Baseball report: Matt Wieters agrees to two-year deal with Washington Nationals
Matt Wieters said he managed to cut his left wrist severely by breaking a five-gallon glass water container in his garage on Nov. 1, delaying his off-season preparation — and, he thinks, his chance to find a deal in free agency.
“It’s tough finding a team when you can’t do anything baseball-related,” Wieters said Friday, when the catcher took batting practice and ran conditioning sprints at spring training with the Washington Nationals after his signing was announced. “They told me I was very lucky that it wasn’t worse than it was.”
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Wieters agreed to a $21-million, two-year deal worth $10.5 million annually, one that gives him the right to terminate the agreement after this season and become a free agent again. It includes $2.5 million each year in deferred salary.
Now the obstacle for Wieters is getting up to speed with the reigning NL East champions’ pitching staff. The Nationals’ first exhibition game is Saturday against the division rival New York Mets.
“There’s definitely enough time,” Wieters said. “As a catcher, I’d love to have as much as possible. Being able to listen (to the pitchers) and how they pitch will help me out a lot.”
He joins a crowded clubhouse of catchers. Jose Lobaton and Pedro Severino played in Washington last season, and the club traded for San Diego’s Derek Norris. In all, there are six catchers on the 40-man roster.
General Manager Mike Rizzo described Wieters as “a leader in the clubhouse and on the field” for the Baltimore Orioles, the only major league club the four-time All-Star has played for until now.
Wieters, 30, has a .256 career batting average with 117 homers and 437 RBIs over eight seasons. Last year, he hit .244 with 17 homers and 66 RBIs in 124 games.
“It’s a unique thing to find someone who can be a switch-hitter at such a premium position and be so consistent on both sides,” second baseman Daniel Murphy said. “Lengthens out our lineup. That’s a really tough matchup problem.”
The Chicago Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop have agreed to a contract adding $6.35 million in guaranteed money through 2018, a deal that includes a club option for 2019. Strop went 2-2 with a 2.85 ERA in 54 appearances last year, helping Chicago win the World Series for the first time since 1908. … Former NFL and Georgia defensive back Sanders Commings has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Atlanta Braves. An outfielder who hasn’t played baseball since high school in Augusta, Georgia, Commings faces long odds to become one of the rare players to make it to both the NFL and Major League Baseball. …
Dilson Herrera has inflammation in his right shoulder and will not throw for a couple days, taking the Colombian infielder out of the World Baseball Classic and hurting his chances for making the Cincinnati Reds. Herrera, who turns 23 next Friday, also experienced shoulder soreness for parts of last season, including during spring training. He said it started bothering him again about a week ago.
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