Wieters could fill D-backs' need at catcher

Wieters could fill D-backs' need at catcher

PHOENIX -- It's that time of the offseason for a pre-Spring Training bold prediction; something that could happen before camp opens next month, but is not likely.

So here it goes: The D-backs will sign free-agent catcher Matt Wieters.

Wieters was not given a qualifying offer by the Orioles and has been on the market while teams that were in need of catching help added names like Brian McCann, Wilson Ramos and Jason Castro.

Hot Stove Tracker

Oh, and the Orioles signed Welington Castillo, whom the D-backs non-tendered last month.

Since parting ways with Castillo, the D-backs have added defensive specialist Jeff Mathis to go along with holdover Chris Herrmann. They also claimed Juan Graterol from the Reds, who is another defensive-minded backstop.

The D-backs don't see Mathis as a 135-game catcher at this point in his career, and Herrmann missed significant time last year because of injuries, so the team is open to adding another catcher.

Wieters would not only give them more of an everyday option behind the plate, he's also a switch-hitter who would help balance a right-handed-heavy lineup.

He also does a nice job of throwing out basestealers, nabbing 35 percent last year.

While the D-backs don't have a lot of money to play with, as they try to keep their payroll around $100 million, managing general partner Ken Kendrick has gone over budget in the past when he thought the player was a difference-maker.

How much Wieters would cost is not certain, though it's possible his price has come down as he's stayed on the market.

Of course there are drawbacks to this idea, as well.

Wieters' offensive numbers have fallen a bit, even though he hit 17 homers last season.

More important may be the fact that while Wieters has an excellent reputation for handling a pitching staff, the pitch-framing metrics are not kind to him. In fact, he ranked below Castillo in that category.

There's still quite a bit of debate about the value of pitch-framing, so maybe that would not be an issue, but given the D-backs' new front office and its knowledge of advanced metrics, it does make you wonder.

But hey, we didn't say it would happen, just that it was possible.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.