The Tampa Bay Rays have reportedly made a contract offer to free agent catcher Matt Wieters with the offer likely being a one-year deal, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
Tampa’s contract offer is also supposedly said to be worth less money than Wieters and his agent Scott Boras were seeking when the 30-year-old catcher hit the open market this off-season. The Rays inked Wilson Ramos to a two-year, $12.5 million contract this off-season, but he will start the season on the disabled list due to a knee injury.
Several teams have expressed interests in Wieters this off-season, but this is the first reported formal offer that Wieters has received from any MLB club this winter. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports took to Twitter earlier today to report that it is not clear if the Rays are the front-runner in the Wieters sweepstakes.
Looking at the Rays’ catching situation with Ramos not expected to play the first couple months of the 2017 season, it’s clear Wieters would be a definite upgrade over a likely platoon between Curt Casali and Luke Maile an option for Rays manager Kevin Cash. Although Wieters struggles with pitch framing, his offense would be very beneficial to a Rays offense built around Evan Longoria.
The Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, and Wieters’ team for the last eight years the Baltimore Orioles have all expressed interest in Wieters in the past.
Last season, Wieters slashed .243/.302/.409 with 17 homers and 66 RBIs across 464 plate appearances. He appeared in 124 games in 2016 for Baltimore, the most games Wieters has played in a season since he played 148 games in 2013 and blasted 22 homers.
For his career, Wieters is a .256/.318/.421 hitter, with 117 career homers and 437 RBIs.
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