Now that the Orioles have signed center fielder Adam Jones, manager Buck Showalter, and general manager Dan Duquette to long-term contract extensions Matt Wieters would also like to sign up for the long haul in Baltimore.
Wieters told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that he’s “always been interested” in a long-term deal because “it’s a fun place to play and it’s a place where I enjoy playing.”
Wieters is arbitration eligible for the first time this season, which means he’s already under team control through 2015 and won’t be a free agent until age 30. To sign a good but not great catcher to a long-term extension that goes into his 30s would be a risk for the Orioles, although obviously it all depends on Wieters’ asking price.
He hasn’t quite lived up to the prospect hype as the next big thing, but Wieters has been very solid during the past two seasons while winning back-to-back Gold Glove awards and hitting .255 with 45 homers and a .771 OPS in 283 games.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.