The Orioles agreed to terms with catcher Matt Wieters on a one-year $5.5 million deal Friday, avoiding arbitration in Wieters’ first year of eligibility. But Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said the organization would like to pursue the possibility of signing Wieters to a long-term deal.
Now that the Orioles signed center fielder Adam Jones to a six-year, $85-million extension last season and extended both Duquette and manager Buck Showalter through 2018, the organization’s next step to locking up its cornerstones would likely be signing Wieters, who becomes a free agent after the 2015 season, to a long-term deal.
“I like Matt Wieters and I like his leadership and I’m sure there will be opportunities for the team and Matt to address a longer term relationship,” Duquette said.
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Asked whether he believed the Orioles would initiate contract talks this season, Duquette said: “I don’t know the timing of that, but the good news is that Matt signed for this year. He had a great year. He continued to improve as an RBI man and his leadership and defense as a catcher are big pluses for the team. We’re looking forward to him doing that and hopefully we’ll have him do that for more than the three years we have him with the team.”
Wieters, a Scott Boras client, received a $5 million raise from last year, breaking the previous salary record for a first-year arbitration-eligible catcher. The old record was the $3.9 million given to Russell Martin in 2009, which was bettered by both Wieters and Giants catcher Buster Posey, who received an $8 million deal, on Friday.