The answer to the question, “Will Matt Wieters land in Tampa Bay?” is finally an unfortunate “no.”
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) February 21, 2017
On Tuesday morning, it was reported that the former Baltimore Orioles backstop and four-time All Star is likely headed to Washington as the Nationals offered him a two-year deal with an opt-out clause after year one. Per Ken Rosenthal, the deal has Wieters making $10M in 2017 and $11M if he doesn’t opt out in 2018. It didn’t come as too big a shock seeing as Wieters has links to the Nat’s front office and his agent, Scott Boras, was pushing for more than a one-year deal.
The Rays catching depth chart this spring is not without talent, despite prized free agent signing, Wilson Ramos, not due back until May at the earliest, and that would be primarily as a DH. The dark horse to make the team come Opening Day is veteran backstop Michael McKenry, who spent a brief time with the Cardinals in 2016 and is a .238/.318/.406 hitter in his seven year career in MLB. They also brought in former Mariner, Jesus Sucre, who hit .480 in nine games in Seattle last season but is a .209 career hitter through four seasons.
The front-runners to open the 2017 season on the 25-man, however, look to be Luke Maile and Curt Casali. Both have plenty of experience with the current Rays pitching staff, especially the rotation, and that could go a long way in determining if one or both of them crack the Opening Day roster.
Are the Rays finally done searching for one more bat to bolster their lineup heading into the 2017 season? Probably not completely. But at least we finally have an answer to the Wieters question that’s been on everyone’s mind for weeks now. In fact, once the signing is official, the Nationals will have a surplus of catchers that they may want to move if the Rays still want to add more depth, including former Ray, Jose Lobaton.
#Nationals will have obvious surplus of catchers once Wieters deal is official – Norris, Lobaton, Severino.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 21, 2017
It’s time to move on and trust that the Rays front office will get back to the drawing board and continue to look for other ways to make this team contenders, again, in 2017.
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