All-Star catcher Matt Wieters won’t become a free agent until after the 2015 season, but the Orioles don’t appear to be wasting time in addressing his long-term status.
According to a CBSSports.com report, the club recently offered Wieters a long-term contract in hopes of securing his future in Baltimore long before he would become a free agent at age 29. However, the sides aren’t believed to be anywhere close to an agreement.
That reality comes as no surprise considering Wieters is represented by super agent Scott Boras, a factor that led many to believe the Orioles would avoid drafting the star catcher from Georgia Tech altogether in the 2007 draft. Instead, the club selected Wieters with the fifth overall pick and signed him minutes before the deadline on August 15 of that year. Historically, Boras discourages young clients from signing extensions with their original clubs that would prevent them from hitting the open market.
The report says the offer was believed to be at least five years, but the exact terms were unknown. San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey recently signed a nine-year, $167 million deal, and the 2008 first-round pick was four years away from free agency. However, Posey has been more accomplished in the big leagues after being voted 2012 National League MVP and helping the Giants to World Series titles in two of the last three years.
Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette provided a cryptic answer when asked to describe how talks were going.
“We’ll enjoy him as long as he’s here,” Duquette told CBSSports.com before declining further comment.
It’s typical for the Orioles executive to be sly in describing matters of this nature, so trying to read too much into his words doesn’t serve much purpose. Signing the 26-year-old anytime soon will be a tall order, but the fact that the Orioles are already exploring an extension with nearly three full seasons of control remaining before he becomes a free agent shows how serious the organization is about keeping the two-time Gold Glove winner in Baltimore.
The sides settled on a $5.5 million salary for the 2013 season, avoiding arbitration over the winter.
Wieters hit a two-run home run off David Price in the Orioles 7-4 season-opening win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.