MLB Trade Rumors projects a three-year, $39 million contract, but it’s a good bet that Boras will ask for significantly more for Wieters, who won Gold Gloves in 2011 and 2012 and hit 22 or 23 home runs in three consecutive seasons through 2013. He had Tommy John elbow surgery in 2014 and was limited to 91 games over a two-year span.
“He’s an All-Star catcher,” Boras said. “I went back and you look at certain organizations and you look at who’s won Gold Gloves, who’s had multiple 20-home run seasons — this year Matt had 17 home runs and 65 RBIs — who does that and plays Gold Glove defense? And the answer is, I had to go back to Pudge (Ivan Rodriguez) in 2003 to find the last free agent that was available that had won Gold Gloves and had multiple 20-home run performances.”
If Wieters is too expensive, the Braves could make a run at free agent Jason Castro, a left-handed hitter who’s far less of a hitter, but is regarded as an outstanding pitch-framer and handler of pitching staffs. Right-handed hitter Nick Hundley, also commended for his work with pitchers, is another possibility.
And don’t forget the Braves have discussed a possible trade for longtime former Braves catcher Brian McCann and have revisited that at times to see if the Yankees’ initial asking price would come down.
Castro is only a .232 hitter with 62 homers and a .699 OPS in six seasons with the Astros, but against right-handers he has a .247 career average and .753 OPS. He had 10 homers in 279 plate appearances vs. right-handers in 2016.
The Braves say if they can’t find a catcher who fits their needs and budget, they’ll be OK with bringing back Anthony Recker to pair with Flowers.