Are the Angels Planning on Making a Run at Matt Wieters?

Updated: January 23, 2017

According to multiple reports, the Angels are apparently considering making a run at catcher Matt Wieters, one of the few big-name free agents left on the market. Wieters bounced back to play in 124 games last season after playing in 101 games combined the previous two seasons due to Tommy John surgery, slashing .243/.302/.409. While those numbers are somewhat underwhelming, Wieters did pop seventeen home runs, and he would be an immediate offensive upgrade over the Angels’ current projected catchers, Carlos Perez and newcomer Martin Maldonado, two solid defensive catchers who offer little with the bat. As a switch hitter, he would continue to add the lineup balance GM Billy Eppler has strived for this offseason, as well. Wieters would bring an all-star pedigree, and although his defensive numbers have lacked in recent seasons, he was generally considered a strong defensive catcher prior to his injury. As Wieters continues to separate himself from his injury and build upon healthy seasons, a bounce back to being one of the best catchers in baseball is not out of the question. The most important factor in all of this is the fact that we are nearing crunch time for free agents, especially free agents of Wieters’ caliber; pitchers and catchers are due to report in a matter of weeks. Could this bring Wieters’ asking price way down, and potentially even on a one or two year deal? It’s certainly possible, although with Scott Boras as his agent I wouldn’t count on it. The Angels have mostly laid low this offseason, quietly upgrading several areas of need with solid, cheap, short-term deals. There’s no question the Angels are a better team now than they were at the end of last season, especially on defense, and if several things break right in the pitching staff, the Angels could be right back in the thick of things in the AL West. . The Angels were about a league-average offense last season, and while much of that is due to employing the greatest player in the world (Mike Trout, duh,) also remember that the Angels basically had no left fielder, no second baseman, no catcher other than those few weeks Jett Bandy produced, and no C.J. Cron for almost two full months. Adding Wieters, who would instantly become one of the Angels best hitters, alongside Ben Revere, Cameron Maybin, and Danny Espinosa, would solidify what could be a very good lineup. Wieters also has the ability to play first in case Albert Pujols‘ rehab from foot surgery lingers into the season, and could spell C.J. Cron at either first or DH depending on match ups and/or struggles. Pairing Wieters with Maldonado and pushing Perez to the minors also upgrades the depth of the position, which is never a bad thing for a team that is still working to improve depth in the minors. While it still doesn’t seem particularly likely that the Angels would actually be able to reel him in, adding Wieters would cap what has been a pretty solid offseason for Eppler and company, and give Halo fans some much needed excitement after a terrible season.

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