The Angels went into the offseason looking to fill vacancies at a number of positions, but an upgrade behind the plate wasn't necessarily the priority.Things could change on that front, however, and there are several sensible reasons why the team's biggest and most surprising move of the offseason just might
The Angels went into the offseason looking to fill vacancies at a number of positions, but an upgrade behind the plate wasn't necessarily the priority.
Things could change on that front, however, and there are several sensible reasons why the team's biggest and most surprising move of the offseason just might be the free-agent signing of Matt Wieters.
The Angels haven't been mentioned as one of the prominent contenders for Wieters, who is the top remaining catcher on the market and one of the better overall position players still available in this free-agent class. He also was not extended a qualifying offer by his former team, the Orioles, which means the team that signs him will not have to surrender a valuable pick in June's Draft.
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And in the new year, the Angels, who have already added outfielders Cameron Maybin and Ben Revere, second baseman Danny Espinosa and starting pitcher Jesse Chavez, might still be looking for another starter and a bullpen arm.
But none of the new faces are bank-breakers, and the team could clear up a decent amount of payroll space with the presumed departures of pitchers Jered Weaver and Christopher Wilson. That leaves about $15 million in 2017 salary left before they hit the luxury-tax threshold, putting Wieters in play.
Sure, the team made a deal at catcher, trading young backstop Jett Bandy to the Brewers for the veteran defensive specialist Martin Maldonado. But that got them a career backup in return. With unproven Carlos Perez as their other current catching option, the Angels seem to be either betting that Maldonado is good enough to be their everyday guy, or that there's another move coming.
Wieters is projected to land a three- or four-year offer worth around $12-15 million a year. The Angels could structure a deal to make that happen. Then again, if the market isn't buzzing around Wieters as the the mid-February Spring Training report date approaches, the price might become even more tantalizing. Also, Wieters' agent, Scott Boras, is located in Orange County and frequents Angel Stadium.
Plus, who doesn't love the weather in Southern California?
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.