Dodgers: Two Notable Veterans That Could be a Fit For LA
Matt Wieters, Catcher
The first veteran I want to discuss is Matt Wieters. Wieters, is one of two former Orioles I think the Dodgers should consider signing. He is a former All-Star and a stopgap catcher the Dodgers are looking for. From 2011 to 2013, he blasted 67 home runs and never played less than 139 games in a single season during that span.
While he is a long way removed from his glory days of 20+ bombs, Wieters has still been an above average catcher over the last three seasons. Since 2016, Wieters is ranked within the top-20 amongst catchers in home runs, triple slash numbers, and ISO. He is a professional hitter at a position where hitting is becoming less and less likely.
Last season Wieters’ play time took a notable hit. After playing 123 games in 2016 and 124 games in 2017, the Nationals limited Wieters to just 76 games and 261 AB’s. He still hit eight homers, which would put him on pace for 16 home runs in a 500+ PA season. According to Fangraphs, Wieters remained a plus-defender and he brought his walk rate up over 10% for the first time since 2012, when he hit 23 home runs.
Wieters is a switch hitter, but could work well in a platoon with Austin Barnes for next season on a one-year deal. Against right-handed pitching last season, Wieters hit six home runs and hit .246 in 216 PAs. Barnes was similarly valuable against left-handed pitching last season, also hitting .246 and hitting four home runs in 114 ABs while hitting just .151 against righties.
Against the NL West, not including the Dodgers, Wieters went 9-35 (a .257 average) with his best numbers against the Rockies, the Dodgers’ most potent rival to win the NL West in 2019. The 6’5 catcher is projected to be worth 1.3 WAR next season in 320 plate appearances, which is the second-highest mark amongst free agent catchers after Yasmani Grandal.
He is the second-highest defensive catcher by the projections after Martin Maldanado but without the offensive shortcomings.
Despite his reliability and success over his long career, the 32-year-old should not cost more than just a couple million dollars on a one year deal that could be laden with games played incentives or things of that nature. He adds depth, veteran catching experience and a playoff-worthy bat to the lineup.