Posted on December 28, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Even with Christmas behind us, there are still quite a few high-profile free agents still available on the market for any team to sign. One of the most notable players is catcher Matt Wieters, who has been the top catcher on the free agent market all winter and remains available despite a slew of teams already addressing their need behind the plate. There isn’t a whole lot of clarity with regard to where Wieters will end up, but based on what we know, here are each of his potential suitor’s chances of signing him.
Angels – 10%
The Angels have already addressed their catching situation by acquiring Martin Maldonado in a trade with the Brewers. That trade made them strong defensively at catcher, but did little to help them offensively. The Angels are likely done making big moves after adding quite a few players, but if the price of Wieters drops enough, the Angels could be a candidate to swoop in and add a more offensive-minded catcher like Wieters, especially with Albert Pujols likely to miss the start of the season.
Braves – 30%
The Braves recently acknowledged that they have interest in Wieters, and on the surface, this move makes a lot of sense with Wieters playing his college ball at Georgia Tech. Atlanta has three catchers on the roster, but none have the offensive potential of Wieters. The Braves are closer to competing than people think, and the addition of Wieters could help accelerate their rebuilding process.
Diamondbacks – 5%
Arizona didn’t want to pay Welington Castillo, who ended up signing with the Orioles, so it’s unlikely the Diamondbacks will pay up to sign Wieters, but it’s not out of the question. The Diamondbacks aren’t short of quality offensive players, but they don’t figure to get much from behind the plate, so it’s possible for Wieters to be on their radar.
Mets – 5%
There’s nothing to connect the Mets to Wieters except speculation. The injury-prone Travis d’Arnaud struggled both offensively and defensively in 2016, and the Mets may view Wieters as more of a guarantee to at least produce offensively. Everything coming out of New York indicates the Mets will give d’Arnaud another chance, with Rene Rivera there to back him up, but if there’s an opportunity to get Wieters at a low price, don’t count out the Mets from making a move.
Nationals – 20%
Despite trading for Derek Norris to be their every day catcher, there is rampant speculation that the Nationals could make a push for Wieters. The Nationals are in win-now mode and it would not be a surprise to see them make a bold move. Washington got a lot of offense from catcher Wilson Ramos last season, and signing Wieters would be a great way to replace that production. The Nationals have been active in trade discussions this winter, but if they decide to get aggressive on the free agent market, Wieters could be their target.
Rockies – 15%
Even after signing Ian Desmond to a big contract, you get the sense that Colorado isn’t done this offseason. The Rockies are set to use Tom Murphy and Tony Wolters behind the plate, but both are inexperienced at the major league level, so signing Wieters could solidify things, not to mention give them another batter who could excel at Coors Field. With no draft pick attached and a market that hasn’t played out in his favor, Wieters could consider a short-term deal with the Rockies and take another shot on the open market in a year or two.
White Sox – 5%
The rebuilding White Sox are an unlikely option, but if the price for Wieters has dropped enough, Chicago could surprise some people and spend what it takes to land the backstop. The White Sox could sign Wieters to a short-term deal and then flip him at the trade deadline. They could also give him three or four years, expecting him to be part of the solution when the young talent they’ve acquired in trades this winter reaches the big leagues.
Mystery Team – 10%
There’s been so little clarity with Wieters this winter that it’s not out of the question for a mystery team to jump in and surprise everyone. The Orioles are unlikely to rejoin the competition, but given his connection to Baltimore, it’s not impossible. The Red Sox and Mariners are two more teams that could conceivably pull off a surprise signing of Wieters, whose free agency remains wide open.