Matt Wieters trade rumors: Orioles willing to deal catcher

J. Meric

Wieters will be a free agent at the same time as Chris Davis and may be too expensive to keep. With several teams looking for catchers, now might be the time to trade him.

The Baltimore Orioles are willing to trade catcher Matt Wieters this offseason, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

With several teams looking for catching on the free agent market and players like Brian McCann, Carlos Ruiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia drawing a lot of interest, the Orioles could have a number of teams inquiring about Wieters. The Baltimore backstop is still two years from free agency and will likely see less of a salary than the top three free agents.

Wieters was selected fifth overall by the Orioles in the 2007 draft and was ranked as the top prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America prior to 2009. His offense was supposed to be his calling card in the majors, but his defense is what has shone most with Baltimore with two gold gloves in five seasons.

That's not to say Wieters has been bad offensively. He has topped 20 home runs each of the past three seasons and has a career 739 OPS, not bad for a catcher. However, he hit .235/.287/.417 in 2013 and has seen his OPS go from a career-high 778 in 2011 to 764 in 2012 to 704 in 2013.

Wieters and first baseman Chris Davis are both represented by Scott Boras and are both set to become free agents at the same time. With Davis's recent surge to superstardom, the team likely sees him as the better candidate for a long-term contract and may not be able to afford both. Trading Wieters now, when he still has mutliple years of team control, may net them the biggest return.

Teams who have been looking at free agents and could be interested in Wieters include the Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox, Rangers, and Rockies.

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