Jon Heyman first reported (and several sources have since verified) that Matt Wieters is close to a two-year deal right down I-95 with the Washington Nationals. While Wieters’ market may not have been nearly as robust as he and agent Scott Boras had hoped, it looks like Matty Backstop will indeed start the 2017 season on an MLB roster, which didn’t seem so certain just yesterday.
Wieters will, unfortunately, be remembered by most as a disappointment in Baltimore, largely in part due to unfairly high expectations which were thrust upon him.
I think this Tweet sums up his contributions nicely, though:
Best of luck to Matty Backstop. He was a cog in the rebuild. His framing & blocking inabilities declined, but his impact will be remembered.
— Ben Kaplan (@BattleOTBeltway) February 21, 2017
He certainly rolled over far too many meatballs at the dish for most of our liking, and never became “Joe Mauer with Power,” but let’s not deny that he had a significant impact on the Orioles organization. An instant favorite of Buck Showalter, Wieters was a steady presence behind the plate and in the clubhouse.
This short video from @BMoreCenter provides a nice little goodbye tribute.
Goodbye Matty Wiets. pic.twitter.com/L4dl4OkoLN
— BMOREcenter (@BMOREcenter) December 14, 2016
Some big hits in there. Though Wieters never put up huge offensive numbers, he was clutch when it mattered. Per FanGraphs, since 2009, no Oriole was more “clutch” than Matt Wieters.
I’ll always remember last August 30th, when Wieters hit a big HR with two outs in the eighth inning off Toronto’s Jason Grilli to win it. I had just professed to my father, sitting next to me in section 82, my absolute certainty that Wieters was going to swing at the first pitch following a walk to Jonathan Schoop. I said it would either be a pop-up or a home run. Matt shut me right up.
In his final regular-season game as an Oriole, Wieters homered twice – once from each side of the plate – to propel the Birds into the playoffs. Let’s remember him that way (until we hate on him when the Birds play the Gnats this summer, of course).
We wish Matt nothing but the best of luck moving forward.