Nationals

Quick Links

Matt Wieters will return to Nationals in 2018 with player-option

_wieters.jpg

Matt Wieters will return to Nationals in 2018 with player-option

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.

RELATED: NATS ANNOUNCE DAVEY MARTINEZ AS NEW MANAGER

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.

MORE NATS: HARPER THANKS FANS FOR SUPPORT DURING 2017 RUN

Quick Links

Bryce Harper slid in to Rhys Hoskins' latest Instagram and we're kinda worried

image_from_ios.png
Rhys Hoskins / Instagram

Bryce Harper slid in to Rhys Hoskins' latest Instagram and we're kinda worried

No one knows when Bryce Harper will sign a contract – perhaps not even Harper himself – but he is fueling speculation every chance he gets.

 

The Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins posted a picture from the team’s spring training site in Clearwater, Florida.

 

View this post on Instagram

missed this walk to work🌴

A post shared by Rhys Hoskins (@rhystothehoskins) on

 

This itself is not newsworthy. Plenty of players have posted pictures of their arrivals at spring training. Scroll through the comments, however, and you will notice that Harper commented “Suhhhhh kiiiiiiid.” This comes one day after Hoskins commented on a Valentine’s Day post by Harper dedicated to his wife, Kayla.

 

View this post on Instagram

My Funny Valentine!😂🥰 #Greys

A post shared by Bryce Harper (@bharper3407) on

 

The Phillies are among the teams rumored to be potential suitors for the 2015 NL MVP. Does this mean Harper is going to sign with one of the Nationals’ biggest rivals and remain in the NL East? No idea. But Harper is doing a good job of holding onto everyone’s attention while he remains undecided.

 

This is not the first time Harper has fueled speculation via social media.

 

Hoskins posted this picture on Instagram back in December, with the caption “loading…”

 

View this post on Instagram

loading...🔋

A post shared by Rhys Hoskins (@rhystothehoskins) on

 

On Super Bowl Sunday, Harper tweeted this:

 

 

This week, Harper unfollowed a number of Washington Capitals on Twitter, according to Caps winger Tom Wilson:

 

 

In January, MLB The Show’s twitter account posted a series of simulations showcasing how some team’s seasons might look with Harper in the fold. He quoted some of those tweets with some cryptic emojis:

 

 

That same account also tweeted “You'll want to keep an eye on this account tomorrow... just saying,” back on January 28th.

 

 

This fueled speculation that the video game’s cover would be released the next day and Harper, as the cover athlete, would reveal his destination by appearing on the cover in his new team’s uniform. The cover was released, but it featured Harper in a plain white hoodie.

 

For now, Harper watch continues. As a matter of fact, you should go ahead and refresh your Twitter and Instagram feeds – odds are he posted another cryptic tweet or comment while you were reading this.

 

 

 

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: 

 

Quick Links

MLB insiders from around the league share their opinions on Bryce Harper

MLB insiders from around the league share their opinions on Bryce Harper

The battle for Bryce Harper is all anyone can talk about in Washington, D.C. and at Nationals Spring Training in West Palm Beach, Florida. Apparently, it’s all anyone can talk about anywhere.

This week on D.C. Sports Live, MLB insiders from NBC Sports regional networks around the country gathered to discuss the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, while making predictions on where the coveted slugger would end up playing in 2019 and beyond.

There wasn’t one consensus pick among the four insiders, though none of them predicted San Diego or Chicago as Harper’s final destination. The Giants, Phillies, and Nationals themselves seemingly stand out from the pack as the most likely options, though of course that is subject to change at any point.

“I think there’s a very slight, slight chance that he returns to the Nationals,” said NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas. “Those are very low odds to me.”

Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area felt differently from Dybas, thanks to a conversation with one of the Giants.

“I asked a player this today, and he predicted the Nationals,” Pavlovic said. “So I’m going to go with him.”

While the Phillies have long been viewed as one of the favorites, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s insider, Jim Salisbury, agreed with Pavlovic, saying he still thinks “there’s a chance he ends up back with the Nationals.”

Vinnie Duber of NBC Sports Chicago rounded out the predictions by saying the Phillies make a lot of sense.

Interestingly, none of the insiders except Salisbury seemed too confident in the teams they personally cover as Harper’s final destination. Pavlovic feels the Giants aren’t interested in giving any player $100 million, let alone the rumored $300 million the Nationals offered, meaning it would be difficult for San Francisco to reach a number Harper likes.

The Phillies obviously have money and a need on the roster, but Salisbury feels the organization isn’t too picky between Harper or the other remaining big fish, Manny Machado.

“At this point here in Philadelphia, it’s a jump ball between Machado and Harper,” Salisbury described. “And whoever wants it, come and get it, and you’ll be a Phillie.”

The game of musical chairs between the teams, Harper, Machado, and every other free agent is still alive and well. It’s clear from the roundtable that no one is really sure where Harper will end up. We’re all playing the same waiting game when it comes to the superstar.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: