When the Washington Nationals and All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos decided to part ways during the offseason, the team was in need of a player to fill the hole.
Though the Nationals traded for former San Diego Padres catcher Derek Norris in early December, they decided to add longtime Baltimore Orioles’ catcher Matt Wieters when Spring Training was in full swing.
You would think a player like Wieters, who is a four-time All-Star and has won two Gold Gloves, would have commanded more as a free agent, but having Tommy John Surgery in 2014 and other health issues throughout his career apparently played a factor in him settling for a 1-year/$10.5M deal with the Nationals, which included a player option for 2018 ($10.5M).
At the time the deal was made, it looked a pretty good bargain for the Nationals as the team received a 20 home run caliber player for a relatively cheap price. Not to mention the fact that he is a switch hitter, who is solid defensively.
Now that the Nationals are eight games into the 2017 season, Wieters has proven to be a bright spot in the bottom of the Nationals lineup.
Wieters has posted a .370 batting average with a home run and 4 RBIs, while sporting a .485 OBP through 27 at bats.
Matt Wieters is taking to DC like me to a buffalo wild wings. One of my long favorite Orioles had been a steal so far for #Nats— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) April 12, 2017
Wieters had an impressive start to the series against the St. Louis Cardinals as he went 2-4 with a RBI in the 14-6 win in the opener of the three-game set.
He followed that performance up by going 2 for 3 and belting his first home run as a National in the 8-3 victory over the Cards on Tuesday, which clinched the series win.
Wieters is getting the job done despite hitting in an unfamiliar position in the batting order.
During his time in Baltimore, Wieters mostly batted in the middle of the lineup especially in the five spot.
In 2016, Wieters went 7 for 15 and hit three home runs when batting eighth.
Having Wieters batting eighth is turning out to be a good move for the Nationals.
If he can continue to hit the ball well and stay healthy, the Nationals will be a deep, dangerous offensive team that will give opponents problems as the season moves along.