Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, who agreed to terms Friday on a one-year deal in his first year of arbitration eligibility, said he is looking forward to going into the spring without his contract status looming over his head.
The sides agreed to a one-year deal worth $5.5 million for 2013, avoiding the arbitration process. The deadline to file arbitration figures was Friday at 1 p.m.
“It’s a good feeling,” Wieters said Friday night at the premiere of 'The BUCKLe Up Birds: An Underdog Story,' a movie about the team's 2012 season. “We were going to focus on the season no matter and sort of let the business people handle the business side, but it is nice to get it behind you and completely have everything in the rear-view mirror and just now continue to move forward.”
The previous salary record for a first-year arbitration catcher was the $3.9 million given to Russell Martin in 2009, but both Wieters and Giants catcher Buster Posey, who agreed to an $8 million deal, surpassed that total Friday.
Wieters, who hit .249/.329/.435 with 23 homers and 83 RBIs in 144 games last season, made just $500,000 in base salary in 2012.
Wieters' deal includes incentives that would earn him $100,000 if he wins a Gold Glove next season and $75,000 each if he is an All-Star or wins a Silver Slugger. He's made the AL All-Star team and won the Gold Glove at catcher in each of the past two years.
With this being Wieters’ first season of arbitration eligibility, he said he didn’t know how smoothly the process would go.
“You never know,” Wieters said. “This was my first time going through it, so you never know how it’s going to play out. Really, any situation you don’t know how it’s going to play out, so you go kinda with the information you hear and try to make the best decision when it comes to that point.”
Wieters, an All-Star for the second straight season who also won his second consecutive Gold Glove this season, expressed his desire to sign a long-term contract with the Orioles earlier this week.
“The Orioles have my rights for three more years and that’s something we’re both fine with right now. We’re just going to go out there and play this year,” Wieters said. “I’m not going to focus on the business side of it any more because we were able to get this out of the way.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun