Baltimore Orioles: Matt Wieters unemployment worrisome to O’s
Ex-Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is still on the free agent market, which is worrisome to his former teammates.
Matt Wieters’ tenure with the Baltimore Orioles came to an end this offseason when the team elected to sign Welington Castillo to be their everyday catcher.
But his former teammates are troubled because Wieters has yet to find a home at this point in the offseason..
"I think for all free agents this year, it’s been a little different,” catcher Caleb Joseph said. “It took Mark Trumbo quite a while to sign. … Look, when you get into the big leagues, all you think about is just being here the next day. You continue, and you go the next day. Then you get a year in, and you start thinking about [salary] arbitration. Then you get to arbitration and you start thinking about free agency. I can’t imagine what it’s like. I’ve talked to Matt about it. It’s got to be tough, wanting to get to free agency and feel like you’ve earned a little bit of security, earned maybe a three- or four-year deal or whatever it is, and then it’s not happening on your time. It’s got to be tough.”"
Joseph added he spoke to Wieters a few times this offseason and admitted it felt weird. However, he’s confident Wieters will find a home before the 2017 season, especially since Wieters is still the top catcher on the free agent market.
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Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has seen this situation before. Just last year, Davis and the Orioles spent most of the offseason negotiating a new contract, and Davis wasn’t signed until the new year. But Davis had hoped the situation would have been different for Wieters.
"“I didn’t see it playing out like this at all,” Davis said. “I thought it was going to be a lot quicker process, just the whole free agency process this year with the number of guys that were out there and the quality of players that are out there.“I feel for Matty right now. It’s really tough not knowing where you’re going to be, especially in his situation, being a catcher coming off an injury two years ago and all the hard work that he’s put in to get back to being the player that he is. I wish him all the best.”"
Both Joseph and Davis mentioned it wasn’t just Wieters that saw his price drop in the free agent market. Other sluggers such as Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo all had disappointing offseasons before signing with the Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays and the Orioles.
Other sluggers such as Chris Carter, Mike Napoli and Pedro Alvarez are still looking to sign elsewhere.
If all of these sluggers were on the market a few years ago, they most likely would have been signed early on since teams valued veterans and their power. However, with Major League Baseball in a league-wide youth movement, it’s harder for veterans to acquire the contract they desire.
Next: Orioles happy to have Mark Trumbo back
Unfortunately, Wieters is in that boat, and it could take a while for him to find a new home.