Former Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is taking a trip down the Baltimore-Washington Beltway to reach his new ball club.
The Washington Nationals signed Wieters to a two-year $21 million deal Tuesday with an opt-out clause after the first year. The deal will not be official until a pending physical on Wednesday.
Wieters suffered a laceration to his arm in the offseason that required stitches, according to reports, which may have a role in the physical outcome.
The veteran catcher will attempt to replace Wilson Ramos, who signed with the Tampa Bay Rays earlier this offseason.
The four-time All Star was drafted by the Orioles in 2007 and made his major-league debut with the team in 2009. Since then Wieters has posted a .256 batting average and knocked 117 home runs, which are third most by a catcher in that span, and grabbed two Gold Gloves.
Wieters missed most of the 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery, but bounced back in 2015 where he played in 124 games. Being a switch hitter, Wieters can offer balance to the Nationals lineup that was ranked seventeenth in batting average last season.
This will be the third catcher for the Nats. Weiters will be joining the likes of Derek Norris, who was acquired back in December, and backup catcher Jose Lobaton.
It will be interesting to see what the Nationals have planned as Norris was slated to start the season at catcher but the arrival of Wieters may force Norris to either a backup role, or potentially his second trade in just under four months.
The Chicago White Sox have publicly been looking for catcher depth, so the Nationals may make a run at veteran closer David Robinson, with the departure of Mark Melancon. Washington will be making a move of some kind as their current 40-man roster is full and they already have a trade relationship with the White Sox after acquiring Adam Eaton last year.