On Saturday, the Washington Nationals announced that catcher Matt Wieters will return to the organization for the 2018 season.
Wieters exercised his one-year, $10.5 million player-option after a rough season in 2017. In his first year in Washington he plated the worst batting average of his career at .225 in 123 games. This is the final year of his deal and is set to become a free agent after this upcoming season.
He accounted for 95 hits, 20 were doubles and 10 were home runs. It is not his bat though that makes him so valuable to a team, it is hit ability to comand behind the plate. Throughout his nine-years, Wieters has a .992 fielding percentage and caught 32 percent of all runners trying to steal a base.
The catching position is one of the few question marks for the Nationals heading into 2018. At 31-years of age, he is aging in one of the most fragile spots in all of baseball, especially in the National League.
His backup, Jose Lobaton, is a free agent this off-season. Wieters will definitely be in for a workload. Likely, he will be serving as veteran presence for young prospects Pedro Severino and Raudy Read. There is also the case though that general manager Mike Rizzo could go out and find a new number one catcher to make up for his batting skils or to just find Witers some help.
Playing his first eight years with the Baltimore Orioles, Wieters has been in the DMV area throughout his professional career. With the Orioles he went to four All-Star games with two Gold Gloves. One thing to keep in mind is that Wieters is only a year removed from being an All-Star.