Matt Wieters was in Washington Nationals camp on Thursday, tucked away inside the team’s sparkling new spring training complex in West Palm Beach while awaiting word on his two-year deal becoming official.
The club is expected to announce the deal with the former Orioles catcher Friday, possibly in the morning, but it’s unclear whether Wieters will participate in his first workout with his new team that day.
There’s no concern that there are any glitches with the deal. Wieters took his team physical Wednesday. But the Nationals must first make a corresponding 40-man roster move to clear space for Wieters’ addition.
When Wieters does take the field, the career-long Oriole will have to not only learn another pitching staff, but also an entirely different league.
Even though Friday will be the Nationals’ final day of workouts before starting Grapefruit League games, Nationals manager Dusty Baker said he doesn’t believe Wieters will have any trouble adjusting to a new staff, especially given this year’s extended spring training because of next month’s World Baseball Classic.
“Fortunately for us, this year he’s right on time [compared to] past years because we have an extra week this year,” Baker said. “He’s healthy. He has a great guy to work with in [pitching coach] Mike Maddux and [bullpen coach] Dan Firova.
“He has some pitchers here who can kind of direct their own game until he learns them. You’ve got [Max] Scherzer and [Stephen Strasburg] and Tanner [Roark]. They have a pretty good idea of how they want to pitch everybody. And they sit down before the games and discuss it in depth. Mike has meetings before every series, so I don’t see Wieters having any problems because he’s getting here, what’s today? The 23rd? I mean we’ve barely been here, so I think that’s to his and our advantage.”
After remaining unsigned all offseason, Wieters signed a two-year deal worth $21 million, though he has the opportunity to opt out of his contract after the 2017 season. The deal also reportedly included $5 million of deferred money.