- Jim Bowden, ESPN Insider
Matt Wieters is one of the best all-around catchers in baseball. The Baltimore Orioles’ 2007 first-round pick is entering what should be the prime years of his career. He is a 27-year-old switch-hitter, a two-time All-Star and has hit at least 20 home runs in each of the last three seasons. He’s also a two-time Gold Glove Award winner who has thrown out at least 35 percent of runners trying to steal against him each of the last three seasons.
He’s arbitration-eligible right now and will be a free agent after the 2015 season. The Orioles would love to tie him up to a long-term contract extension. But with the industry’s revenue soaring along with player contracts, and Scott Boras as his agent, it’s unlikely the Orioles will be able to extend Wieters before he reaches free agency.
Therefore, Wieters’ trade value will never be higher than it is now.
Of course, the Orioles have a contending team, so trading Wieters doesn’t make much sense unless they’re able to get a top-level catcher back in a trade or they sign the best free-agent catcher on the market -- Brian McCann, who will cost much less than what Wieters will ask for on his next deal. The return for Wieters must include one of these four options:
1. Top-of-the-rotation starter
2. Corner outfielder with power
3. Impact second baseman
4. Prospect package to help rebuild a thin farm system
Here are some possible trade partners for the Orioles in a Wieters blockbuster deal.