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Matt Wieters, Orioles avoid arbitration with one-year deal

Jan 18, 2013, 1:47 PM EDT

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Earlier this week Matt Wieters said he’d like to sign a long-term deal with the Orioles, but for now they’ve avoided arbitration with a one-year, $5.5 million deal.

This was Wieters’ first season of arbitration eligibility, so he’s headed for some huge paydays in 2014 and 2015 even though he’s yet to top an .800 OPS. Gold Glove-winning catchers who can hit a little bit definitely get paid.

All of which means if the Orioles approach Wieters about that long-term extension it’ll likely have to be a massive one. For now he’s under team control through 2015 and age 29 anyway, so Baltimore may not want to rush into a long-term commitment to a good but not great player at a position where the aging patterns often aren’t pretty.

  1. randomdigits - Jan 18, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    This “good” not great player did lead all Catchers in WAR in 2011. As usual defensive skill gets the short end of the stick.

    I am in favor of the O’s offering him a market value extension buying out his first two seasons of Free Agency. Of course with Boras as his agent I don’t expect him to sign something that reasonable.

    If he doesn’t well, catch him into the ground and let someone else pay for the decline.

  2. paperlions - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    I agree. To me, catcher defense remains under-rated and its poorly estimated compared to other positions.

    In general (based on a bunch of analyses people smarter than me have done), it seems that baseball is about 42% pitching and 58% hitting/defense, with only about 10% of the latter figure representing defense (meaning that for position players hitting is about 4-5 times more important than defense, which seems reasonable given their relative importance and the variation in skill associated with each). BUT, it seems to me that for catchers defense is far more important than for other position players and that catchers may even deserve some of the credit (if they are good) or blame (if they are bad) for the 42% that represents “pitching”. For catchers, defense is at least as important as offense. While Weiters has been an average offensive catcher, he has been a terrific defensive catcher and probably deserves the tag of being a great player.

  3. rockthered1286 - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    AGAIN. If you’re going to call Wheat “good not great” please finish the sentence with OFFENSE. His D is top notch.

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