The Washington Nationals have agreed to sign catcher Matt Wieters on Tuesday.
Wieters and the Nationals came to terms on a two-year, $21 million contract that includes an opt-out after this season. Wieters will earn $10.5 million each year, effectively making it a one-year deal if he decides to opt-out.
The contract includes deferrals, so $5 million of his earnings will not come until 2021.
Wieters gives the Nationals another viable option at catcher to amend for the loss of Wilson Ramos. He left for the Rays this offseason via free agency.
Until today, the Nationals' plan was to utilize Derek Norris at primary catcher with Jose Lobaton and/or Pedro Severino serving time as backup. This signing makes either one of them expendable, and Severino could fetch more in a trade, being that he's one of their top prospects and provides positional value.
Regardless, Wieters had trouble finding a suitor throughout the offseason due to his asking price and level of interest, making him one of the last free agents to sign.
Nonetheless, he still is able to contribute on both sides of the plate.
The 30-year-old Wieters has spent his entire career on the Northside of the Capital Beltway with the Baltimore Orioles, and he hit .243/.302/.409 with them last year. Wieters added 17 home runs, but on the whole, his 88 wRC+ suggested below-average offensive production.
Regardless, Wieters' defense has always made him highly touted, and he was still worth 1.7 fWAR last year albeit the poor offensive output.
At his best, Wieters was a slightly above-average hitter with excellent defense, resulting in a four-year span from 2010 to 2013 that was worth 13 total fWAR (3.25 / year).
Any glimpse of that production from Wieters in 2017 would be of great benefit to the Nationals, who are once again in the hunt to win the National League. Of course, Wieters is able to become a free agent at the end of the year, and a great season would help him out with his next contract as well.
Wieters is yet another Scott Boras client that joins the Washington squad. Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Drew are also represented by Boras, who is considered to be one of the most prominent agents in the industry.
FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman was the first to report the signing, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports added prevalent contract details.