make a deal when his client is under performing. The O’s have plenty of time to work on an extension and figure out what type of player they think they’re getting in return.

I still don’t think you’ll see Wieters hit the market in 2015.

Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com and host of the BSR Podcast. He's a loyal Orioles, Ravens and Capitals fan who is obsessed with baseball, loves traveling, In-N-Out Burger and Walt Disney World.

12 Comments

  1. spy

    July 18, 2013 at 9:03 am

    I think Matt will be offered around eight million a year from the O’s,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,mosy likely it will be too low because it only takes one team to drive up his value and believe me Boras will find that team , I just hope it not the Yankees or the Bosox , I really want Matt to stay an O but if his average creeps up next year the O’s won’t be able to afford him…………………………
    Once again , truth from the spy…………………

  2. 9inchnails

    July 18, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Wieters is an aveage hitter and a very good defensive catcher. He is a product of the Scott Boras hype machine, nothing else. If I had the bases loaded and down 2 runs, I would pinch hit for him….

  3. Nick F

    July 18, 2013 at 11:17 am

    I hate Scott Boras.

  4. Avi Miller

    July 18, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    .365/.460/.625

    That was his line at AA Bowie when he was pronounced the best prospect in the game.

    Let him walk. Hasn’t lived up to ANYTHING. NO reason to overpay for a guy who saves just a run or two behind the plate each year when you can find a replacement catcher who hits and runs better and most likely can do a solid job defensively.

  5. spy

    July 18, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Wow , hey MGW , your boy is being thrown away by these guys,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,look , I was trying to keep him , was I wrong ?

  6. Willo

    July 19, 2013 at 8:45 am

    This begs the question, how much is a top notch defensive career 256 hitter with 77 dingers worth? I say he would make a great trade option next year for a front line starting pitching (are you there MGW?) and bring up Caleb from Bowie. Personally Matt has been a bust as an offensive player after all of the hype. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

    • spy

      July 19, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Good point , but I don’t think MGW’s O’s would trade for a quality pitcher,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,come to think of it , I don’t think they would trade for a quality anything…………………

      • MGW

        July 19, 2013 at 10:42 am

        Yea, I hope they trade for a front line pitcher! Look how well it’s worked out for Toronto with Buerhle, Johnson, and Dickey! Those guys have been the difference makers up there!

  7. mystery man

    July 19, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Matt may be the first player of many up for contract the O’s say “he just wanted too much money to keep here “

  8. Anvil

    July 19, 2013 at 11:25 am

    With Boras as his agent he might well be asking too much for what he is worth. I agree with Will-o, if it comes to that, adios Matt.

  9. 9inchnails

    July 20, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Wieters will be looking for a 7 yr / $120 which is way too much, bye bye Matt!

    • spy

      July 20, 2013 at 10:08 am

      I agree he is not worth 17 million a year , but what about ten or twelve million a year ? Is he worth that ???????????????