Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters has accepted the club's qualifying offer, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
The switch-hitting catcher elected to return to Baltimore on Friday by accepting a one-year, $15.8 million dollar qualifying offer instead of testing the free agent waters.
Originally drafted by the Orioles back in 2007 out of Georgia Tech (fifth overall) and making his debut in 2009, this is the only Major League organization Wieters has been with in his career and has become a fan favorite in Charm City. It makes a great deal of sense for Wieters to re-sign with his club given that he has only played 101 games over the past two seasons due to injuries.
However, this comes as a complete surprise to many who thought Wieters would be the best free agent catcher on the market this winter despite coming off an injury-riddled year. He posses the ability to mash from both sides of the plate with plenty of power and the capability to throw out runners on the base path. Wieters is represented by Scott Boras, who we all know if you're represented by Mr. Boras you get your money. Boras influences his clients to roam the open market and has spoken out on the flaws of the qualifying offer system.
The 29-year-old was set to start the 2015 campaign with no delay after coming off Tommy John surgery in 2014, but tendonitis in his elbow set him back until June 5th when he made his season debut. During a small portion sized 2015, he slashed .267/.319/.422 while driving in 25 RBI and hitting eight home runs in 75 games. Wieters caught back-to-back games only four times this past year, which raises a few eyebrows and questions whether he can still produce like he did before the infamous surgery.
By accepting the offer, Wieters will make just under $16 million next season and is not tradable until next June. If not bitten by the injury bug again, expect Wieters to take a larger dose of the catching duties in 2016 with Caleb Joseph behind him.
Baltimore will now turn its attention to addressing their needs to the starting rotation, bullpen, corner outfield and waiting to see if slugging first baseman Chris Davis accepts his qualifying offer. Wieters will look to have a breakout 2016 season to prove to clubs that he is in fact healthy and the 6'5" catcher will get his well deserved pay day.