Danny Wild / USA TODAY Sports

Storylines: Matt Wieters signs with Washington Nationals

Free agent catcher Matt Wieters has finally found a home, and while he will be flipping to the National League he will only move a few miles down the I-270 corridor to Washington DC...

Top Storylines:

- Matt Wieters has finally found a new home.  The veteran catcher has signed a two-year deal that includes $21 million in guaranteed money. He will make $10.5MM in each year and there is an opt out in the second year - though specific details on that are not known at this time.  The Nationals are deferring $5MM of his guaranteed money that will last up until 2021. It didn’t seem like there was much of a fit between Wieters and the Nats given their surplus of depth at the catching position but the Nats clearly viewed Wieters as a significant upgrade behind the dish as opposed to going with a combination of Derek Norris, Pedro Severino and Jose Lobaton.  Wieters hit only .243/.302/.409 last season but still showed plenty of pop at the plate as he slugged 17 home runs and racked up 66 RBIs for the Baltimore Orioles.  The Nationals are now expected to try and move Norris before Opening Day and give him a chance to earn regular at-bats with another team.  Wieters should be given the primary role of catcher with Lobaton backing him up thus pushing Severino back to the minors.  The Tampa Bay Rays also expressed interest in Wieters over the offseason and made him an offer but their offer didn’t come close to matching the Nationals.

Other Storylines:

- There will be a significant change in the official MLB rules in 2017.  Teams will no longer have to issue a four-pitch intentional walk and will instead use a dugout signal to indicate their preference to intentionally walk a batter per Howard Bryant of ESPN Magazine.  A good portion of the changes in the new CBA will not implemented until after the 2017 season but at least one rule will be installed.


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