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Matt Wieters rumors: Orioles catcher asked for 'Joe Mauer' money

Matt Wieters asked for an enormous extension before the 2013 season, and is now on the trade block.

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Wieters and the Orioles have attempted to figure out a long-term extension in the past, but the two sides are almost an insane distance apart in negotiations. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, Wieters' camp asked for a contract around Joe Mauer's position-leading $184 million deal before the 2013 season started.

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Wieters made $5.5 million in his first year of arbitration, and has two more seasons left before he hits free agency. His estimated free agent value, following his monster 2012 campaign, was around $14 million per year: the first season of arbitration generally tends to skew to around 40 percent of free agent value -- as such, Wieters should make around $8 million in 2014. Essentially, Scott Boras, Wieters' agent, demanded that if Wieters opts out of the possibility of increasing his free agent value further, he should be compensated with one of the richest, if not the richest, catcher contracts in the game. Given the Orioles pegged him for around $14 million per year, you can see why a massive gulf existed between the two sides, as it would take a 13-year deal to get Wieters up to Mauer money at that pay rate.

As the Orioles have Wieters -- and a number of other Orioles making bank in 2014 -- on the trade block, you can assume that extension discussions have not progressed much since the spring. On Wieters' side, a down 2013 has him in a precarious negotiation position, as he can either give in to the Orioles' lower demands out of fear it's the best he'll be able to get, or hope to rebound in 2014 and regain the chance to make serious money either on an extension or as, eventually, a free agent. Knowing Boras, the latter will be Wieters' path -- we just saw Boras go this route with Jacoby Ellsbury after a down 2012, and now Ellsbury is in line to be one of the highest-paid free agents this winter.

Wieters hit just .244/.296/.429 as a catcher in 2013, and while that was still above-average for the position, above-average doesn't get you $20-plus million a year. His defense will help make up for some of that, but if he wants to be paid like a total package, he'll have to deliver on that again between now and his free agency.

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