SARASOTA, FLA. — Catcher Matt Wieters wasn't happy that he could not reach a mutual agreement with the Orioles on a 2012 salary, but he said Sunday that he would not hold a grudge after the club unilaterally renewed his contract.
"They have the right to offer any contract they want,'' he said. "That's their right. I'm just ready to play baseball."
Teams have the right under baseball's labor agreement to renew a player who does not have three years of major league experience or "Super 2" arbitration status as long as they don't cut his salary more than 20 percent from the previous year or fall below the minimum major league salary.
Wieters, who is represented by superagent Scott Boras, would not comment on what salary he had to settle for and refused to answer when he was asked if the Orioles had renewed him at a figure lower than their highest number in the negotiations. The Orioles and other teams have been known to make "take it or take less" offers in this kind of situation situation, and Wieters did seem to indicate that the two figures were different. He earned $452,500 last year.
So is he angry?
"There are no grudges," he said. "I would like to have the system work a little differently, but it's how the system works."
Wieters will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season, so there is plenty of time for any fence-mending, if necessary, or to negotiate a long-term deal that extends past his free agent walk year. He will be eligible for salary arbitration after the upcoming season.
"I've got a lot of years of playing left," he said. "Free agency is a long way away. I'm just worried about getting ready for this year."
The Orioles have had some well-publicized dustups at the renewal deadline before, angering Nick Markakis in 2008 when he got only a $55,000 raise to $455,000 after he led the team with 23 homers and drove in 112 runs. They also cut pitcher Jeremy Guthrie's salary $120,000 in 2009 because he originally signed a major league deal that pushed his salary well above the team's salary parameters for his service time.